Chiara and Stefania knew marriage was right for them: they had been together for ten years before choosing to wed. The Italian couple organized a small, intimate Central Park wedding. After a decade of love, they committed to each other forever under The Ladies’ Pavilion against bright blue skies. The two brides wore exquisite, custom-tailored suits in navy and ocean blue. Following the ceremony, friends and family gathered for a picnic with champagne and cake. “We spent ten years getting to know and understand each other,” the couple told us. “Deciding to get married and be together forever was the most beautiful decision we could make.” To honor the decision, they tattooed the New York City skyline and their wedding date on their arms.
Chiara and Stefania hail from Geneva, Italy. For many of their guests, the Central Park wedding was their first trip to the United States. Of course, there was some “emotional management” of the family, but the couple tells Equally Wed this was normal. “Conviction and mutual love must prevail over everything,” they said. Their New York wedding only strengthened the family bonds. “It was a dream come true for everyone. We have met a lot of respect from our friends and family. It was a truly emotional ceremony.”
To other LGBTQ+ couples, Stefania and Chiara advise: “Do this with conviction and respect, because values have to be real deep! We suggest that couples marry when the relationship is really strong. No one can know what the future will be like. We have to be convinced that we will do everything to overcome the difficulties of life together.”
It’s Transgender Awareness Week, and hot off the presses today is a new picture book about transgender icons Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera!
Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution, by Joy Michael Ellison and Teshika Silver (Jessica Kingsley, 2020), tells the story of Sylvia and Marsha by focusing on their close friendship and how they cared for their community in the face of harassment by police and others. We see them at the heart of the Stonewall Rebellion, then opening a home for homeless trans girls and continuing to fight “for the survival and rights of transgender people.”
Some of the violence during the rebellion has been tempered for the age group and a few historical details could be argued, but as the authors note, this is only one retelling of what happened. What comes through clearly, though—and is probably most important for young readers—is the bond between Sylvia and Marsha and the overall sense of how they worked to help those in need. To read that they “strode with pride, like two lionesses” down the street after the rebellion, and to see Silver’s image of them smiling confidently, arm in arm, is to know that trans women can be strong and powerful. A few of the narrative transitions are a little jumpy, but the thread of Sylvia and Marsha’s friendship helps hold things together.
One point that may require a little adult explanation is when members of the community call out “Here comes Alice in the blue dress!” to indicate the police are on the way. We’ve learned earlier in the book that the police can arrest trans women for wearing dresses—and the police (all male) are not wearing dresses themselves. Young readers may think the call means the police are chasing someone named Alice until they understand the ironic slang. (Having said that, I’m betting that once young readers catch on, parents may be hard pressed to stop them from shouting this phrase themselves when they see a real officer on the street. Fair warning….)
The back matter offers additional details on the two, a glossary, discussion questions, and activities. There are a couple of errors in the two online resources listed, though: “Queer Kids Stuff” should be “Queer Kid Stuff,” and “The Family Equality Council” should be just “Family Equality.” (Also, I would have added PFLAG and Gender Spectrum as key resources, since they do a lot of work with families of trans kids.) Those are minor issues, though. This inspiring story of friendship, community, and revolution rightly gives Sylvia and Marsha their place on our kids’ bookshelves alongside the mostly White and male figures who have dominated LGBTQ picture book biographies.
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A gay Taylor Swift fan was blown away when he received a handwritten letter from the singer-songwriter praising him for “choosing to live and love honestly even when it isn’t easy”.
Swift, who recently released her eighth studio album folklore, wrote a heartfelt letter to Andrew Mooney, who is currently finishing up his PhD at Trinity College Dublin.
The letter, dated 23 August, begins: “Andy, someone told me you’re about to finish your PhD! I wanted to congratulate you on this incredible accomplishment and to applaud you for all the hard work you’ve put into your studies.
Swift continued: “This is EPIC!! I saw how supportive you’ve been of my music over the years and was so touched.
“Thank you so much. I’m also so proud of you for the bravery you’ve shown in your personal life, choosing to live and love honestly even when it isn’t easy.
“I hope you’re doing well in and amongst the chaos we’re all living through right now,” Swift added.
“In these times, I think it’s important to revel in the great moments when we can, and this is a moment worth celebrating!”
Gay Taylor Swift fan was overwhelmed by her heartfelt handwritten letter.
Mooney shared a photo of the letter on Twitter along with an envelope addressed to “Dr Andy Mooney” to celebrate the completion of his PhD.
“Thank you Taylor Swift for taking the time to write me such a beautiful message,” Mooney wrote.
I’m also so proud of you for the bravery you’ve shown in your personal life, choosing to live and love honestly even when it isn’t easy.
“You have been an inspiration to me for so many years and I can’t put into words how much this means to me. You have changed my life.”
