DC comics’ character ‘Aqualad’ has a new graphic novel. Jackson Hyde, the new Aqualad will be the main character of this novel. We follow Hyde as he discovers his powers and explores his sexuality. It so important to see stories like this, especially in the super hero genre. There are so many different interpretations of superheroes in different times lines and universes; its great to see variety in their sexualities as well.
Image via Entertainment Weekly
You Brought Me The Ocean comes out this coming summer. So do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. It is sure to be good.
Like comics? Like queer stuff? Like awesome, beautiful, and well plotted stories? Here are some fantastic web comics featuring gay, lesbian, asexual, and trans characters. Weather you’re reading for the representation or because you just like good comics, jump in and enjoy.
It’s your favorite girl gang, coming at you from the Louisiana swamp. We’ve got parties. We’ve got blood magic. We’ve got developing lesbianism. We’ve got cute animals. Powerful witch families play off each other in this lush, grounded fantasy.
Oh my god, they’re roommates. They meet over the summer, and then find out on their first day of special agent academy that they’re roommates. Feuds, favoritism, and friendships, plus uneasy edging into trust. Not to miss.
We’ve got witches again, but who’s mad? The Mars colony wants to start growing plants, so a team is recruited to get water and trees going. A family that thinks it would be crazy to leave the forest is actually… all pretty into the idea. Space witches!
Do you love space? Do you love necromancy? The two meet in this story about a gay astronomy student and a gay ace necromancer. Gorgeously illustrated and gorgeously soft, this period piece is a must read for anyone who wants a feel-good story.
Dylan’s got a new name, a supportive family, and a new school, plus a cute new classmate. It’s adorable stuff, and aside from a bureaucratic mess up, there’s no fuss about him being trans. Plus he has an adorable baby sister, and the sibling dynamics are on point.
This is a little more emo. Something bad happens, and the character’s mother makes a support robot for her that she gets quite attached to. The robot starts glitching, or maybe just evolving? Deeply interesting art and moody pacing make this an engrossing ride.
After knowing each other their whole lives, these two stop seeing each other in college. When the younger one graduates, he goes to stay with his ‘big brother’. Talk about the friend zone. But don’t worry, they’ll see sense.
This past weekend, we attended NYC’s BookCon 2019 to snag you all the bonus content with none of the shoulder cramps that accompany wielding 20 paperback novels in a comparably small tote bag. (And none of the $19 convention center lunches.) Looking for queer YA releases? We were too, and we headed to the “Read With Pride” panel, hosted by prolific author and editor David Levithan. There, we heard from three incredible LGBT+ novelists and got a preview of some new and upcoming releases that are turning a new page in YA literature.
ImageS vIA aMAZON
If you’re searching for your perfect pride read, search no further! (Unless, that is, you’ve finished a few perfect LGBT+ titles already, and you’re looking to supplement your list with just a few more.)
Images Via Twitter & Wikipedia
Kacen Callender spent this years’ Lambda Awards competing against himself.
Up for two separate Lambda Awards, Callender (who uses pronouns they / them or he / him) writes about the queer experience from a PoC perspective, illustrating how cultural homophobia influences the lives of his characters. Growing up on St. Thomas, Callender experienced a “cultural homophobia” that influenced his story and his storytelling. His upcoming release is a powerful depiction of prejudice and of love, which too often exist in the same story. At this year’s BookCon, Callender gave audiences a preview of the new novel:
My next book is called King of the Dragonflies, coming February 2020. Twelve-year-old King believes his brother became a dragonfly after he passed away. But before he passed away, King’s brother told him he could no longer be friends with another boy because that boy, Sandy, had come out as gay.
“Black people aren’t gay,” Callender said, recalling the internalized narratives of his childhood in the Virgin Islands, “and if black people are gay, it’s because they know a white person. In the black community, we’re told we’re not allowed to be gay.” His middle grade novel, Hurricane Child, recounts the story of being queer and from the Caribbean, two identities that aren’t mutual exclusive and should hardly demand that clarification. But black people can be gay—and queer stories can be happy.
“Our stories,” Callender said, referring to queer people of color, “have historically been tragedies. We don’t have our own happy endings. My entire life isn’t about how I’m treated by racists and homophobes. My life has joy.”
Image Via Allevents.in
I Wish You All the Bestis at the forefront of trans YA fiction in its depiction of a non-binary protagonist, an underrepresented demographic in fiction and a seriously misunderstood demographic in society at large. After non-binary teen Ben is kicked out of his house, surviving high school becomes an uncomfortably literal task. In order to protect themself, Ben returns to the closet—and, while it’s the safest place for them, it’s also NOT the place for Nathan Allan, the one reason Ben’s life might just be turning around.
Mason Deaver is a non-binary southern librarian with a penchant for gardening and dropping ‘y’all’ into casual conversation. Their debut novel, according to Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens Agendaauthor Becky Albertalli, “will save lives.”
