“The pride we feel over [Jeremy Lin’s] accomplishments is deeply personal and cuts across discomforting truths that many of us have never discussed. It’s why a headline that reads “Chink in the Armor,” or Jason Whitlock’s tweeted joke about “two inches of pain,” stings with a new intensity. Try to understand, everything said about Jeremy Lin, whether glowing, dismissive, or bigoted, doubles as a referendum on where we, as a people, stand. This, by definition, is absurd. But when there’s almost no other public representation of your people in the mainstream media, Hollywood, or in politics, you hawk, fervently, over whatever comes your way.”—"A Question of Identity: The headline, the tweet, and the unfair significance of Jeremy Lin" by Jay Caspian Kang
I’ve had librarians say to me, “People in my school don’t agree with homosexuality, so it’s difficult to have your book on the shelves.” Here’s the thing: Being gay is not an issue, it is an identity. It is not something that you can agree or disagree with. It is a fact, and must be defended and represented as a fact.
To use another part of my identity as an example: if someone said to me, “I’m sorry, but we can’t carry that book because it’s so Jewish and some people in my school don’t agree with Jewish culture,” I would protest until I reached my last gasp. Prohibiting gay books is just as abhorrent…
Discrimination is not a legitimate point of view. Silencing books silences the readers who need them most. And silencing these readers can have dire, tragic consequences. Never forget who these readers are. They are just as curious and anxious about life as any other teenager.
”—David Levithan - Supporting Gay Teen Literature (via cake-light)
At LTUE last week, I was on a panel about what mistakes we had made as authors (and one illustrator) and what we would do better if we could do it again. I thought it was a good idea for a panel, though it left things pretty loose. I talked a bit about editors and agents. Then an audience member…
My next book, Invisible Sun, is due out in a couple of months, which means that reviews are starting to filter in. Reviews come from two primary sources these days, print journals and review blogs. Print journals have been around forever. Blog reviews are a very recent phenomenon. When Soul…
Con or Bust is an auction that raises money to bring fans of color/non-white fans to science fiction conventions, including WisCon (which I will be attending this year!). I’ve donated a signed hardcover of Huntress, along with a hand-made print version of “The Fox.” Get all the details at the Con or Bust LJ. (Bidding starts at $25.)
Words have power. And power recklessly exerted has consequences. It’s not about being politically correct. It’s about being sensitive to the plight of those being singled out. We can’t ask the people taking the punches to also take the jokes.
And it’s about understanding that masculinity is wide enough and deep enough for all of us to fit in it. But society in general, and male culture in particular, is constantly working to render it narrow and shallow. We have shaved the idea of manhood down to an unrealistic definition that few can fit it in with the whole of who they are, not without severe constriction or self-denial.
“To create, a person must have knowledge but forget the knowledge, must see unexpected connections in things but not have a mental disorder, must work hard but spend time doing nothing as information incubates, must create many ideas yet most of them are useless, must look at the same thing as everyone else, yet see something different, must desire success but embrace failure, must be persistent but not stubborn, and must listen to experts but know how to disregard them.”—Twelve Things You Were Not Taught In School About Creative Thinking (Psychology Today, via YA Highway)
Last year, there was an outcry over a YA anthology that was prohibiting same-sex stories. There were a LOT of posts about it on the internet. There were a lot of authors who got up in arms and dropped out of not only that anthology, but an anthology being edited by the same editor, an anthology that I was writing for.
In the end, what ended up happening was that the anthology lost half its line up and the editor was removed from the project. We got a new editor, and a new line-up (an AMAZING line up, if I say so myself), and the publisher pledged to donate the proceeds to a homeless shelter for LGBT youth. The new anthology includes several LGBT stories. I’ve read them, they’re great.
Butch has been a great term for me, when I encountered it, it seemed like I finally had a word for what it was that I experienced as embodiment, so I really clung to it. I’m somebody who has seen several waves of transgender activism since I came out, but I still hold onto it, I recognize that it may in fact be descriptive of people of my generation and be less descriptive of younger folks, and I don’t need to hang on to a word that doesn’t work for other people, but I do tend to use it about myself. I like the idea of being a transgender butch, which is that you are completely cross-gender identified, that masculinity is what defines you but you’re not trying to live in the world as a man. That’s the difference between me and a transgender man.
It’s not totally important to my understanding of self that other people read me as a man. It’s important that they read me as masculine, and it’s important that they read me in some way that I’m at odds with female embodiment. But it’s also important that they read me as someone who is not going to have that tension resolved by getting some surgeries. We’re living in a moment where people are pretty creative about their relationship to gender variance, and I think that the queer worlds we live in can tolerate a lot of different gender designations, so I don’t see why we can’t hold onto “butch” along with a whole set of other markers and identity, difference, embodiment, masculinity, variance and so on.