Thank you @taylorswift13 for taking the time to write me such a beautiful message. You have been an inspiration to me for so many years and I can’t put into words how much this means to me. You have changed my life. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ERGCmk2vkC
A sweet and lyrical new picture book takes us along with a diverse group of expecting families—including ones with two moms and two dads—as their babies-to-be grow from the size of a sweet pea to that of a pumpkin and then are born as their own delightful selves.
Wonderful You, written by Lisa Graff and illustrated by Ramona Kaulitski (Philomel Books), uses simple, soothing couplets to bring us on a journey with multiple families waiting for their new arrivals. Graff takes the fruit-and-vegetable comparison familiar from online pregnancy trackers and weaves it into a story of family anticipation and planning. We then see more parents-to-be, along with siblings, grandparents, and other relatives, as they wonder, wait, prepare nurseries, receive baby gifts, and dance in celebration.
One spread shows a two-dad couple and an older child poring over a book and a computer screen. It relates, “When you were a plum and we hadn’t a clue, we read and we researched and waited for you.” It’s an open question whether the family is using surrogacy, adoption, or other means.
In another spread, a two-mom family is viewing their ultrasound as the text tells us, “When you were a lemon, we followed your cue, we watched and we whispered and waited for you.”
The two moms are both Black. The two-dad couple is one of several interracial families in the book; one dad is Black and the other is likely White or Latino; their daughter has the latter’s tan skin tone. Other characters throughout the book have a variety of racial and ethnic identities. One dad-to-be uses a wheelchair as he brings a laundry basket of linens into the nursery. While most of the parents seem coupled, a few of the pregnant ones are positioned with others who could be extended family, not spouses/partners, leaving room for single parents to see themselves.
Kaulitski’s drawings are softly colorful and her people are happy and dynamic. Her inclusion of siblings and extended family remind us that it does often take the proverbial village, even before the child arrives. Each page also includes the relevant fruits and vegetables somewhere in the scene, which young readers should enjoy finding.
The babies eventually make their “debut,” and we see all of them in side-by-side bassinets bundled in brightly colored swaddling, sleeping peacefully or looking in wonder at the world. Gone are the produce analogies—Graff makes it clear now that “you’re utterly you.” The final spread shows them as young children, running and playing together, as the book ends with a message of unconditional love—past, present, and future—from parent to child.
This is a charming book that is bound to become a favorite gift for expecting parents in many types of families. The loving rhymes will likely make it a bedtime story to last for many years.
A new multi-artist, multi-genre music album coming out this month will offer transgender and nonbinary children and youth songs that reflect and support who they are. It’s the brainchild of Julie Lipson, one half of children’s music duo Ants on a Log, who spoke with me recently about the project and shared this sneak peek of the cover art.
Detail from cover of “Trans and Nonbinary Kids Mix.” Art by Wriply M. Bennet.
Lipson, who is also a co-founder of Camp Aranu’tiq, a summer camp for transgender and nonbinary children and youth, told me, “I have always been astounded by the role that music plays” for the campers. “Gender overlaps so much with music and the voice.”
This summer, however, the camp had to cancel in-person sessions because of COVID-19. “This just seemed like the moment where kids need this music,” they said. “We needed some way to keep everybody connected.”
Lipson, who is nonbinary themselves, reached out to their networks in both the children’s music and the transgender and nonbinary music world, and the response was “amazing.” The result, the Trans and Nonbinary Kids Mix album, will contain 20 songs from musicians representing hip-hop, pop, folk, country, and other genres. While some of the songs have appeared on other albums, several are new for this one—and it’s empowering to see them all brought together in one place.
About two-thirds of the musicians are transgender or nonbinary; the rest are allies, some of whom have trans or nonbinary friends or family members. About half are people of color.
I wanted to be a part of this project because trans and nonbinary folks deserve to be at the center of stories, songs, narratives.
The project is personal for many of them. Be Steadwell, a self-described “a black queer artist storyteller witch,” said, “I never saw much of myself in the music I listened to. I never heard my story. I wanted to be a part of this project because trans and nonbinary folks deserve to be at the center of stories, songs, narratives. We deserve to see ourselves in art. To feel affirmed rather than ignored by the music we listen to.”
Storm Miguel Florez, a “trans queer, Xicanx filmmaker and musician,” wanted to participate because “As a teen in the 80s, music saved my life. I was especially lucky to have access to music by older LGBTQ people. It meant everything to know there were older queer people making art and getting to live full and interesting lives. I’m excited for an opportunity to be a part of that for younger people now.”
And Grammy-nominated Alastair Moock, a “cis, white, hetero male,” shared, “I have long worked to be an active and vocal straight ally. That commitment only deepened when one of my twins came out as gay and then non-binary.”
