Today starts the Blog Hop Against Homophobia!
I know a lot of you are here in search of goodies; I don't blame you, I'm going to be hopping around in search of goodies myself. If you're really impatient, skim on down to the bottom of the post and leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of my debut novel--which certainly tackles the issue intolerance in it's own way.
If you haven't already, please take a few minutes to visit the website for the International Day Against Homophobia. (Just click on the link).
If you're like me, and live in a reasonably modern suburb or city, you may find it easy to forget what others go through simply because they're not like their neighbors. (My neighbors have no idea I'm bisexual; I don't hide it, but the average suburbanite simply assumes that a woman with a husband and child is straight). It's easy to forget that fifty short years ago being gay was something you could get locked up for--that a hundred or so years ago, it was something you could be hanged for.
And yet, people are still dying over their sexual identity and not just in third world countries where it is still illegal to be anything other than straight. A couple of weeks ago one of my Facebook friends--in fact someone I genuinely care about in real life, though we've never met--posted something that broke my heart. Maybe it's because I remember planning my wedding...maybe it's because I remember being a teenager and talking about "when I get married"...and maybe it's because I'm the parent of a teenager who has had trouble with bullies at school.
Kenneth Weishuhn was a perfectly ordinary fourteen year old from Iowa. He liked nice cars, fashion, and Louis Tomlinson. Kenneth was also gay. According to his sister, he was a popular kid...until he came out. Then it all changed. He was bullied, tormented, and lost friends--ultimately, Kenneth took his own life. Not in some third world country. Not in some backwater town. In Iowa, a state that recognizes marriage equality. In a school that, like all American schools, allegedly has a zero tolerance policy against bullying.
Kenneth's story is far from unique.
So while I know most visitors are here to score goodies (I don't blame you, I'm hopping around hoping for goodies too), I urge everyone to take a minute to think Kenneth's story and the stories of so many other people, young and old, just like him. In my country. In your country. In countries where no one dares to come out, because homosexuality is a crime. I urge you to take a minute to remember that a hundred years ago, even in our so-called civilized countries, homosexuality was a crime, punishable by prison and even death.
And every time you think we've come a long way, remember stories the kids who have been bullied being gay, or lesbian, or bi, or transgendered, or intersexted, or just not sure. The kids who aren't any of those things, but whose peers think they are because of the way they act and dress or the things they say. Remember the kids whose parents have kicked them out over their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Remember that we have a long, long way yet to go and we'll only get there through education, tolerance, and compassion.
Heart's Home, an urban fantasy set in Victorian London. The quick version of the synopsis goes something like this: James is a handsome, wealthy young man who feels like an outcast from society because he likes other men; he's taken a job as a police constable in order to try and give his life meaning. Alun is a down and out werewolf living on London's East End. He knows he's an outcast because wolves are even more prejudice than humans when it comes to "contrasexual" behavior. When the two meet over the body of a woman murdered in a back alleyway, the chemistry is undeniable--and frightening. This isn't a world where humans know about werewolves (or vampires or demons or anything else that goes bump in the night.) This is a world like ours, where werewolves would be hunted down as monsters if humans were to ever discover that they existed...
(Click on the link above for more details, an excerpt, etc.)
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below.
I'll choose a winner at random on the 21st.
International entries are always welcome.
I want to thank the wonderful folks who organized the hop for the hard work they put into making this an incredible event with over 200 participants. If you have a minute drop them a note to say "thanks"!
"Education is the vaccine for violence."