Tag Archives: LGBT

Top Ten Tuesday: LGBT+ Books I Want to Read

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week is a Freebie week for Top Ten Tuesday, and it took me ages to decide what to write for it.

There are so many books out there that I’d like to read but haven’t gotten around to yet. Today, I’m narrowing my focus to those titles that are about LGBT+ characters because I haven’t been doing a good job of keeping up with these stories. There are a lot of good ones that have been published recently!

1. Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

I knew someone whose parent committed suicide when we were in middle school. That experience drew me to this plot even more than the queer content.

2. Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

I can’t imagine how frightening it must have been to realize you were gay during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Wow!

3. The History of Living Forever by Jake Wolff

The Elixir of Life is something I never grow tired of reading about. It will be interesting to see how these characters react to the thought of possibly living forever.

4. The Summer Demands by Deborah Shapiro.

It’s rare that a romance novel catches my attention, but the summer camp setting and adult protagonists of this one are unique enough that I’m curious to read it.

5. The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

A dystopian retelling of Little Red Riding Hood? Sign me up, please!

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos.

The strong focus on family history in this blurb was what first grabbed my attention. My family has all sorts of stories about our ancestors that have been passed down through the generations. I love reading about other families that do the same thing. This seems to happen in every corner of the globe. I can only assume families from every culture occasionally disagree on specific details of their stories, too, just like mine does!

7. Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas

It’s been a long time since I read a small town murder mystery. This sounds like it could be a good read.

8. A Queer History of the United States for Young People by Michael Bronski

Oh, how I wish I’d had a book like this when I was a teenager. I’ve always enjoyed history, but I also couldn’t help but to wonder why none of the history books I read or museums I visited every talked about people like me. They barely discussed women at all. Queer women (or people in general) were basically erased entirely.

9. Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

There’s something a little magical about wandering around in the woods. As much as I love my city life, I’m also irresistibly drawn to books that explore what might be living in the parts of forests where humans rarely venture.

10. Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone

As soon as I heard this was a feminist Guardians of the Galaxy type of story, I was intrigued. I’m not normally into space operas, but this one might change my mind about that.

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them? How big are your TBR lists in general?

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: 10 Unusual Things About Me

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

It’s going to be so interesting to read how you all respond to this week’s prompt. This was one of the topics I was looking forward to the most out of the whole year!

1. I’ve Never Been Hospitalized

My mom had a (planned) home birth with me, so I wasn’t even hospitalized on the day of my birth. Home remedies and the occasional visit with a doctor for minor/temporary problems have been all the care I’ve required so far in life.

This is something that’s surprised more than one health care worker when they were taking my history. I have multiple relatives who lived or are living long, healthy lives while not necessarily following their doctor’s orders about exercising and eating a well-balanced diet, so I suspect some of my good luck with my health is due to genetics even though I try to take care of myself in general.

Photo credit: Peter Salanki from San Francisco, USA.

2. I’m Demisexual and Bisexual

Being demisexual means that I need to bond emotionally with someone before I become interested in escalating our relationship on a physical level. So I’ve been on dates with men and with women, but kissing and other things are reserved for folks I’ve gotten to know well.

3. I Have Unique Spatial Skills and a Not-Super-Accurate Sense of Direction

As much as I want to help, I may accidentally send you to the wrong place if you ask me for directions. You see, I use context clues like a big tree or that pretty, blue house on the corner as reminders of where to go next instead of remembering the name of that street or whether it’s north or south from my current location.

This system works well for me, but since it can be confusing for people who don’t live in my brain I try not to give directions to folks unless I’m sure I’m sending them in the right direction.

4. I’m an Animal Magnet

Animals love me, especially cats. The funny thing is, I’m terribly allergic to cats.  Maybe they’re so interested in me because I give them a lot of personal space instead of rushing over to pick them up and coo over them like a non-allergic person might do? All I want to do is avoid wheezing and sneezing, and all they want to do is be my new best friend. Ha!

