Monday, 18 June 2018

Pride Month

Happy Pride Month everyone! So I wanted to make this post to talk about my thoughts on Pride Month, my own struggle with my gender identity, and recommend some LGBTQ books.

Just a warning, I will be discussing dysphoria and bigotry in this post, along with a negative view of my gender identity. 

First off, Pride Month is essentially a month to celebrate the LGBTQ community. It is, contrary to some peoples' perception, more than just a month of waving rainbow flags around and shouting "I'm gay!" It is a month to celebrate how far we have come. It is a month to celebrate many countries decriminalizing homosexuality, legalizing marriage equality, and acknowledging transgender and nonbinary peoples' existence. For me, it is also a month to reflect on the state of LGBTQ rights worldwide (though I honestly do that all year round). While LGBTQ people generally face an easier time living in western countries (such as my own country of Canada), it is also important to remember that things are not perfect here yet. While many of us are lucky not to live in a country that prescribes the death penalty for LGBTQ identity, prejudice still remains. LGBTQ people are often looked down on, disowned, bullied, abused, and used as a scapegoat for causes outside of, and even within, their own communities.

I remember going to my first pride parade. Seeing people be themselves brought so much hope, it made me literally cry. I grew up in a very queerphobic home, went to queerphobic schools, and met many, many queerphobic people. Coming out as bisexual (later as pansexual) to my family did not go well, and I struggled with dealing with gender dysphoria as a genderfluid person, alone. So to me, pride parades are a symbol of hope, and of moving forward.

I also like pride parades because I like seeing transgender identities celebrated. To be perfectly honest, I hate being genderfluid. I hate it. I mean, we've all seen those videos of happy go lucky, chatty genderfluid people talking about their clothes or their pronouns or their favourite kind of coffee. But its not really like that. That's a snapshot of a genderfluid person's life: it doesn't show the whole picture. While not all genderfluid people may experience life as I do, my experience is very painful. My dysphoria fluctuates severely, which means my inner sense of self, and my inner sense of gender, fluctuates as well. I believe this is because my brain is somewhere in between the male and female range of development (just as trans men have male brains and trans women have female brains). Because my dysphoria and gender identity fluctuate, that means that I will never ever be rid of my dysphoria. Ever. There is this narrative of (binary) transgender people as trapped in their own body. Well, thats quite literally my experience. I could get surgeries and take hormones. And I'd just be paying to have dysphoria opposite the type I have now. So here I am. As you can see, this is a very negative experience for me. So it is nice to take a break from brooding over my dysphoria, and its nice to take a break from hateful, cruel comments against nonbinary people from both outside of, and within, my own community, and see a place where I can let it all go and celebrate my existence.

You might wonder why I feel the need to talk about this, about my identity, my struggles, and my thoughts. I want to be out so I can challenge stereotypes and prejudices, correct misunderstandings and misconceptions, and maybe even inspire other people like me to look forward with hope in their heart. That is why I'm going to add this: your gender identity and sexual/romantic orientation are all wonderful parts of who you are, and if they cause you suffering (such as in my case), remember that you are not alone, you are not broken, and together we can work for a better future.

Alright. Now that my ideas on pride and my identity are out of the way, its on to the books!

I am going to suggest some LGBTQ reads. I may have suggested some of these last year as well, but I might have new followers that haven't seen last year's post so I will repeat some of them.

So I suggest Symptoms of Being Human, Mask of Shadows, and Freakboy for nonbinary characters. Freakboy is actually written in a poetry format, and Mask of Shadows is a cool fantasy.

Genderfluid Flag

I also recommend Reign of the Fallen, which has a bisexual character and lots of other queer characters as well. Switch is a (recent) historical book with a bisexual male character, and Seven Ways we Lie features a pansexual character.

Pansexual Flag

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a fairly light-hearted contemporary story featuring a closeted gay boy, and When Everything Feels Like the Movies is a heartbreaking novel featuring a queer main character. Proxy is a great dystopian starring a gay boy, and Three Truths and a Lie is a short mystery featuring a gay couple.

 Gay/LGBTQ general flag

Captive Prince is an adult novel featuring LGBTQ relationships, and The Crimson Spell is a gay adult manga that I enjoyed. Finally, a great and emotional book featuring a forbidden LGBTQ relationship is If You Could Be Mine, and a nice anthology of real-life stories about life as an LGBTQ person is It Gets Better.

I'm also going to shamelessly promote the anthology featuring my short story I Am Logan (where I write as Caleb Andrews).

So there are just a few LGBTQ books I enjoyed and recommend. Please tell me what you think of these books, and also recommend some more in the comments!

Happy Pride month to all, and remember that there is hope beyond hatred.

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