Being an Ally

Hey guys, I know it’s been awhile since I’ve actually put a post up. I say this a lot – I don’t always have the most active life. I’m usually sitting in my room, on my laptop, writing away. Most weeks, I don’t have anything to talk about, which would explain my long absence.

This week I do.

I normally don’t like to post about personal stuff, and I don’t want to put anyone on blast believe me, but something happened this weekend that I feel like I needed to talk about: I witnessed someone being an ally.

Now here’s the thing – I’m out. I live out, everyone close to me knows I’m out, my family is an Out Family of an LGBT child. Because of this, I see lots of Good Movement from heterosexual people. My parents are my number one supporters, so by no means am I slighting them by putting the spotlight onto someone else. They probably deserve posts too, so maybe one day.

What happened was this: I was at a birthday party for a relative. An older one, so my company was mostly parents, it was late, everyone had been drinking, and someone was telling a story about their six year old boy who had a habit of trying to kiss his female classmates. His explanation for this was “I don’t see what’s wrong with kissing pretty girls.”

Already, there were comments I wanted to make, but I kept my mouth shut because honestly I was tired and most people don’t want to listen to me rant anyway. It wasn’t my birthday party, so I wasn’t going to make a scene. It was then that a close family friend rattled off, “well, at least he isn’t trying to kiss pretty boys!”

Agreements went up and my heart sank because I was reminded what it was like to be outside of my friendly LGBT accepting bubble and back into the real world. I was reminded that heteronormativity and bias starts this young. I was reminded that the people in that older generation that I’m closest to still think this way. I was a small child again, reminded to sit down and keep quiet because what I was feeling wasn’t normal. It sucked, but I was okay. I was used to it.

And then the wife of the man who has spoken suddenly turned around and said “shut up!” he argued and she quickly put him in his place, reminding him of where he was and who he was around. It shocked me, because of where I was and who I was with above all, but it also sent this feeling of immediate relief rushing through my body.

Here’s the thing about being an ally guys, it’s not always just loving and accepting your LGBT+ friends and family members. It’s speaking up for them when they can’t speak for themselves, it’s making sure you know your LGBT+ person feels safe with you, it’s making sure they’re safe even outside of your homes. It’s having the courage to say something even to someone else you love. It’s reassurance and support.

You can find many other blogs about this concept, so please feel free to google it if you want more information on how you can be a better ally. I just felt the need to share this little story. As always, rather an LGBT+ person or an Ally, please know your surroundings and make sure you are physically safe before acting.

I hope you guys have a gay day in every way <3

-Charlotte

That Book is So Gay

A common question I get asked is what LGBT books I read in high school, or what LGBT books I would recommend now, and I always kind of cringe a little. I still haven’t fully figured out how to answer that. And here’s why:

I wouldn’t call my mother strict, per say, but she payed a lot of attention to what I was reading. I read constantly, I always had my nose in a book, I took them everywhere with me. I remember pretty vividly there was a year when I wasn’t allowed to read about vampires and I would hide the covers anywhere I went. (The rule didn’t stick – I got so obsessed that to this day half of my bookshelves are still vampire books).

If I wasn’t going to read about vampires, I definitely wasn’t going to read about lesbians. There was no taking home a book that looked like Just Juliet for me. Nope, nu-uh, not gonna happen. So there’s half the answer I guess – that I didn’t read LGBT books in high school, or any younger than that. In fact, I’m not even sure I would have known where to find them. I went to an extremely small school in the middle of nowhere Texas. I’m almost positive we didn’t have LGBT books in our library. (I was an aide my Junior year and we spent a solid week having to flip through books and cross out the curse words so, ya know. That was the environment I had to pick out books in.)

I did read a shit ton of Alex/Paige and Dylan/Marco fanfiction in my Degrassi days but does that even count? That was pre-Ao3 days guys it’s been awhile.

“So what about College, Char?” – nope. I was busy in college, I don’t think I read anything during those years. Sure, I had a full bookshelf, and went to B&N at least once a week to buy something new, but I don’t think I ever actually read anything. Although here is where the facts change a little, because in 2014 I found Wattpad. And oh boy, did that change things. Suddenly finding gay books was as simple as searching [boyxboy] or [girlxgirl]. (those old school tags my god)

There is a bit of a loophole to this rule, because

I still remember the first one I read. It was a gay love story by A.M Snead and I was honestly surprised because A.M is religious. Being raised where I was, there was always this overlying factor of ‘you can’t be a christian and support homosexuality at the same time’. A.M was basically like ‘lol that’s not true’ and proceeded to write beautiful, christian, homo love stories. There was something about her doing this that inspired hope in me. If she could be christian and support LGBT rights, then there were others that could too, right?