Some of the trans and nonbinary musicians don’t write “kids’ music” per se, but Lipson hopes their contributed songs nevertheless speak to kids. One example is “Weaknees,” by transgender singer and writer Vivek Shraya. “It’s just such a great message: ‘I want to know everything about you, I think you’re so cool,’” Lipson paraphrased. And Lipson also wants kids to think of these musicians and say, “Oh, that’s a role model.”
Every kid of every age is going to interpret these songs differently.
With this broad approach, Lipson hopes that “Five-year-olds and 15-year-olds could listen to this mix and find that they like most of the songs.” Some “are definitely for little children,” but with others, “a five-year-old might like the beat but have no idea what the lyrics mean.” Lipson added, “Every kid of every age is going to interpret these songs differently.” That’s part of the album’s appeal.
The nonbinary musician Totally Knuts’ contribution, “The Trans Wizard’s Song” comes from the genre of “Wizard Rock,” inspired by the world of Harry Potter. Lipson notes that the song was written before author J.K. Rowling’s recent anti-trans statements, but it is (appropriately) a “critique song” about being trans and nonbinary at Hogwarts (Harry’s wizard school) that looks at some of the problems underlying the wizards’ world.
Other musicians on the album include two-time Grammy Award-winner Cathy Fink; Grammy nominees the Alphabet Rockers; Beppie; Be Steadwell; Chana Rothman; Emily Joy; Jennifer Angelina Petro; the Okee Dokee Brothers; Queer Kid Stuff; Ryan Cassata; Shawnee; Star Amerasu; and Two of a Kind.
Notably, the album will be free to all, to make it accessible to “any trans or nonbinary kid who’s sitting at home alone and isolated,” Lipson said. “I did not want cost to get in the way of that.” People are welcome to make donations, however, all of which will go to Camp Aranu’tiq, which is offering free virtual sessions this year but has lost the income from its in-person camps.
Separately, Lipson is also fundraising to provide many of the musicians—all of whom donated their songs—with stipends. Many musicians and artists are unemployed right now because of the pandemic—and the Black Lives Matter movement has reminded Lipson of the importance of supporting musicians of color.
“I’m pretty privileged. I’m a White person who’s doing okay,” they asserted. But they know that not everyone is. “We need to dream into existence the world that we actually want, which is that anybody who doesn’t have the resources that I have can rely on society valuing artists.”
You can contribute here to the fund for the musicians. Lipson will divide the money among them, although they’ve asked that those “who do not identify in a marginalized community or identity give that money back into the pot.” Some will also be used to pay Wriply M. Bennet, the Black trans woman who created the cover art.
The album itself will be available from antsonalog.bandcamp.com later in July. (Right now, that page shows only the Ants’ album You Could Draw the Album Art!, which is great, but isn’t the Trans and Nonbinary Kids’ Mix.) Follow Ants on a Log on Facebook or Instagram for the latest updates.
The TV drought continues, but we’re not giving up! This week, Valerie Anne recapped the last episode of Legends of Tomorrow‘s fifth season. Carly and Riese dropped another episode of To L and Back. Natalie shared her list of top ten favorite lesbian movies. Drew shared some of her favorite trans web series to watch after Disclosure. And Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe joined the call of Black athletes for racial justice at the ESPYs.
Notes from the TV Team:
+ The season two finale of DC Universe’s animated Harley Quinn series dropped today, and it was SO GOOD. I’m going to write a full post about the whole season on Monday, since I’ve missed so many blurbs because I was out of the office. You can join DC Universe for a free 7 day trial and watch all of season two. You should! — Heather
+ I’ll have a full recap of The Chi‘s new season after I’ve seen a few more episodes… but this week’s premiere (which you can watch in its entirety on Youtube) is a jarring showcase of the juxtaposition of black pain and black joy. This, of course, is the black joy:
The black queer joy. — Natalie
+ The queer fan convention QFX is having their virtual Cloud Con this weekend. Panels for Marvel’s Runaways, One Day at a Time and Utopia Falls already happened, and this weekend will have panels for Wynonna Earp and more. All past and future panels will be on the QFX Cloud Con Twitch! — Valerie Anne
+ Apparently there’s “no such thing” as a recap of a trailer so here I am in the notes section of Boob Tube to because I couldn’t NOT tell you that WYNONNA EARP IS COMING BACK. They finally, finally, finally, after two years of fighting and hoping and wishing and dreaming, finally released a Season Four trailer. And it. is. glorious.
