YOU TELL ‘EM MR .TURNER!
LGBTQ* Posts We Love (and Blogs We Love to Follow)
Queer Book Club’s Hogwart’s House Reading List
ALL of the following text is from the posts of QueerBookClub.tumblr.com:
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This is the first of four recommended reading lists of queer and queer-ish books, organized by Hogwarts houses! ENJOY.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This story of a young woman captured by Nazis during a spy mission in occupied France has repeatedly been called a tour de force and the best novel of last year. Though not explicitly queer, the heart of the story is the deep, loving friendship of two girls.
Diverse Energies edited by Tobias Buckell and Joe Monti.
This collection of dystopian stories starring heroes of color is perfect for the daring, strong-willed wizards of Gryffindor. A handful of the stories also feature queer protagonists or minor characters.
Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III.
What’s more exemplary of good-hearted headstrong Gryffindor spirit than taking up the cape and fighting evil? Besides starring a lesbian superhero, this volume also features an introduction by Rachel Maddow - we will just have to ignore the fact that she’s basically the nation’s Ravenclaw prefect.
When She Woke by Hillary Jordon
This re-imagining of The Scarlet Letter tells the story of Hannah, a woman who finds herself marked as a murderer after an abortion. In this future world, criminals’ skin is colored to indicate the class of their crime. Hannah’s red skin means a life of shame and cruelty - unless she can forge a new path.
Huntress by Malinda Lo
Epic quests. Hostile monsters. The fate of the world. If that’s your kind of story, look no further. Tough, down-to-earth Kaede and gentle, visionary Taisin set out to find out what caused their land to fall into endless cold.
She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Let’s not get into tropes about transgender people being so brave. I chose this book for this list because Boylan reminds me of Gryffindor in other ways - considerate but honest, amiable but not self-sacrificing, and, you know, popular. Bestselling, even!
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A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World: Writings from the Girl Zine Revolution edited by Karen Green and Tristan Taromino
While this collection of writings from zines of the early 90s riot grrl era and beyond may not be an actual blueprint for world domination, it is just as brash, smart and unapologetic as any Slytherin.
Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
This story of an isolated teenager’s relationship with a monstrous fish-boy is supposed to be seriously grim. The darkness factor - and the fact that Pottermore tells us that the Slytherin common room windows gives students a view of the creatures the lake - is what makes it a great Slytherin pick.
The Complete Hothead Paisan: Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist by Diane DiMassa
Before some tumblr misandrists were even born, Hothead Paisan was collecting rapists’ spines. Queer Slytherins in need of some guilt-free revenge fantasy should pick this one up - though I implore you to read up on the author’s transmisogyny first.
Sula by Toni Morrison
While not explicitly queer, this story is held together by love between women. Slytherins will likely relate to Sula, a community pariah whose motivations are as incomprehensible to her friends and family as theirs are to her.
Sister Mischief by Laura Goode
Esme Rockett is probably a Gryffindor at heart (they tend to get the leading roles). But she and her friends - outsiders in their lily-white Christian community - employ all their cunning to wreck havoc for the establishment. Sex, drugs and hip-hop make this YA debut a conservative censor’s worst nightmare - or wet dream, maybe.
When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris
This contemporary master of the personal essay always manages to come off as judgmental, selfish, petty, loveable and brilliant. Tapping into our dark spots to charm us, Sedaris is an exemplary Slytherin - and skull-centric cover art doesn’t hurt, either.
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Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
This collection of short works on identity, community and authenticity covers a lot of territory - “passing” as related to gender, race, disability, work, nationality, sexuality, and more. Pick it up if you’re itching for more complex perspectives on social justice.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Besides being an absolute masterpiece of the comics format, Bechdel’s memoir about her cold and inscrutable father earns major Ravenclaw appeal with its highbrow literary allusions. If psychology is more your thing, try her other memoir, Are You My Mother?
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
This book tells the story of two Mexican-American teens - Ari, an angry loner, and Dante, a quirky intellectual - who form a transformative bond and ponder over poetry, philosophy and life’s many mysteries. I haven’t gotten my hands on this one yet, but I’ve been told it’s one of those rare transcendent young adult books, emotionally resonant and masterfully crafted.
Israel/Palestine and the Queer International by Sarah Schulman
This latest work from the prolific author and longtime activist chronicles her travels through Tel Aviv and the West Bank and her growing consciousness of the occupation of Palestine. Read it for a knowledgeable queer perspective on a divisive topic.
Adaptation by Malinda Lo
There’s not much on this list for science aficionados, but hopefully some science fiction will suit you. Did you know Malinda Lo did graduate work on The X-Files? This novel, the first in a forthcoming series, has flavors of the 90s TV show and should delight fans of Mulder and Scully, creepy conspiracies, and queer representation in sci-fi lit.
Transgender History by Susan Stryker
For the history buffs - this concise text on transgender people in America between the mid twentieth century and early twenty-first puts trans communities and movements in historical context and offers a compact but comprehensive chronicle of our stories.
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A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She is Today by Kate Bornstein
This newest memoir is actually one of the few of Auntie Kate’s books that I haven’t read, but I couldn’t resist the Hufflepuff-yellow cover. Open, honest and compassionate, Bornstein’s books always feel like a big hug and kiss to outcasts everywhere.
Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Green might be the most famous living Puff since he proclaimed it on The Late Late Show. I’m not sure what Levithan’s sorting is, but this book - about two boys with one name, how people come together and how they drift apart - is definitely a good one for us sensitive badgers.
Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
I was tempted at first to prescribe this YA book to Ravenclaws, as its heroine, Astrid, is a philosophy nerd who regularly meets with her invisible friend Socrates. She does, however, nickname him Frank and compare him to a cute dog. Moreover, her questions are more of the heart than the head: How can I be seen for who I am? Why isn’t equality easy? Where can my love be safe?