These days, I’ve made it a goal to only read books that have at least one LGBT character or theme in them. I have a list, but I must warn you that I’m notorious for reading from male perspectives, because until college – aside from Harry Potter – I read only female so I’m trying to balance that out.

Lesbian: Ash by Malinda Lo – while I haven’t actually read this yet, I love the concept so much that it’s made it only my male pov only shelf so~

GayBoy Meets Boy by David Levithan – If I ever stop rereading TRC and TFC I might actually manage to make it to this one. It looks super cute?

Bisexual: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater – I have a love/hate relationship with this series but ultimately I was there for the characters so. It doesn’t really get gay until the last book, although the second one is very gay charged and the third one is all subtle gay, so it’s there. There’s a bisexual boy, even though I’m pretty sure the word is never said, he’s a lovely bi baby and I will throw hands for him.

Transgender: Luna by Julie Anne Peters – there’s a line in here about ‘a girl that can only be seen in the moonlight’ and that has always really resonated with me. I read this awhile ago so it doesn’t fall under my ‘male pov’ rule because Luna is, undeniably, a girl.

Queer: All for the Game by Nora Sakavic – anyone who knows me knows I can’t go long without talking about The Foxhole Court so here it is again. But guys this book is so inspiring to live and fight for what’s worth it and just. Stuff like that. Also, there’s a ‘straight cousin’, can you believe? I’m sticking it under queer just because there’s gay characters and there’s a demisexual character. Are we still using queer as an umbrella term or should I be more inclusive in that? Hm.

Intersex: None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio – I’m going to be honest and admit that I’ve never read about an intersex person before, but I’ve heard this book be recommended places, so. If it’s bad – let me know, lol.

Asexual: The Sum of it’s Parts by E.M Holloway – my favorite thing about this series is that it’s about werewolves, not sexuality, and it just so happens that one of the main relationships is asexual. It’s also really, really good – and self published – and I feel like the author deserves more love so. Hit it up. For real.

For someone whose life revolves around books I really don’t read enough.

Anyway, that’s the last of my InspirationChallenge posts. Have you guys ever felt inspired by an LGBT book? Tell me about it in the comments!

“Girls like girls like boys do, it’s nothing new~”

If I remember correctly, the first LGBT song I ever heard was by t.A.T.u. All the Things She Said was actually really popular back in, like, the 2000s which is kind of ironic because of the controversy it struck. In fact, there were moves to ban the video world wide. It actually took me awhile to figure out what they were singing about, because I thought the lyrics were ‘all the things you said’ (heteronormativity, whuddup). I’m pretty sure the video put it into perspective and then I was like. Oh shit, cool!

And I’m all mixed up, feeling cornered and rushed
They say it’s my fault, but I want her so much
Want to fly her away, where the sun and rain
Come in over my face, wash away all the shame
When they stop and stare – don’t worry me
‘Cause I’m feeling for her, what she’s feeling for me
I can try to pretend, I can try to forget
But it’s driving me mad, going out of my head

All The Things She Said (video)

Since their glory days there’s been some controversy surrounding – well, Yuliya Volkova and some pretty homophobic comments she made in 2014, but this song is still the first one I ever heard with female on female pronouns, and the first video I ever saw with female kisses, and it’ll always have a spot in my heart. I also always really loved All About Us, even though it’s more subtle gay. Can you guys believe these girls are Russian? I know, mind blown.

 

After that I mostly spent a lot of my time digging up any LGBT-esque song I could find on youtube. I don’t remember coming across much, which could have been a sign of the times or a sign of my skill when it comes for searching for things. I do remember seeing that a lot of things were queerer than I had though, like Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful (2002), or a few music videos that were gayer than the lyrics suggested (Like Avicii’s Addicted To You).

But besides the point, here’s a small breakdown over the years:

I Kissed a Girl – Katy Perry (2008)
Fever – Adam Lambert (2009)
Do it Like a Dude – Jessie J (2010)
Born This Way – Lady Gaga (2011)
Same Love – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (2012)
Girls/Girls/Boys – Panic! At the Disco (2013)
She Keeps Me Warm – Mary Lambert (2014)
All American Boy – Steve Grand (2015)
Son of a Preacher Man – Tom Goss (2016)

But wait, Charlotte, isn’t this challenge supposed to be about things that inspired you? Well, yes, technically, I guess. You guys don’t want to just listen to me ramble? I suppose that’s fair.