The trailer is everything I dreamed in more, showing old faces and new, hitting all the right beats, and making my Earper heart soar all over again. In it, Nicole Haught says, “God I’ve missed you, Waverly Earp,” and so much same but about all of them. Season Four officially starts again for six whole brand new episodes on Sunday, July 26th. ONE MONTH FROM TODAY! My recaps and I will see you there. — Valerie Anne
Written by Natalie
It’s a wrap — literally — on Kat’s time in the loft; she’s packing up her stuff and moving in with Jane. As they are wont to do, the move brings up a lot of memories: the couch that she bought after her first promotion and binged The L Word on when she was questioning her sexuality (#relatable) or the table from which she launched her campaign. The girls wrap her up in bubble wrap and dissolve into laughter as they embrace.
At work, Kat’s finding ways to utilize the skills she honed at Scarlet into promoting The Bell: after hearing about one member’s work with a domestic violence shelter — which she left a lucrative gig in finance to take — Kat wants to share the story with a wider audience. She pitches the idea for a podcast to her boss who seems skeptical, but greenlights a pilot episode. Excited about the development, Kat rushes to share the news with her best friends. After tossing out puns that might work as podcast titles, Sutton recommends that Kat reach out to Alex for his advice on how to make it into the podcast game.
Can I say: it makes sense for the activist within Kat to come to the fore, irrespective of where she’s working, but I wish they’d taken another tact with it. The Bold Type has always struggled to give Alex something to do other than being of service to our three main characters… and, with one notable exception, his venture into podcasting has been the only storyline that’s just about him. But here we are, ten episodes later, and Alex’s is back, using his knowledge to provide help for Kat. Ugh. Do better The Bold Type, do better. But I digress…
Alex schools Kat on all things podcasting, even recommending the proper microphones to buy, but Kat’s short on cash. He offers to buy them for her or even let her borrow some of Scarlet‘s extra equipment, but Kat declines his offers. He pushes to find out what’s causing Kat’s cash flow issues and discovers that she’s paying $300/month to store her furniture. Alex recommends that she recoup her storage fees and sell her stuff instead.
“I can’t do that, I already lost Scarlet and my apartment and my 401(k) and…,” Kat admits, pausing to collect herself before adding, “The only thing I do know is that I can’t lose anything else, so selling my stuff is just not an option.”
But when she donates some old clothes to the domestic violence shelter, Kat comes to appreciate the need for reinvention and reconsiders her decision to sell her things. She calls Alex for help and, with his assistance, she’s able to sell all her furniture and earn enough money to get her podcast off the ground… and, thanks to Jane, Kat’s beloved couch has a new home in their shared apartment!
Written by Valerie Anne
Bye, Sterling. I know you were engaged to Jess but we hardly knew ye.
I feel a little bad about complaining in the last Boob Tube that Jess was gone because they made up for it this week, and we spend the first bit going over where Jess and Sterling were during the events of the last episode. Mostly, to be honest, Jess and Sterling were just lazing around in bed.
But then when Jess is out buying tampons, Sam bursts into Sterling and Jess’s apartment and threatens her ex, forcing Sterling to leave with her. But Sterling maces Sam and gets away, stealing Sam’s car and hearing a voicemail from Nia on Sam’s phone about Murphy and Felix being in danger. So she goes to pick up Jess, who is horrified to learn that Sterling worked for Nia and that the one person left in her life who hadn’t betrayed her did just that. Jess says SHE’LL go help Murphy, and tells Sterling not to follow her in a clear, firm voice we’ve never heard her use before.
After we get to the part we already saw, Jess saving Murphy, Murphy lets out this sad, apologetic, “Jess,” and Jess finally lets down her steely walls and wraps Murphy in a big hug.
The team ends up burying the bodies in the woods, which just never goes well, but these kids haven’t always been the best decision-makers. The whole time, Sterling leads the charge, clearly no stranger to the hiding-a-body game, but everyone is so cold because they hurt their Jess. Murphy is mad, Jess is mad, Sterling is annoyed. But in the end, Jess thanks her for helping them and says a somewhat amicable if not permanent sounding goodbye.
After months of teasing – it’s finally here. ????????This past week we launched EveryQueer Magazine with Brooklyn’s hottest DJ Amber Valentine at one of the most popular queer parties in NYC. In all, we managed to get about 200 people through the doors of Misster Weds at The Woods to celebrate a brand new adventure in independent queer publishing.
At EveryQueer.com our team is focused on inspiring people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender presentations to think differently about the global queer community through a lens of travel, culture, and activism. Our hope is to ultimately build a bridge between queer people across identities and borders. This party will be the first of many events to come from the EveryQueer family. We can’t wait to see you at the next one. Big thanks to Grace Chu for the photos.
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Meg Ten Eyck is a queer gal with expensive dreams and a whole lot of hustle.Meg is extremely gay and entirely addicted to travel. Like, we’re talking Pride Parade gay – if they made a Meg Barbie her one accessory would be her rainbow flag and a copy of the feminist manifesto – THAT kinda gay. You can find her traveling the world or through her writings and ramblings @MegTenEyck