This week on my blog, we’re trying something a little different. In honor of LGBT Pride month, I am among a great group of panelists who will be hosting a month long discussion about Pride, LGBT Youth, Allies, and more. Our panelists are a diverse group of readers, writers, and supporters of gay fiction, including Larry Benjamin, Rick Bettencourt, Brandilyn Carpenter, Rob Colton, Andrew Q Gordon, Lane Hayes, Debbie McGowan, and Brandon Shire. Each week, two people will answer two questions related LGBT pride, rights, and related topics. We will also be giveaway free copies of eBooks by our participating authors and a Amazon gift card. You can enter on the RC below. There are special entries for each week of June, so don’t miss out on those.
Please join in the discussion in the comments. You can gain entries into the giveaway, but more importantly, you can be part of a important and fun discussion. Though only 2 panelists will be posting each week, we will all be joining the discussion.
This Week’s Discussion
I was brought into this discussion from a completely different angle than most of our participants. 5 of the 8 members of the round table are gay men. 2 are authors of Gay fiction. Me? I am a blogger, advocate, and ally. My biggest role, however is mom. It was looking to the future for my kids that got me involved in this community to begin with. It is trying to make the environment in which my kids grow up one of tolerance and love. It is looking back on my high school days and being embarrassed for the ignorance shown by the people I call friends. It is looking back and wanting desperately to understand all this at a very young age, myself.
What challenges do you see for the future for LGBT Rights?
I try not the be too political. I have my beliefs, but I tend to live those beliefs rather than jam them down people’s throats. So putting this very political topic into words is a bit of a challenge for me. I actually answered my second question first. Get me talking about my kids and I don’t shut up 😉
Here is the challenge I see for the future of LGBT rights… People.
People are blind to the past. They don’t want to see that we have done this all before, only last time it was blacks and before that it was jews and before that… (you get my drift). Yes, I am seeing parallels between the 40s and many of the current opponents to the current change. Hell, I have seen some of the said opponents call for the death, isolation, etc., of those who dare to love someone not “appropriate” and those who they feel are made “wrong.”
People re-write history to meet their current goals and objectives. They are hanging on by their fingernails to a past that was never really the past, just the interpretation of said past that
People are lazy. They don’t want to research on their own, so they will just repeat what the talking heads spout on the media. Those talking heads may be their religious leader, congressman, news anchor, or just someone with more money than sense.
People don’t want to expand their knowledge if it might prove they are wrong. I see people making inappropriate parallels between a person’s sexuality and alcoholism. I see people not wanting to understand the “problem” before the start spouting the “solution” as if they are an expert. Does anyone else see the error in the religious rights logic? Apparently everyone BUT the religious right sees the flaws. We point them out to them, but they just don’t want to see them.
People are scared of change. I don’t think there is anyone out there that will disagree with this statement. People are creatures of inertia. They like the status quo because they can feel in control. Change means a loss of control which causes people to start lashing out. Right now, the target is the LGBTQ component of society.
The final, and most important challenge I see is silence. Those problems I listed above? They are real. They are prominent… what they AREN’T is the majority opinion. They are simply the loudest opinion. People in power, people with money, people with a voice and the connections to use it. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” is a cliche, but it is a cliche for a reason. You don’t have to be in the majority in this country to get your way; you just have to bully the right people. Use your connections, use your money and use your voice to spread the misinformation to the people listed above. Without people fighting back, without them calling out the lies, and partial truths, too many people will begin to believe in a “truth” that isn’t.
As the LGBT community gains more rights and acceptance, how has this affected LGBT youth?
I begged to be able to answer this question, as it is near and dear to my heart. My kids are too young to have made their self discoveries yet, but I know this will be a fight, if not for them than for their friends, in the future.
I look at the world my kids are muddling through and compare it to the world that was when I was their age (and a little older). I look at the questions I had growing up and the questions I didn’t even know were there for me to ask. I look at some of my past actions and have come to some hard realizations. When I was a kid (when did I get old enough to say that?), being gay was a “novelty” to many in my home town. It was the punchline to a joke. It a reason to laugh. It was a reason to freak out and hang up on a good friend. The reason for all of those reaction was lack of education, insight. and empathy.
