Tag: Adventure

An Everyday Backyard Adventure (and Two Moms) in New Picture Book

An Everyday Backyard Adventure (and Two Moms) in New Picture

Just when I think I’ve already seen all of 2020’s many, many, LGBTQ-inclusive kids’ books, another one pops up—this one was published just last week by an independent LGBTQ+ press, and shows a girl and her two moms reveling in the natural world.

Come Over! Come Up!

Come Over Come Up! by Anna Watson and illustrated by Skye Murie (Laz-E-Femme Press) is told in gentle rhymes as the girl calls her two moms to join her in climbing a tree. “She steps through the branches, curls up in a nest./“Come over! Come up!” she calls to her guests.” From the top of the tree, they observe the clouds, the sun, the moon, and geese flying by, until it is time to go home and go to sleep—making this a nice, soothing bedtime story. (Adults may simply want to explain that when the girl feeds her guests “on pine cones and flowers and berries,” that’s all pretend, and not a recommended practice.) Murie’s illustrations have a childlike feel that may appeal to young readers. The girl is White; one mom is Black and one White.

Watson, the lesbian mom of two grown sons, also collaborated with Murie on the 2017 picture book Don’t Forget the Poop!, which stars another two-mom family exploring the natural world (and remembering to clean up after their dog) as they go on a walk. And Watson’s Girl from the Queendom is a middle-grade chapter book about a girl who must learn to adjust after moving from rural Vermont to Arlington, Massachusetts with her two moms.

LGBTQ-inclusive children’s literature has its roots in independent presses and self-publishing. It’s great to see this tradition continue even as large mainstream publishers produce more inclusive works as well.


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Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Wild. Brave. Free. Paige and Kerri’s adventure wedding was full of creativity and love.  After a meandering helicopter ride, the couple made their commitments to each other on an Alaskan mountaintop overlooking the glaciers.

In their daily lives, the Salem, Massachusetts, couple juggled an “insane work and travel life.” With varying levels of support from their family, they found the process of a traditional ceremony exhausting. They told Equally Wed: “We wanted to turn our wedding into an adventure, which is what we truly love to do together.”

The couple celebrated their bach party in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, then legally signed the marriage paperwork at a Massachusetts courthouse. But spontaneity and connection defined the ceremony itself.

With nothing but their wedding essentials and some gear, the couple embarked on a helicopter ride across the Knik River and the surrounding mountains. They traveled alone with the photographer and the pilot. “The photographer and pilot didn’t know what they were in for,” they told Equally Wed. “But they ended up being a really special part of the day. It was like being with friends.

“We landed in various locations to hike, go in the glacier lake, and play around until we found THE location. The location we chose was on top of a mountain with a ridge just big enough for the helicopter and our intimate ceremony. It was special because very few people had been there before.

“Once we found ‘the spot’ and figured out how to land the helicopter, we pulled out our bags. We changed our clothes in the wide open landscape, did each others’ hair and makeup, then threw on stilettos (hardly suitable for the outdoors).”

Kerri and Paige said their vows privately, away from even the photographer and the pilot.

“We had so many ‘opinions’ around our wedding—we wanted no one else and nothing else present as we made our commitment to each other. It was symbolic for us: the two of us together could take on the world. We would always be there for each other.”

Following the ceremony, the couple packed up their camper van and headed on an Alaskan road trip for their honeymoon.

“Truly choose what makes you happy,” Paige and Kerri advise other LGBTQ+ couples. “The day was so special and exactly what we wanted together. We are so glad we didn’t guilt ourselves into anything else!”

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

Intimate adventure wedding on an Alaskan mountaintop. Photo by Jeff Schultz Photography. Featured on Equally Wed, the leading LGBTQ+ wedding magazine and vendor directory.

VENDORS

Photographer: Jeff Schultz Photography 
Wedding Location: Knik Glacier, Alaska
Paige’s Attire: Solace London
Kerri’s Attire: Little Black Tux

Marieke reviews Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan – The Lesbrary

I used to be a fervent reader of romance fiction, fed by a steady stream of free or extremely cheap ebooks supplied through BookBub (if you like historical romance, contemporary romance, new adult romance, very teen fiction, or what is titled “women’s fiction,” I highly recommend signing up for this subscription newsletter–there are no costs attached). Historical romance was always my favourite genre, especially when the story was set during the Regency era (I know nothing about this period, I just love the dresses and the heroines, okay?). Then I started to develop a craving for queer Regency romance, ideally with queer women. Turns out that particular itch is a bit hard to scratch, as most queer historical romance is about men falling in love with other men. So when BookBub fed me this wlw romp for the meagre price of £0.99, I signed up! This was my first wlw Regency romance, and while it didn’t wholly convince me, I am still interested enough to keep looking for more within the genre (if you have any recommendations, please send them through on my blog).

