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This is an email from The Digest, a newsletter by Prism & Pen.

Queer Writers Spill Movie Crush Secrets, Crush Currents Events with Queer Eyes

Prism & Pen Weekly — July 31, 2022

by James Finn

Prism & Pen got SLAMMED with subs for our queer crush prompt; week two continues with fascinating, nuanced personal stories about celebrity infatuation. Who knew this was such a rich vein to mine? Also this week, anti-LGBTQ hate groups export child abuse, a trans woman is crushing a race for sheriff, queer people ask writers to do their homework, and Esther Spurrill-Jones claps back at Christians trying to limit God’s love.

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— Editor’s Picks —

Should Straight People Write From a Queer Perspective?

Elle Beau ❇︎

When Elle read a friend’s novel, she spotted a problem with the author conflating trans people with drag queens. She took the opportunity to write about the importance of artists doing their representation homework.

Because this author doesn’t really understand the difference between taking part in drag and being transgender, she’s created a character who is really more of a caricature. As much as I’m enjoying this book, that part really rubs me the wrong way. I would never presume to write about someone else’s lived experience that I hadn’t had unless I’d done a lot of research …

Read in P&P

Pro-LGBTQ+ Christians Love Too Much, Says Focus on the Family

Esther Spurrill-Jones

Paul Batura of Focus on the Family says Christians who support marriage for same-sex couples are guilty of “sloppy agape,” or loving people too much, implying that Christians must work to force their views of marriage (and other moral issues) on society at large. Esther has some choice words for him!

I cannot see any of the fruit of the Spirit in such a mindset. As Christians, we are called to love first and foremost. There is nothing in the Bible about “sloppy agape.” In fact, wasn’t it “sloppy” of Jesus to forgive the soldiers who were in the process of torturing him to death?

Read in P&P

Christian Nationalists Exporting Child Abuse Through Homeschooling

Tyger Songbird

Speaking of Focus on the Family, they’re just one anti-LGBTQ hate group working together to export the American Evangelical practice of beating children. Tyger, a journalist with bylines in LGBTQ Nation and other queer press, brings his first story to P&P as he explores a network of extremist Christian groups in cahoots with Russian oligarchs, authoritarian regimes, and Brazil’s infamously gay-hating president.

The HSLDA is opposed to human rights for children.

The United States is the only country in the world that has not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which entered into force in 1990. The U.S. is also a haven for homeschooling, which was legalised across the 50 states in 1993, but remains largely unregulated.

The HSLDA takes credit for both.

Read in P&P

— Memoir —

Slammed: a Memoir

John Cormier

Meth and sex addiction wrecked John’s life, threatening a promising theater career, friendships, and family relationships. Then his dealers were arrested, he almost was, and he stopped meth cold turkey, “coming out” to friends and family to ask for their support. All’s well that ends well? Not so fast!

While cleaning my room and putting my life back together in my new found sobriety, I found a little jar that had fallen behind a piece of furniture. A jar I had once used to premix my meth slams. It still had a healthy amount of Tina residue inside, around the rim, and on the cap… Of course I didn’t throw it away.

I mean, it was a perfectly good little jar.

Read: Gay Meth Addict Jumps off the Wagon

— Essays and Creative Nonfiction —

Reading While Gay in the Sands of West Texas

Henry Lee Butler

That was the hook. Paul Atreides. Despite the fact that Frank Herbert didn’t write that character as a gay man, in my imagination there were plenty of opportunities for exploring that possibility. From the distance of thirty years, the self identification with the young Paul is clear. There is, or maybe was, a tendency in the Bible Belt for many young men to go through two phases …

Read in P&P

When I Paid to Advertise my LGBTQ Podcast, I Got a Shocking Response

Meagon Nolasco

This post wasn’t offensive. It was not over the top and it involved the misuse of LGBTQ+ symbolism more than it screamed LGBTQ+ support… 24 hours after boosting my post I went to check in on it. Wow, the shock I was in for.

