A humorous look at potential advertising. With many companies now getting on the bandwagon to support GLBTQ citizens and youth, perhaps a new ‘safer sex’ campaign is in the works.


2011 Lambda Literary Award Winners

Congratulations  to the 23rd Annual Lambda Literary Award Winners

Lesbian Fiction

Inferno (A Poet’s Novel), by Eileen Myles, OR Books

Gay Fiction

Union Atlantic, by Adam Haslett, Doubleday

Lesbian Debut Fiction

Sub Rosa, by Amber Dawn, Arsenal Pulp Press

Gay Debut Fiction

Bob the Book, by David Pratt, Chelsea Station Editions

Lesbian Memoir/Biography (TIE)

Hammer! Making Movies Out of Sex and Life, by Barbara Hammer, The Feminist Press

Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures, by Julie Marie Wade, Colgate University Press

Gay Memoir/Biography

Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist and Sexual Renegade, by Justin Spring, Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Lesbian Mystery

Fever of the Bone, by Val McDermid, HarperCollins

Gay Mystery

Echoes, by David Lennon, Blue Spike Publishing

LGBT Anthology

Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, edited by Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman, Seal Press

LGBT Children’s/Young Adult

Wildthorn, by Jane Eagland, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

LGBT Drama

Oedipus at Palm Springs, by The Five Lesbian Brothers: Maureen Angelos, Dominique Dibbell, Peg Healey, and Lisa Kron, Samuel French, Inc.

LGBT Nonfiction

King Kong Theory, by Virginia Despentes, The Feminist Press

LGBT SF/Fantasy/Horror

Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories, by Sandra McDonald, Lethe Press

LGBT Studies (TIE)

Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism, by Scott Herring, New York University Press

Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality, by Gayle Salaman, Columbia University Press

Bisexual Fiction

The Lunatic, the Lover and the Poet, by Myrlin Hermes, Harper Perennial

Bisexual Nonfiction

Border Sexualities, Border Families in Schools, by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli,Rowman & Littlefield

Transgender Fiction

Holding Still For as Long as Possible,by Zoe Whittall, House of Anansi Press

Transgender Nonfiction

Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community, edited by Noach Dzmura, North Atlantic Books

Lesbian Erotica

Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Butch/Femme Erotica, edited by Tristan Taormino, Cleis Press

Gay Erotica

Teleny and Camille, by Jon Macy, Northwest Press

Lesbian Poetry

The Nights Also, by Anna Swanson, Tightrope Books

Gay Poetry

Pleasure, by Brian Teare, Ahsahta Press

Lesbian Romance

River Walker, by Cate Culpepper, Bold Strokes Books

 Gay Romance

Normal Miguel, by Erik Orrantia, Cheyenne Press

Congratulations to all of the 2011 Lambda Literary Award winners!

For more information visit The Lambda Literary Awards website.

Confused in the Gay Community

Recently while surfing websites, I encountered, what I initially thought was a typo, but I soon discovered I was incorrect. Being an OUT gay male since, well, let’s just say, a very long time, I’ve been called a “sissy”, “fag”, “queer”, “homo” along with a long string of other derogatory and degrading names. Being a member (in-good-standing) of the gay community, what exactly do I call myself? Well, the initials GLBT came into play, an initialism for: Gay Lesbian Bi-sexual Transgender. So, for a number of years I was content  being a GLBT person. Then, along came the addition of the letter “Q”. WTF?

Okay, so the gay community is embracing those individuals who consider themselves as either “Queer” or “Questioning”. That makes perfect sense, after all, the gay community is an all inclusive community of those who do not fit the traditional heterosexual profile. But when I encountered LGBTQ, I was more than a bit confused, was this a typo or had my community changed it’s initials? Had I missed the memo? I checked my junk email and found nothing there. Maybe my email address needed to be updated so I wouldn’t  miss getting important gay community memos. I am sure my GAY CARD has not expired.

My quest began, to discover what is LGBT? Beginning in Google Search,  I was bombarded with an entire page of links relating to LGBT. WOW! Studying each link, I found Wikipedia had the best explanation for the foreign letters in question:

LGBT (or GLBT) is an initialism used since the 1990’s as a self-designation by what was formerly known as the “gay community”. It refers collectively to “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” people. In use since the 1990’s, the term “LGBT” is an adaptation of the initialism “LGB”, which itself started replacing the phrase “gay community” beginning in the mid-to-late 1980’s, which many within the community in question felt did not accurately represent all those to whom it referred.