No one is asking that we scale back the LGBT+ YA renaissance (okay, maybe just a naissance). At least, no one who’s not a relative homophobe or a mustache-twirling censorship supervillain who loves plucking books from the hands of curious children. But some of us are asking for fewer coming out stories and more coming-out-of-my-cage-and-I’ve-been-doing-just-fine-stories: the sweet love story, the heartfelt coming of age. Deaver has combined the two. This isn’t a coming out of the closet story; it’s a “going back into the closet to stay safe, to keep themself alive for however long they can story.” Fortunately, the sweetness and love finds its way. Although we’ve seen some such stories play out with the G in LGBT+, non-binary protagonists are far rarer. “I was very confused as a teenager,” Deaver said of their own nonbinary identity. “There’s no way for me to go back in time and give this book to myself,” they said, “but if I can do that for teenagers today, I will have done my job.”
And does the book have a happy ending? Yes, Deaver would tell you, “queer joy is revolution.”
Images Via Amazon
Bill Konigsberg is an openly gay man working in sports, a proud owner of some extremely adorable dogs, and the author of five novels. Some believe that gay men and sports ARE mutually exclusive. These usually tend to be the people who think gay men and existence in general are mutually exclusive, making these the sorts of people we try not to take too seriously. That said, they’re out there—and the cultural of toxic masculinity is right there with them.
Toxic masculinity isn’t misandry or man-hating. Instead, it’s the way in which society’s rigid conception of masculinity is harmful to men: believe it or not, asking men to emotionally stunt themselves leaves them emotionally stunted. Konigsberg is working to deconstruct this ideology through art, which is in and of itself basically an emotional fist in the face of the toxically masculine. “I’ve written a coming out story, and it’s completely absent from this novel. What’s special about it is that this is a book about masculinity,” Konigsberg clarified. The Music of What Happenstackles heavy topics as it delves into the memory of its protagonists’ sexual assault. As he reflects on the experience, he realizes what happened wasn’t consensual—and, therefore, wasn’t okay.
The novel is about “the messages about masculinity that we all take in in this very toxic society,” Konigsberg said, “and especially how these messages land on gay boys.” Men aren’t invulnerable—and no one should expect them to be. It’s a good thing that vulnerability has never been the opposite of strength.
It’s June 2019, and these books are groundbreaking. Chances are, they’ll stay that way. But imagine how many other books will be joining them on the shelves in the next few years.
This month’s releases are about to give Reading Rainbow a whole new meaning. We’re fortunate enough to live in an era in which LGBT+ releases don’t just hit the shelves; they sucker-punch them, particularly in the overarching YA genre. It’s not such a surprise that this change has taken place: nearly half of those in Gen-Z do not identify as exclusively heterosexual. Millennials aren’t statistically far behind. What does this mean? Well, hopefully, that we’ll finally have some better representation. It’s no longer enough to simply hint that a character is gay—especially because said hint usually involves two tortured white guys staring meaningfully at each other, possibly while being rivals, enemies, or something else suitably sexy. (Of course, it was never enough to begin with.)
Done with subtext and need more text? These ten releases across genres and age levels should make you pretty happy* about the ongoing state of representation on our bookshelves.
*Disclaimer: some of these may actually make you cry, and you’ll have to read them to figure out which.
Stranger Things meets The Raven Boys? More like bisexual representation, meet my bookshelf immediately. Set in a secluded town in upstate New York, the novel is an intimate, chilling exploration of the supernatural—an exploration of the terror involved when it’s not the whole world that’s in danger but your whole world. Readers will appreciate a YA genre release that’s high stakes but small blast radius. Give this book a try for mysterious deaths in a remote wilderness; intrigue going back generations; and an evil beast who lurks within the Gray, a hollow dimension meant to hold the beast captive. But it isn’t captive anymore—and you’re certain to be captivated by every word.
These scrolls may be magical, but there’s a 0% chance they’re anywhere near as magical as this book. Shadowhunters fans will recognize this release as the latest instalment in Cassandra Clare’s ever-expanding fantasy universe. Fans can join stubborn yet compassionate Alec and the freewheeling warlock Magnus Bane as they cause mayhem across Europe in their pursuit of an ever-elusive romantic trip. It was hard enough for the couple to come out to the repressive Clave and to get over the age difference (immortality isn’t always easy), but it may be harder to stop the cult that is, apparently, dead set on making this couple’s getaway more of a get-away-from-me. Of course, the cult also wants to cause chaos around the world. But that’s less annoying, if more important.
Hot-tempered Jess’ love for Vivi changes everything. It cools down her anger issues, which rage constantly beneath the surface. It makes her want to let go of her own pain and embrace her artistic talents, to strive for a future that might actually be within reach. It heals her. Fixes her. That’s what love is, right?
