Tag Archives: coming out

What am I willing to share?

1 Jun

A year or two ago, I got into a kick of reading primarily young adult literature over that written for adults. It’s not that I think one is better than the other, but YA lit has the tendency to do a lot more identity-exploring than adult lit, and I find that interesting.

I’m currently crawling through the beginning of writing a book I want to try to get published. This is something I have wanted to do since I was about three years old, so it’s a long time coming. It’s YA, and because I want to write in YA and I like reading there, I’ve started following a fair number of YA-focused blogs. A little for advice, but mostly for book reviews.

(Obligatory recs: Check out YA Highway for general news, reviews, and advice. Intergalactic Academy is awesome for sci-fi reviews. Seriously. Go read it now. Although their light-text-on-dark-background layout may make it easier to read in a feed like Google Reader.)

One of the blogs I follow is Malinda Lo’s, and she just wrote about YA Pride Month. Basically, taking the US’s general Pride Month of June and focusing on it through a lens of YA lit. The part I found most interesting in her post (and that makes it worth mentioning on this blog) is a footnote about how Lo will be interviewing authors writing YA novels with LGBT main characters. The book I am working on now has queer main characters so it caught my eye.

I decided that in my YA Pride series I wanted to mostly invite writers who identify as LGBT to be interviewed or guest post for my site. While I don’t believe one needs to identify as LGBT in order to write about LGBT people, I also feel that there is value in supporting LGBT writers. In the interests of full disclosure, I have had trouble finding transgender-identified YA writers to participate in this series, simply because there are so few of them. I haven’t finished my search for contributors yet, and I may still be able to find a trans YA writer to participate, but if I don’t, the reason is not because I didn’t attempt to find one; it’s because we need more of them.

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Coming out

29 Apr

99% of my experience in coming out as ace has been online.

I haven’t felt the need or the desire to come out to people either in person or to very many people who I only interact with offline. It just isn’t important to me that people know. In the past, I wasn’t interested in dating, and I didn’t hang out with people who were interested in it, either, so it didn’t matter.

I also live in the Southern United States, which is not the most welcoming of environments. I didn’t include wanting to work with LGBTQ library patrons in my grad school applications because I thought it would have a negative effect. There’s a person in one of my classes who puts quotes around marriage in the phrase gay marriage, and said that if a patron asked for information on homosexuality, he would have to forcibly restrain himself from handing over a copy of the Bible. My mother’s ex-coworkers were appalled that she would watch Ellen Degeneres. A creative writing classmate of mine was disgusted when I wrote a short story about a trans girl.

Plus, I want to work in a public library with children/teenagers, and I am acutely aware that being loudly not-straight could prevent me from getting hired somewhere, and could also lose me my job when I do get one. I have no legal protection in my state if they fire me for sexuality. (A trans woman recently won a suit against the state when she was fired after telling her boss about her transition, but as far as I know there’s still no law protecting employees from being fired for gender reasons.) There’s also the potential issue of a parent of some child I interact with complaining about me, even if I don’t say anything to their kid about my identity.

So even though for the most part I do not read as straight, I’ve no plans to make any overtures about my identity while I live in this area. I know that my short hair, lack of makeup, and unisex wardrobe tend to make people read me as not-straight. When I judge that I am in an environment safe enough that I don’t need to lie, I can say I have a girlfriend. But aside from the few people closest to me, I have no need to verbally mark myself as not-straight.

I don’t know why I don’t care if people know. I’ve always been a private person, and I grew up in an abusive environment where I learned for the sake of the people I cared about not to speak up. I am pretty zen about what people do and do not know about me. In school I avoided award ceremonies and practically slept through them when I did have to go. (I didn’t go to any of the four undergraduate graduation ceremonies I could’ve attended.)

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