Please take a moment to consider our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Chechnya

If you have somehow missed the horrorshow that is the current climate in Chechnya, gay and bisexual men (in particular, but I fear this is just the start) are being rounded up, tortured and killed for the simple fact that they are not straight.

This is terrifying. This is also unacceptable. Several writers and publishers of LGBT literature have decided to do something to raise money and awareness for this dreadful situation.

BOOKS SAVE LIVES

There’s no question that access to information is life-changing. But also as important (and something many don’t consider) is the fact that just seeing yourself represented can be life-changing. In some cases, it can save a person’s life.

We’re taking that idea and raising money to help our queer friends in Chechnya as best as we can. David Lowery is hosting a fundraiser and charity auction from May 5 – 12th, whose proceeds will benefit vetted LGBT charities for Russians under attack. I’ll be donating 3 signed copies of my books.

Please follow the link to see all of the amazing authors donating books and services and see how you can help our community.

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A pretty special reader review of Bitter Springs

“So often, queer stories set in the past, and even the present, are stories about pain and rejection, violence and untimely death. From a certain perspective Bitter Springs serves as a thesis statement, a way to change the conversation. There is a way to tell queer stories, our stories, in a way that shows the light at the end of the rainbow. It is possible that the story that we’ve been told over and over, that the queer journey is a journey of tragedy and loss, is somewhat like the titular springs – a story told so often, it appears to obscure all other possibilities, but just one story.

With Bitter Springs, Laura Stone is changing the conversation. We have had happy endings, we do have happy endings, and we will continue to have happy endings.”

It’s important to me, to my children, and to our fellow LGBTQ friends that a positive message replaces the sheer damage done by the sexual prohibition movement at the turn of the 20th Century, a message that continues to undermine progress.

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For every “but that isn’t realistic” comment or review I see historical LGBT books receive, a part of me crumples in frustration. It is. It is realistic. It is real. LGBT people had happy, long, loving lives, and it’s important that we stop erasing that. It’s important that we put a message of love and hope out in the world. It’s important that we remember that the lies we’ve been told for 100 years, lies that at best pushed people back into the closet and at worst have led to awful, ugly deaths at the hands of bigots and zealots, it’s important we remember that LGBT people have had opportunities in the past to lead happy, loving lives, accepted by their families.

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Thank you so much for this beautiful review, and for adding a message of hope out into the world.

(And there’s a reason why all of the queer stories of the 20th century ended in suffering and tragedy, but that’s a conversation for a different day. Today: let’s remember all the queer couples who were able to love each other and go to bed every night content in that love.)

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Just guys being dudes. Dudes being guys.

More on the straight-washing (and white-washing) of the Old West, including a bibliography

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Straight (and white) -washing of the Old West

My dad’s side of the family is filled with bona fide cowboys, ranchers and farmers, their established lives out west going back to the late 1840s when my great-great-grandfather converted to Mormonism and took his young bride to the Promised Land. He became a High Priest in Salt Lake City, was a choir master, landed more than one wife–several were his sopranos–a whole lot of land for sheep, and established our family’s Western roots.

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One of my uncles was the President of the National Rodeo Association and hermits his days out on his sprawling Wyoming ranch. Another uncle and his wife (goat roping and barrel racing queen, I thank you) have their quiet ranch with all of their animals out in the Unitas. Their lives have been anything but easy–managing land and animals never is–but they’ll be the first to tell you how those moments of solitude astride a horse who trusts you is one of the great things in life.

I say all of this because when I told my dad–who grew up on a farm/ranch in the middle of nowhere, Utah and remembers watching his dad get double back-hoofed right in the chest by a pissed off bull–that I was writing about gay cowboys (well, mesteñeros) who lived back in the 1800s, he laughed and said there weren’t any.

Welp. That’s not true.
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