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Nonbinary Biases

Soon, I’ll have to get a new passport. In the United States, I am not allowed to declare my nonbinary gender on legal documents, or any forms, to be honest. It’s all binary—male or female. My trans* binary friends can have their gender markers changes to reflect their correct gender, but I am not afforded this privilege. I, simply put, am not recognized.

Like so many, I am misgendered on a daily basis. I go into the streets, plastered in buttons and laced with necklaces that declare my pronouns to be they/them and my ID as genderqueer. My armor, meant to protect, fails me. The voices echo, chanting, “Ma’am,” “Miss,” “she/her,” like bells I cannot silence.

My brain screams for me to correct them. Tell them who you are. That comes at the high cost of possibly being assaulted or having to give an entire lecture on what the f— I am. A person. I want to be a person, devoid of your gender biases, your expectations wrapped up in pink and blue ribbons. I am purple, white, and green. I am a mu…
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Review: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been thinking of how I want to review this book for some time now. It's literally changed how I intend to write queer YA. From page one, I was gushing to friends and authors about how we're introduced to the main character's unapologetic bisexuality. Some YAs toe the line with talking about sex while Monty knows damn good what he wants from life, and that includes a stiff, er, drink.

Monty's voice is so strong and detailed, something I fear is missing from more recent releases. Lee does a superb job of transporting the reader to each new location. I never doubted her knowledge or questioned the authenticity of any character's voice. Everything felt real, vivid, and vibrant. This is an author that knows their stuff. Period.

Lee thrusts the reader into some scandalous and often times emotionally jarring situations, like how abusive Monty's father is or the tense racial i…

BAD BOY Revisited

Now that I'm out as a genderqueer person, I'm revisiting my review of BAD BOY by Elliot Wake to give content and trigger warnings for other folks. This is a trans book that contains detailed descriptions of what it means to transition from female to male written by someone who has undergone the process. If you aren't comfortable reading about these details, walk away. If you feel this might be too voyeuristic for you, walk away. If it will bring up to many thoughts or feelings of dysphoria, walk away. If hearing about TERFs and non-trans acceptance by family and friends is harmful to you, walk away. This book was influential in my life, but that's because I was in the right mindset to read it. I'm usually the one doing the vetting for others. I can handle a lot. I can handle dark and angry. If you can't, there's no problem in that. Take care of yourself and put this one aside.

If you have issues with any of the following, please reconsider reading this book …

I carved the mark.

Content Warning: discussions of self-harm and cutting

I carved the mark.

Over and over again, I carved into my skin with X-Acto knives and clipped off razor blades so the white scars would stand out against my flesh and remind me why I was hurting, why I was seeking relief in pain. The deepest marks sit on my left forearm, clean little lines intersecting one another. Those clean lines led to years of messy rehabilitation, therapy for mental illness. I was borderline, self-destructive. I was bi-polar and reckless. They were right. I wanted to hurt myself because the world moved too fast then too slow, it made me too anxious, too depressed. The only thing I could control was food and pain. Not eating and bleeding. Those were my comforts.

Writing #OwnVoices: Exploring Gender Identity and Sexuality

I did a guest post on Melissa A. Graham's blog that gives advice on writing LGBTQ+ characters and how I've explored writing them from my own voice. Here's a preview with a link at the bottom:
I met Dill Werner several months ago through the 10min Novelist facebook page. We became critique partners and I quickly realized that there was something special with this one. Not just with their writing (which, let me tell you guys, you’ll want to remember their name!) but with them as a person. Through Dill’s platform on Twitter, I have witnessed hours of encouraging statements, calls to action, and a firm solidarity and love for the LGBTQ+ community. The latter is not only very prominent in their professional and personal life, but is also reflected quite masterfully in the writing I was privileged to get a peek at.    “It’s not as simple as labeling a character ‘bisexual’ and thinking they’ll be interested dating only male or female characters.” 
Because of this, I have asked D…

Navigating the In-Between: Demisexuality in YA Lit

I wrote a guest post on demisexuality in YA for the Gay YA's Asexuality Awareness Week, 2016.
Navigating the In-Between: Demisexuality in YA Lit
by Dill Werner I can only speak for one person when it comes to demisexuality—me. My experiences, my preferences, my sexuality, me. Being a queer demisexual means that I fall somewhere along a spectrum within a spectrum along another spectrum. I am a demisexual floating in the asexual spectrum hunched under the queer umbrella. It’s…complicated.Demisexuality is a very individual and emotionally-linked experience, which makes it difficult to draw out an exact description of what it is to be demi. Being demi means my sexual orientation falls somewhere between asexual and sexual. I feel sexual attraction but not in the same way sexual people do. Demis need a deep, emotional bond in order to experience sexual attraction toward another person. Keep in mind that sexual arousal and sexual attraction are not the same thing. A person can be sexuall…

Hey, I'm Genderqueer. New Pronouns, too!

Surprise, I’m genderqueer.

If you want the laundry list, I identify as a genderqueerpansexual, demisexual. What does all of that mean? Gender-wise, I neither identify as male or female. I’m a combination of both and yet don’t want to be defined as either. While male and female are considered to be binary genders, my gender is non-binary, one that’s very individual to me. Some people are going to object and say this isn't a real thing or that I'm just being "weird." *clears throat*

I. Do. Not. Care.

I don't care if you don't agree. I've seen it and heard it all before. Keep your negativity to yourself. Or, if you prefer, we can go our separate ways. That's fine, too. I will still be happy and genderqueer. Now, moving on.

Pansexuality is a sexual identity that occurs when a person is attracted all gender identities along the gender spectrum. For me, gender isn’t a factor when it comes to attraction. If you think I’ll be sexually attracted to you, slow dow…