Pride Month // i talk about queer things

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(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.

 

 

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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! ‚̧

LGBTQ+ History in Schools

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Hey! So, if you guys remember, I went to a weekend and learnt some stuff about how to campaign… And I guess this is me announcing my project? For the next year or so I’m going to be working to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ history, with a focus on getting it into schools.

Homophobia and transphobia is still present in schools, and can be highly damaging to young LGBTQ+ people. Nine in ten secondary school teachers say pupils are bullied, harassed, or called names for being perceived to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual (The Teacher’s Report, 2014). Three quarters of trans young people say they have experienced name calling, and 27% have attempted suicide (Metro Youth Chances 2014).

Schools have a legal duty to promote the wellbeing of all young people, including those who are LGBTQ+, and there is clear Ofsted guidance looking at how schools tackle homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. Despite all this, over half of young people have never learnt about LGBT issues in school (The School Report, 2012).

In raising greater awareness and discussion of LGBTQ+ history in schools, we can support LGBTQ+ students and teachers, celebrate LGBTQ+ stories from the past, and through learning help tackle prejudice. History is so important to help us understand and navigate our own lives; it can empower and educate our opinions on the world we live in. But when LGBTQ+ voices are erased from our education it can seem that LGBTQ+ people do not have a place in that history, or in our present society.

LGBTQ+ young people are at high risk of suicidal thoughts, depression, and self-harm. As a queer young person I’ve found it incredibly isolating to never see other people like me in my learning. Leaving LGBTQ+ people out of learning only creates the sense of difference, the sense that we somehow do not deserve a space as much as non-LGBTQ+ people. I believe it is incredibly vital¬†that we work to ensure that others do not feel this way.

LGBTQ+ history can be integrated in so many ways as part of students’ education, whether that is within the history curriculum itself, or as part of an assembly or PSHE lesson. LGBT History Month is held every February in the UK, and the theme of 2017 LGBT History Month is Citizenship, PSHE, and Law. Pride Month, held every June, is another excellent opportunity. Both LGBT History Month and Schools Out, a charity working for LGBT equality and visibility in education, have many¬†resources available for schools and teachers, among others.

We want to learn LGBTQ+ history. We want to see it as a part of school life. Therefore I’m asking schools to commit to including LGBTQ+¬†history in their schools — not just once but into the future as well.

I know there’s a lot of bad stuff happening in the world right now, and I know that perhaps this is not the worst of it — but I thought this might be a good place to begin, because I have to begin somewhere. I didn’t want to do something that wasn’t mine to champion. Since over the last while I’ve become pretty passionate about LGBTQ+ things, I thought that would be a good place to start.

This project is going to involve several different things, but to start with: I have written a letter. I’m going to be sending this letter to schools in the UK, but I need your help in supporting it. If you could share this, keep an eye on my work, or do a little research of your own about LGBTQ+ history then it would be so greatly appreciated.

I’ve got a couple of things that I want to do — just researching for this has opened up a lot to me, and I really want to share things with you! This is a journey for me too since I’ve basically never learnt about LGBTQ history, sadly. February is LGBT History Month in the UK so you can look forwards to some posts about that, and if you have any suggestions for what you want to see, then let me know! (Would you guys want a page of links and ways to find out about LGBTQ+ history? A Twitter chat? How you can do stuff in your own area) ¬† In the meantime, you can follow a subscription letter that I made for this to update you, if you would so wish. Thanks for reading. ‚̧