Happy Pride!

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Winnipeg Legislative Building

I fee so lucky to live in a time and place where we can be proud to be ourselves. It’s not always easy, but it is possible. Pride is special to me for a couple reasons, besides the obvious ;)

1. For many years I considered myself an ally. I was on the fringes of acceptance, but scared to come out. Then I saw representation of gay people in books (largely through Lethe Press) and stories (coming out stories and also Netflix DVDs that were delivered in discrete envelopes) and I wanted to be brave like the strong characters in these stories. Stories made me realize for the first time that I could be proud of myself, to acknowledge that I was gay and that I could be strong and happy instead of ashamed.
2. My birthday is in June. That’s it. A little anticlimactic, I know, but it feels a little magical. Another magical thing was that I first came out on a groundhog’s day, which I find pretty funny.

So anyway, I want to return the love and support I got in those early days by sharing some reading recommendations of great gay books.

Boys Like Us

This is a collection of essays by gay writers, reflecting on a diverse array of coming out stories. Some tragic, others hilarious. I kept this book by my bed for months before and after I first came out, gaining strength and courage from the stories.

I’ll Give You The Sun

by Jandy Nelson

This is a beautifully written YA novel about art, love and everything in between. I know I already said it, but the writing is so beautiful, at once satisfying and startling. This book is made of the kind of sentences that get stuck in your head like songs.

 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Another YA novel, about love and longing, and another piece of brilliant writing. Seriously, that is enough. Go read it.

Vintage: A Ghost Story

by Steve Berman

A YA novel about a gay goth kid. Yet another beautifully written work. The haunting coming of age story is about a boy coming to terms with life, death, sexuality and the strange forces beyond us. Fast paced yet thoughtful, this novel follows some conventional ghost story/horror/suspense conventions in the best, creepiest ways while telling a refreshingly unique story.

Otherbound

by Corrinne Duyvis

Yet another YA novel. I didn’t plan this I swear, they’re just great books. This one is contemporary fantasy, sort of. A girl and a boy from different worlds share a special link and do not fall in love with each other!

Another Country

by James Baldwin

I first read this in a literature class in college. I’ve now read it about 5 times. This was the first work of “literature” that I read that featured gay characters, and it changed me and continues to change me to this day.

The Whole Story and Other Stories

by Ali Smith

Ali Smith is a genius. And this is another book I read for a class but kept reading over and over. Her stories are insanely creative, mind-bending, and wonderfully crafted.

 

I could keep going on and on with great book recommendations, but celebrating diversity is about sharing and listening so everyone can be heard.

What are your favorites?

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15 thoughts on “Happy Pride!

  1. I have no issue with gay pride. What I object to is the denial of the right of gay people to marry. Instead of making a big deal about same sex couples wanting to marry, why can’t people who are not gay just leave the gay community alone? 2 people of the same sex wanting to marry-why is a big deal made about that when nobody who is not gay is not affected by it directly? Churches should be able to decide if they want to perform a marriage ceremony for same sex couples. Since marriage, be it traditional marriage or a same sex marriage, is a personal matter, why is it used as a political talking point?

  2. I’ll have to track down Otherbound. It’s hard to find books where they don’t fall in love and I feel like it’s such a typical and expected plotline that sometimes it gets to be formulaic and boring, ya know?

  3. Abe, there are some people who claim that gay people are born that way. There are some people who claim that gay people choose to be gay. In your opinion, what is the more realistic explanation as to why gay people are the way they are?

    • Jeff, I’m not sure what that question has to do with topic at hand, but I’ll humor you. I think that gay people (as well as bisexual, asexual, and transgender folk) are born the way that they are. I agree that sexuality and gender can be fluid and sometimes people discover things about themselves at different ages, but I don’t think it’s ever a “choosing.”

  4. Abe, we seem to be in agreement. My reason for my previous question was related to your identifying as an asexual person. Do you personally think gay genes exist or do you think people choose to be gay? The Wildest Edge, as far as same sex marriage is concerned, do you think it should be viewed as a federal matter or acknowledged on a state by state basis?

    • Again, I don’t think it’s ever a choice. I’m not sure how I feel about the idea of a “gay gene” because I think it’s more complicated than that. It opens up the whole idea of nature vs. nurture, which personally I think it’s a ridiculous debate. It’s not one or the other, it’s a mix of both. Who you are is a mix of the genes you were born with and the experiences you were born into/grow into.But it’s never a choice. Sure, you can choose to hide parts of yourself, but I don’t think you ever choose who, or how, to love. Though I’m not sure why me being asexual would have anything to do with that. Just because I’m asexual don’t mean I don’t believe in love and experience romantic attraction..

  5. Agreed, Abe does make some very valid points.
    To answer your question Jeffrey, ideally I would say same sex marriage should be handled on a state to state level as that is how opposite sex marriage is generally run. But, if that is the case, there should be no national level restrictions such as DOMA, because that gives the states an artificial power that doesn’t help anyone.

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