This week on my blog, we’re trying something a little different. In honor of LGBT Pride month, I am among a great group of panelists who will be hosting a month long discussion about Pride, LGBT Youth, Allies, and more. Our panelists are a diverse group of readers, writers, and supporters of gay fiction, including Larry Benjamin, Rick Bettencourt, Brandilyn Carpenter, Rob Colton, Andrew Q Gordon, Lane Hayes, Debbie McGowan, and Brandon Shire. Each week, two people will answer two questions related LGBT pride, rights, and related topics. We will also be giveaway free copies of eBooks by our participating authors and a Amazon gift card. You can enter on the RC below. There are special entries for each week of June, so don’t miss out on those.
Please join in the discussion in the comments. You can gain entries into the giveaway, but more importantly, you can be part of a important and fun discussion. Though only 2 panelists will be posting each week, we will all be joining the discussion. Visit this week’s other guest panelist, Rick Bettencourt.
This Week’s Discussion
What does “gay pride” mean to you?
As a proud mother of a gay son I believe a sense of Pride starts at home. I watched my son from a young age take note of the ways he was different than other boys. I witnessed him withdraw when he felt rejected or shunned. When he came out to his father and me at age eighteen (2 years ago) he was afraid of our reaction. He knew we loved him but was nervous his revelation might change things. I wanted to roll my eyes and tell him not to be so dramatic. I’d been waiting at least two years for him to come out! But this wasn’t about me. It was about him accepting himself and hoping he still had a place in his family. My husband and I assured him nothing had changed. He’s ours and we’re unbelievably proud of the man he’s becoming. Now it’s time for him to be proud of himself. He isn’t always. Though he knows he’s loved and supported, he doubts himself and isn’t always comfortable walking in his gay shoes.
Pride is about celebrating yourself. Not the you who has found a way to fit in but the person you are at the core. My son is a work in progress, but aren’t we all? I know he gets closer to accepting himself a little more every day. My job is to be there, to support by listening or occasionally by offering advice (he’s just out of his teens, so you know how that goes…), and whenever I can, by being an advocate for LGBT rights.
Do you think gay pride events are still necessary?
Yes! A million times, yes! Visibility is a key component in acceptance and although great strides have been made, there is still a long way to go. Complacency or the desire to rest on the laurels of the accomplishments made so far would be a blow to LGBT youth. It’s vitally important for kids to know they aren’t alone; to know there are people out there just like them who are wonderful, goal-driven, responsible citizens.
Silence is death. Don’t be quiet. Be loud, be proud. Wear the colors of the rainbow and march in a parade with other LGBT people and the people who love and support them. I will be attending my first ever Pride in San Francisco next weekend with my husband and our gay son. I’m thrilled, my husband doesn’t know what to expect, and I have a feeling our son will want to ditch us within an hour. But the point of us going in the first place won’t be diminished in any way. We’re his support. We are the people who love him most of all. We want him to take Pride.
About our Panelists
Larry Benjamin: Bronx-born wordsmith Larry Benjamin, is the author of the gay novels, Unbroken, and What Binds Us and the short story collection Damaged Angels. Larry will be hosting the discussion starting 9 June 2014
Rick Bettencourt: Rick Bettencourt is the author of NOT SURE BOYS, PAINTING WITH WINE and TIM ON BROADWAY. Rick hates to cook, and can often be seen eating out. He lives in the Tampa Bay area, with his husband and their dog, Bandit. Rick will be hosting the discussion starting 23 June 2014
Brandilyn Carpenter: Brandilyn is the odd duck in this group. She owns an LGBTQ fiction focused review blog, Prism Book Alliance, and is the married mother of 3 young children. She is an advocate for equal rights and tirelessly promotes the gay fiction genre. Brandilyn will be hosting the discussion starting 16 June 2014
Rob Colton: Rob Colton is a software developer by day, and avid reader of romance novels at night. A romantic at heart, he loves stories that feature big, burly men who find true love and happy endings. Rob will be hosting the discussion starting 16 June 2014
Andrew Q Gordon: Andrew Q. Gordon lives in the DC Metro area with his husband and 2 year old daughter. While he enjoys most types of fiction, his current works include MM Fantasy, Paranormal and Contemporary Fiction. Andrew will be hosting the discussion starting 2 June 2014
Lane Hayes: Lane Hayes is a M/M author, 2013 Rainbow Award finalist for her first release Better Than Good, designer, reader, lover of chocolate, red wine & clever people. Lane will be hosting the discussion starting 23 June 2014
Debbie McGowan: Debbie McGowan is based in Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven fiction, runs an independent publishing company, and lectures in social science. Sometimes she sleeps, too! Debbie will be hosting the discussion starting 2 June 2014
Brandon Shire: Brandon Shire writes fiction about human intimacy and interactions. He loves chocolate and is a staunch advocate for homeless LGBT youth. Brandon will be hosting the discussion starting 9 June 2014
Prizes (4 winners):
$ 10 Amazon GC, eBook Listening to Dust by Brandon Shire, & eBook Not Sure Boys by Rick Bettencourt
$ 10 Amazon GC, eBook Painting with Wine by Rick Bettencourt, & eBook from Andrew Q Gordon’s backlist
$ 10 Amazon GC, eBook Unbroken by Larry Benjamin, & eBook Champagne by Debbie McGowen
$ 10 Amazon GC, eBook from Rob Colton’s backlist, & eBook from Lane Hayes’ backlist