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message 1: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
So I thought I posted a discussion for this month but don't see it anywhere. I posted it from NYC and was having a tough time connected to wi-fi

So, you will get all there points for this month as long as you have posted your review. Here are a few discussion questions for those who want to join the discussion anyway.

Remember, some of these questions are pretty personal so feel free to skip the ones you don't want to answer.

1. How do identify yourself in terms of sexual orientation? How has your sexual orientation impacted your life?

2. As a child or young adult, what did you learn about LGBTQ+ men and women from your parents, friends, or your religious experiences?

3. When was the first, or a significant time, in which you were challenged
about your beliefs and attitudes regarding different sexual identities?

4. Which book did you pick and how well do you think it represented the issues and concerns of LGBT+ people?


message 2: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tstan) | 559 comments 1. Straight ally. It has impacted relationships, given me a husband and children, and shaped my outlook in many ways.
2. My parents and grandparents fully believed that a person is a person, and they should always be treated with respect. They knew and taught us that homosexuality isn’t a choice, and that love is love. My church taught the Golden Rule above all else. I don’t ever remember hearing a sermon denouncing homosexuality. As a Gen-Xer, I have many friends who came out as adults, to their friends first. Then maybe to their parents, and probably never to their grandparents. As time progresses, people are more comfortable, and the stigma is slowly eroding. My millennial kids didn’t bat an eye when their friend Olivia became Rowan. May this continue.
3. I don’t know that I’ve ever been challenged about my beliefs, but I did have a humorous conversation once. My mother’s friend asked me what I thought of Bert and Ernie being portrayed as gay on Sesame Street. She just thought it was awful to expose children to that. I told her that Bert and Ernie were free to live their lives as they saw fit, and it wasn’t my place to judge them.
4. I chose The Lost Languages Of Cranes. I think it was an excellent example- it covered multiple generations, the politics of AIDS, and the pain of rejection by family and friends. Yet it encompassed the joy of being in love, too.


message 3: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1481 comments 1. What an interesting question. It has made me stop and pause and realise how much society has changed. I was married with children when I first realised that there was such a thing as homosexuality. I don't remember when I first met someone whom I knew was gay, but I vividly remember a conversation with a mother of five who was musing about what activities gays might indulge in and being not quite sure myself! My understanding of human sexuality was mostly derived from movies and I had romantic notions of heterosexual relationships. I only gradually began to understand that there were other types of relationships. It was my children's friends who were gay who were the first homosexuals I knew personally. Later, of course, people were much more openly gay and I have many friends now who are comfortably living and marrying in permanent homosexual settings.
2. So I learnt nothing from my parents or my religious education.
3. Generations later, teaching health in an American High School, I was battling the use of "gay" as a perjorative term. I would explain in Health class that about 10% of the population is gay and using gay to mean something that is lame or worse is not acceptable. One student challenged me and said that language was not important and that I was being pedantic. I said, OK nigger and she almost hit me, but she took my point!
4. The book I chose was Edmund White's A Boy's Own Story which was probably autobiographical. It explained beautifully what it was like to be a young boy who did not enjoy the typically male activities such as fishing and sports which his father enjoyed, and how he felt out of place as a result. Others have said that they felt squeamish about the description of homosexual activities, but I thought that they were beautifully written. He developed into a surprisingly precocious young man, but his sexual encounters were absolutely believable. He did not want to be a homosexual and he wondered if he could manage to be a straight man but still love men rather than women. It was heartbreaking. I like to think that it is much easier today, but it probably isn't for a lot of people.


message 4: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1536 comments I have a relative that was obviously attracted to the same sex from a young age and that allowed me to see a broader range of people working to be secure in themselves. My parents were very supportive and tolerant.

I chose A Boy’s Own Story and it appeared to me to be an excellent reflection of what some LGBTQ young people go through especially in terms of their relationship to their parents and their peers. It reads as if it is an autobiography even though it is marketed as a novel and in this way you trust the representation of the situations and emotions surrounding finding one’s way in the world. The main character does not want to be a homosexual because of the implications that has on his future and how it will impact his relationship to his father, but at no time do you feel that the author or narrator has any shame at all about his adult homosexuality. I really felt that this was a very strong statement. It differentiated between the character’s shame of being a weakling physically, going to a psychiatrist to work out his sexual orientation “problems” and where the narrator/writer is, writing with such insight from a place of strength years later.


message 5: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1536 comments Love the Bert and Ernie story Tracy!


message 6: by Diane (last edited Jun 25, 2018 05:18PM) (new)

Diane  | 2051 comments 1. How do identify yourself in terms of sexual orientation? How has your sexual orientation impacted your life?