Read in P&P

Shadows and Light in Gay San Francisco: “Golden Gate Dreams”

I finished reading Alex Stewart’s Golden Gate Dreams: A gay memoir of San Francisco a few days ago. I rarely write book reviews, but for this one I felt compelled.

It follows the journey of a boy who grew up in Australia during the sixties and seventies. He was becoming increasingly aware of his sexuality and experienced all the self-torture that came with suppressing that.

Read in P&P

Crushing my Queerness

Grayson Bell

My sexuality confused my gender identity. As you can tell by all the people I crushed on over the years, I am exclusively attracted to men. When I was very young, I didn’t realize that it was unusual for boys to have crushes on masculine people. So, I happily insisted I was a boy, while making heart eyes every time one of my crushes came on TV.

Read in P&P

The Men Who Melted Me: Queer Movie Crushes, Then And Now

Laurence Best

I looked at some men without realizing I was doing it that way. I remember entering the delightfully air-conditioned Lowe’s State Theater on Canal Street in New Orleans in the early sixties. There on the big screen miraculously appeared Troy Donahue, a blond, bronzed, blue-eyed heartthrob of the day. Something about the lock of hair tumbling down his forehead over his square jaw and piercing eyes captivated me as if melting something inside.

Read in P&P

I am a Transgender Fashionista

Kitty Whitemore

I don’t expect I will ever leave the house without being dressed cute or without makeup. It’s hard to explain. If I want to be gendered correctly and accepted for who I am, I feel like I need to reach a certain aesthetic. I don’t think I am cute enough to throw my hair in a ponytail and put on some sweats and go to the store. I would not feel comfortable doing that.

Read in P&P

Anti-LGBTQ Vandalism Near Me. Why Do They Hate Us So Much?

Esther Spurrill-Jones

Someone spray painted anti-LGBTQ+ slurs and misspelled Bible references across a rainbow crosswalk in Warman, Saskatchewan, Canada … A story like this reminds me that Canada is not immune from the anti-LGBTQ+ hatred boiling south of the border. There are bigots everywhere, and they really really hate us.

I truly cannot understand why they hate us so much. To hear them talk, you would think LGBTQ+ people are going to destroy the world. I don’t know about anyone else, but I want to save the world.

Read in P&P

Queer Panic: School Systems Kill Sex-Ed/Anti-Bullying as LGBTQ People Reel

James Finn

Miami Dade Public Schools, the 4th largest school system in the U.S., just succumbed to a wave of queer panic, rejecting a sex education textbook they had already approved last April. According to the Miami Herald, Wednesday’s 5–4 school-board vote will leave the district without a sex-ed curriculum for most or all of the upcoming school year.

Why?

The board reacted to pressure from the Florida’s new “Don’t Say Gay” or “Parental Rights in Education” law.

Read in P&P

My Husband of 41 Years Died. I Don’t Want Another Love Relationship.

Michael Horvich

“Now that you are a widow, are you looking for a new partner?”

This question, was asked of me again recently. Good naturedly, with love, and with sincere caring… but always unexpected. It caused me, in my explanation, to once again have to articulate my feelings which is not always easy to do.

Read in P&P

The Heart’s Rainbow Crossing. Coming to County Cork!

Fiona Evangeline Leigh

Pride week is coming to Cork city today, the 23rd of July 2022…

Dublin has always been the country’s favored daughter. Festooned in corkscrew ringlets and her Sunday best, she’s allowed to go play and compete with the other big girls on the world stage in a williwaw of rainbow flags and euphoric techno heartbeats. The world’s media gathers around like shutterbugs at a catwalk in Milan. Cork shies away to give Dublin her moment, applying her pan stick deep in the provinces, biding her time for her own moment to shine.

Read in P&P

LGBTQ+ Pride Means “Consciousness of One’s Dignity”

Rand Bishop

Most secular definitions of pride are directly linked to accomplishment. And, if our achievements were abetted by a healthy (not-narcissistic) ego, we have every right to enjoy a reasonable amount of pride… as long as we temper it with a dollop of humility and give credit where credit is due.