Alright, so listen, I have a lot of love for Hayley Kiyoko.

“Tell me something nobody knows about you, something you are afraid to sing about?”
I immediately thought, well I like girls and that’s what I want to sing about, but even then I struggled to say it out loud. – Paper Magazine.

She’s beautiful, she’s talented, but what she said that really inspired me personally, was this:

“Most of the time, you become confident after years of struggling during your young adulthood. I want to encourage the youth to find that confidence now. Not later. For them to know their own self-worth at an earlier age.” . – Paper Magazine.

Hayley’s 25 years old and she’s doing her best to be herself and be a role model at the same time. Her confidence to not only come out, but to do so publicly, to stake her career on that, is honestly breath taking. I adore her music. I’m living for the message she’s sending. If you do nothing else, watch the video I paste below. It’s very relatable.

I also really suggest Cliff’s Edge and Gravel to Tempo and Sleepover.

 

And that brings us to Troye Sivan.


Some people were lucky enough to know Troye from youtube before he was famous, I wasn’t. I found him after hearing him on the radio for the first time. Actually, originally I wasn’t much of a fan, his music wasn’t really my type. But the longer I listened, the more I liked it, and the longer I really listened, the more I fell in love with him.

I adore Troye Sivan for a handful of reasons: he’s cute, he’s hysterical, he makes music that’s important to him, he’s an activist, and he made sure to come out before he got signed so that no one could make him stay in the closet. On youtube, the way youtubers do, for the rest of us to see.

“This is not something that I’m ashamed of,” he said, “and it’s not something that anyone should have to be ashamed of.” – Out Magazine

I have a lot of love for Troye and his ability to do what he loves, have fun with it, and have it matter. This boy is important, and he’s going places. Check out his GLAAD Media Award speech if you’re interested. If you haven’t watched any of his music videos, I suggest starting with the Blue Neighborhood trilogy, and then watching Heaven if you feel like crying. It’s powerful.

part two part three

I was going to stop there but you know what these are all a little sad so, have the remix of Wild because it’s honestly just warm fuzzy feelings and I adore it

Also, I saw this boy in concert and I’m pretty sure it killed me. I’ll never be over it.

 

Alright that’s all for now guys,

Peace!

-Char

Everyday is a Gay Day

Back in the day I only used Youtube to watch anime and the occasional music video (and by music video I mean mostly t.A.T.u’s stuff but we can talk about them later), but at some point I got a tumblr and one gif changed my world. I remember which one it was too~

I just thought that it was like? Really cute? And then somewhere in the list of notes was a link to the video it came from [x]. This started a low-key obsession, and I say ‘low key’ only because it wasn’t, like, creepy. At this point in my life I wasn’t in the best place mentally/emotionally. To put it simply, I was struggling. With living, with where the future was going to take me, with my sexuality. There were very few things then that made me happy.

I was late enough to Mark’s channel that there was at least a years worth of videos, so I could watch them daily. He and his boyfriend, Ethan, start off each and every one with: “Good morning, good morning! Today’s gonna be a great day and do you know why?! Because everyday is a great day.” (They actually make merch of it now and honestly I need it so bad.) There was something about hearing that every day, about watching Mark’s unending enthusiasm, that really did a lot for my morale. Eventually even I began to think ‘everyday is a great day’.

Mark’s Coming Out Story was the first one I ever watched, and then I was all over Youtube, going through as many as I could. I think a lot of us tend to do that though, right? To figure out how other people did it, how their loved one’s reacted. Asking questions like ‘is it worth it?’ and ‘will I be okay?’. A lot of them actually blur together now, I can’t tell you many individual stories, except for maybe Troye Sivan’s (we’ll talk about him later too), and Ethan Hethcote’s. (Yes, he’s Mark’s boyfriend. Yes, these two mean a lot to me okay).

While Mark was the one I flocked to for a mood boost, it was Ethan that I immediately related to. In his video he talks about how he figured out he was gay young, but that it scared him, so he told himself he was straight.  (“Hid myself deeper under the clothes in my closet.”) If I remember correctly, he grew up in a small town, around farms and conservative people where no one was Out. I instantly saw myself in his story. Ethan was lucky enough to have an accepting family, although his father wasn’t quite on board in the beginning. But, he came around, and that meant a lot to me. To know that it was possible for someone to change their minds.

I could talk about these guys forever, but I think I’ll stop here. I’ll leave you with some links~

 

And then, of course, there’s Tyler Oakley.