Straight. Little impact since heterosexuality is part of the dominant culture. It made it easy to get married and have children in the conventional way.

2. As a child or young adult, what did you learn about LGBTQ+ men and women from your parents, friends, or your religious experiences?

Although I had no relatives that were openly gay, my family was always very tolerant. I had a lot of friends that came out during my young adulthood. My childhood church (the one family belonged to the longest) was highly intolerant, but they were intolerant about most everything. My first knowledge of homosexuality happened when a father of 5 in our small community left his wife for a man.

3. When was the first, or a significant time, in which you were challenged about your beliefs and attitudes regarding different sexual identities?

I have never been challenged about my beliefs that I am aware of. On the flip side, I have challenged a few people about theirs, though.

4. Which book did you pick and how well do you think it represented the issues and concerns of LGBT+ people?

I selected The Lost Language of Cranes and A Boy's Own Story. They have both already been described very well, so I won't elaborate too much. I felt that a Boy's own story did a great job of describing how the protagonist is conflicted about his homosexuality but gradually comes to terms with his orientation. The Lost Language of Cranes addresses the difficulties faced when coming out. They were both set during different generations and it is interesting to see how things have changed in society since both books were written.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments 1. How do identify yourself in terms of sexual orientation? How has your sexual orientation impacted your life?

I am a Straight Ally and the mother of a Pansexual ftm Transgender child. His transition had a huge impact on my life.

2. As a child or young adult, what did you learn about LGBTQ+ men and women from your parents, friends, or your religious experiences?

Nothing... It wasn't talked about in the 1970s.

3. When was the first, or a significant time, in which you were challenged about your beliefs and attitudes regarding different sexual identities?

I think I was always an ally. In the early 1980s my roommate in the Air Force was gay. I don't remember any shock or surprise and we were very good friends for years.

4. Which book did you pick and how well do you think it represented the issues and concerns of LGBT+ people?

I read three of the four, and gave them all four stars. I thought they were all excellent.


message 8: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 1315 comments Mod
1. How do identify yourself in terms of sexual orientation? How has your sexual orientation impacted your life?

I am married to a wonderful husband with one son.

2. As a child or young adult, what did you learn about LGBTQ+ men and women from your parents, friends, or your religious experiences?

My first experience with the LGBTQ community was growing up in a household in which my sister, a dancer, would have parties at our house. My mother would play the piano and the cast would sing whatever song they were practicing for whatever play they were doing. I don't remember ever talking about it, I just knew I was in a house with love, laughter and music and everyone was accepted and welcomed.

3. When was the first, or a significant time, in which you were challenged about your beliefs and attitudes regarding different sexual identities?

I don't think I have ever been challenged about my beliefs regarding sexual identities.

4. Which book did you pick and how well do you think it represented the issues and concerns of LGBT+ people?

I read Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson. I think it was a beautiful book about love. The overall theme of the book was love and relationships. It didn't matter who the people are because love is love no matter what. I think it was a good book for this challenge.


message 9: by Kristel (last edited Jun 28, 2018 04:51AM) (new)

Kristel (kristelh) | 4259 comments Mod
I identify as heterosexual. My parents never, ever talked about sexual orientation or sex for that matter and we never watched a TV show together that would have had implicit sexual content. Even in my parents old age that would have bothered them. Therefore I tend to feel that sexual content does not need to be implicit in books or TV. It doesn’t have to be absent but it doesn’t need to be in your face either. I have had and still have many Lesbian friends. I’ve only known a few Gay. I chose Lost Languages of Cranes because I read something else by this author and wanted to read his list book. Unfortunately I don’t think this book is the best example of his writing. I think it was one of his earlier books. I liked the second half of the book better than the first part. I think it represented the LGBT (mostly LG) questions and issues of the nineties very well. I haven’t reviewed it yet or given a rating. I will get that either tonight or tomorrow.