5. I Started College Before Finishing High School

My high school had a dual-enrolment agreement with a few local colleges. I absolutely loved spending most of the day at college with adult classmates during my final year of high school. It was refreshing to meet so many other students who genuinely wanted to learn the stuff we were studying there. I’d heartily recommend this option to any high schooler who enjoys learning and has good time management skills.

6. I Was Homeschooled, and I Also Married a Fellow Homeschooler

This definitely wasn’t a requirement for dating me, but it was pretty neat to compare homeschooling experiences with my spouse when we first realized we had this in common. We both spent a lot of time visiting all sorts of museums, art galleries, and historical sites on homeschooling field trips. I still love learning and field trips to this day.

7. I Have a High Tolerance for Pain

Or at least that’s what a dentist told me once. Pain is such a subjective thing that it’s hard to imagine how my occasional experiences with it might be different from how others feel it.

8. I Like the Taste of Bitter and Spicy Vegetables

My grandmother sometimes makes an afternoon snack that consists of the following things:

  • White bread
  • Margarine
  • Thinly-sliced radishes

I believe she is at least partially responsible for the fact that I like eating radishes, spinach, and broccoli as an adult. Not every snack necessarily needs to be sweet.

9. I Keep a Digital Dream Journal

This is a pretty recent habit, but I’m enjoying the process of writing down all of the dreams I can remember. It’s interesting to go back and look for themes in them.

Lately, I’ve been having a ton of dreams about being back in school and studying for a dreaded biology exam on the anatomy of frogs and other various small creatures.  I wonder when people become too old for those sorts of dreams? My fingers are crossed that one of you will tell me it definitely stops at age X for everyone. Ha!

10. I’m the Only Person in Toronto Who Likes Pigeons

Yes, this is a little bit of an exaggeration. It’s based on the fact that pigeons have been nicknamed “sky rats” here and many people truly dislike them. I think they’re interesting creatures, and I enjoy watching them navigate our busy city and figure out where the safe places are to hang out, roost, and find food. Pigeons need to learn these skills quickly to survive city life, and in general they’re thriving here. That’s admirable in my opinion.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Suggestion Saturday: June 30, 2018

Happy Pride! As a member of the LGBT community, it was especially fun for me to put together this week’s list of pie charts, blog posts, and other LGBT-themed links from my favourite corners of the web.

Things You Should Never Have to Do. All of the sections in this pie chart were beautifully true, but I liked the one about never apologizing  for your sexuality the most of them all.

How the 18th-Century Gay Bar Survived and Thrived in a Deadly Environment. Wow, I never would have guessed that gay bars existed  in the 1700s.

Love and Rockets. What a beautiful sentiment.

Do Algorithms Reveal Sexual Orientation or Just Expose Our Stereotypes? This was a long read, but it was worth it.

Pride Around the World via KatyGilroyBlog. I loved this description of Pride Parades around the world. Warsaw’s Pride Parade sounds particularly fun.

What It Means to Be Queer via quirkandfolly‬. This was such a detailed explanation of why this author chose to label herself as queer.

The Story Behind Gay Bob, the World’s First Out-and-Proud Doll. Have you ever heard of this doll before? I hadn’t.

Jeremiah, Opera Singer, Vancouver via TheGayMenProject. Honestly, all of the interviews on this site are interesting, but Jeremiah’s is a good place to start.

I Chose to Be Gay Just Last Week. Yes, this title is tongue-in-cheek. I included this link especially for the heterosexual followers of this site. If you’d like a small taste of what it’s like to be part of the LGBT community, this post is a hilarious and accurate representation of some of the bizarre things people say to us sometimes.

Cornwall Gay Pride via ellen_hawley. This blog post compares what modern-day Pride parades are like to how they were decades ago. I only wish this blogger had turned this into a series. It was so good.

My Favourite LGBT Books

Happy Pride month! Today I thought it would be fun to share some of my favourite LGBT-themed books in honour of all of the Pride festivities that have been and are still going on here in Toronto. Rainbow flags are popping up everywhere, and that’s always a heart-warming thing to see at this time of the year.

This list spans the range of everything from children’s stories to a biography to a historical novel. I’m the kind of reader who seeks out a well-told tale no matter what genre it’s from, so you’d be hard-pressed to get me to stick to one particular genre for this sort of post.

