Happy Pride Month! It’s that time of year again, though here in Ottawa I always get the one-two punch of Pride Month in June and then Pride itself in August. Frankly, I’m extra down with that, since I figure we deserve at least two months given how the elections keep going in this damn province.
Oops. Well, I almost made it a paragraph without being angry. Almost. Which, frankly, is a total Pride Month mood, really. And, so I’d like to take this moment to say something I try to say every Pride Month:
Fellow queers, keep yourself intact, your spirits up, and your queer umbrella raised as high as you can to cover as many queerfolk as possible.
Corporations are gonna do their thing, haters are going to be loud, and it matters you’re here when the month is over.
Also, a (not-so) gentle reminder that the A in LGBTQIAP2s+ doesn’t stand for Ally. It stands for Asexual, Aromantic, and/or Agender. I am not saying allies aren’t important. I’m not. Of course they are. We’re outnumbered and we need allies to stand with us. 💯.
But the A isn’t for Ally. An ally isn’t queer. (I mean, queer allies of other types of queerness are great, but they’re already covered under queer.)
I’ve sometimes heard the rhetoric “but including ‘A is for Ally’ is for closeted queers”—and, okay. If I squint right, I see the intent there: giving someone who can’t be out access to queer spaces and a cover for it. In spaces.
Discussions? LGBTQIAP2S+ already includes closeted queers.
Because you don’t have to be out to be queer. And that’s a huge, important thing to keep at the front of our brains.
“Say A is for Ally because some queer people can’t be out” feels more like erasure than inclusion. Yes, some closeted or semi-closeted queer people use “I’m an ally” to reach out, but they are already queer. They don’t have to “graduate” from ally to queer, even if that’s the path they take. Realizing you are queer doesn’t have to be shared before it’s real, I guess is what I’m saying.
A is for Ace/Aro/Agender.
Closeted queer people are queer.
Being more careful to say things like “this month is for and about LGBTQIAP2S+ people, out or closeted, and we welcome supportive friends an allies!” might seem like more work, but at least it reinforces something we don’t often do a great job of: telling the closeted they matter.
I’ve been a bit quiet around these parts (meaning the blog) because I’ve got two projects on the go at the same time, and now that the ink is dry (or, well, drying) on the contracts, I can talk about them a bit. The first is likely no surprise: the next Little Village novella, “Felix Navidad,” is in the pipeline! It’ll be arriving this holiday—which is amazing, and only possible because Bold Strokes Books continue to accommodate my terrible arm making my output wonky and still managing to slide me into the schedule when I get a draft finished. I’d honestly expected to be waiting until next year.
I got to see a draft of the cover already, too. I’m stoked.
Felix doesn’t do impulsive anymore. But attending a friend’s wedding reminds him he’s the only one of his friends attending solo, and recent losses have him thinking he swung too far in the not-impulsive direction.“Felix Navidad,” by ‘Nathan Burgoine, coming this holiday from Bold Strokes Books
So, impulse decision number one? Cutting in on a dance to handsome farmer Kevin, the ex of one of the grooms, for a spin at the reception. Impulse decision number two? Taking his first holiday vacation off work. Christmas in Hawai’i will be a gift to himself.
When dancing doesn’t work out, Felix keeps high hopes for his vacation right up until the first flight cancellation. After bumping into a stranded Kevin who lost his flight home, Felix gives impulse a third try: why not drive to Toronto together? But after ice rain strands them half-way, it looks like Felix isn’t going to get to give himself his gift after all. Instead, this Christmas is a small cabin—and Kevin.
Then again, sometimes unexpected gifts turn out to be the best.
On the Rails
The next piece of news I’ve got is a YA I’m writing for Lorimer press as part of their Real Love line, which is a huge, huge deal for me because said line is a Hi/Lo line. If you don’t know what Hi/Lo is—and that’s fine, I don’t imagine a lot of you do—Hi/Lo is what you call books with a high interest level but a low vocabulary or readability level. Or, put another way, they’re books for readers who aren’t at the common reading level for their age but stuff still happens and is interesting. Writing one of these, specifically a gay rom-com, makes me so beyond happy, and I’m so pleased Lorimer was happy with my pitch. And the pitch in question?
Ben keeps his life like a train: on the rails, under control, no surprises.“On the Rails,” by ‘Nathan Burgoine.
After March Break with his father in Toronto, Ben usually can’t wait to get back to Ottawa and his regular life. He usually likes the train ride. It gives him four and a half hours to listen to music and stare out the window and get the last week out of his head. But this time he can’t listen to music because that jerk Caleb broke his phone over a week ago.
It’s bad enough when the last person on the train turns out to be Caleb himself. It’s worse when Caleb’s assigned seat is the one beside Ben. Ben has no earbuds, no phone, and no way to avoid spending the next four and a half hours beside the last person in the world he wants to see. The only option is clear: ignore Caleb.
But loud, joking, always arguing Caleb is impossible to ignore. Then again, in a matter of weeks, they’ll graduate high school and go their separate ways. Ben decides there’s no harm in telling Caleb exactly what he thinks of him. When Caleb pushes, Ben pushes back, and soon the last thing on Ben’s mind is Toronto, his father, or the future.
Mostly, he’s thinking about how good it feels to be a little off the rails.
So that’s what’s been going on around here. I’ll obviously shout more when I’ve got covers or information to shout about, but if I go quiet, it’s because I’m trying to save my arm for typing on those two bad-boys, and everything else will be extra.