GLBT Reading Challenge
Another challenge! I’m just full of them today. I’m trying to get everything organized so that I know what I need to be reading throughout the year, and you wouldn’t believe how many links I have! I found this one through Laughing Stars, who is also participating: the GLBT Reading Challenge.
It sounds excellent:
“The basic idea of this challenge is to read books about GLBT topics and/or by GLBT authors.
The challenge runs year-round, and there will be three levels of participation:
- Lambda Level: Read 4 books.
- Pink Triangle Level: Read 8 books.
- Rainbow Level: Read 12 or more books.
You don’t need to choose your books right away, and they can change at any time. Overlaps with other challenges are fine.“
Since I’m doing research for a couple of upcoming novels which have gay protagonists, I’ve been reading around the topic already. So far I’ve read two books that I think qualify for the challenge:
- Child of My Right Hand — Goodman, Eric (my rating: 5/5 stars)
- The God Box — Sanchez, Alex (my rating: 2/5 stars)
I’ve already posted reviews of both on Goodreads, but I’ll copy them here tomorrow. They’re not very involved, but they’re a start. Two down, ten more to go!
The challenge also involves monthly mini-challenges. This month’s requests that participants write a paragraph or two about why this challenge/topic is important to them.
- Why this challenge/topic is important to me:
I’ve already mentioned that I’m at least partly motivated by the need to do research for a couple of novels of my own. I’m not a published author (yet!) – I just write for my own enjoyment and edification – but I realized recently that I have written absolutely no stories which have featured GLBT characters, even in peripheral roles. In part, this was because of my own blindness; I live in a hetero-normative culture, nobody I know is (openly?) gay, and I myself had a very sheltered childhood, to the point where I only heard about homosexuality by accident when I was around fourteen, or possibly older. In addition, it took me a long time to feel comfortable with the idea – I admit, it completely rocked my world for a while – and even longer to assimilate the fact that gay people really did exist or to consider homosexuality as ‘normal’.
This is why this challenge is important to me.
I think if someone had been able to sit me down and explain, quite simply, what it meant to be homosexual and that gay people are no better or worse than anyone else, a lot of my fears and insecurities would have vanished. Had there been more books available that depicted gay relationships (at all!), I’m sure I would have easily assimilated the idea, since I was an avid reader from the beginning. But nobody did, and I read virtually nothing that even hinted at homosexuality. So it shocked me.
It wasn’t until I grew older and started to challenge my own reaction to GLBT people that I started to realize how difficult such attitudes must make their lives. The more I read about people being executed for their sexuality, or beaten, or ostracized, or discriminated against, or any of a thousand other terrible things, the more I realized the need for open-mindedness and understanding; two qualities which I believe are fostered by books like those we will be reading for this challenge.
Less significantly, my own blindness and lack of variation came as a surprise to me. As an author, I enjoy conflict, and love nothing more than writing about the various aspects of the human condition. I therefore decided that it was time to redress the balance and challenge my own invisible boundaries.
I am delighted to get involved in this challenge as a way of supporting the GLBT community and finding some new and interesting books. More, I hope that this will help to promote books featuring GLBT characters so that more people will be able to understand that diversity doesn’t have to be frightening, and thereby reduce the prejudice GLBT people will face in the future.