Feel free to share your favourite LGBT books in the comments below. I’d love to know which ones have caught your eye.

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters.

Honestly, I could have spent this entire post talking about nothing but Sarah Waters’ books. She’s one of those authors whose stories are a must-buy for me, so I had to restrict myself to only mentioning one of the things she’s written today.

What I loved the most about Tipping the Velvet was the character development. Nancy, the main character, lived at a time when it wasn’t possible for a woman who was a lesbian to live her life openly and honestly. She didn’t even know the word to describe who she was until she became an adult. Eventually having a word for it didn’t make her identity any more accepted, and yet still she persevered.

The Kind of Girl I Am by Julia Watts.

The only reason why I discovered this book is because I happened to be browsing in the W section of the fiction shelves at my local library years ago and found myself intrigued by what sort of girl the protagonist might turn out to be. (Don’t you love it when that happens?)

Like Tipping the Velvet, The Kind of Girl I Am followed a character from her sheltered, rural upbringing to a life as an adult that she could have never imagined when she was a child.

I liked the fact that the storyline followed Vestal from the time she was a teenager until she was a senior citizen. There’s something rewarding about watching a character grow and change over the course of multiple decades.

My favourite part of this book can’t be discussed in detail due to how many spoilers it will give you about the ending, but I deeply enjoyed seeing how Vestal reframed and eventually came to peace with certain parts of her life in her final years. Her character development was excellent.

Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller.

As I’ve said before, I was one of those kids who generally enjoyed the classic novels we were assigned to read in English class. It was always interesting to see what our teacher had to say about the meaning of a blue curtain in a scene or why a character kept talking about something that eventually actually happened to them.

If I’d been born a few decades later, Patience & Sarah might have been an assigned read in one of my high school English classes. It had the same serious themes and foreshadowing of many of the other books we read and discussed in class when I was a teenager.

Santa’s Husband by Daniel Kibblesmith.

I loved this picture book’s cheeky approach to the Santa Claus myth. It clearly explained why it was reimagining Santa as a man who was in a same-sex, interracial relationship, although I can’t go into any more details about that without giving away the ending.

Should this be read by kids or adults? I’d say that it will appeal to readers of all ages.

Missed Her by Ivan E. Coyote.

Ivan E. Coyote is one of the best contemporary Canadian authors I’ve discovered so far. Not only does she have a beautiful writing style, her anecdotes are among the funniest ones I’ve ever read. She grew up in a small, rural community.* A lot of her stories are about what happens when she goes back for a visit and well-meaning, heterosexual friends and neighbours try to make conversations about LGBT topics with her without knowing what they’re talking about at all.

*Yes, this does seem to be something I gravitate towards when reading LGBT books. I suspect it’s because they’re similar to my own childhood.

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders

If you don’t know the story of the gay activist Harvey Milk, this is the perfect place to get a quick overview of his life and everything he accomplished for the LGBT community. We wouldn’t even have something as simple as the Pride flag without him.

This is the sort of thing that I wish could have been covered in my public school history classes growing up. While we still have a long way to go, the world has changed for the better so much over the past few decades. Children – and honestly many adults, too – don’t always realize what their society used to be like or what it really takes to improve it.

Sometimes I think about Harvey Milk when I’m feeling discouraged about certain current, dangerous trends in the North American political climate. It’s easy to feel like you’re too small and ordinary of a person to possibly make any different at all over the longterm.

As Harvey Milk once said, “you have to give them hope.” I believe that knowing about the lives of ordinary people who did manage to make our world a better place is one of the best ways to give people hope when they need it.

 

Saturday Seven: Characters Who Need a Date

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so today I’m thinking about characters who could really have benefited from going on a date. None of the characters I’m about to discuss had romantic storylines. They were far too busy looking after a disabled friend, exploring a haunted mansion, fighting for the freedom of an innocent man, raising a large family, protecting their household from a vengeful spirit, or otherwise staying busy.