When Vivi passes away, Jess feels as though everything she’s lost everything. But the truth is that she’s only lost Vivi—as if that could ever be said with an only. This beautiful, heart-wrenching tale of first love and first loss serves as reminder that progress is not inextricably tied to another person, no matter how supportive that person is or was. Healing is a place you can only reach yourself, even if someone who loves you helps to guide you there.
Sam and Zoe are teenage girls with a lot on their minds (a redundant statement when being a teenage girl inherently means having way, WAY too much on your mind). But these are some serious distractions: Sam is trying to help her mother cope with debilitating OCD; Zoe is coping with her adoptive mother’s cancer. In the midst of these hardships, they’re both in need of a less serious distraction—each other. Coulthurst and Garner blend contemporary and genre writing as they portray Sam and Zoe’s text exchanges as a fantasy world, complete with impossible things: a dragon, for starters, and a feeling that this all might work out in the end.
This new release from Mady G & J.R. Zuckerberg is an insightful follow-up to A Quick & Easy Guide to They / Them Pronouns. (I have my own guide for you: respect them. But something tells me that statement not quite as informative.) Many allies and even LGBT+ people are confused by misconceptions surrounding different queer identities. Some have never heard of any identities beyond the L, G, B & T; some unknowingly believe stereotypes due to their own misunderstandings*.
(*For instance, bisexuals are not indecisive. You may have previously met an indecisive bisexual, but that had nothing to do with their sexuality and everything to do with their inability to choose a place to eat for dinner. Pansexuality is not the same thing as bisexuality, and ‘asexual’ is not a euphemism for ‘has never worn a crop top.’ Now you’re getting it.)
Not only is this book extremely helpful, but it’s clearly also adorable. Keep things light with this fun, non-judgmental, and informative look into the diverse spectrum of LGBT+ identities.
Hailed as ‘the French Brokeback Mountain,’ Lie With Me: a Novel depicts one man’s recollection of his first love, the passionate same-sex affair he fell headlong into as a teenager in the 1980s. And the “a novel” addendum is deeply necessary—without it, readers may be left unclear whether or not this is a memoir. The novel leaks emotional truth, rife with intimacy and honesty that informs rather than suggests that the story may not be entirely fictional. Hauntingly translated by Sixteen Candles actress Molly Ringwald, Lie With Me gives readers so many more than sixteen reasons to read it cover to cover.
Are you there, God? It’s the millions of baby gays with no self-help book that can offer the help they need. While coming-of-age is a shared experience across people of all sexualities (yes, you’re likely to wear ugly clothes and make an ass of yourself in front of your crush regardless), most self-help books skip topics crucial to the LGBT+ community. YouTuber Riyadh Khalef offers thoughtful, earnest advice on how to be your best gay self. Of course, the advice isn’t this book doesn’t only apply to gay boys—the book itself addresses the fluid nature of sexualities: “Yay! You’re gay! Or maybe you’re bi. Or maybe you just feel different… in time, that difference will become the greatest gift you could ask for.” Whether you’re gay, bi, pan, or on the spectrum of asexuality, this heartfelt and often hilarious advice for young queer boys is sure to set the record straight—okay, maybe not so straight after all.
Sara Rodriguez definitely didn’t expect to get pregnant one night at a house party after an ill-conceived revenge hookup—but she definitely didn’t expect the father to turn back up. But if you’re looking for angst, look elsewhere. Sara’s support network is exactly that—deeply supportive and utterly endearing. This story is less about any devastating consequences of Sara’s pregnancy and more about her experience of pregnancy with the help of the important people in her life: demisexual love interest Leaf, who has feelings for her despite her circumstances and her grey-asexual best friend, Devi, who makes sure she’s taken care of. Sara questions her own sexuality and what the hell she did to deserve so much affection.
Dustin Lance Black was born into a Mormon, military household. This fact isn’t surprising in and of itself, but it becomes a lot more unusual when paired with its broader context: Black is gay, wrote the screenplay Milk, and is a prominent LGBT+ rights activist who brought the case for marriage equality to the supreme court. This unlikely tale of a memoir studies how Black reached this point—but it’s also a tale of his conservative mother’s journey to understanding and accepting the LGBT+ community without forsaking her religious beliefs in a perhaps even less likely conclusion. Powerful and inspiring, this memoir documents LGBT+ history and moves its readers to the point of tears.
Fifty years after Stonewall, the uprising known best as the most significant event of the LGBT+ liberation movement, the New York Public Library is honoring its impact by releasing this in-depth compilation of primary sources. The Stonewall Reader combines the contributions of activists with periodic literature and news coverage of the events to explore the compelling history of an under-reported event. The NYPL curators offer insight into the courage of the Stonewall activists: predominantly African-American, these LGBT+ heroes were at a precarious intersection of two marginalized communities and, still, their strength was unwavering.
In-text Images Via Amazon.
Featured Image Via Springpod Blog.