10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert and Rex Ray
Need a bright dose of hope? Pick up this beautiful children’s book about a young trans girl who finds someone who believes in her dreams and appreciates her for just who she is.
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg
A great resource for shy or insecure Hufflepuffs who have trouble communicating, or badger activists who want to get their words across without invalidating anyone’s feelings and experiences. If you get too overwhelmed by conversation, I also recommend The Highly Sensitive Person.
Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
While I strongly prefer the Dangerous Angel books that focus on Witch Baby, Weetzie’s sunny but sensitive disposition is probably more Hufflepuff appropriate. Her naïveté fits perfectly with mainstream perceptions of Puffs, while her big deep loud love for her chosen family is reminiscent of Hufflepuff as I know it.
THIS. IS. AWESOME. Queer summer reading in between your re-read of Azkaban.
Every once in a while I get asked what it’s like to be a transman in college, and I am hesitant to answer because I started college before I transitioned. I’ve always felt like somehow that makes my experience inauthentic, because I can’t tell people about what it’s like to live in a boy’s dorm, or have to reveal my trans status to someone I was trying to hook up with, or how to go about being stealth on a large scale. But now that I’m graduating in a few days and looking back at my past four years at Ithaca College, both before and after I came out, I realize that there were a lot of valid struggles and a lot of triumphs I’m proud of that revolved around my transition.
I started college as an out “butch lesbian” who liked to skateboard to class and wear bandanas and cheap, dollar store knock-off Ray Bans, and apparently looked a lot more terrifying than I actually was. I met the girl who ended up being my roommate online, after choosing each other to live with because we were both queer and big fans of The L Word. For the first two years of college, that was my life. People knew me as my birth name, and I was pretty happy embracing all things lesbian. Maybe it’s the fact that I was already hanging out in a lot of queer social circles that made coming out as trans relatively easy.
At the beginning my junior year I slowly started coming out, and luckily lived off campus, so I didn’t have to worry about dorm rooms or gendered showers anymore. I did have to re-navigate bathrooms, though, so I located the handful of gender-neutral, single stalls on campus. While Ithaca does have more of these options than some other colleges, there were plenty of times that I’d have to walk way out of my way to go to the bathroom, or hold it until I got home. Even by the time I was completely out as trans, I was still hesitant to use men’s bathrooms. I was afraid that some random person I’d known vaguely from a liberal arts elective would recognize me, even with my short hair and the tiny beard I was attempting to grow. This was especially a problem in the music building, which is my school, where I KNEW people would know I was trans. For a while I would actually leave the building to use the bathroom because I was so terrified of getting called out. To this day, I have still only used the practice room bathrooms twice (the fact that neither of the stalls lock is also a factor).
Another challenge of coming out mid-college was my name. Even though all my friends were calling me Will, my transcript and every attendance roll had me marked down as my birth name. I spent the fall semester of my junior year getting called Will by my friends, and my birth name in class. Before the spring semester started, I emailed all my new professors to inform them of the situation, and asked them to use my preferred name. While this was great for the professors I had at the time, there were a few professors of past classes that I forgot to email. I frequently ran into my jazz professor on campus, and he would always greet me with my birth name. Embarrassed to correct him so late in the game, I started avoiding eye contact with him when we passed each other in the halls, in hopes that I could avoid the awkward interaction. Instead I just felt pretty rude.
There were other places that my pesky birth name showed up, like my email and the college’s information system. Luckily, Ithaca has a preferred name option, so after a few emails to the registrar, I didn’t have to be greeted by, “Hello, Awful Birth Name!” every time I logged into a school related site. Unfortunately, my student ID still had my birth name and an old picture of me, so for the rest of the year I had a few well-meaning cafeteria ladies who called me “miss” every time I bought a ham sandwich.
I think the fact that I was able to transition pretty painlessly in the middle of college says a lot about my friends. They had to switch my name and pronouns pretty much overnight, and accept the fact that the person they knew was not entirely who they had expected. I am proud to say that I didn’t lose any friends because of my transition, and didn’t hear any negative feedback about it. To the shock of no one, the only place I have ever had offensive things said to me is on the Internet. I know that I am extremely lucky to have the support of both my family and my friends, and that not every trans* person can say that.
It has also been a great experience making new friends this year after being on testosterone for a while. Some of the freshmen I’ve met had no idea I was trans until someone else told them, and to my knowledge, that did not change how they saw me. They were able to meet me as ME, and not with the baggage of remembering who I previously presented as.
I have met people through every step of my transition, and as I graduate, I feel I’m finally at a place where it is not only the people who surround me who love and accept me, but that I love and accept myself as well. And while I don’t NEED the validation of other people to affirm my gender, I will always be eternally grateful to the people who have never left my side.
Why Grey’s Anatomy’s New Story Arc Is A Pretty Big Deal
Note: If you aren’t caught up on this season of Grey’s Anatomy, there are possible spoilers ahead.
Why is it awesome to see LGBT characters behaving poorly (without being the stereotypical Meticulous Gay Man Villain?) Because it means we’re moving towards LGBT characters in TV just being characters like everyone else, with lots where they act like jerks or heroes or have a pastry by themselves without being merely The Queer Character and having just Queer Plotlines (marriage, babies, Groundbreaking Kisses.) Queer people are just people, and queer characters should be able to be queer characters without it being their end-all be-all. This Grey’s plotline shows mainstream shows are moving towards that, which is awesome.
Get tested regularly. Find your local health center.
Trans* rights in the United States. See a problem here?