Before anything else: Happy Pride! To all my fellow queer folk: you matter and the world is better for queer people being in it. Lesbian, Gay, Genderqueer, Bisexual, Bisexual+, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Aromantic, Agender, Two Spirit, Pansexual, Nonbinary… I say “Queer” most of the time because of how large an umbrella I want to open, but sometimes it’s important to have said individual words—knowing how amazing it is to find a word that connects with who you are.
This year—like last year—being very much a “stay at home” Pride (again) is going to suck for many reasons, not the least of which in how it means a gathered queer space won’t really happen. Those are so rare, and so treasured, I cannot even tell you. Especially for queer people who don’t get to be openly themselves where they life and/or work, queer events and spaces are a lifeline. And while digital spaces are amazing—and often far, far more accessible than physical events and spaces are, which we need to improve yesterday—they’re not always the same, and as any queer person can tell you, going online often means exposing yourself to more hate.
There’s that lovely metaphor about a chorus: when a chorus holds a long note, they don’t all sing all the time, instead they take pauses to breathe in turn so the note doesn’t lose all the voices throughout, and is maintained. I feel that way a lot about Pride Month—it’s a month-long run through a gauntlet of “just asking questions,” “how come?” and Queer 101 stuff that can honestly exhaust more than it empowers. So, don’t forget to take the deep breaths you need, fellow queer folk, and pace yourself against the pushback. Be a chorus. Let each other breathe, and hold the notes for each other.
I’ll probably have more tomorrow, and start talking queer stuff ™ throughout the month, but I wanted to start with just this. A reminder you matter. A reminder you can’t help others if you burn yourself out. A reminder that you don’t have to be the person explaining everything all the time—especially digitally, where so many of the conversations are easier to link to than to hash out for yet another “just asking questions” guy who you know is doing nothing of the sort.
So, I guess my thoughts on Pride Month this year are to be gentle with yourself. Pride is a protest. It’s a protest that started against police violence, which hasn’t stopped, mostly organized by BIPOC trans people and we need to remind ourselves about who came before, because wow does our heteronormative, cisnormative society really suck at passing on queer history. (And yes, this is where I add my usual most queers don’t inherit their narrative from their biological families, so the onus is on us to create a continuance of our history spiel. Consider it spieled.)
Side-note: As of yesterday, all the proofs were handed in for A Little Village Blend, which means it’s locked and loaded for the release next month. I’m chuffed to bring y’all back to the Village again—this time with magic a bit more front-and-centre—and I hope you enjoy it. You can currently pre-order at the link there, which will take you to the Bold Strokes Books webstore.
According to Ivan’s sister Anya, Ivan’s tea leaves promise his perfect match is out there somewhere, just waiting to be swept off their feet. Ivan knows Anya’s always right—an annoying trait for a sister if ever there was one.
Ivan’s own knack with tea might not deal with the future, but it’s pretty good at helping with the here and now. When Walt, a tall, dark, and grumpy soldier shows up at his store, NiceTeas, in obvious need of a hand—and a dog-sitter—Ivan rises to the challenge and offers blends to make Walt’s life a little easier. There’s just no way he can help falling for the guy. But Anya says Walt’s not the one for Ivan, and the tea leaves don’t lie.
Is it worth steeping a here-and-now while waiting for the one-and-only? Ivan’s not sure, but everything tells him it’s all just a matter of finding the right blend.
Cover Artist: Inkspiral Design
And, given a recent online conversation that will likely rear up as a post of its own, did you know Bold Strokes Books has been publishing queer books since 2004?