In honour of Black History Month, here are some LGBTQ+ picks by black authors.
In honour of Black History Month, here are some LGBTQ+ picks by black authors.
October is Women’s History Month in Canada, with this year’s theme being #MakeAnImpact. However, the impact made by LGBTQ+ women, particularly trans women and women of colour, is too often overlooked. Here are a few works by Canadian LGBTQ+ women.
Holy Wild by Gwen Benaway
In her third collection of poetry, Holy Wild, Gwen Benaway explores the complexities of being an Indigenous trans women in expansive lyric poems. She holds up the Indigenous trans body as a site of struggle, liberation, and beauty. A confessional poet, Benaway narrates her sexual and romantic intimacies with partners as well as her work to navigate the daily burden of transphobia and violence. She examines the intersections of Indigenous and trans experience through autobiographical poems and continues to speak to the legacy of abuse, violence, and colonial erasure that defines Canada. Her sparse lines, interwoven with English and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe), illustrate the wonder and power of Indigenous trans womanhood in motion. Holy Wild is not an easy book, as Benaway refuses to give any simple answers, but it is a profoundly vibrant and beautiful work filled with a transcendent grace.
I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya
A trans artist explores how masculinity was imposed on her as a boy and continues to haunt her as a girl–and how we might reimagine gender for the twenty-first century
Vivek Shraya has reason to be afraid. Throughout her life she’s endured acts of cruelty and aggression for being too feminine as a boy and not feminine enough as a girl. In order to survive childhood, she had to learn to convincingly perform masculinity. As an adult, she makes daily compromises to steel herself against everything from verbal attacks to heartbreak.
Now, with raw honesty, Shraya delivers an important record of the cumulative damage caused by misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia, releasing trauma from a body that has always refused to assimilate. I’m Afraid of Men is a journey from camouflage to a riot of colour and a blueprint for how we might cherish all that makes us different and conquer all that makes us afraid.
For Your Own Good by Leah Horlick
A 2016 STONEWALL HONOUR TITLE in Literature.
In the canon of contemporary feminist and lesbian poetry, For Your Own Good breaks silence. A fictionalized autobiography, the poems in this collection illustrate the narrator’s survival of domestic and sexual violence in a lesbian relationship. There is magic in this work: the symbolism of the Tarot and the roots of Jewish heritage, but also the magic that is at the heart of transformation and survival.
These poems are acutely painful, rooted in singular and firsthand experiences. But Horlick also draws from a legacy of feminist, Jewish and lesbian writers against violence: epigraphs from the works of Adrienne Rich and Minnie Bruce Pratt act as touchstones alongside references to contemporary writers, such as Daphne Gottlieb and Michelle Tea.
In this reflection on grief, silence and community, we follow the narrator’s own journey as she explores what it is to survive, to change, to desire and to hope. At once unflinching and fragile, For Your Own Good is a collection with transformation at its heart.
Small Beauty by jia qing wilson-yang
Small Beauty tells the story of Mei, who in coping with the death of her cousin abandons her life in the city to live in his now empty house in a small town. There she connects with his history as well as her own, learns about her aunt’s long-term secret relationship, and reflects on the trans women she left behind. She also brushes up against some local trans mysteries and gets advice from departed loved ones with a lot to say.
A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett
Eleven unique short stories that stretch from a rural Canadian Mennonite town to a hipster gay bar in Brooklyn, featuring young trans women stumbling through loss, sex, harassment, and love.
These stories, shiny with whiskey and prairie sunsets, rattling subways and neglected cats, show growing up as a trans girl can be charming, funny, frustrating, or sad, but never will it be predictable.
Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir by Kai Cheng Thom
Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir by Kai Cheng Thom is the highly sensational, ultra-exciting, sort-of true coming-of-age story of a young Asian trans girl, pathological liar, and kung-fu expert who runs away from her parents’ abusive home in a rainy city called Gloom. Striking off on her own, she finds her true family in a group of larger-than-life trans femmes who live in a mysterious pleasure district known only as the Street of Miracles. Under the wings of this fierce and fabulous flock, Dearly blossoms into the woman she has always dreamed of being, with a little help from the unscrupulous Doctor Crocodile. When one of their number is brutally murdered, the protagonist joins her sisters in forming a vigilante gang to fight back against the transphobes, violent johns, and cops that stalk the Street of Miracles. But when things go terribly wrong, she must find the truth within herself in order to stop the violence and discover what it really means to grow up and find your family.
Happy Bisexual Visibility Day! To celebrate, here is a booklist of bisexual books and authors.
We’re excited to team up with the Public Libraries Interest Group to kick off their first journal club! Posted here is information about the event, links to the articles, and discussion questions.
Do you love research? Would you like an opportunity to meet and discuss
public library interest topics with your peers?
The BCLA Public Libraries Interest Group (PLIG) is pleased to introduce
the PLIG Journal Club, an informal “reading club” where you can engage
in dialogue about professional literature on selected topics.
SAVE THE DATE!
