I am sorry for posting this a day late - I lacked internet yesterday unexpectedly. Nevertheless, welcome to the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia! This is a wonderful event that is bringing together writers, publishers, and reviewers of homosexual and transexual literature to speak up against homophobia and transphobia.
Six years ago, I started graduate school. I was attending seminary in order to earn my Master of Divinity. In my first semester I met a person. We'll call this person Susan. As I got to know Susan I found Susan to be a wonderful, smart and engaging person. We became friends. In my second year, Susan took a semester off. I missed Susan and wondered what had happened but we were not close enough for me to intrude.
When Susan came back the next year, I noticed some people calling Susan Nathaniel instead. Immediately I discovered that Susan preferred to be called Nathaniel and had started living as a man. I was not knowledgeable about terminology or classification but Nathaniel was my friend so I was happy to treat him however he preferred.
Perhaps I was naive - because I was unprepared for the reaction of some. My school was liberal and known for being on the forefront of gay rights. I just assumed that love and support would be extended to Nathaniel as well. While many at the school, students, teachers and administrators alike, treated Nathaniel with respect and support on an individual level, many did not. I spent the next three years hearing professors call "Susan" out in roll call on the first day of class because the school would not change it to Nathaniel. Every time I wanted to email Nathaniel through the school email system, I had to type "Susan" into the address line.
As I did research for my most recent story Perfect, I discovered even more thoroughly how institutionalized trans and homo phobia can be. I found articles detailing how they are making it up or are sick in the head, how they are evil, how they are what is wrong with the world. I found stories of beatings, of bullying, of hatred. These stories broke my heart - all the more because they are true.
But then I also found stories that - like gems shining in the darkness - showed that not everyone is lost in that morass of hatred. As I found stories of love, of acceptance, of support, of changing laws and changing perceptions, I realized that there is hope. And, as one of my favorite author writes, "Like 'love,' 'hope' is one of those disproportional words that by all rights should be longer." (Jim Butcher) So I write today in hope - hope that each day the world is changing, that we can make a difference, that fear and hatred can be conquered.
Thanks for stopping by. Please continue on the hop and read all about other people's experiences. You can find the list of links here.
I would love to hear about your stories - if you are despairing and need hope, if you have hope to offer others, or if you are not really sure what you feel. Please comment. If you just want to show your support, please comment. AND, if you want to be entered to win the drawing, please comment.
On May 27th at 8 PM CST I will pick three winners for the following prizes:
- $15 gift card to the online bookseller of your choice
- $15 donation to the LGBTQ charity of your choice (as long as donations can be online via paypal)
- Custom written ficbit (to be completed with two months of winning)
In order to be entered, please comment on this post and include your preferred email address. If you do not respond to my email within 48 hours, then I will draw a new winner.