Pride Month // i talk about queer things

pride month queer things.jpg

(A note: I use the word queer to describe myself and I’m going to be using it a lot in this post, just to let you know.)

I’ve said this approximately 192730 times already but IT IS JUNE, AND IT IS PRIDE MONTH, aka the month of the year where I not only think about queer stuff all the time but also talk about queer stuff all the time! And everyone else talks about queer stuff too! (Yes. I like Pride Month a lot.)

I thought that today it would be nice for me to talk a bit about my own — and I sort of cringe to call it this, but? — ~queer experience~. I know this might feel like a familiar topic, and I am definitely not super unique, but it’s cathartic for me to talk about myself. And who knows? Maybe it will help someone else. ūüôā

The internet and by extension the blogging community have both been really formative for me in so many ways. One of these ways is that I essentially discovered that LGBTQ+ people existed and I could be a thing that wasn’t, like, a normative gender or sexuality. I initially thought I was asexual, actually. (And yes, fanfiction introduced me to this. It might sound weird but I think it made a difference to hear it described in terms of feelings?) I didn’t identify with what people around me were saying about crushes and attraction, and to be honest to this day I still don’t. But I’m really grateful to the blogging community for helping me to become more educated, and to discovering myself.

To be honest, I didn’t feel great about my identity for a long time. (I still often don’t.) But simply just talking about queer stuff and how I was feeling really helped me. I’m just looking back on my blog, and I think the first time I started blogging about LGBTQ+ stuff was early 2016? Yeah. In many ways I find it easier to talk to strangers over the internet, and it’s also cool that you can easily find other people who are similar to you.

The first time that I came out to my friends in real life was about a year ago — just after Brexit, actually. Anyway, one of my friends told me they were bisexual and then it turned out a bunch of my other friends were also LGBTQ+ which was cool! I don’t think I officially had, like, a proper coming out moment after that but somehow it’s sort of pervaded our friendship group that many of us are LGBTQ+ which is pretty rad. *finger guns*

I’ve had some people tell me they don’t like it when people put their orientation or identity as their defining feature. I really respect if you don’t want your identity to be a big thing, and of course I’ll try my best to not make a big deal of it! (I¬†mess up sometimes, and I’m sorry.) But I do find it frustrating when people say that I should talk about queer stuff less so I can try and assimilate or something. I know that many people don’t want to talk about their identity a lot but personally I find it pretty stressful to keep everything inside.

Because I am¬†always¬†thinking about queer stuff. It might sound weird, but just being able to talk about it makes me feel so much happier. I know that I have so much privilege — because I’m white, living in the UK, able-bodied, I haven’t really experienced much homophobia or queerphobia — yet it still made me feel isolated to just not be talking about stuff I spent a lot of of time thinking about.

Of course this is something so many people have to do, and I respect you so much. I’m so lucky to be in a place where I actually¬†can¬†talk openly about queer stuff — I can go to a society at school and just chill being queer. And IT FILLS ME WITH SO MUCH INEXPLICABLE JOY. I LOVE TALKING ABOUT QUEER STUFF.

So, yeah, I’m really happy that in the last year or so I’ve been able to be more free with myself, and accept myself. I really hope that I can do that more in the future. One of the things I’d love to do would be to attend a Pride celebration! The nearest one to me is London, and currently I am planning on going, which I’m pretty excited about. ¬†(If you’re thinking of going then and want to say hi then I’d love to hear. *nods*) I do hope that I can, and that I can be more happy with myself in the future, even if it isn’t always easy.

 

 

TBR Update // books with lgbtq+ characters

Yes! I’m talking about books! A new and exciting thing! Okay, not really. I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted so far this week because of exams, so I thought it would be nice to just sit down and be excited about books. ūüėÄ Also, it is Pride Month, and I am feeling Extra Queer — WHAT COULD BE BETTER?!

There are so many awesome books with LGBTQ+ characters that I hope to read in the near future. (Mostly YA.) I started compiling a list of books for this post and I ended up with SOO MANY. There’s a lot of wonderful LGBTQ+ YA out there!

wild beauty

Wild Beauty by Anna Marie McLemore¬†I’ve talked about it several times here, but I absolutely¬†loved¬†When the Moon Was Ours by this author. It was one of my favourite books of last year! Wild Beauty sounds amazing, and I can’t wait to read more of McLemore’s beautiful writing when it releases in October. The cover is also SO BEAUTIFUL, AAH.

little & lion

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert¬†I found this book scrolling through my TBR on my tumblr, and I’m so glad I did. It’s girl who falls in love with the girl her brother is also in love with; the MC is black and Jewish, and although I haven’t heard much about it I really look forward to its release in August!

we are okay

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour¬†This is another author I’m returning to — Everything Leads to You was a wonderful queer girl story which made my heart sing with joy. This one sounds like a really interesting and nuanced read, and I also absolutely ADORE the cover. (What can I say?)

queens of geek

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde¬†I LOVE NERD BOOKS. I think that cons and nerd spaces are really cool because the experiences I’ve had have been pretty queer-friendly. AND I AM JUST EXCITED FOR GEEKY STUFF, because yay. Also, this has an Autistic narrator, and one of the MCs is Chinese-Australian which is cool!

peter darling

Peter Darling by Austin Chant¬†A trans retelling of Peter Pan! Aah! I admit, I don’t have any particularly strong feelings about Peter Pan, but I’m super excited to see what this book does.

our own private universe

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley¬†I love reading happy queer stories, especially ones with queer girls! This sounds super cute, and I’ve heard that it also discusses safe sex which is awesome. (Because my sex ed at school basically only explaining straight/cisgender/allosexual things in terms of sex. We did have one lesson on, like, LGBTQ+ stuff though? So I guess it’s improving.)

