What about 18-yr old Constance McMillend? All she wanted was to attend prom in a tux with her girlfriend, what millions of teenagers do. But her school canceled prom instead. Or Ceara Sturgis, who had her photo removed from the high school yearbook because she was in a tux.
16-yr old Juin Baize, a transgendered student, was suspended just for attending school as the administrative considered Baize a disruptive element!
According to GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network), a 2009 National School Climate Survey revealed that nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students suffer harassment in school because of their identity.
While there has been renewed calls for legislation to fight homophobia and bullying, while there have been countless videos of "It Gets Better," kids are still dying by their own hand. And some kids are seeing the It Gets Better campaign as a bit empty--they want to know when does it get better.
Steve Berman edited Speaking Out: LGBT Youth Stand Up to offer teens stories that aren't about coming-out but rather about living life openly as well as overcoming intolerance and bigotry. He wanted to inspire readers, to help them realize that they are not alone or powerless, that their voices can be heard.
Some reviews of the book:
Speaking Out!, edited by Steve Berman. Bold Strokes Books, 284 pages, $13.95 paper.
This anthology of fiction about LGBTQ youth facing down bullying and coming out into self-assured lives is certainly timely, after a sad summer of too many teen suicides. Edited with a craftsman’s skill by Berman, the 13 stories embrace every letter of the queer community’s tongue twister of an acronym: Rigoberto Gonzalez, one of the more accomplished contributors, opens the collection with “Lucky P,” about relatively loving parents confused by their son’s attraction to both girls and boys; Sandra McDonald closes the book with “All Gender U,” about a boy with a preference for girl’s clothes angling for a college recommendation letter. Dia Panne’s “The Spark of Change,” about a lesbian who shames her firefighter father for refusing to respond when a small town’s lesbian couple’s house is ablaze, is the book’s most emotional; Lucas J.W. Johnson’s “Subtle Poison,” about a trans-boy’s tortured relationship with both family and friends is the most (nearly) tragic. Queer and questioning teens are likely to find themselves reflected in one or more of this heartfelt anthology’s stories; let’s hope it finds a place on the nation’s school library shelves. -- Richard Labonte for BookMarks
Or from the Kirkus blog: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/blog/young-adult/speaking-out-stories-lgbtq-teens/
Or from Impressions of a Reader blog: http://www.impressionsofareader.com/2011/10/review-speaking-out-edited-by-steve.html
So, the plan is this: with whatever funds are raised by this campaign, Steve Berman will purchase from the publisher, Bold Strokes Books, copies of Speaking Out and have them sent off to a high school library. Since Steve is buying the books at author discount, there is no royalty payment to him. Roughly, every $10 buys a book and covers mailing expenses. The goal is to purchase books for 200 school libraries.
Steve Berman has been writing queer fiction for many years. His young adult novel, Vintage, is dedicated to a teenage fan who committed suicide before the books release in 2007. He has traveled the country speaking at conferences about LGBT young adult fiction.
If you are a teacher or a librarian or even parent, you can "nominate" a school to Steve and he'll be sure they are part of a list sent to the publisher.
Please share this campaign--spread the word around. Too often we hear stories about censorship and taking books off the shelf. Let's add one instead!
To contribute or read more: http://www.indiegogo.com/Buy-Libraries-a-Book-for-Gay-Kids