Dear Past/Future Self

So, ever since I read The Letter Q, I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of letter I would write to my younger self. Just the idea of being able to send a little message to the past to help out old me had my brain going overtime. And I thought, what better place to write that letter than right here. I also thought it might be pretty awesome to invite all of you to write your own letters, maybe to your younger self or even to future you. So send me a message with your letters and maybe I’ll even publish a few of them right here (with permission of course!) Hit me up through the contact page and don’t forget to include your email so I can let you know if your letter is selected. Or take it to Twitter. Tweet @aqueerermirror using the hashtag #DEARYOUNGERME and I’ll compile all of your tweets into an awesome post down the line. In the meantime, here’s my advice to younger me.

Dearest, darlingest younger me,

First things first, you’ve survived into adulthood. Congratulations. Perhaps that sounds a little flip, but there may come a time when knowing that fact really does feel like an accomplishment.

You know, I have a feeling that it won’t surprise you to receive a letter from the future. You always firmly believed in the possibility of anything. Thank you for that. It’s one of the best things I’ve managed to hold onto.

Now onto the business at hand. There are a few things I think you need to know.

First of all, that fascination you have with a friendly acquaintance? You know the one I mean. That one girl that’s been peripherally in your life since elementary school? Yeah, your heart doesn’t do that weird thing when she walks by because you want to be like her. And I think you know that somewhere very deep down. That weird little heart flip is something you’re eventually gonna recognize as the first sign of a serious crush. Now the bad news is that you’re probably still not going to acknowledge that before college. The good news, though, is that this girl is still going to be around. But that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Just remember, once you finally open that closet door, you are going to be consistently amazed by what you get to experience on the other side.

Second, and this is probably going to be the hardest to hear, but it’s so important. Get yourself a therapist. Get into therapy as quick as you possibly can. There is no shame in talking to someone about what’s going on in your head and your heart. If you don’t talk, it all comes out in much more destructive ways. It’s possible that you’ll still go through a lot of the tough times, even with the help of a therapist, but give yourself your best chance at happiness. Otherwise you’ll be dealing with a lot of the same stuff well into your grown up life. In good news, one day you will be living in a place where therapy is as normal as showering and you’ll find yourself referencing your latest breakthrough in casual conversation. And that feels like freedom.

Third, I know that you’re pretty uninspired with the lackadaisical education you’re receiving in that little town of yours, but that’s not a good reason to slack off. Take the hardest classes you can and ace them all. And then be brave enough to apply for college somewhere far, far away. Trust me on this one. Those gigantic dreams of yours won’t do you any good if you wait too long to get out of that town. So focus. Get amazing grades. Apply for awesome schools. And then get out out out. I know that sounds like an impossible task. The highest aspirations the guidance counselors seem to have for any of you is a two year community college stint before you settle into repopulating the local schools and perpetuating the cycle of mediocrity. But that doesn’t have to be your life. You are infinitely capable.

Fourth, and this is the absolute most important thing. If you take no other suggestions, take this one. You see, you have two lives to save. On November 6, 2014, make sure you are at 326 East 110th Street (between 1st and 2nd Aves.) New York, NY 10029. Get there early. Your best friend is waiting for you. She’s tiny and blonde and a bit of a big mouth, but you will love her unbearably. On August 29th, 2015, get yourself to 2336 Linden Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11208. Again, be early, This is imperative. You will meet a woman at the front desk and she will tell you all about a family member you didn’t know you were waiting for. This new member of the family is scrawny and gray haired and occasionally cantankerous, but she needs you desperately. These two will change your life. And you will change theirs. And this is a beautiful thing.

So there you go. You are a pansexual, therapy needing, sometime underachiever. But you are going to do some good in the world. Whatever path you take to get where you’re going, I have faith in you. You are going to get me to where I am now and I’m going to be grateful for all you survived to do it.

Thanks younger me.

See you in 2017.

Let’s talk FREE BOOKS!

freebooks

That’s right. Free books.

Today A Queerer Mirror is officially launching our new book club. But it’s not like any other old book club out there. The way it works is this.

  1. I am leaving five books around NYC for people to find. Each has a message in the front explaining it is a book club book and asking the reader to read it, pass it on, and check in right here at this post to tell us all how they felt about the book.
  2. I am offering five more books to you lucky readers. The first five of you to respond will receive a book of my choosing in your age range. The only things I ask are that after you read the book you come back here and tell everyone how you liked it and you pass the book on to someone else and ask them to do the same.
  3. I check back in with this post regularly to see what everyone is posting about.
  4. If it goes well, I’ll send even more books out into the world to grow our little book club even bigger.

For tonight, a little preview. I dropped off the first NYC book at a Little Free Library in Brooklyn and can’t wait to see if someone responds!

