The Fabulous Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia

HAHAT 2014

First, a HUGE shout out to the folks at The Day Against Homophobia – you can find them HERE.

Another HUGE shout out to the organizers of the Annual Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia – this was a ginormous undertaking and you can find them HERE.

As a participant I’ll be giving away the winner’s choice of EITHER Santa Claus is Coming (available from eXtasy Books), OR the sequel (tentatively called) Toy Testing in Santa’s Workshop (slated to come from eXtasy in late July – hot off the presses to the winner – blurb to come this week!) To win, you must comment on today’s post HERE on the blog. (There are two more planned posts this week – if my guest posters get off their heineies -coff, AUBRY,coff- and send me stuff!) Winners will be chosen on the 24th from comments on today’s  post, though feel free to comment on anything related that finds its way onto my blog between now and then.)

I generally approach this Hop as a teacher – now a former teacher – and I believe with all my heart that the best and surest way we will ever eradicate both homophobia and transphobia is by educating our kids. In the past I’ve written about my students. This year I’m going to let parent speak for me. My very dear friend has a son who is roughly the size of a mountain, and who is gay. He’s grown now, and I HOPE living a fabulous life with people who love and accept him as he is, but high school for him? Not such a wonderful place. Here’s one family’s experience – it has a happy ending, in the “Shakespeare” definition of happy endings: No one died. But, God. We should want so much more than that for our kids.

My son is gay.


And I don’t mean happy. He’s seldom happy, but I think that’s standard issue for young people today.


In high school it was worse. My son is extremely strong-willed. He’s never been afraid to tell anyone the truth, and that included his sexual orientation. And high school kids are bastards on the whole. They will say or do anything, no matter how heinous, to hurt the kids who are different.


So my son became a target.


Now, my son isn’t a small guy. In the 8th grade, he could have picked me up and set me on the kitchen counter. By his freshman year he was 6’1″ and pushing 300 lbs.


You might think this would work in his favor, but it didn’t. It made his teachers less willing to help him.


“He’s a big boy,” they would say.

“He can take care of himself,” they would say.


Until he actually DID defend himself.


Then all I heard was, “He can’t fight in school; we’ll expel him.”


This went on for a couple of school years. The first half of the year, he was bullied because “he could take care of himself”.


We’d have meetings.


Then, the second half of the year, he’d defend himself.


And we’d have more meetings. Suspensions. Threats of expulsion.


By his junior year I was fed up. I told his Vice Principal that either they would protect my son, or he would protect himself and I would find a lawyer willing to destroy a school district.


All this helped. For a couple of months. Then it started back up.


“The teachers don’t have time to follow your son around.”

“If they didn’t see it, they can’t do anything about it.”

“We can’t be everywhere.”

“Can’t he deal with this himself?”


Things came to a head halfway through his junior year. We got a call from the school. My son had been to the school counselor, talking about suicide.


I guess that’s the magic word in a public school.


It’s okay when a student gets relentlessly picked on, teased, and bullied. That’s just “part of being a teen these days”. But a suicide threat? Oh, heaven forbid! That kind of thing could bring bad press to a school district.


Now everyone wanted to get involved, but by that point nothing they could do could help my son be comfortable or happy at that school.


So, he packed up his possessions and moved to Kentucky, thinking that with a new school and a new start, he could get through.


Not a chance.


As I mentioned earlier, kids can be bastards. And school officials often don’t care as long as it doesn’t affect them personally.


I thank God often that my son chose to drop out of high school and get his GED rather than commit suicide, but I find it so sad that it had to come to that. That our children can’t be kept safe in the schools that we all pay for, even as we’re told that “they are doing all they can”. [VJ’s addition: Yes. All they can. While Administration talks and talks and produces, in another Shakespeare moment, “sound and fury, signifying NOTHING” for these desperate kids.] I’m here to tell you that they aren’t. There are teachers who care, but they seem to be getting fewer and farther between by the year. [VJ’s addition: Yeah, it’s incredibly demoralizing to have your hands utterly tied in the face of the bullying we see but are allowed to do nothing but give warnings and write referrals that are never acted on…]


My son is happier these days, but his high school years still effect many things in his life.






He is always waiting for the next bully to show up, the next person to yell “fag”, or “homo”, or worse. Because it’s inevitable. Because so many parents can’t be bothered to teach their kids right ffrom wrong, and their kids grow up to be just as big of bastards as adults.


My son is a high school drop out, but he’s ALIVE, and working toward happiness and learning to deal with life as it comes.

