“I know we’ve come so far, but we’ve got so far to go…”

June 26th is a good day to be gay!

As I was walking out of the house this morning, my dad called me, bursting with news that I hadn’t expected to hear until early next week. He wanted to make sure I knew right away that the world was becoming a better place for me and my wife and the rest of the LGBT community. He was thrilled to be the one to tell me and I was so touched to hear how excited he was.

LGBT folks have to fight for their own freedom, but we couldn’t have made the strides we’ve made without having some wonderful allies in our corner. So, today’s a day to celebrate how far we’ve come, but I think it’s also a day to thank the people who helped you get there.

So, here’s to us, LGBT friends, and here’s to our wonderful friends, families, and allies.

But I’d caution us all to remember that tomorrow, when we wake up, we’ll still have battles to fight and ignorance to try and eradicate. We have much to do before we can claim that all citizens are equal in the USA. We’ve won a major battle, but the war on intolerance and prejudice and bigotry is far from over.

As for me, I’m dreaming of a day when coming out won’t be necessary, let alone one of the scariest experiences some of us have. I’m looking forward to a day when no one is bothered if a transgender person uses the bathroom of the gender they identify with. I’m waiting for the day when no kid gets physically attacked for being gay. I want to witness the day when discrimination is just this thing that happened way back when people were still learning how to accept each other and love without prejudice. There’s going to come a time when the idea of tolerance is antiquated because the idea of homophobia will be so archaic that we won’t need to teach people that they have to deal with each others differences, because they just won’t be that important.

I don’t know if I’ll live to see that day, but I’m hopeful. I’d like to live in the kind of country where I can walk hand in hand with my wife with no fear, no matter what region/state/neighborhood we’re walking through.

Still, despite the challenges that remain, I’m going to bed tonight feeling just a bit more welcome in the country I call home and that’s worth celebrating.

Happy LGBT Pride Month, my friends! And here’s to many more years of victories to celebrate.

empire_state_of_pride_by_eldru-d6bafh5

Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic…

I’ve been working on a new project this month that I’m very excited about, but I’m determined not to use it as an excuse to neglect my other endeavors. Instead, I’ll just take you guys along for the ride!

I’m starting work on my first middle reader novel. It is also my first totally fictional effort. I’m not bad with the semi-autobiographical, but this is new territory for me so I’m pretty nervous about it.

I’m working on a story that features an LGBTQ protagonist. Shouldn’t actually be all that groundbreaking, but there is a huge dearth of LGBTQ friendly books for kids who have graduated from easy chapter books but aren’t necessarily ready for most of YA. And that’s sad. Because the need is there. Kids are coming out earlier and earlier and finding no literary representation. No one is telling their stories. These kids don’t need the sex and the intense, life changing relationships of YA, but they do need someone to tell them it is totally normal if you’re a boy who wants to hold the hand of another boy or a girl who is crushing harder on Taylor Swift than on Taylor Lautner. Even more than that, they need to see that these LGBTQ characters do the same things normal characters do. They go to the mall and tell jokes and play sports and drink Frappucinos. They get in trouble and win science fairs and dance awkwardly at school functions. And it’s not just LGBT kids that need these books. ALL kids need to see diversity in their literature.

I’m sending in a sample of this new project to apply for a diversity grant. The grant helps support diverse writers while they are creating diverse books, but more than that, for me I think it would be confirmation that I am on the right track with this.

All my fingers and toes are crossed for good news!

What about all of you awesome readers? What’s a book you would have liked to read in middle school that didn’t (and maybe still doesn’t) exist? Let’s discuss!