Tag Archives: LGBT

Send in the Clowns Who Claim to Protect Marriage

UPDATE: The petition drive in question is now for Referendum 74, not 73. Washington’s Office of the Secretary of State sent out a correction this week.

Signed, sealed, and delivered–that is the status of same-sex marriage in Washington State, as of 11:30 this morning. And now that a Republican legislator’s impassioned support of marriage equality has gone viral (from Walla Walla’s district, no less!), it’s time to rest easy, basking in the warm glow of justice…

Oh, wait. There’s no time to relax. A mere three hours after Governor Gregoire signed marriage equality into law, the NOM people were filing Referendum 73 in Olympia to revoke the law with a ballot initiative.

Who and what is NOM, you ask? Welcome to the awful new world in carpetbagging.  Read More…

The Violence of the T-Word

ru paul photoI was in graduate school in snowy Syracuse, New York when the word “queer” came onto the scene as a self-identifier for LGBT people. One colleague whispered her horror to me, saying that “queer” always was and always would be a terrible word. Yet the wave swept over a large segment of the LGBT community and the collective decision, at least in my generation, was to “reclaim” the word for ourselves. We were out, loud, and proud, and we had just discovered that we could co-opt Roy G. Biv for our political purposes and move past the pink and black triangles of our elders. Queer Nation was here.

Fast forward into the age of the information superhighway, and conversations roiled online about the use of “tranny” among LGBT people. We’ve arrived in a different place with this epithet, and it doesn’t include any kind of reclamation. Whereas people in the LGBT umbrella felt that they themselves could use “queer” as an in-community term, that has not been the conversation with the t-word. Even Kate Bornstein, the author of Gender Outlaw, was told in no uncertain terms that her trans sisters were hurt whenever they heard her use it, and they wanted her to erase it from her vocabulary. She went public with her feelings of conflict.

If trans women are walking away from using “tranny” en masse, then the rest of us should, too. Read More…

Finding an LGBT Audience

gay youth buttonsThis post originally appeared over on GayYa.org.

I’ve looked at stories, characters, plot devices, layering, the writer’s mission, and some of the tropes around gay YA and genre fiction this past month or so, but left to examine among many other aspects of writing is audience. Not all writers seek publication, and that’s fine, but for those of us who want to get our words communicated to the world outside our heads should understand our options, the market, and readers’ expectations. Read More…

Changing the Trans Narrative in YA Fiction

This post originally appeared over on GayYA.org.

There’s a fight going on, but not many people know about it. It boils down to what many fights look like after a long time simmering and evaporating away their unnecessary parts—the right to tell a story. Like many other battles this one is about a people, access to power, and ownership.

I’m talking about where transgender comes from, why it occurs, and what meaning to draw from it. Read More…

Transgender Day of Sadness

TDOR posterXena bless Gwendolyn Ann Smith for starting the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, to focus on the losses our chosen family incurs from bigotry and hatred. But there is a kind of bleakness in the event—we’re certainly not celebrating as we come together, and I for one have to stave off the blues the week afterward because the names of the dead float around in my head. And trust me, I already think about those who haven’t made it on a regular, frequent basis.

Still, I won’t let the day pass without some reflection; it’s a time to re-commit myself to mentoring others, to putting myself out there so I can be a resource in times of trouble, in agitating my local community to push past their stereotyped notions of who trans people are, and in doing work that materially benefits the “T” part of LGBT, since it is so often carelessly forgotten. We want to stop future deaths from violence, but all we have to work with are ourselves and our sense of mission to cobble together a response to that violence. I try to focus on proactive work—call it violence prevention if you will—but I’m supportive of others who take different paths. A variety of responses gives us a better movement, if those responses are in concert with each other and not in opposition. Read More…

Legalizing Bullying

In the ominous news of the week last week, the Michigan Senate attached an exception to an anti-bullying law that was working its way through the state legislature. That’s right, an exception for bullying youth. The text of the exception read:

This section does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil and parent or guardian.