PLIG Journal Club #1 with co-host BCLA LGBTQ Interest Group
Thursday, September 20, 2018, 7:00-9:00 pm
Pollyanna Library: 100-221 E Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1Z6
Everyone is welcome. Light snacks provided and cash wine bar available.
Watch for information about sessions, topics, articles, and remote participation.
Gillian Bassett, Sara Ellis, Marisa Tutt
PLIG Journal Club organizers
Articles to Read and Discuss
Dawn Betts-Green, Don Latham. “Drawing Queerness: Evaluating Notable LGBTQ Graphic Novels for Teens.” The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, vol. 8, no. 2, Dec. 2017, pp. 1–23.
Stevens, Gregg A. “Curry’s Study on the Quality of Public Library Reference Service to LGBTQ Youth.” Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, vol. 13, no. 1, 2018, pp. 57–63.
We’ll have additional questions to get us talking at the event. To start, consider the following:
Feel free to share your thoughts online as well! Comment on this post or tweet @BCLA_LGBTQ using the tag #BCLAjournalclub
This utterly adorable graphic novel puts a much-needed spin on the traditional fairy tale by having the princess in distress be rescued by, and fall in love with, a fellow princess. Sweet, gentle, and perfect for princess-loving readers everywhere.
Friendship to the max! A group of awesome girls at a summer camp are determined to have the best summer ever….even if it means fighting some pretty strange supernatural creatures or embarking on crazy quests! There’s an wonderful range of identities in this series, and the stories are artwork are fantastic. Lumberjanes is a whole lot of fun, and deserves all the hype it’s been getting on the interwebs.
I’ve shared my love of lesbian teenage sleuth Goldie Vance before, so her appearance on this list should come as no surprise. Readers who enjoy a good mystery will enjoy this fresh series inspired by classic teen detectives like Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden.
Being a teenager can be rough, especially when you don’t feel like you can be yourself, or that you even know yourself, for that matter. This period of realization, identity and crisis is explored in beautiful detail in the story of “Skim”, the name taken on by Japanese-Canadian “not slim” Wiccan high schooler Kim, who’s struggling to find herself, a process made even more complicated when she begins to develop feelings for a teacher.
This manga series looks at the experiences of two children whose gender identities and expression challenge the more conservative cultural and social expectations of their community. Shuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki are two Japanese school children who struggle with their identities – one is a boy who feels like a girl, and the other is a girl who feels like a boy.
Interestingly, manga and anime featuring lesbian or gay romantic stories (百合 or やおい) is extremely common in Japan – as I’ve mentioned before, the first time I ever saw a lesbian couple on TV was in the anime Sailor Moon. While many of these series are targeted towards straight audiences and capitalize on the thrill of the forbidden “love that dare not speak its name”, they can offer a means for creators and readers to push back against the prevalence of homophobia in society, and can even provide a lifeline for queer and questioning teens in a culture that is reluctant to even accept their existence. Shimura is noted for creating works that eschew the melodrama common in 百合 in favour of real stories – her series Sweet Blue Flowers, for example, was said to be “one of the most realistic portrayals of a young woman in love with another woman”.
Now these are just a few of the many incredible graphic novels for tweens and younger teens that include LGBTQ+ characters and content. What are some of your favourites??
This post was original posted on The Book Wars.
Today I’m going to be sharing a handful of great books featuring children growing up with LGBTQ+ parents/caregivers. In particular, I’m looking for books that aren’t primarily about having two mums or two dads, but that feature same-sex parents as part of a larger story.
Here we go!
The Popularity Papers – Amy Ignatow
This sweet series is perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and other heavily illustrated books. One of the series’ main characters, Julie Graham-Chang, is the adopted daughter of an incredibly loving and supportive pair of daddies, Papa Dad and Daddy.
Harriet Gets Carried Away – Jessie Sima
Harriet loves costumes, and she never misses an opportunity to get dressed up. But while dressed as a penguin to help her daddies prepare for a birthday party, Harriet gets swept up by a flock of real penguins! Sweet, silly, and charmingly illustrated.
The Purim Superhero – Elizabeth Kushner
Purim is coming, and Nate can’t decide on a costume! He really wants to dress up as an alien, but all his friends are going as aliens. Should Nate follow his own path, or fit in with everyone else? With the help of his two dads, Nate finds just the solution, and becomes the Purim superhero! Special note – the author is actually a fellow librarian and Vancouver resident!
Baby’s First Words – Stella Blackstone, Sunny Scribens
This vocabulary primer follows a sweet baby and her two daddies as they go through their busy day. Great illustrations, lots of early vocabulary, and a loving two-daddy family.
Freckleface Strawberry series – Julianne Moore
Freckleface Strawberry and her best friend, Windy Pants Patrick, are totally different. She short, he’s tall. She’s a girl, he’s a boy. She has a mom and a dad, he has two moms. They’re just too different to be friends….right? Wrong! These two discover that best friends don’t have to have everything in common to like each other.
My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer – Jennifer Ganari
June is a master pie maker, and she’s determined to win this year’s Champlain Valley Fair pie competition. But when June’s mother’s girlfriend moves in, and the family starts receiving bullying and backlash that threatens their business, June won’t give up on her dreams, or her loving family.
