Monday Night Catchall: January 11, 2015

Nothing much has been happening in my life besides making the world's ugliest cake ever (which my friend then tried to save by putting a panda on it and calling it a mountain, thus making its ugliness seem intentional). But hey, it tasted good!

Saturday's football game between the Bengals and the Steelers epitomized everything wrong with football. Since when it is acceptable in any context to purposefully slam into someone's head? And how come football makes it suddenly acceptable to punch women (or anyone, for that matter)? I'm very confused. Okay, rant over.

Hoverboards have just been banned in my dorm. :( Apparently there's an actual justification for this, though.

In other news, we've apparently be wrong to see the Supreme Court as, well, you know, supreme. I mean they pale in comparison to this judge in Alabama who apparently has more authority than them ...

Looking Back at 2015

Last year, I wrote an end of the year blog post in which I talked enthusiastically about seven happy things about to happen in 2015. At the time, I assumed 2015 would be filled with reading, running, and writing. Well, then 2015 wound up being more like this:

  1. Watch everyone in my high school tear each other apart (and spend an afternoon wondering if we'd get torn apart).
  2. Write an awkwardly personal op/ed (multiple, actually), revealing to everyone I'm a survivor, and deal with the resulting chaos.
  3. Part with Jon Stewart, leaving us to deal with this dude alone.
  4. Watch the 49ers and the Oakland A's combust.
  5. Spend hours fighting against a seemingly bulletproof administration.
  6. Give awkwardly personal quotes for articles and deal with that resulting chaos.
  7. Watch everyone shoot each other, including shooting 12-year-olds, and get away with it.

Of course, there were many positives mixed in (see photo gallery at the end of this post for a more varied version), but overall, 2015 was less than ideal. To summarize how my year went with one story, it began positively with Jameis Winston (you know, this guy) getting deservedly humiliated by the Oregon Ducks, and concluded with him being the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft and almost leading his team to the playoffs as if nothing ever happened.

So what is there to say about 2016? Will things be any better? Maybe. I hope so.

In an effort to delude myself into thinking the U.S. will get its shit together despite our impending joke of a national election and that I'll cruise effortlessly through my year, I'm going to make another list of seven things I'm looking forward to:

  1. Finishing my novel. (If I say this twenty times, it'll happen.)
  2. Swimming.
  3. Watching the A's have a less-ugly season (please?).
  4. Reading Harry Potter in Spanish just because.
  5. Really, really learning how to use Twitter.
  6. Finishing House on Netflix.
  7. Actually running that 3.8 mile thing I mentioned last year but never got around to doing.

But listen, I can't make 2016 a better year alone. It's up to all of us to push ourselves to be better human beings, to go out of our way to be kinder, conscious, and compassionate. We can control the election (vote if you can, even if you don't love either of the candidates). We can control social media. We can control our behavior.

It's 2016. Screw Trump — it's up to us to make the world great again.

2015 IN PHOTOS

Sunday Night Catchall: December 27, 2015

I've been somewhat less active on social media, mainly because I've been binge writing (with assistance from my cat again, as pictured).

On the political front, TSA has allegedly upgraded its language regarding transgender travelers from "anomaly" to "alarm." I say that with a lot of sarcasm, because I don't see how that's any better.

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I met some therapy dogs in the United terminal in Newark! Maybe it's a smart ploy to help travelers cope with their flight delays.

Speaking of flights, how is it warmer in New York than it is in the Bay Area? I don't understand how coming to San Francisco made me colder in December than I was before. Wow.

Not exactly a YA book, but Our Queer Stories did a great spotlight on Large Fears by Myles E. Johnson (illustrated by Kendrick Daye)! Check it out.

Sunday Night Catchall: December 20, 2015

Abby Wambach retired. :'( Flashback to the wonderful week when I got to see her play in person. She was also stiffed by U.S. soccer, which is annoying but not surprising.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the conversation this week about queer stereotypes in YA literature. Feel free to keep Tweeting/messaging/commenting if you have something to add!

I think I found the world's most beautiful hospital room (pictured on the left).

For this week's YA book rec, let me refer you to the cool rundown Barnes & Noble just did of great YA books to look forward to in 2016. Also, be sure to check out #GayYABookClub on Twitter for great YA book suggestions with LGBTQ characters!

Most importantly on the personal front, finals are over! There's nothing like studying by watching the Warriors play while listening to the Hamilton soundtrack in the background. "My Shot" seemed particularly relevant and has just been stuck in my head all week, so linking it below.

9 Queer Stereotypes I'm Sick of Reading in YA Lit

I'm abundantly happy that YA literature is becoming more diverse. Back when my organization started, it seemed like there were only a handful of LGBTQ-related YA books to choose from, and now there are many published every year. But still, there are some stereotypes/tropes I see a bunch in LGBTQ-related YA lit that irritate me. Here are 9 queer stereotypes I would like to see less of in YA literature.

I get annoyed when:

  1. Lesbian relationships always have one masculine woman and one feminine woman.
  2. Gender identity always conforms to a binary. There are plenty of people who identify as gender non-conforming or genderqueer, people who don't identify as any gender, people who identify as multiple genders, etc.
  3. I can't find gender-neutral pronouns anywhere. Like seriously, where are they?
  4. Bisexual people are just confused. Bisexual characters can really be bisexual.
  5. Pansexual people don't exist. Or pansexuality and bisexuality are conflated. Here are two definitions taken from Trans Student Educational Resources:
    1. Bisexual: "An umbrella term for people who experience sexual and/or emotional attraction to more than one gender (pansexual, fluid, omnisexual, queer, etc)."
    2. Pansexual: "Capable of being attracted to many/any gender(s). Sometimes the term omnisexual is used in the same manner. 'Pansexual' is being used more and more frequently as more people acknowledge that gender is not binary. Sometimes, the identity fails to recognize that one cannot know individuals with every existing gender identity."
  6. Asexual people don't exist. Did you know some studies have found ~1% of people are asexual? And no, having a character not in a relationship isn't the same thing as having an asexual character. And asexual people can be romantically attracted to others!
  7. Every queer kid is bullied. Yes, 85% of LGBTQ teens experience anti-LGBTQ name-calling, but not everyone fits into that narrative, and when every book makes queer kids seem miserable, many queer kids can't enjoy the book.
  8. Every queer character is white. (Does this need an explanation?)
  9. The goal of every transgender character is to transition. Many trans people have no interest in transitioning or altering their gender expressions. Gender expression doesn't equal gender identity! Here are two definitions taken from Trans Student Educational Resources:
    1. Gender identity: "One’s internal sense of being male, female, neither of these, both, or other gender(s). Everyone has a gender identity, including you. For transgender people, their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity are not necessarily the same."
    2. Gender expression: "The physical manifestation of one’s gender identity through clothing, hairstyle, voice, body shape, etc. (typically referred to as masculine or feminine). Many transgender people seek to make their gender expression (how they look) match their gender identity (who they are), rather than their sex assigned at birth. Someone with a gender nonconforming gender expression may or may not be transgender."

Additional annoying stereotypes (submitted by readers) include when:

  1. The Queer character's story centers around their coming out and having to deal with familial drama/centers around their Queerness as opposed to a real story line like heterosexual characters have.
  2. Queer people can't be religious/ that spirituality and queerness are mutually exclusive.

Have any additional queer stereotypes in YA you can't stand? Comment below or Tweet it to @ARoskinFrazee and I'll add it to the list!