I feel like there’s probably a better gif to satisfy my needs but I made my decision so now I must stick with it. Also I miss his lilac hair? Honestly what a cool color?

Anyone who follows me on Social Media knows I loooove Tyler Oakley.  I just think he’s honestly a good person, and I love that he uses his platform to talk about activism, especially with LGBT Youth and suicide rates and just the community in general. I love that he talks about things that are important to him and that he supports numerous charities. He’s just one of my favorite people.

Tyler has like 10 years worth of videos so lord knows I haven’t watched them all, but I am trying. Mostly I just dig into his life as a source of entertainment, I wish I remembered the first video of his that I watched, but unfortunately I don’t. I’m pretty sure it was a collab with someone else though, and I found him so funny that I fell into his channel. So what is it about Tyler that really resonates with me?

His mantra to be his most authentic self, and for us to do the same. (“The time to be your most authentic self is now.”)

Without getting too personal, I feel like authenticity is something that I’ve always struggled with. There were contributing factors to this issue while I was growing up.  Things that made me feel like I had to keep even the tiniest detail about myself hidden and protected. (I had a really good childhood, it was just a complicated situation). And then of course there were years worth of sitting in a closet. While I wouldn’t say that I was a liar, I wasn’t a truther either. I molded myself and my personality to the situations around me. At some point I lost my self of sense. I couldn’t even tell you who I was, because I was whoever I needed to be at any given time. It was a mess, honestly.

So something about Tyler drew me in. Something about how he’s unapologetically himself,  how he’s made a career out of what he loves to do, how he’s happy.  At some point, he became my role model, and he’s helped me strive to always be true, not only to myself, but to other’s too. It’s a message I want to live through.

If you haven’t ever watched a Tyler Oakley video, I encourage you to. This year for Pride Month he did a series called ‘Chosen Family’ and I think it’s as good as any place to start.

 

The thing about Youtubers that I fell in love with is the same as Ellen – they’re real, and these guys even moreso, because all they’re doing is filming their everyday lives and sharing it with the rest of us. They’re non Hollywoodized accounts of what it’s like to be gay. Representation matters, and lgbt youtubers are providing that representation in real life in real time. They’re also part of the reason why I write uplifting stories. Besides the fact that I got tired of how lgbt people are generally portrayed – I get a lot of joy out of watching youtubers, they make my day better. They make me feel better about who I am, and show that any little thing can make a difference. I hope to be one of those good things for someone.

So while I watch many youtubers, these are the two that have inspired me the most.

All the best,

Char

All the Gay Shows have my Heart

Do you guys remember when The N was a thing? I miss that channel to this day.

Listen I still have vivid memories of being eight years old, curled up on the couch, being so tired and staying up obscenely late just to catch Degrassi: The Next Generation. Guys fucking commercials were still a thing. My poor little soul had to stay awake for an entire hour, through commercials, just to watch my show.

The struggle was ridiculously real.

Can we talk about Degrassi though? It was ridiculously ahead of it’s time. I mean that was 2002 for Christ sake and it handled topics like sex, pregnancy, any and all kinds of abuse, drugs, bullying, self image, sexuality, self injury, mental illness, suicide, abortion, domestic violence, death, racism – all from teenagers povs. Also it had teenagers playing teenagers, which is still unheard of.

(It was so hard hitting that my mother made me put together a report on why I should be allowed to watch it ahaha. I did, and I got to continue it, so I guess I passed?)

Degrassi aired for 14 solid seasons and even though I’m pretty sure I stopped after 9 (it moved channels and all the original characters were gone) it was definitely with me from ages 12-16 which, let’s be real, are not fun for everyone.

(I’m having a lot of nostalgia right now)

Degrassi was important to me for a lot of reasons. The teenage perspective hit home, the episodes dealt with shit that were really happening in our world, but there were certain things that stuck out to me more than others. Or, should we say, certain characters.

Care to take a guess on why? Don’t worry, I’ll give you a hint:

Wow. Can we talk about this oldschool gif quality. Also I want to point out that both of the blondes are siblings. Gays come in packages ya’ll.

So Marco and Dylan started up in the 3rd season, which would have made me…10ish? 11ish? It was the absolute first time I had ever seen a same sex relationship on tv and I was living.  I was so invested in the turmoil of Marco and Dylan’s relationship. From Marco coming to terms with his sexuality, to Dylan being frustrated when he wouldn’t come out, to breakups and heartaches and gawd. I cried over these two.