I would add here that what I learned about sexual orientations in my early years all came from my “reading”.


message 10: by Jess (new)

Jess Penhallow | 12 comments 1. How do identify yourself in terms of sexual orientation? How has your sexual orientation impacted your life?
In short I identify as heterosexual as I am mainly attracted to men and have only been in relationships with men including my current relationship which I have been in for almost 7 years. However, I recognise sexuality as being on a spectrum and can definitely find attraction in women so I would say I am between hetrosexuality and bisexuality on the Kinsey scale.

2. As a child or young adult, what did you learn about LGBTQ+ men and women from your parents, friends, or your religious experiences?

I grew up in a Catholic household in the 90s and 00s and went to a Catholic school. Despite this, I was never really given any negative messaged about homosexuality. It wasn't really spoken about at all and if I asked my parents questions they were happy to answer them non-judgmentally.

As a big theatre fan I gravitated towards a frienship circle at uni which included many LGBT+ people and learnt a lot from them.

3. When was the first, or a significant time, in which you were challenged about your beliefs and attitudes regarding different sexual identities?

Despite my previous statement about not receiving negative messages about homosexuality from my church, I do not like the view of the Catholic church as an organisation when it comes to homosexuality. When the same sex marriage debate was happening in the UK I remember that every church was made by the diocese to give all parishioners a letter asking them to write to their MP protesting the change of the 'definition of marriage' I got into arguments with many people about this including my mum because I didn't think that the church should be interfering with state matters and I didn't think the church has a claim on the term 'marriage'. I don't think any church should be forced to officiate a same sex marriage but that's not going to happen anyway so is a moot point.

4. Which book did you pick and how well do you think it represented the issues and concerns of LGBT+ people?

I picked Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I really liked this book and it touched on many experience of LGBT+ people particularly those who are gender non-conforming. However, I think the struggles of the protagonist were quite unique as he had a particular medical condition that was not addressed until his teenage years and he was not given the information to understand his gender identity.


message 11: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
Jess wrote: "1. How do identify yourself in terms of sexual orientation? How has your sexual orientation impacted your life?
In short I identify as heterosexual as I am mainly attracted to men and have only bee..."


Hi Jess! I don't think I've seen you post in the group yet so I wanted to welcome you and say I'm so glad you are participating in the discussion. Hope to see you around here more! If you haven't formally introduced yourself, we have an "introduction" thread where you can do so. I think it's in the general folder. Apologies if you've participated before and I missed you.

Middlesex is a great book. I didn't read it for this challenge but did love it when I read it several years ago!


message 12: by Jess (new)

Jess Penhallow | 12 comments Jen wrote: "Jess wrote: "1. How do identify yourself in terms of sexual orientation? How has your sexual orientation impacted your life?
In short I identify as heterosexual as I am mainly attracted to men and ..."


Hey,

I've joined a few new groups recently so sometimes loose track on which I've introduced myself on! I actually read Middlesex for another group that I'm in and I think I got confused lol. I'm definitely going to look into the threads on this group now and hopefully participate a bit for the rest of this year.


message 13: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
Jess wrote: "Jen wrote: "Jess wrote: "1. How do identify yourself in terms of sexual orientation? How has your sexual orientation impacted your life?
In short I identify as heterosexual as I am mainly attracted..."


well your confusion is our gain then! We do a lot of different things here. Check out our challenges and let us know if you have any questions.


message 14: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1536 comments I read Written on the Body as my second book in the Diversity Challenge for the month. It was a highly enjoyable and quick read in which I just didn’t think about the gender of the main character until half way into the book. I heard the main character and narrator’s voice as a feminine voice but that didn’t solidify the gender exactly. The MC says: “I am not beautiful”, rather than I am not handsome”, for example. Tiny little nuances. I did get frustrated in the big decision the Main Character makes 2/3rd’s of the way through the book and the ending left me confused. I actually do not know what happened at the end, whether the last two paragraphs are a dream or a reality. Again, the author would prefer ambiguity. What was not ambiguous was the obsessive and all consuming nature of love and it clearly applied to all humans. In this way, I don’t think that the book represented the LGBT experience as much as the human experience.


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