Day 14 of #PrideLibrary20.
Today’s post is all about Pride, June is Pride month and recently I read a novel that screamed all things Pride, it’s an inclusive, proud to be queer comedic novel about tackling the toxic masculinity within the LGBTQ+ community. And that book is Camp by L. C. Rosen, read my review of Camp. I reached out to L. C. Rosen last month about the possibility of writing a piece about the importance of LGBTQ+ representation in fiction, and quite honestly the piece he sent back to me went above and beyond what I was expecting. I love this piece and I really hope you do too, it contains an incredibly important message about reading to inspire empathy, more now than ever as we see the violence impacting Black Trans Lives in particular. If you’re looking for ways to support Black Trans Lives check out The Okra Project, find petitions to sign, and support Black owned businesses. If you know of any other resources, petitions, fundraisers or charities aimed at Black trans people please leave links in the comments.
Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim – who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.
This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’ – buff, masculine, and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish, and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.
But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much is he willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?
Add Camp on: Goodreads
Now over to L.C. Rosen:
“I was asked to write about the importance of LGBTQIA+ fiction, and how there’s been more of it in recent years. As my most recent book, Camp, is YA, I feel like the easy thing to do would be to talk about how queer kids need to see themselves in fiction, how every depiction matters because it shows queer kids there are many different ways to be queer, or how #ownvoices queer literature is important because it lets queer kids be seen by the people they can become, to see they’re not alone. But honestly, you should all know all that already, so I’m not going to talk about that.
Instead, I want to talk about straight kids. Because queer literature is for them, too. Queer kids spend most of our school lives reading about straight people. Straight stories are seen as the norm, straight white stories especially. We’ve been taught we must empathize with the norm. But the reverse is never taught – straight students don’t do a deep dive into queer literature. And that should change. Because empathy is gained through reading – numerous studies show this – but if we’re only taught to empathize with one viewpoint, it’s not really empathy.
Straight students have queer peers now. They know queer people from the classroom, but that doesn’t mean they’re friends or know their struggles. Many are taught that queer people are one faceless mass, all the same, and usually negative. Even when it’s not negative, there is an idea that gay people are all the same: think of the fabulous gay best friend stereotype, or the closeted bully. These archetypes serve to dehumanize queer people in the eyes of straight people. But by showing them a variety of queer literature about different types of queer people (written by queer people), those straight students will come to empathize with queer people and see them as just as multifaceted as they see themselves. Additionally, there are things straight people can learn from queer stories that they’d learn from straight ones – about masculinity, about love, about how to treat people. All of that is in queer stories, too – but by giving straight people queer stories, you’re also giving them the ability to see queer people as just as human as they are. And don’t worry about turning them gay – if centuries of straight literature being shoved down our throats hasn’t made queer kids straight, the opposite isn’t going to happen. Teach straight kids queer stories. It’s for their good just as much as ours.“
Please take a look at the books on your TBR and ask yourself the following questions. Are you reading books with LGBTQ+ representation? Is there a variety of rep, gay, bisexual, trans, lesbian, asexual, questioning, pansexual, aromantic, non-binary rep? Are there books by authors of colour, including queer authors of colour on your TBR? Are there #ownvoices books by queer authors? Diversify your TBR. Diversify the books you read to your children. Inspire empathy in yourself and others on your journey to being anti-racist and an LGBTQ+ ally.
At the beginning of every month I’ll be bringing you a list of all the highly anticipated (as well as the hidden gem) fiction releases that are being published during that month. This list includes a mix of children’s, young adult and adult books, listed in UK publication date order. Each book is a link… Continue reading May 2021 fiction releases
The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning I will earn a small amount of commission on any purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you.I was sent a copy of this novel by the publishers to review, however this has no… Continue reading The Beautiful Ones Review
Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning I will earn a small amount of commission on any purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you.I was sent a copy of this novel by the publishers to review, however this has no… Continue reading Kate In Waiting Review