To clarify, the state senators wanted to exempt any individual who stated they were using their “sincerely held” religious or moral belief to bully others. This represents nothing less than another over-the-line moment of an increasingly strict fundamentalist, conservative few attempting to dictate its values to the rest of the country. In context with the attempt to redefine personhood in Mississippi (which failed on election day), destroy collective bargaining rights, and undermine the federal budget with still more tax cuts for corporations, the ability of state senators to validate harassment against children is a fine example of just how off the rails the GOP has ventured.  Read More…

LGBT Themes and Science Fiction: Fast Friends

This post originally appeared over at GayYA.org.

from the Hubble space telescopeI write speculative fiction, usually somewhere between soft science fiction and magical realism, and often, though not exclusively, with LGBT themes and characters. I suppose I could write more mainstream stories, but I like to twist things up and mess with the universe, and besides, I’m a genre geek. I swear this is less from a God complex perspective, and more about playfulness and political intent. Metaphors for transition, coming out, family acceptance, and the like can replace a description of the real thing, and in so doing, open up some space away from angst so more time can be spent appreciating some of the other aspects of these moments.Personally, I’m over angst, having racked up enough of those moments through two whole puberties! But as a writer for young adult and crossover audiences, I’m invested in finding ways to depict all of that cortisol-inducing stress, especially as it relates to LGBT themes. So I opt to find a different geography, a reinvention of time, nifty gadgets and alien species to push, instead of resolve, tension. Read More…

The Wrong Logic to Advance Same-Sex Marriage

Kim Kardashian divorce posterLet me begin with a disclaimer: I don’t put the fight for same-sex marriage at the top of my LGBT civil rights to do list. It’s not my priority, as much as I think the US is living in the Dark Ages with regard to marriage rights for all of its residents, not just some of them. I roll my eyes at President Obama’s unwillingness to fully support same-sex marriage, and I think it’s crystal clear at this point that the front lines against equal marriage rights are really about hatred and anger at gay people, and not anything else.

Perhaps it’s because fighting tends to polarize debate, especially in our modern reductivist climate, but it’s easy to chuck a principled stance by the wayside in favor of low blows, bumper sticker sloganizing, and arguments that don’t work, ultimately, in anyone’s favor.

Take, for example, Kim Kardashian’s ill-fated marriage to whatshisname. Read More…

Dividing Title IX

Hope Solo with soccer ballIn the shadow of the brouhaha around Chaz Bono’s participation in Dancing with the Stars this season, few have noticed the abject sexism and body policing of Hope Solo, the soccer star who is also a contestant on the show. From the judges’ criticism—that she “muscles” through the dances too much, should be more feminine, and exhibit more sex appeal—to the media response after her performances, the stream of negative commentary has left a former confident woman and accomplished goalie visibly shaken and doubting herself. If Chaz has been talked about in the pop culture arena as not “enough” of a man, then Hope has seen the pain of the other side of that coin, in acting too masculine. And a good chunk of my cynicism wants to see any of the DWTS judges defending a goal from the German Women’s National Team. Read More…

My Goals as a Trans Writer

This post originally appeared over on GayYA.org, a great place to talk about all things LGBTQ in young adult literature.

Like many writers I know, I took a meandering path to this writing profession, starting out confident and then dedicating a long decade in quicksand—I think it’s called self-doubt—after which I think I found myself in the center of the earth, and let me just say, it’s hotter than I thought it would be down there. During this long break I suppose I opted to have a sex change, and then I realized that I needed to write about my transition. I didn’t want to relate a tale of anguish and grief. Instead, I focused on the ludicrous situations that popped up as I navigated through gender roles, gathered information on doctors, civil courts, and resources, and klutzed into whatever manhood I now find myself. Where I have ended up as a writer is not where I estimated I’d find myself, but I understand now that all of my wanderlust has made me a much better storyteller. And along the way, I’ve identified my audience in young adult readers, in whatever stripe of gender and sexual orientation (or questioning place) they may be. I now have a good idea of my goals as a writer of transgender and queer experience. Read More…

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