Besides never having read a wlw Regency romance before, I’ve also never read any kind of romance before where the main characters are aged over 60 at the beginning of the story. While you might expect the higher age of the main characters to be a factor in my hesitancy, it wasn’t, or at least not directly. I’ll admit it made me think twice before picking it up, but the fact that Courtney Milan is the author assuaged any doubts I had going in, and she definitely made the characters true to themselves. Both Violetta and Bertrice are struggling to live their lives without much of a social circle to fall back on–Violetta’s closest friends died or moved away to Boston, and Bertrice’s friends seem to have all died. While it seemed slightly unlikely to me that both characters would be so isolated, it does mean they’re also desperate enough for social contact to grow close to each other without much outside encouragement. After the catalyst of the story throws them together (Violetta requires help and Bertrice is in a unique position to provide it, albeit in a roundabout way), nothing much tears them apart.

Other than the issue of money that is. Bertrice has bucket loads of it and Violette is barely scraping by. While this is not exactly a point of contention between the two of them, it does present itself in how they handle themselves differently in social situations (Bertrice is much more abrasive, as she knows she doesn’t need anything from people who get in her way), and how they treat each other (Bertice realises that she’s allowing Violetta to prepare, cook, and clean up after their first ‘date’ as if she were a servant). It also gives each character a different view on the world, and they are very open with each other about this. Those interactions were some of the more interesting ones to read, especially because they overlap so much with their discussions on patriarchy.

This is an angry book. In the author’s notes, Milan mentions she had to re-write certain plot points because she intended to publish shortly after Brett Kavanaugh’s hearings. If I were to re-read the book with that in mind, I’m sure I would be able to earmark specific passages that hark back to the treatment of Christine Blasey Ford during those hearings. We feel the powerlessness of Violetta in the face of being fired by a man so he could get out of paying her a pension, and then being thrown to the whims of a character most often referred to as the Terrible Nephew. We then see the ease with which said Terrible Nephew is able to manipulate other people to those selfsame whims, simply by invoking the Old Boys’ Club he is a member of. It is infuriating, more so because it still happens today.

Of course, Bertrice has a tendency to ignore or bulldozer men around her as much as possible (or as the situation calls for, if you were to ask her), and she is allowed this luxury because of the huge sum of money that belongs to her. Even she is often stymied by the Nephew, and there is a moment where the Nephew intends to have her declared incompetent. Personally, I cannot think of anything worse than being legally made so powerless that you are no longer allowed to make any decisions for yourself, even (or especially) when the story is already set against a historical backdrop where women are made heavily dependent and reliant on men (unless you become a ‘surplus’ women like Violetta, an intriguing concept unknown to me before this book and one Milan explains in a bit more detail in her notes).

Obviously, the story does not allow for such an ending. This is a romance, and we read romances to make ourselves feel better despite the world we live in, and that requires a happier ending than one where a main character is stripped off all her rights. So instead Violetta and Bertrice fall in love, and have a sex scene (this is also why we read romance novels, don’t lie). It is a lovely scene, if a bit brief. While the descriptions do take into account the age of the characters, it is never presented as a positive or a negative–it just is. It is a sweet scene, and a lovely counterpoint to the exuberant antics the two get up to outside of the house (Bertrice is a pro at practical jokes with the purpose to rid themselves off the Nephew problem), as well as that background of ever-present patriarchy.

The taste of it still lingers though, and this is where my slight hesitancy towards the book stems from. I read historical romances for escapism where possible. I can see the paradox in preferring Regency romance with its rampant patriarchy for my escapism. Even so, with a hetero pairing the author will often use that background to make their male leads look great in comparison (usually by clearing the lowest of bars, and occasionally they are still overbearing in their protectiveness). I haven’t before read a book where it is presented as it is here: pervasive and all-consuming and nigh insurmountable. In this story, the enemy is not just the patriarchy as embodied by a singular character to be beaten, the whole system is the enemy. And that was too big a shadow for me to be able to properly escape into the book.

Content warnings: mentions of rape, act of arson

I’ve always wanted to launch a fantasy adventure comic with lesbians as main characters ( there will be none of the bury your gays nonsense). Until now my I thought my art skills were not up to it. Now I’m asking you. Would you read something in this style? : actuallesbians

I've always wanted to launch a fantasy adventure comic with

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

Adventure Bound Expeditions – Gay Owned Tour Operator in Boulder, Colorado

Adventure Bound Expeditions

Adventure Bound Expeditions

CUSTOM DESIGNED ADVENTURE TRAVEL

Adventure Bound Expeditions was created more than thirty years ago to offer custom adventure tours for gay men. We put together and personally conduct 1-2 tours every year to exciting destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe, Central America, South America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Our gay tours include rafting, hiking, kayaking, and nature observation. We’ve climbed active volcanoes in South America, kayaked Ethiopia’s Omo River in Ethiopia, canoed on Lake Biakal in Siberia, trekked to remote Indian villages up in the Andes of Bolivia, hiked through the Pyrenees in Europe, and taken safaris in many regions of Africa.

On our tours, we also help you learn about the local environment, meet the locals, and find out more about the cultures of many societies, all along with other gay men and with the support of knowledgeable local guides and an American tour director with thirty years of adventure travel experience.

See the Adventure Bound Expeditions Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

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