VJ’s Top 10 New to Me Books ‘n Authors of 2013

I am so damned slow. Seriously.

Okay, so you’re gonna *eventually* get TWO WHOLE POSTS from me tonight! Because I had my Christmas with the Kid today – there’s a story I’ll have to share some day when I’m feeling all emotionally available – I’m much later posting ANYTHING than I’d planned. Also, much like yesterday’s 12 Days post, today’s is gonna have a bonus, cuz I wanna tell you about my top ten favorite New-to-Me Authors of 2013, but there’s only 9 days left in the year!

So – let’s get started!

10 – Easy Ryder by Deanna Wadsworth



Deanna Wadsworth (check out her AWESOME Blog HERE) should NOT have been a new to me author. I owned several of her books – she’s got an awesome freebie featuring bears (not the kind in the woods, either!), did a really fun m/m take on Little Red Riding Hood, and a FABULOUS version of Sleepy Hollow, which you MUST get if you haven’t already, and you love the show. But somehow, I’d never actually read anything of hers, no matter HOW much she cluttered up my eLibrary! Then I hung out with her at Detroit, then Toledo Pride, and the woman is just fricking FANTASTIC. So, of course, I *liked* her, so I wanted to support her, and then she described her first Dreamspinner release, Easy Ryder.

If you even try to tell me the cover alone isn’t enough to seduce you into buying it, I’m gonna call you a liar! But, if you need more, here’s the blurb:

It’s July 3, 1976, the beginning of America’s bicentennial weekend, and everyone seems to be celebrating their freedoms except eighteen-year-old runaway Michael Ryder. Fresh from rural Pennsylvania, Michael is doing whatever and whoever it takes to get to San Francisco, where he hopes to find a new life with the freedom to love without fear.

While hitchhiking, a mysterious, tattooed biker named Snake offers him a ride west—on the back of his customized Harley chopper. During their journey across Route 66, Snake introduces Michael to new and steamy pleasures, leaving Michael aching for more than just a physical relationship. But a violent encounter with a cruel biker gang and a harrowing secret from Snake’s military past might destroy their unlikely relationship long before they reach the end of the road.

Okay, I’m a child of the 70’s. I’m old enough to have actual memories of the summer of 1976. That alone endeared me to the book – it’s “historical” – yeah, MY history. So, I was pretty much sold on every level, and I’m SO GLAD I read it. It’s a little bit dark – being a gay man in 1976 wasn’t the easiest life to live in the open. It felt authentic – from the emotional details, to the descriptions of Snake’s bike. Yeah, there were things I didn’t like. Really didn’t like. But even those fit the characters and moved the plot. Those moments reminded me that part of being an exceptional author is writing uncomfortable stuff, but not losing your reader. Well, Deanna kept me, and now she’s pretty much stuck with me.

AND – it’s worth noting that she’s got a bunch of Christmas themed stories where the characters have flavored cum. I mean, seriously. How can you pass up Santa’s elves and flavored cum???

9 – Chaos Magic by Jay Lygon

chaos magic 1

Jay Lygon is definitely NOT a new author. To me, though, Jay IS a bit of  a mystery. I couldn’t connect to Jay’s author page, so HERE’s a link to Jay’s Goodreads page. Jay has two series at Torquere Press, and I’ve read them both, but I keep coming back to the dark, damaged, delicious characters of Sam and Hector… and as the series progresses, all the other gods and goddesses we’re introduced to in the Gods & Magic series… Here’s the blurb for Chaos Magic:

Sam is a broken young man, searching for temporary escape from his demons–inside and out. Running from abusive ex-lover Marcus, the God of Fear, Sam finds himself in the arms of the hottest man to step foot into his life: Hector.

Hector proves to be the Daddy Sam needs and wants, but the road is a very rocky and often terrifying one. As Marcus digs his claws deeper into Sam, it threatens to tear everything Sam and Hector have built together apart.

Dark, broken, reacting like real people (even with the cool urban fantasy quirks), doing dumb things, suffering the consequences. Having to (GASP) communicate. Forgive. It’s a really wonderful series, and one of few you’ll ever hear me say gets better with each book. Chaos Magic was released in 2008, The Harem Boy (a Torquere Shot that is related to the Gods & Magic series) was pubbed in 2009… The most recent thing ARe lists is Coming Together: In Vein (proceeds to benefit Doctors Without Borders) has a Dec 21, 2012 pub date. So, I’m not sure if Jay’s still writing (if you’re reading this, Jay – PLEASE! WRITE MORE! I NEED YOU!). Anyway, like I said – both series are good – Gods & Magic is GREAT. Like a re-readable enough one that it lives on my Nook.