(I also wrote a shit ton of DylanxMarco fanfics so you can thank them for getting me into queer writing my babies)

Thinking back on it I’m pretty sure Dylan was Not a Good Guy but at the time. At the time, they were on a teen drama. A gay couple. In the 2000s. There was at least someone who didn’t treat homosexuality like it was an adult subject. Good Guy or not, at least he fucking existed.

Paige and Alex were a messy relationship too, but their struggles were real. And I think that’s also important. I’m usually against being invested in relationships that just break up but. Teenagers turn into adults, they grow and change, and you can’t always take people with you. Relationships are hard. (Look what this show taught me!)

(someone buy it for me so I can rewatch and cry alot)

Anyway.

You guys wanna know what came on after Degrassi? South of Nowhere.

(Yeah, my ass was staying up even later God help my little gay self.)

Listen. Listen. SoN focused primarily on a girl falling in love with her bisexual friend. Yeah, sounds exactly like something 11yr old Char would be into, right? SoN went hard like Degrassi did and handled a lot of the same subjects, it also focused in on teen life, but the cast was smaller so you got to really see how shit effected everyone, especially in a nuclear family.

(Also I’m pretty sure Ashley Davies (Mandy Musgrave) was my first girl crush? Look at her? What a babe?)

SoN only ran for three seasons which I still think is pretty damn good given the time and that it was on a teen network. I’ve seen it all more than once over the years. The homophobia was strong in this one, but it was also good in that it showed some people be unquestionably in the girls corner, and others who came around once they got used to it. And it ended on a happy note! With the girls still together! Can you handle that?! (NEITHER OF THEM DIED -gasp of shock-)

God this show. I had a lot of love for this show.

I want to rewatch it again holy shit this road is not good for me and my need to reignite my feels.

Okay lets move on shall we?

Yeah I know, who doesn’t love Ellen? But for real, let’s talk about her and her show for a moment. I could literally write a hundred blog posts on her alone but I’m going to try to keep it down to the highlights and why she means so much to me personally.  I don’t really remember how old I was when I started watching Ellen, though it was between 13-18. I would come home after school and my mom and I would watch it together. It was her pick (which, yes, is important, see words written below).

One day my mom mentioned that Ellen was gay and my feet nearly came out form under me. This woman? With her talk show and her millions of viewers? That everyone seemed to genuinely like? That my mom liked? A woman of power? A gay woman of power? No way.

Yes way.

I think maybe Ellen opened the door for my mom and I to have a lot of talks about being lgbt and what that meant for people. I grew up in a religious state, in a Christian household, so there was always the stigma that ‘being gay will send you to hell’, but I challenged that. How could a woman like Ellen, who helped so many people, who promoted kindness, who lived and loved, be going to the worst place imaginable just because who she loved happened to be another woman? (also can we just.)

My mom agreed with me, she couldn’t imagine it either.

So here’s what Ellen gave me: a role model, someone to look up to, and someone that my mom liked. If she could like a gay woman she didn’t even know, then surely she would still like me, right? Right.

I didn’t find Queer as Folk

or The L Word

until I was in college but whew, boy, did I not watch anything else for awhile.

QaF was the first hour-long American tv drama to follow the lives of gay men (and a lesbian couple). It came out in 2000, and was followed by The L Word in 2004. (Maybe those years were gayer than they seem?) But, they were both very adult oriented and were released on Showtime. Ya’ll, Showtime goes hard. You can almost get a homo sex ed class out of these shows LOL.

QaF handled a lot of important topics but I think the ones that stood out to me the most were the HIV storylines and Queer Bashing. The latter was a hard hit, and a reminder that homophobia can go farther than a few harsh words.

Truth be told, they’re not the best shows in the world. The L Word especially is messy the later the seasons get. But, their entire character casts are queer, they’re wrapped up in queer culture, and they’re fun to watch. I thoroughly enjoyed them.

(well, except for maybe the last season of The L Word. Can we pretend that one didn’t exist?)

Alright I’m almost done, and I’m going to go out crying probably, because I’m never going to be over how amazing Sense8 was and how fucked up it was of Netflix to cancel it.

This show, guys. This show had it all, but for the purpose of staying on topic: It was written by a transwoman, included two same sex relationships, a lesbian WOC as well as two gay men from Mexico, and a lesbian trans woman. But most importantly, these characters were handled with respect. None of the drama in the show was about their relationships. Was Lito struggling with his sexuality and coming out? Sure. But when they talked about it, it was true to heart. It was issues that we’ve all faced, and advice that hit home. Was there transphobia? Absolutely. But again, it was handled right.

