Thursday, May 17

International Day Against Homophobia

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.

It's very hard to go from that to this, so I'm not even going to try for a snappy transition, I'm just going to say again that as part of the hop, I'm giving away a copy of my debut novel, 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."

~Edward James Olmos


Cryselle said...

Thanks for showing your support!

KimberlyFDR said...

Love should always triumph over hate and I believe it always will.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing this with us today

Andrea said...

Thank you for calling attention to Kenneth's story. These stories need to be remembered.

DarienMoya said...

Kenneth so beautiful and gone too soon. I don't know how people aren't being more vigilant about this. These are children taking their own life and it needs to stop. This thunderstorm of BS all needs to stop!

Kim Fielding said...

Every time someone is bullied or belittled because of who they love, it's heartbreaking. Love should be celebrated!

Unknown said...

Whenever I hear a story like kennith's I wish I could be surprised, but once you get comfortable in your community it seems there is always a story from not so far away about something like that happening. It seem like by now people would understand that people are people- but there are always those that can't seem to get it through their heads...

Foretta said...

I showed a bunch of these post to the teens in my family to show them how hurt some "innocent" remarks are to many others. I get so annoyed when my nephew says "you're so gay". ERRRR drove me crazy. I know he didn't mean anything by it but it is so wrong to use that as a saying. I think that these post have helped. Thank you all for sharing with us!

N.J. Nielsen/ Saddington said...

Thank you for participating and thank you for a wonderful post.

N.J. Nielsen/ Saddington said...

Dang: I forgot the important part

L.M. Brown said...

I have just read through your three posts so far for the hop. I probably won't have time to come back tomorrow and read your fourth - I am still working my way through all the posts for the event.

Thank you for sharing your stories and for reminding us that homophobia can and does kill, and that it has to end before more lives are lost.

lmbrownauthor at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

Hello H. B.,

Thank you so much for participating in the Hop Against Homophobia & for feeling comfortable to share your personal Life with Us & for for your Openness. Thank You.

I would very much like to read your debut novel, “Heart's Home”, an urban fantasy set in Victorian London. Your characters make for a Very Imaginatively, Intriguing Romance;, James, the handsome, wealthy young man who feels like an outcast from society & Alun the down and out werewolf.

I would very much appreciate the opportunity to be considered in your very generous giveaway of “Heart's Home”.

Take care H. B. & Have a Great Weekend,
PaParanormalFan Renee
paranormalromancefan at yahoo dot com