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Posts Tagged ‘Articles’

This past Thursday people in the U.S. celebrated Thanksgiving, that holiday where you stuff yourself silly while sitting with your family and friends, watch a football game while shouting at the TV, and pass out on the sofa at 4 in the afternoon in a turkey-induced coma.

At least, if you’re lucky, you get to do those things. If you’re privileged enough to have enough money to throw an expensive banquet, or have relatives who do have money. I’m lucky enough to have an overabundance of family wanting to throw Thanksgiving feasts. I usually go to three or four every year, between in-laws and divorced parents. This year, I barely managed lunch down the hall at my mom’s thanks to a particularly horrendous stomach bug. It was probably the first Thanksgiving where I lost five pounds instead of gaining it.

But lying in bed with stomach cramps gives you lots of time to think, partly about what I could have possibly eaten in the past ten years that could make me feel this bad. I also thought a lot about what I’m thankful for every day, and what I take for granted because of my skin color or my age or my physical ability.

I’m grateful to be able to afford my bills at the moment, something I’ve been struggling with pretty much since I turned 18. I’m grateful for the help of my friends and especially my family, who’ve managed to keep us from living on someone’s sofa through sheer force of will sometimes. I’m grateful for my healthy, intelligent, beautiful son, who amazes me every day just by existing. Then he wakes up and it’s even more awesome. I’m grateful for my own health, physical and mental, especially after the help I’ve received on the mental health front this year.

I’m grateful for the understanding of my family, but especially my husband, who has been through so much with me this year, including that mental health crisis and me finally coming out as a lesbian. He’s my best friend.

Some things I take for granted.

I take for granted being able to pass as straight, for one thing. It’s a hell of a lot easier for me, especially because I’m currently married to a man, to pass. I don’t even have to think about it, 95% of the time. I take for granted being seen as intelligent, because I’m white and dress well and had access to the best high school in my city because of where my mother could afford to live. I take for granted being seen as a responsible mother because I’m white and good looking.

I take for granted being able to get out of bed in the morning without assistance because I’m able-bodied. I take for granted being able to ask for and get assistance from my government in times of need because I’m white and a legal citizen and able to vote. I take for granted being able to vote. I take for granted being able to read because I had access to a free education. I take for granted having access to free books through my library system. I take for granted feeling safe walking down the street. I take for granted the ability to say how and who and when someone else has access to my body.

There are a million things a day that I don’t even think about, that other people have to strive and fight for every day. I can’t even begin to name them all. I can only try to even things out as best I can, by talking about those issues, by supporting others in my community, and by acknowledging my privilege.

I’m thankful for so much in my life, but probably not for enough of it. What have you learned to be grateful for? What have you taken for granted recently?

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Why do I ask authors about discrimination?

A few comments over on Tanya Huff’s Livejournal brought something to my mind. Some of her fans seemed concerned with the types of questions I asked her in our recent interview, mainly those dealing with whether Ms. Huff has experienced discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation, both of herself and her characters. These are questions I have posed to every author I’ve interviewed so far, either based around race, gender, or orientation.

Why do I ask such prying questions? Why don’t I stick to the fan favorite questions about writing, storytelling, and their beloved characters? For one thing, many of these authors have been interviewed at least a few times before, so the answers to those tried and true questions are already out there. I do try to cover some of those bases in my interviews, because I find those topics interesting myself. However, as fascinating as I find the writing process of any author and as much as I enjoy talking about it with these great writers, what my blog is focused on is feminism, anti-racism, and LGBT issues. So yes, I do ask questions related to those topics, because that’s what I, and my readers, are interested in.

I’ve written before that there are still large prejudices contained within the Speculative Fiction genre. You can read my thoughts on this in my “Speculative Fiction is Still for Children” article. It was basically my call to action for lovers of great and diverse fiction. I can’t not respond to my own rallying call. If I ask uncomfortable questions, it’s because there are sometimes uncomfortable truths that people don’t like to talk about. So far, most of my questions on discrimination have been answered in the negative. Ms. Huff, for instance, did not feel that her gender and sexuality, and those of her characters, made it difficult for her to get published. She has enjoyed a very long and successful career as a writer.

And I could not be happier. I’m ecstatic that some of my favorite authors found it (relatively speaking) painless getting published. It has not always been so. There are real reasons why some of spec fic’s first female authors worked under male-sounding pseudonyms. There are still very few well known authors of color within the genre, and still few characters of color in published stories. It’s a treasure to find LGBT characters within a science fiction or fantasy story, because they are still so rare.

I ask because I want to know, and I ask because I think it’s important for well-known public figures to be seen talking about these topics. Enough people have come to the blog for just the interviews that I know I’m reaching people I haven’t before. If even one or two of them starts thinking about things in a way they never have before, it’s worth it to me, even if I make some people uncomfortable. I give the authors every opportunity to not answer my questions, and it makes me very happy that every one so far has been willing to discuss these difficult subjects.

If my questions make you uncomfortable, or my topics make you squeamish, maybe you should examine your own thoughts on these subjects. I’m not out to prove anything, negatively or positively, but I am out to bring the situation to others’ attention. That’s important to me, and it’s the point of my blog. I’m out to make people think and examine their own feelings. That’s why I ask these questions.

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examiner_logo-headerThanks to eXaminer.com I am pleased to announce that I will be covering local (and sometimes national) LGBTQ events for the Fort Worth area. I will be posting article teasers here on my blog, and you’ll be able to click over and read the full pieces on my examiner page.

This is a great way for me to get the word out about events in Fort Worth, while earning a little extra money and getting some good bylines. If you have any suggestions or upcoming events you’d like to let me know about, leave a comment here or use my contact page.

I’m really excited about this, and I hope to be an asset to the LGBT community in Fort Worth. My first article, covering the Fort Worth Family Pride Picnic, should be up soon.

Thanks,
Bonnie

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