No one’s life was over because they were different. They learned to take who they were and become stronger.

Sense8 was a show on a major streaming network that had an interesting plot, a diverse cast, and didn’t kill off their lgbtq+ characters for shock value. It was important, and even though it crushes my soul that we’ll never know what happened to anyone because season 2 ends on a cliffhanger and Netflix is a dick, I urge you to watch it. Because it’s simply beautiuflly done, and it deserves all the attention in the world.

Alright, so, there’s the list of TV shows that have somehow inspired my life in a positive way, and made my days just a little brighter!

Enjoy your binge session 😉

All the best,
Char

 

EDIT: Since posting this, Netflix has finally paid attention to the half a million fans throwing a fit and has agreed to giving Sense8 a 2hr special to close up.

Just Juliet and Race

I’ve thought about making this post for awhile now. I’ve thought about how I would word it, what I would say, where the line between ‘making excuses’ and ‘explaining myself’ was. At the end of the day I’m not sure there’s a way to write this without making someone, somewhere, unhappy. But. I felt like this was important enough it at least needed to be brought up.

Just Juliet doesn’t get low star reviews a lot, and that’s not meant to sound like I’m bragging, but meant to say that when it does, I pay attention to them. I want to know what someone didn’t like enough to vocalize their distaste. I want to know what I can do to fix it in later stories.

A few I don’t have control over – my writing style, the way I plot, some mistakes the editors made. A lot are from people who obviously don’t come from a generation that use insults as terms of endearment. Some are from homo/biphobes. Whatever. Can’t win them all.

But, mostly, when something negative is brought up, it’s in terms of race. Namely, how I write about it.

Here’s a little about me: I was born and raised in the South, in a white family, my Grandparents went to segregated schools, there were three African American kids in my own school – two were mixed and one raised by white parents. We had a few families from Mexico, but otherwise, my home town was predominantly, strongly – white.

It’s something I’ve been trying to pay attention to since college. To notice how the world treats other races, to check my white privilege, to do better. Slowly but surely, I am trying.

Here’s a little backstory on Just Juliet, and why race is handled the way it is:

When it was written and originally put up on Wattpad, Lacey was the only POC. And after it was finished, with 2.5k readers, only a handful finished the book knowing Lacey was black. Rereading it, it crushed me that I had somehow managed to whitewash my book so badly..

So while in the editing process, I tried to fix it. I tried to pull on things that would make Lacey’s race more noticeable, and decided to change some of the other background characters races too. Kiki, Georgia’s boyfriend Chris, Matt. (Actually, no one complains about Matt, but that makes me wonder if it’s because no one remembers he’s hispanic?)

Did the main cast stay white? Yes. I thought about making Lena biracial for a little while, but in the end I decided I didn’t have enough of a grasp on what it means to be biracial to write her that way. It wasn’t my story to tell. Lakyn, Juliet, and Scott fell under the same rules, because I could write stories from all their POVs eventually. 

This review, specifically, calls out the mistake I still made:

I almost put the book down five pages in because of how casually racist the descriptions of the supporting characters were. Like, wow, your token asian has very conservative parents and loves math?? you have a character who has a ”beautiful multiracial baby”, and the dad’s out of the picture?but it’s totally cool, because your bland white girl MC has a best friend who’s black and *~coincidentally~* combative and promiscuous?”

Maybe I’m going to regret speaking my thoughts from here on but *deep breath* I didn’t realize I was stereotyping. (I take full responsibility for the line “Lacey went so white she could almost pass for caucasian” because yeah, that’s gross, but I was trying to find any and every way that I could point out she wasn’t, that it just…slipped in. Someone should honestly take that out. Publishing team – if you’re reading, do us a solid?)

So what have I learned? That I should try to do better. I shouldn’t have walked into a book throwing races around with a limited time frame and even more limited research.

So this is me acknowledging that I fucked up.

And I will do my best to not do it again.

Okay that’s all I had to say.

Best,

Char

LIKE & SHARE TO SPREAD THE WORD <3

Come Out. Be Loved. Be HAPPY. 🌈Encourage your friends to be brave. 💛💚💙💜This video was inspired by the book Just Juliet in which Lena discovers her sexuality and with the support of her friends and family she finds happiness as her true self. Check it out here: http://amzn.to/2o9i23S

Gepostet von Inkitt am Donnerstag, 13. April 2017

Just Juliet Book Club Questions

+ How do you think you would react if you were in Lena’s shoes when she first met Scott and his boyfriend?