 

If you’re interested in reading one of the books but don’t get picked to receive it this time, definitely check it out at your local library and then come back and share your opinion. Or, if you can, you could even by your own copy and write our message in it so you can pass it on after reading it. Everyone is more than welcome to chime in and participate.

So there it is. The first five readers to leave a comment below will become our inaugural book club members and, once they’re selected, I’ll update this post with ALL the books that are being sent out.

Oh, and one more thing. If you can come up with a great name for our little book club and I decide to use it, there will definitely be eternal gratitude and some kind of fun prize in your future.

Until next time, happy reading!

Real Talk Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, Readers!

Today we’re going to take a short break from talking awesome books to chat a little about some resources you might want to be aware of.

If you identify somewhere on the queer spectrum then you might know about some of these things or even have need for them. If you’re a straight ally, you might want to bookmark this page just in case someone you know needs some extra support.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) GLSEN is an organization working full-time to make sure that when an LGBTQ+ kid heads off to school, they are heading into a safe and supportive environment. They work hard to help schools become Safe Spaces and start Gay Straight Alliances. Essentially, they’re trying to make sure that the worst part of your day is algebra, not dealing with homophobic language in the lunchroom.

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) PFLAG began because once upon a time a mom wasn’t ashamed to walk with her gay son in the pride parade. From that little action grew a big organization committed to helping families and friends become accepting and supportive allies to the LGBTQ+ people they care about.

The Trevor Project This project is monumentally important because queer youth are statistically much more likely to commit (or attempt) suicide. The Trevor Project is, above all else, a hotline that a person can reach out to when they are struggling and considering self-harm. Suicide is NEVER the answer. If there is ever a point that you or someone you know consider self-harm, please please please contact someone for help. You can call, text, or chat, whatever is most comfortable. Reach out. Someone will always be there.

It Gets Better Project To follow up from The Trevor Project, It Gets Better is a project devoted to reminding anyone who is struggling that is really does get better. But you have to be here to know that. This project began as a single video and has grown to thousands upon thousands of videos from all kinds of different folks, including Broadway stars, writers, Hollywood stars, and business owners. If you are struggling or know of someone who is, spend some time watching these videos and again, reach out if you are in need. There are a lot of people out here rooting for every single kid that is struggling.

LAMBDA Legal These are the folks you turn to when something happens that threatens the civil rights of the queer community. This organization fights those big legal battles that deal with things that impact our fundamental right to be treated as equals in our country. Their website is full of great information about what your rights are and how to stand up for them when challenged.

No H8 Campaign This campaign calls itself a visual protest and works to fight against bullying. Striking pictures of individuals with tape across their mouths and NoH8 on their cheeks spread a powerful message about how queer voices are silenced. This organization is fighting every day against that systemic silencing. Check them out and see how you can help.

True Colors Fund There are some fairly alarming statistics out there in the world about how queer youth are way more likely to be homeless than their straight peers. Not okay. At all. True Colors is fighting to fix that and to end LGBTQ+ youth homelessness. Check them out if you find yourself in danger of becoming homeless or even if you want to volunteer to help in the fight.

GLBT National Resource Database This is precisely what it sounds like, a giant list of resources all compiled into one place, both national and local. There is also a search engine feature to find specific resources close to you. This is a great place to start your search if you’re in need of some type of assistance, from housing to health to education and many more besides.iol organization that connects queer youth with queer adult mentors. They also have all kinds of educational programs and materials. And on top of that, they even have scholarship opportunities. The in-person mentorships are currently limited to NYC and the surrounding tri-state area, but there are tons of other resources worth checking out on their page.

Youth.gov This government sponsored website gives a very basic overview of LGBTQ+ information and issues. This is not  a site that goes into great detail about any one facet of queer life, but it does provide tons of additional resources and breaks them down so they’re fairly easy to find. This is another site that is a great place to start searching for specific types of resources.

So that’s that for the serious stuff for now, but if you know of any other great resources, share them in the comments. You never know who you might be helping. And stay tuned for next week when I’ll introduce you to some of my favorite LGBTQ+ YouTube channels.

Happy reading!

Let’s get this party started!

Hi all! Thanks for stopping by. Every week on this blog I will be featuring different LGBTQ+ books that you NEED on your shelves. I’ll also be throwing in some videos and podcasts here and there so all kinds of folks can tell you about the LGBTQ+ books that mean a lot to them.

This site is devoted to diversity, inclusivity, and intersectionality. Everyone has a story and everyone should be able to find someone they can relate to in a book. Unfortunately that is much easier for some of us than it is for others. And that’s why we really need a queerer mirror. We need to hold that mirror up to our stories and reflect them back at the world. Because our stories matter.

If I had to guess, I’d say that’s how you wound up here. Looking for yourself in a story.

So come on in. I’ll do my best to make sure you find what you’re looking for.