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher – Dana Alison Levy
Two patient daddies, four active, lovable boys, countless crazy adventures! This is a charming family story that fans of Beverly Cleary’s Quimby family will love.
Are there any great books with LGBTQ+ parents that I should check out? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day by reading some of these Indigenous LGBTQ2S authors!
This Wound is a World by Billy-Ray Belcourt
Part manifesto, part memoir, This Wound is a World is an invitation to “cut a hole in the sky to world inside.” Billy-Ray Belcourt issues a call to turn to love and sex to understand how Indigenous peoples shoulder sadness and pain like theirs without giving up on the future. His poems upset genre and play with form, scavenging for a decolonial kind of heaven where “everyone is at least a little gay.”
Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir by Deborah A. Miranda
This book leads readers through a troubled past using the author’s family circle as a touch point and resource for discovery. Personal and strong, these stories present an evocative new view of the shaping of California and the lives of Indians during the Mission period in California. The result is a work of literary art that is wise, angry and playful all at once.
Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway
Born into a magical Cree world in snowy northern Manitoba, Champion and Ooneemeetoo Okimasis are all too soon torn from their family and thrust into the hostile world of a Catholic residential school. Their language is forbidden, their names are changed to Jeremiah and Gabriel, and both boys are abused by priests.
As young men, estranged from their own people and alienated from the culture imposed upon them, the Okimasis brothers fight to survive. Wherever they go, the Fur Queen–a wily, shape-shifting trickster–watches over them with a protective eye. For Jeremiah and Gabriel are destined to be artists. Through music and dance they soar.
Walking with Ghosts: Poems by Qwo-Li Driskill
Written from a contemporary Cherokee, Queer and mixed-race experience, these poems confront a legacy of land-theft, genocide, and forced removal, and resist ongoing attacks on both Indigenous and Gay/ Lesbian/ Bisexual /Transgender communities. Tender, startling, confrontational and erotic, this book honors the dead and brings the survivors back home.
Not Vanishing by Chrystos
Passionate, vital poetry by acclaimed Native American writer and activist Chrystos addresses self-esteem and survival, the loving of women, and pride in her heritage.
The Way of Thorn and Thunder by Daniel Heath Justice
Taking fantasy literature beyond the stereotypes, Daniel Heath Justice’s acclaimed Thorn and Thunder novels are set in a world resembling eighteenth-century North America. The original trilogy is available here for the first time as a fully revised one-volume novel. The story of the struggle for the green world of the Everland, home of the forest-dwelling Kyn, is an adventure tale that bends genre and gender.
Passage by Gwen Benaway
In her second collection of poetry, Passage, Gwen Benaway examines what it means to experience violence and speaks to the burden of survival. Traveling to Northern Ontario and across the Great Lakes, Passage is a poetic voyage through divorce, family violence, legacy of colonization, and the affirmation of a new sexuality and gender. Previously published as a man, Passage is the poet’s first collection written as a transwoman. Striking and raw in sparse lines, the collection showcases a vital Two Spirited identity that transects borders of race, gender, and experience. In Passage, the poet seeks to reconcile herself to the land, the history of her ancestors, and her separation from her partner and family by invoking the beauty and power of her ancestral waterways. Building on the legacy of other ground-breaking Indigenous poets like Gregory Scofield and Queer poets like Tim Dlugos, Benaway’s work is deeply personal and devastating in sharp, clear lines. Passage is a book burning with a beautiful intensity and reveals Benaway as one of the most powerful emerging poets writing in Indigenous poetics today.
Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead
“You’re gonna need a rock and a whole lotta medicine” is a mantra that Jonny Appleseed, a young Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, repeats to himself in this vivid and utterly compelling novel. Off the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself in order to make a living. Self-ordained as an NDN glitter princess, Jonny has one week before he must return to the “rez,” and his former life, to attend the funeral of his stepfather. The next seven days are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother). Jonny’s world is a series of breakages, appendages, and linkages–and as he goes through the motions of preparing to return home, he learns how to put together the pieces of his life. Jonny Appleseed is a unique, shattering vision of Indigenous life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams.
A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby
A Two-Spirit Journey is Ma-Nee Chacaby’s extraordinary account of her life as an Ojibwa-Cree lesbian. From her early, often harrowing memories of life and abuse in a remote Ojibwa community riven by poverty and alcoholism, Chacaby’s story is one of enduring and ultimately overcoming the social, economic, and health legacies of colonialism.
As a child, Chacaby learned spiritual and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother and trapping, hunting, and bush survival skills from her Ojibwa stepfather. She also suffered physical and sexual abuse by different adults, and by her teen years she was alcoholic herself. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay with her children to escape an abusive marriage. Abuse, compounded by racism, continued, but Chacaby found supports to help herself and others. Over the following decades, she achieved sobriety; trained and worked as an alcoholism counselor; raised her children and fostered many others; learned to live with visual impairment; and came out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the first gay pride parade in her adopted city, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Ma-Nee Chacaby has emerged from hardship grounded in faith, compassion, humor, and resilience. Her memoir provides unprecedented insights into the challenges still faced by many Indigenous people.