+ Do you agree or disagree with Mr. James’ decision to let Lena spend the night with Juliet? What would you handle differently?

+ What are your views on the fact that Mr. James lets Scott stay with Lakyn? Do these views change from the beginning of the book to the end?

+ Have you ever felt the way Lena does about Juliet for someone?

+ Do you think the teenagers accurately represent kids of their same age in this time?

+ How do you think the parents’ reaction to their children being gay affected their relationship? How do you think Lakyn’s parents’ rejection affected his personality, or Scott’s parents’ refusal affected his?

+ If you’re LGBT+, have you ever had a friend react to your coming out the way Lacey did? How did you feel about it?

+ Are you the Token Heterosexual to anyone? How did you react to someone coming out to you? Would you do it differently now?

+ Have you ever had a nightmare like the one Lena has about her grandfather in chapter ten?

+ Have you ever had a secret like Lena’s? Was it hard to tell people about?

+ How would you react if you child came out as LGBT? What if you happened to just find out, like Scott’s parents did?

+ Do you understand Kiki’s reaction to the news? Do you agree with Lena’s decision to continue their friendship, despite their differences?

+ Do you agree with Juliet and Lena’s decision to break up? Or do you think they should have figured something else out?

+ Do you think things would have been different if Juliet had told Lena she was leaving?

+ What is the significance of the title?

+ Do you feel the themes of the book were adequately explored?

+ What scene meant the most to you? Why?

+ What surprised you most about the book?

+ Were there any particularly quotes that stood out to you? Why?

+ If you could smack any of the characters upside the head, who would it be? Why?

+ Were there moments when you disagreed with the choices the characters made? What would you have done instead?

+ Did you like the ending? If not where do you think it should have ended / what would you do differently?

+ How have the characters changed by the end of the story?

+ How have you changed by the end of the story?

+ What did you learn or take away from the book?

+ What do you think will happen next to the main characters?

How to Survive the Holidays

Mostly a Christmas post but Thanksgiving can be substituted.

“Happy Holidays!”

Eh.

I thought about how I was going to do this post more than once. I considered not doing it, I thought about making it funny, or about simply whining for my own selfish purposes, and then…I thought about the facts.

  1. Christmas has the highest incident of depression out of the entire year. [X]
  2. 45% of Americans dread the holiday. [X]
  3. The children are hyped up on sugar and LIES. [X]

In our community especially… the pressure is high. Too many closeted kids, or too many family members with uncomfortable smiles and wary eyes at their gay nephews and nieces. Too many conservative thoughts you disagree with so violently it makes your stomach hurt. Too many people who can’t go home at all. Too many people on diets or in AA. Struggling with depression when all the cheer only reminds you how “not normal” you are. Struggling with anxiety and the fear of the social part of it, the questions, the reactions to gifts that you haven’t perfected yet. Going in tired before its even started.

The struggle is real, guys.

So let’s try to make it a little easier?

Stress-

  1. Realize this isn’t going to be easy. Accept it. Do your best anyway.
  2. Stop putting unreasonable pressure on yourself to be happy. Take a deep breath, take it slow. Let the little things make you smile.
  3. Seek out the people you know you can be yourself with. Stick close to them.
  4. Watch your alcohol intake. While a few drinks may make you feel better, too much will make you feel worse. Alcohol is a depressant.
  5. Too much sugar, carbs, and caffeine will also drag you down. Enjoy your treats, don’t overdo it.
  6. Try to get a goods night rest before family activities.
  7. Keep your expectations low.
  8. Remember. You’re going to be okay.
  9. Schedule a Self Care day for right after the holidays.
  10. Keep a drink in your hand (doesn’t have to be alcohol). It gives you something to fidget with, something to cover up that expression you let slip, or something to avoid answering a question with.

Family-

  1. It’s likely your family members are the same exact people they were last year. You probably are too. This could get tricky, but you can do it.
  2. Remember that after this day… your life is going to be exactly as you left it.
  3. Get up, sit somewhere else, start a new conversation.
  4. I know it feels personal, but it likely isn’t. Grit your teeth, let it roll of your shoulders. [X]
  5. If you absolutely have to say something, be polite. Remain calm. People don’t typically respond well to yelling.
    • + Interesting fact, people tend to listen only to reply, especially when things get heated. Statements will often earn you arguments, arguments will get you nowhere. Try presenting your case in the form of a question, see what happens.
  6.  Remember that most people believe things because they were raised that way and they probably don’t know any better. Likely, they don’t want to be the Bad Person.
  7. Remember that some people are just dicks and there’s nothing you can do about that.
    • + Advice: avoid them as much as possible.
  8. If you have triggers, know them, identify them, be prepared for them.
    • + Take a walk. Go to the bathroom, wash your face. Text your friend. Take a breath, count to ten. Healthy coping mechanisms people. (It’s okay to take meds, its okay to use essential oils, its okay to have to call your sponsor.)
  9.  Try emotionally distancing yourself. Pretend your a social scientist and its your job to study how these people act in their natural environment.
  10. If you have to, just don’t go home. That’ll be complicated, but weigh the pros and cons. Which struggle is worth it?