While avoiding romantic subplots was definitely the right decision for all of these books, I can’t help but to think that all of the main characters in them would have had happier lives if they somehow could have carved out a couple of hours of free time for an offstage date at some point.

For example…

1. Dr. Faraday from The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.

Dr. Faraday rose from humble beginnings to become a respected country physician. Unfortunately, his job didn’t pay well, and his patients kept him so busy that he didn’t have any time at all for romance. This became even more of an obstacle once he realized that a few of his patients may be living in a haunted house. Let’s just say that dealing with what may be a angry ghost doesn’t leave a lot of time for dating.  

He would have some attention-grabbing stories to share on a date, though, and I think it would have been good for him to have someone to discuss all of his eerie experiences with. He lived such a lonely and sometimes even frightening life in this book. Having someone to talk to  would have done him a world of good.

2. Constance Barton from Angelica: A Novel by Arthur Phillips.

Constance was a young Victorian mother who became convinced that an evil spirit was terrorizing her daughter at night. She hired a spiritualist to figure out what the entity wanted and why it was attacking her family.

There was far more happening in the Barton household than what was revealed right away. Constance’s marriage was disintegrating before her eyes, and her health was becoming increasingly fragile as a result of a string of incredibly dangerous pregnancies that had produced only one living child so far.

Constance could have really used a nice, chaste date with someone who treated her kindly and who wasn’t obsessed with having a son to carry on the family name.

3. Miss Peregrine from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Wayward Children by Ransom Riggs. 

Miss Peregrine was raising multiple children who were mischievous and had magical powers. She’d been doing this on her own for years, and she had no reason to think her duties would ever end because she and her brood been forced to move to a place that existed outside of time in order to avoid being caught by people who wanted to harm all of them. Her wards were always going to remain their current ages due to the weird way that time passed by where they lived.

She was a fantastic parent figure to the kids, but she really could have used one night where she didn’t have to remind anyone to wash their hands or eat their vegetables. A date would do a world of good for this character. Since I haven’t read the other books in this series yet, I can only hope that someday she’ll get to do just that.

4. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. 

Atticus was a widower, a single father of two young kids, and a lawyer. He agreed to defend an innocent black man named Tom Robinson who had been wrongly accused of raping a white woman.

Atticus probably never would have admitted that he could find the time to date, but this character sure would have benefitted from a few hours away from all of the responsibilities in his life. Other than Tom, of course, Atticus was the character I sympathized the most with in this tale.

5. Susie Salmon from The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. 

Susie was violently murdered when she was fourteen. As she adjusted to the afterlife and attempted to contact the loved ones she’d been ripped away from, she began to realize all of the important life events she was going to miss out on because of how young she’d been when she died.

Going on one date would have meant the world to her. I wish she could have had that experience.

6. George from Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

George had voluntarily taken on full financial and legal responsibility for a developmentally-delayed friend of his at at time when people who had those kinds of disabilities didn’t have access to any of the government programs or other types of support that they can rely on today.

While this definitely isn’t canon, I imagine George as a man who would have been identified as gay if he’d lived in modern times. He seemed much more comfortable living with and near other men than he did around women, so I’d set him up with a friendly guy who didn’t mind dating someone who already had many responsibilities in life.

Maybe he’d do well dating someone who also knew what it was like to be the legal guardian of someone whose disabilities required them to have close daily supervision?

7. Carrie from Carrie by Stephen King.

Carrie’s horribly abusive upbringing made me feel so much sympathy for her, especially once I realized that her life was only slightly less traumatic when she was at school.

If only she’d had the chance to experience a normal, happy existence. There were the briefest glimpses of the person she could have become here and there, but she would have really blossomed if she’d done something as simple as held hands with a cute guy at the movie theatre or had someone in her life who told her she looked pretty every once in a while.

Which characters do you wish you could send on a well-deserved date?

Life After DOMA: Never Say Never

The only thing constant in life is change.  –  François de la Rochefoucauld Seventeen years ago the Defense of Marriage Act was enacted. I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that the Supreme Court (finally!) ruled it was unconstitutional yesterday. Ten years ago I never thought something like this would happen in my lifetime. Five… Read More