juliet takes a breath

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera¬†I HAVE BEEN WANTED TO READ THIS FOR AGES. It’s about a gay Puerto Rican girl, Juliet, figuring herself out, in which there are many queer ladies. YAY.

the midnight star

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu¬†I’ve actually already read the first two books in this trilogy, but for some reason I never finished it… So I need to do that! The last book finished on a bit of a cliffhanger, if I remember.

the color purple

The Color Purple by Alice Walker¬†I feel like I’m really missing something reading this… It’s one of the Important Books You Should Read, and I JUST REALLY WANT TO READ IT. *nods a lot* (Yes. This entire post is essentially just ‘I REALLY WANT TO READ THIS AND THIS AND THIS.’)

tash hearts tolstoy

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee This reminds me that…I REALLY NEED TO LOOK INTO WAR & PEACE THINGS. I love the Great Comet of 1812 musical which is based off War & Peace, but I do find the book rather daunting. Anyway. Not actually this book. This book is about internet people! I love people on the internet. And from what I understand, there’s asexual representation, which is awesome since I haven’t seen that very often.

There were SO MANY other awesome books that I didn’t get the time to include in this post, alas! But there are many wonderful books with LGBTQ+ characters around and that makes me super happy. If you have any recs or just want to chat about books then I’d love to hear them! ‚̧

Why I Love LGBTQ+ Retellings

‘TIS I, actually writing something for Pride Month! *dances* I’m rather excited to write this post, because I kept writing some very angsty depressing posts about conversations I’ve had with people and it was Not Fun. (There is a time for depressing posts. But right now I just feel like being excited.) (And I HAVE SO MANY OTHER POST IDEAS THEY ALL CAME AT ONCE.)

So! Today I decided to write about something I love a lot, which is retellings with queer characters. THIS INCLUDES ALL RETELLINGS. Not just fairytales. Which sort of applies to every book if you want to get philosophical, but I guess I’m mostly talking about tropes as well…?

ANYWAY. A big reason why I love queer retellings is because I think that they give the story way more nuance than just…a straight relationship. Perhaps it’s rather self-indulgent, because in most cases I would rather about queer characters. But there are so many novels with straight romances that I don’t feel too bad.

Especially with fairy tales, the original story is usually pretty old and so is rather rooted in your typical gender and historical constraints. I feel like if you’re going to rehash a story that’s been told so many times over and over, it’s important to make it original. Also, it really sucks to never see yourself in these stories.

Loads of people are irritated because Russell T. Davies’ adapation A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the BBC apparently wasn’t’ true to the original. (He cut some lines about suicide which worked fine in the 16th century but not today and ended with same-sex relationships.) And it was really fun! QUEER SHAKESPEARE FOREVER. I saw another adaptation of it at the Globe the other week where they put in a queer relationship so I feel pretty good. Anyway, RTJ said: ‚ÄúI find it hilarious that people get up in arms about Titania kissing a woman, but they‚Äôre perfectly happy with her kissing a donkey.‚ÄĚ That encapsulates a lot of my feelings.

a midsummer night's dream gif.gif

Titania and Hippolyta; source

Ash by Malinda Lo is one of my favourite books. It’s an f/f retelling of Cinderella with way cooler fairy lore. But when I first read it at the age of around 9 (probably) I didn’t understand the romance. I knew that Cinderella was supposed to end up with the prince and I didn’t understand why she ended up with a girl.

ash

I feel sad for younger me. I didn’t¬†get the obsession I was supposed to have with boys but I didn’t know there was any other option.¬†I really hope that in the future we don’t end up with kids growing up like that. And I think an important way to do that it is more diversity in kid lit. (Because also,¬†let’s remember that I used to call the peach pencil the ‘skin colour’ pencil.) I find it really frustrating that people think showing kids there are options other than being straight/cisgender/allosexual is ‘pushing an agenda on impressionable minds’ or whatever. -_-

We deserve to have fairytale endings too. We deserve to go on grand adventures and spaceships and ride dragons. Retellings allow different experiences to be written into stories where before they were erased. They let us say: this belongs to¬†everyone. I mean, I guess I’m talking more about older works of literature. In those not everything translates the same way as it would have done at the time. The audience reaction changes, you know?

I think that part of the reason I do like fanfiction (although I can’t deny that itS many flaws) is because I can read happy stories with queer characters. I guess it’s another kind of retelling, in a way. If I’m irritated at a book with no diversity — I still maintain that Keira Cass’ The Selection would have been 100% better with queer characters; SO MANY OPPURTUNITIES — then I can go and read something where the girl does end up with the girl. And they fight supercomputers together and save the world.. I can read stories about agender space pirates. I can read stories¬†about asexual wizards. I don’t know any books with genderqueer characters that aren’t coming out/self-discovery/self-affirming kind of thing.

Those stories are important, but I wish there¬†were more queer characters in other narratives.¬† I think it’s such a shame that we don’t have more queer characters in fantasy and sci-fi, because there’s such potential in a created world. Does homophobia still exist? The gender binary? Does magic or virtual reality make it way easier to change your gender presentation. *sweeps hands* SO MANY THINGS. If you’re creating with a new world there are so many opportunities to play with dynamics in society. Like in a dystopia: where there’s prejudice between, like, people of a different District, is it okay to be queer in the Capitol? I don’t understand why people can be perfectly okay reading about aliens and elves but say that being non-binary doesn’t exist. *scowls*

Overall: KEEP RETELLING ALL THE THINGS. Make it something that shows me something new about the original trope. Because I do not want to read another straight we’re-playing-Romeo-and-Juliet-in-the-school-play-and-I-have-a-crush-on-you.

do you like retellings? shakespeare fan? got any queer ya recs for me? i’d love to hear!