LGBT-

  1. If you haven’t read the other lists (save ‘if you’re alone’ – unless you’re not going home), do that. So that I don’t have to repeat things.
  2. You’re probably not the only ‘family disappointment’. Make alliances. Your cousin that dropped out of college? Yeah, chill with her. The uncle that still hasn’t gotten married or had kids and grandma’s Annoyed™, he’s probably cool too.
  3.  Set boundaries. You don’t have to answer their questions. Say no. “You’re making me uncomfortable and I don’t appreciate it,” is a thing you can say.
  4. Don’t jump down someone’s throat for getting things wrong. Either laugh it off, or educate them. If you’re the only queer in the family, they likely just Don’t Know. Ignorance is widespread.
    • + Also keep in mind that you might not be the only queer, and the closeted kids are looking at you as an example.
  5. If you’re recently out, expect it to be awkward. Remember, this isn’t news to you – but it is to them.
  6. If you’re transgender, your pronouns will probably be forgotten (especially if this is new, or people are rude). Take a deep breath, kindly remind them.
  7. If you need it / are comfortable with it – take your significant other or a friend. Then the two of you can laugh about the drama, and you have a built in support system.
  8. Just showing up is a victory. You can leave early. It’s okay.
  9. If they make a stupid, homophobic joke – you don’t have to laugh. Look them in the eye and ask them why it’s funny. (That’s confrontational, you don’t have to do it lol).
  10. You are valid. You are lovable. You are important.

Ways to turn your perspective around | Aka: be positive-

  1. Remember why we have this holiday. Be gracious, be loving.
  2. If you know you aren’t going to feel bright and shiny after hanging out with these people, do your best to make them feel bright and shiny. Be the cheer bringer instead of the receiver.
  3. Keep in mind that you might not be the only one having a hard time.
  4. Don’t ruin it for the children. They’re brand new and they’re hopes are still untarnished. Let them stay little while they can.
  5. The night will end, and you will go home.
  6. One or two bad apples don’t ruin the whole bunch. Remember there are people you’re related to that you actually like.
  7. Play with the kids if you can’t handle the adults. They’ll love you for it.

If you’re alone during the holidays-

  1.  Volunteer at a shelter or a soup kitchen. Visit a nursing home.
  2. Go out – (Call ahead to places if you’re not sure).
    • + Chinese and Jewish restaurants and national chains are almost always open.
    • + As are most movie theaters.
    • + If you live in a large city, Tourist attractions are usually open. Museums too.
    • + Skating rinks generally are too.
    • + Get a room at a hotel, they often offer Christmas packages. Go to the spa, get a massage.
    • + Go for a walk or a hike in a park.
    • + If you’re religious, attend a church service (attend a lot if you’re interested in church hopping).
  3. Do some DIY projects. Read that book you’ve been putting off. Binge a new TV show. Write a book. Draw a comic.
  4. Eat. You have to eat. And drink water.
  5. If you can afford it, take a trip. Go somewhere where its still warm, or somewhere you’ve always wanted to see at Christmas. Join a Singles Group if you don’t want to go alone.
  6. If you don’t like the silence, fill your iPod and take it with you everywhere. Even better, don’t put any holiday music on it.
  7. For Thanksgiving. Consider a Friendsgiving. You likely aren’t the only one not going home. (FriendsChristmas could work too honestly it’s just more rare).

Need something else? Google-

  1. How to survive the holidays when you have a drinking habit.
  2. How to survive the holidays when you have an eating disorder.
  3. How to survive the holidays after the death of a loved one.
  4. How to survive the holidays when you’re broke.
  5. More results on depression.
  6. More results on anxiety.
  7. More for LGBT.

Remember that, even if they’re hard to take sometimes, these people are your family and they love you.

Hotlines and Resources-

 

Stay safe. Lots of love,

Char.

 

A lot of info for this post was taking from The Huffington Post, Web MD, Mental Health Now, Buzzfeed, and Psychology Today.