But Pride has another meaning…

Read in P&P

Periods and the One MTF Transgender Advantage:

Emma Holiday

Let’s get something out of the way, I wish I had periods. It would mean I was born as I was meant to be, a typical cisgender female. I wasn’t. I was born as a transgender female which means I don’t have periods therefore I can’t have children, a lifelong desire that is withheld from me.

Yes, I know all the advantages that I have, no cramps, no embarrassing accidents, no unnecessary sanitary products and the ultimate, I can’t get pregnant. Yet, I would accept all that in a second over a lifetime of gender dysphoria.

Read in P&P

Beverly LaSalle Made Me Gay, and Other Preposterous Ideas

Danni Michaeli

“All in the Family” and its many spin-offs retain their brilliance.

In 1975, one of the later seasons, a character named Beverly LaSalle first appeared. (I will refer to this charming character as “she.”) Beverly was a “female impersonator,” one of the quaint terms used at the time to describe a drag queen. I had forgotten that particular phrasing until preparing for this story, and reading it gave me a good chuckle.

Read in P&P

Movies and TV Affirmed My Bisexual Self To Me

Fay Wylde

The Prism & Pen writing prompt “My Queer Movie Crush” almost had me jumping up and down and doing a dance. This is a subject I had always wanted to write about, but never felt I had a good excuse to actually do it.

After all, it is an odd thing to write about, isn’t it?

It is in one sense an exercise in opening up my diary — the one with the padlock on it — and tossing some rather private and personal stuff out into public view.

Read in P&P

Harper Bliss’s Lesbian Romances Are Hot and Steamy but Talky Too

June Thomas

Recently, though, I discovered a new lesbian romance writer who is doing something different in her books — and I like it a lot.

On a recent trip, high-stress and exhausting rather than laid-back and relaxing, I found myself too wiped out to read. So I searched Libby, the library ebook and audiobook app, for new-to-me lesbian romances. That’s how I came across the work of Harper Bliss.

Read in P&P

Meet the Children Suing Florida Over Don’t Say Gay

James Finn

Until this year, their world was inclusive, filled with love and acceptance from friends and neighbors. Then Florida passed HB 1557, the so-called Don’t Say Gay law, and the script flipped.

Today, Matt and Jen struggle not to feel like unwanted aliens. They watch news accounts, aghast, as Floridians shout hatred and obscenities at school board meetings, directed at families like theirs, even at little kids like theirs. Yes, grownup Floridians are really cursing out children, some of them in elementary school, who speak up at school board meetings …

Read in P&P

Why I can’t ‘just be a feminine man’

Stephanie Moga

After a lifelong struggle with my gender, I gave up. I threw in the towel and did the unthinkable. I admitted I was a woman. It is that simple: I just wanted to connect my body with my soul. I tried my damnedest for the longest time to ‘keep a lid on it.’ Since then, some relatives have suggested I should walk away from this misguided adventure and live my life as a feminine man. This attitude shows an inherent lack of understanding and I just don’t get the whole concept.

Read in P&P

Christian Post Says Gender Equality is Madness, Cites “Transgenderism”

Esther Spurrill-Jones

Smith goes on to declare that “women are more naturally spiritual than men, [so] perhaps God has called men to lead so that, counterintuitively, they might be better followers.”

And I’m rolling my eyes. Smith is one of those misogynists who thinks women aren’t meant to lead.

He ends with this absurd statement: When godly women take on roles ordained for men, their “spiritual transgenderism” fuels the trans fire cooking unwary innocents who are being brainwashed to their harm.

Read in P&P

Gone With The Wind: My Queer Movie Crush Was a Noble Racist

JULIAN GRACIANO NUNEZ

How did I miss that my heartthrob was a noble racist?