The term LGBT is intended to emphasize a diversity of “sexuality and gender identity-based cultures” and is sometimes used to refer to anyone who is non-heterosexual instead of exclusively to people who are homosexual, bisexual, or transgender. To recognize this inclusion, a popular variant adds the letter Q for those who identify as queer and questioning their sexual identity (e.g., “LGBTQ” or “GLBTQ”, recorded since 1996).

 From now on, I promise to be more diligent in monitoring my email, I don’t wish to miss those important memos. Note to the Gay Community Board of Directors: Please tag future email correspondence as IMPORTANT, so to get my attention and I will not be left in the dark.  Thank you.

Pardon me, is that my arm or your foot?

Okay, I’m nestled comfortably on the sofa, my nose buried in between the pages of my current gay romance novel. The story is moving along and I’m thoroughly engrossed in the plot when suddenly, the author tosses the characters into a steamy sex scene. Oooh, now it’s getting juicy… until one man throws his arms around the neck of the other, while he’s kneeling on the floor, in front of his standing partner. Either the standing partner is a very short person or the one on the floor has exceedingly long octupus like arms. Hold everything! Putting the book down, I mentally picture this scene in my mind, it’s humanly impossible! Continuing to read, I still have this nagging question in the back of my head. WTF was the author thinking when he/she wrote the scene in question?

Thankfully, I haven’t encountered too many of these contortionist scenes, but when they do happen, the flow of the story hits a definite road block. Put out the barracads and flashing yellow lights, traffic is slowed down to a crawl, bumper to bumper, edging my way back onto the road and back into the story. These small oversights can make a good read into a mediocre read. Had the author taken the time to evalute the characters limbs and/or positions when writing the scene, he/she may have eliminated the choppy waves and the reader would have experienced smooth sailing through the completion of the novel.

So, authors, if we can’t physically get into the positions that we describe in our writing, don’t write it. Yes, we are writing fiction, but unless the characters are contortionists or have octopus arms, let’s keep it a bit more real, our readers (and our stories) will benefit from the realism.

Million Dollar Question: Why would women write stories about gay men?

A new book, A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire, authored by computational neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam shed some light on the growing female popularity of M/M Romance novels.

Here are some of their findings:

“Women prefer stories to visual porn by a long shot. The most popular erotica for women is the romance novel. That has more punch than any other kind of erotica. The second most popular would be fan fiction. This is something that has really exploded on the Internet. These are stories written by amateurs, mostly women, about characters from pop culture, movies, books, etc. Another popluar sub genre is Slash Fiction. Stories about two male characters are very popular. But the most popular fan fiction is about Harry Potter by a wide margin, followed by Twilight.”

“There are two reasons why women prefer stories, while men prefer visuals. Both come down to fundamental differences between the male sexual brain and the female sexual brain. One of the most basic differences is that the male brain responds to any single sexual stimulus. A nice chest, two girls kissing, older women — if that’s what they’re attracted to. Any one thing will trigger arousal in a male.

Female desire requires multiple stimuli simultaneously or in quick succession. It takes more stimuli and more variety of these stimuli to trigger genuine arousal.
For a guy, the most common form of [masturbation material] is a 60-second porn clip. For a woman, it can be a 250-page novel or a 2,000-word story. That’s the way to get multiple stimuli. Stories have greater flexibility to offer a greater variety of stimuli.

In male erotica, sex appears in the first one-quarter of the story [or film]. For women, it’s halfway in. There’s more time to develop the character before sex.”

“Another fundamental difference between men and women — perhaps the most important defining difference — is that in the male brain, physical and psychological arousal are united. If a man is physically turned on, he’s mentally turned on too.

With women, physical arousal and mental arousal are separate. [Research finds that women get physically aroused sometimes even when they find the situation disgusting.] The female brain is designed to be cautious, most likely because historically the woman who slept with the first guy she met might have a harder time raising children; he might not stick around. Women are designed to be cautious and gather more information.

That’s why fan fiction is all about exploring the emotions and character of the hero. In romance novels, the heroine learns about the secret inner life of the hero. That’s especially true in slash: that’s doubling up. There are two men — two masculine, strong alpha males who reveal their tender side. The emotional process of revealing true character is what’s so appealing to women.”

The Million Dollar Question, Why would women write stories about gay men?
“For women in slash fiction, it’s the psychological cues of a man’s character, stature, passion and emotional communication — slash doubles those.”

To Read more:
Excerpts from: Mind Reading: The Researchers Who Analyzed All the Porn on the Internet
By Maia Szalavitz Thursday, May 19, 2011