LGBT Pride Roundtable Discussion with Giveaway

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 ColtonAndrew Q Gordon, Lane HayesDebbie 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.

LGBT Round Table
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

Twitter: @WriterLarry

Website: http://www.larrybenjamin.com

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

Twitter: @rbettenc

Website: http://rickbettencourt.wordpress.com/

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

Twitter: @BrandilynRC

Website: http://www.prismbookalliance.com

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

Twitter: @robcub32

Website: http://robcolton.com/

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

Twitter: @AndrewQGordon

Website: http://andrewqgordon.com/

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

Twitter: @LaneHayes3

Website: http://lanehayes.wordpress.com/

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

Twitter: @writerdebmcg

Website: http://www.debbiemcgowan.co.uk

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

Twitter: @thebrandonshire

Website: http://brandonshire.com

Giveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Farewell Giveaway
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,

Brandilyn
This post may contain affiliate links.
Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews.  The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.

20 thoughts on “LGBT Pride Roundtable Discussion with Giveaway

  1. Great post. I think we have made some headway for youth. Many, many youth now don’t understand all this ‘coming out’ these days. It is a major disconnect between the generations. The idea that they should ‘hide’ themselves is slowly disappearing as acceptance gains. This is a good thing. On the other side of that coin, from talking to youth, their biggest fear is not their peers, but their parents, or people of their parents generation. That speaks volumes about how far we have come and how far we have yet to go.

    • I completely agree. That is actually one of the things that led me to become a vocal ally/advocate/whatever you want to call it. I want my kids and my kids’ peers to know that not everyone of “my” generation is going to hate on them. You know? I don’t want them to ever question who they love or how they love. I also want to influence my peers in the same vein.

      That being said, I know plenty of people that won’t change and until that generation is gone or silenced (neither of which will happen any time soon), there will always be a section of youth that will be living in fear. Unfortunately, change of this ilk takes a few generations to take root. I don’t think we are at the beginning of the change, but somewhere in the middle.

  2. I love your post. Well thought out, well written and so common sense it breaks my heart it needs to be spelled out. I was fortunate enough to be raised by parents who didn’t tolerate discrimination in any way shape or form and vividly remember the moment I became aware of the fact that there was such a thing as same-sex relationships. It was natural and happened with such an ease that it never occurred to me to question it. I’m proud to have raised a daughter who doesn’t distinguish between people on whatever grounds. I live for the day when all kids will be raised that way and everybody will be allowed to live their lives without judgment or the need for secrets.

    • Exactly. I am trying very hard to raise my children in the same manner. I have already seen a change in my husband’s view of things. The other day when the 4yo (boy) wanted to wear his sister’s shirt (not a “unisex” shirt) to Gymnastics, I let him. I got a few raised eyebrows and a few “oh wait until daddy sees that” comments. When daddy walked in about 2/3 of the way through (all 3 kids have gymnastics back to back), he just shrugged and went about his business. Jaws dropped.

      I don’t spend a lot of time preaching acceptance, I just make sure that I am always accepting and when a question is raised, I answer honestly and without judgement. I think “bringing it up” just serves to point out the differences and that is not what I want. I want it to be “normal”.

      My kids see pictures of same sex couple (both male and female) along side pics of het couples. They see drag queens on TV. I don’t freak out over things like the word “gay” I wear my NoH8 and Gay romance shirts in normal rotation with my other t-shirts, regardless of our activities for the day. I just want it to be normal, so I make it so in my house.

      • I think you’ve got it sussed, Brandilyn. Kids will accept everything that’s presented as normal without question. The only reason some end up being awkward with the idea of same sex is because they’ve been shown it’s something their parents are not okay or comfortable with. And thus perpetuates the problem. I think there’s little fear of your kids growing up prejudiced.

  3. Great post! Although I didn’t grow up in a home that actively encouraged hate or mistreatment of LGBT people neither did I grow up in a home that acknowledged them. It was never something I thought about because it wasn’t discussed. I don’t think that would be likely to happen in most cases today and that is a wonderful thing because being open is the only way to make everyone realize people are people and their orientation has nothing to do with whether they are a good person or not.

    Willingness to discuss what makes us all different (and we are all different from each other in one way or another) is what eventually makes us realize that what is more important is that we are also all similar in one way or another. That is how change happens and witnessing and participating in the change is an outstanding experience that I am honored to be part of.
    .

    • Exactly. I have taken a lot of flack for my open support of LGBT rights. I don’t know how many times I have been told that they “don’t want their kids exposed to that” or they “aren’t ready to explain the /gay thing/” to their kids. I shake my head (mentally) and politely point out that sheltering them is what prolongs the intolerance and hate.

      I am very much of the mind that normalcy is the way to go. It isn’t different, it isn’t special, it just is. It is an aspect of the person, not what defines them.

  4. Wonderful post! As a mother of two young kids (6 years and 9 years), you wrote a post straight from my heart and mind. Even the experiences you describe from your school days are similar to my own. I do find the most difficult thing is peer pressure, especially with my 6-year-old son. Things he likes at home and feelings he will express with us, he will not do with his peers if they are perceived as too “girly.” I try hard to make him feel good about all aspects of his personality and feelings, but it is difficult to counter act the effect of his peers.

    Thank you so much for the post and discussion venue.

    • I worry about that with my son. He has another year before he enters public school, but I know we will be facing that same problem.

      I already have had to defend him to my father in law on a number of occasions.

  5. Fabulous and thought provoking post. Your comment regarding children that “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.” really resonated with me. The future depends upon the children/youth of today and if we can influence them positively regarding tolerance and acceptance then we have hope. Thanks for this wonderful discussion.

    • The future very much depends on the youth of today. Unfortunately, many adults aren’t going to change their views or their ways. To an extent we have to wait them out and make sure those that will be taking their place are of a more open mind. I think we will see more and more progress with the gradual changing of the guard. For many it won’t come fast enough, but before my generation is gone, this whole struggle will be an interesting chapter in the history books.

    • Tagging onto this post, as it seems fitting to my comment. I too agree the youth of today will influence the future of LGBT rights/issues. However, I think it’s happening now. One thing I’ve found is just how influential they are to the older generation. I’ve heard many times that the view’s of children, in their acceptance of the LGBT, have made their parents, grandparents etc. think differently.

  6. What a great post! I totally agree. My son is still a toddler, but I am already worrying about school and peer pressure along with things he will pick up from family. Thankfully, most of our close family is very accepting and so I don’t worry about him picking anything up from home. School is a whole different problem. I will have to tackle it when we get there.

  7. Great post. Kids usually soak up everything like a sponge at a young age so it’s really good to try to keep them open to new things (and experiences).

  8. Great post, Brandilyn. We’ve talked about your kids before and I’m totally impressed with your parenting. We need more like you. Hate is learned. And what an awful thing to teach a child.

  9. Really great post. I think you pose a very important part with kids. I always say that being a parent is such a powerful thing. You have the ability to mold your child, for better or worse, and it is so important to teach them to be open-minded and kind, not simply tolerant.

  10. I agree a million times over. Silence is a challenge to visibility and ultimately acceptance. It isn’t okay to be silent. LGBT youth must be free to discover their value and self-worth the same as every other teenager does. Pride is vitally important with a loud voice and big bold colors. 🙂

  11. These posts have been so intriguing and enlightening–it’s so great to see multiple perspectives, and I think the sharing of experiences is what will turn the tide!

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