As the LGBTQ gains visibility, as they gain rights, the acceptance will come. In my eyes, as a mom, that can only be a good thing. The more children see that “love is love” the more they are exposed to images of same gendered couples, trans* persons, poly relationships, and all things in between, the more “normal” it will become for them. It is, however, very important that these images are presented to them as “normal” and not camped up. Not made the butt of the joke.
Children are amazingly resilient. They are also amazing malleable. Any parent to a young (or formally young) child knows, they emulate what they learn in the home. If they met with intolerance, hate, and lies, they will repeat intolerance, hate, and lies. If they are told every single day that a particular way of life is disgusting, they will internalize that. It is quite possible they will believe that about themselves. However, any parent of school age children also knows that they only influence on them is NOT their parents. Their teachers, their schoolmates, and the world at large are all very influential on them each day. I know I deprogram hate spouted at my 6yo daily at school. The more people that say hate is wrong, the more the child/youth will believe it, internalize it, and, most importantly, live it. The more they understand that there are people out there that will love anyone for who they are, not whom they love, the better the world is to which we are letting our youth loose.
The children absorbing acceptance today are the ones that tomorrow will be able to come out of the closet and know there will be someone to love them. Are the ones that, if we have done our jobs right, will have no reason to see the inside of a closet.
About our Panelists
Larry Benjamin: Bronx-born wordsmith Larry Benjamin, is the author of the gay novels, Unbroken, and What Binds Us and the short story collection Damaged Angels. Larry will be hosting the discussion starting 9 June 2014
Rick Bettencourt: Rick Bettencourt is the author of NOT SURE BOYS, PAINTING WITH WINE and TIM ON BROADWAY. Rick hates to cook, and can often be seen eating out. He lives in the Tampa Bay area, with his husband and their dog, Bandit. Rick will be hosting the discussion starting 23 June 2014
Brandilyn Carpenter: Brandilyn is the odd duck in this group. She owns an LGBTQ fiction focused review blog, Prism Book Alliance, and is the married mother of 3 young children. She is an advocate for equal rights and tirelessly promotes the gay fiction genre. Brandilyn will be hosting the discussion starting 16 June 2014
Rob Colton: Rob Colton is a software developer by day, and avid reader of romance novels at night. A romantic at heart, he loves stories that feature big, burly men who find true love and happy endings. Rob will be hosting the discussion starting 16 June 2014
Andrew Q Gordon: Andrew Q. Gordon lives in the DC Metro area with his husband and 2 year old daughter. While he enjoys most types of fiction, his current works include MM Fantasy, Paranormal and Contemporary Fiction. Andrew will be hosting the discussion starting 2 June 2014
Lane Hayes: Lane Hayes is a M/M author, 2013 Rainbow Award finalist for her first release Better Than Good, designer, reader, lover of chocolate, red wine & clever people. Lane will be hosting the discussion starting 23 June 2014
Debbie McGowan: Debbie McGowan is based in Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven fiction, runs an independent publishing company, and lectures in social science. Sometimes she sleeps, too! Debbie will be hosting the discussion starting 2 June 2014
Brandon Shire: Brandon Shire writes fiction about human intimacy and interactions. He loves chocolate and is a staunch advocate for homeless LGBT youth. Brandon will be hosting the discussion starting 9 June 2014
Prizes (4 winners):
- $ 10 Amazon GC, eBook Listening to Dust by Brandon Shire, & eBook Not Sure Boys by Rick Bettencourt
- $ 10 Amazon GC, eBook Painting with Wine by Rick Bettencourt, & eBook from Andrew Q Gordon’s backlist
- $ 10 Amazon GC, eBook Unbroken by Larry Benjamin, & eBook Champagne by Debbie McGowen
- $ 10 Amazon GC, eBook from Rob Colton’s backlist, & eBook from Lane Hayes’ backlist
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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