As a young boy, I would recite Scarlett’s lines from the film “Gone With The Wind”. “Ashley, Oh Ashley”, pleaded Scarlett O’Hara, chin to his chest and filled with desire for the married George Ashley Wilkes.

Read in P&P

Hormone Replacement Therapy … All the Flavor!

Michelle Paquette

I couldn’t believe what I was tasting. This was so very, very good. A pulse of heat rippled through my body, radiating outward. I shuddered. I managed to set down my fork before I dropped it. That flavor rested in my mouth, on my tongue, and my body responded, repeatedly.

Yes, I think I was enjoying this meal very much.

My spouse was looking at me, head tilted slightly as she examined me, wondering why I was suddenly so quiet and almost frozen in place.

Read in P&P

America’s First Transgender Sheriff? Meet New York’s Jillian Hanlon!

James Finn

Children started sending panicked text messages to parents like Suzanne Mata, who rushed to the school, terrified.

Dutchess County Sheriff’s Deputy Jillian Hanlon rushed too — arriving within minutes to establish a joint command post, implementing “best practices” she had studied for years, taking charge of a chaotic situation. Because of her calm leadership and technical mastery, everyone got on the same page fast.

I spent 90 minutes on the phone yesterday with Jillian Hanlon, because she’s the first openly transgender person in the U.S. to mount a serious campaign for county sheriff.

Read in P&P

Our Transgender Trip Across the USA Started with a Flood in Kentucky!

Logan Silkwood

We’re driving across the country to move to a place that feels safer for us as a queer, trans, interracial polyamorous married couple. It’s painful to accept that a place that is a part of me doesn’t really want me, that no one in my biological family even asked for my new address. None of them know where we are going or what our trip has been like. That’s really painful, but it’s also a sign that it’s the right time to leave and start a new life elsewhere.

Read in P&P

The Day I Finally Admitted I Was A Transgender Female

Karyn Marie

I remember the day I finally admitted and accepted the fact that I am a transgender female. I have always known I was different and felt I was in the wrong body, but I did not want to admit that to myself. I did not have the courage to even consider it. I was born a boy, after all, and had spent my entire life trying to prove to myself that I was a boy.

I have suffered from depression all my life and really never understood why.

Read in P&P

— Fiction Series —

Anastasia the Nonbinary Dragon

Sieran Lane

Shape-morphing dragons and cows who spent part of their lives as humans. High fantasy or allegory? When dragons attack a family of milk cows with pesticide, the genres merge in my mind. This is a fantastic series!

Ero sucked in a breath. “What happens to other species?”

Anastasia looked away. “You don’t want to know. But just think about how humans treat animals, and how humans also treat each other. I had thought that, despite our fire and explosive fighting, the Valve dragons would never do something so deliberately damaging and exploitative. So I had to leave them.” Zir eyes looked weary, even sad.

Read: Chapter 4: Family Reunion

Take it on Faith: A Secret Asexual Traitor to Her Country

Valentine Wiggin

Valentine’s dystopian fiction series is set in the Empire, a future version of the United States where queer people either assimilate or flee.

Amalia said that she had her ways of avoiding death by machinery, but that not all kids were as lucky as she was. She personally picked out pieces of skin, bone, and organs from other kids who fell into the machines. The appointed orphanage mothers often said that it was easier for children’s hands to clean smaller machine parts.

Read: Labor camps and culture shock hit full force

— Poetry Picks —

Behind The Velvet Curtains: beautiful boys with butterfly wings and dragon hearts

Amae

It is all bonhomie and camaraderie.
Drinking in gentlemen’s clubs
Sipping champagne is all part of the game.
Educated at the ivory towers.

These are stories woven only for their eyes to see…

Read in P&P

Thanks for reading! Hey ,writers? Our movie crush prompt was a HUGE success thanks to your suggestions. Hit me up in comments again? Tomorrow is prompt day.

See y’all next Sunday! ❤

Jim

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James Finn

James Finn

James Finn is a columnist for the LA Blade, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, an alumnus of Act Up NY, and an agented but unpublished novelist.