And the Winner IS!

hop badge 2013Going to be announced tomorrow! Yes, I’ve sort of fallen down on the job of keeping up with comments, etc. for the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, so I’m going to choose my winner bright and early tomorrow morning and I’ll post the winner at 6 AM.

The prize?

  • A cool duct tape “violet” pen & VJ Summers mini-notebook
  • Awesome swag from my awesome publisher, Ellora’s Cave
  • A copy of Violet Summers’ out-of-print-never-gonna-be-available-in-this-incarnation-again m/m BDSM wax play story, “Velvet Memories.”

So, leave your comments! I’ll combine the comments from my 5/17 post and the comments from this post, and put them in the random-chaos-generator, and post the winner at the butt-crack of tomorrow morning!

I’m Hopping!

Okay, let me clarify. I’m BLOG hopping. The only time you’ll find me PHYSICALLY hopping is if there’s a spider within touching distance.

hop badge 2013Today I am supremely honored to be a participant in the Hop Against Homophobia… And Transphobia.  I’m in excellent company – almost 200 of us are joining the party this year. I hope you’ll check out their blog posts.

A year ago I posted on this very topic. HERE’s the link. In last year’s post, I talked about my experience in public education – how I’ve seen attitudes slooooowly shift. I also talked about how freaking PROUD I was of my amazing student who used the day as a vehicle to educate her peers. I’m even prouder of this young woman today, as she begins her grown-up life as an out and proud lesbian in the US Army. I’m also terrified for her, because I know the out and proud part is going to make her life more difficult – painfully more difficult – on many levels. But I know, deep in my gut know, that hiding it – or even just not being open about it – would be even more painful for her.

My baby, my beautiful, brave baby, has an irresistible need to celebrate all the wonder and joy in her life. She inspires me.

So, today I’m celebrating her, and all the students who came into my classroom out and proud. The kids who faced their peers with grace and courage. The kids who stood up to the bullies, who took it and used it and didn’t let the fear and ignorance they faced make them bitter and filled with hate. Those kids? Deserve more than a day or a week every year. Those kids deserve to be celebrated every minute of every day. They are heroes.

Today I’m also mourning for those kids who came into my classroom afraid. Those kids – the ones who were out, but beaten down (sometimes literally) by the hate and intolerance surrounding them – they broke my heart then, and they break my heart now. Those kids are living, breathing evidence that we’ve got a long way to go. The only way to make things better for these kids is to shine a bright light on the ignorance and fear (because doesn’t all hate stem from ignorance and fear?) so the world can see how foolish it is – can see how beautiful our children are and can learn to celebrate the wonder and joy that they are.

I hope you’ll join me, and millions of others HERE, at the webpage for the Day Against Homophobia. You’ll learn a lot – including how you can make a difference in our society at large, and in the lives of individual people.

And now, the gift!

duct tape rose penAs part of the Hop, each and every one of the 180 or so blogs participating are offering a prize. Mine is a care package – sort of like one I’d send to my baby in the army. (I didn’t forget, sweetie. I *do* have stuff to send you!) It includes yummy treats, fabulous reading material, and some really cool swag – like this pen, which is hand made by moi.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this blog with your email included. You don’t have to leave more than your email, but I’d love to hear what you have to say about your experiences with PRIDE and with the Day Against Homophobia!

Jason Collins is my HERO!!

jason collins

Jason Collins came out today in Sports Illustrated as the first openly gay professional athlete in “the big four” (basketball, baseball, football, hockey). I’m in awe. What a brave man! Check out his story HERE at Sports Illustrated.

See How Much Happier She Looks?

I’ve been on “radio silence” for the last couple of weeks – Blissfest was beyond awesome, and I’m gonna Bliss-Out with some posts, but in the process I exacerbated the small tear in my left rotator cuff, and so have spent the last two weeks stoned on painkillers. Love me some Tramadol. For reals. I *have* been checking email periodically, though, which involves me passing the Yahoo News page, and today this caught my eye: Matrix Director Publicly Debuts as a Woman. It’s a fairly innocuous story most notable for the fact that it unhesitatingly refers to the former Larry Wachowski as she. Yay, them!

Check out the photo. Can you believe how much happier she looks?

God Bless America… We Need It!

Thank God we still live in a country that can be called “the home of the brave”!