Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Discussion: Should There Be Gay Characters In Children's Books?


Recently, I bought the book The Marvels by Brian Selznick. When I started looking through reviews, I discovered that there was a major gay character featured in this book. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure if the fact that this book has a gay character in it is a spoiler or not, but I also don't know how to warn you since you can read the title of this post. So sorry about that.

Almost all of the negative reviews about this book are about the fact that the synopsis doesn't disclose the fact that the topic of homosexuality is discussed. My gut reaction was these homophobic people make me want to punch things, but I quickly realized that all of these reviews said something pretty similar. But first, let's see if you can figure it out (these are all taken from Goodreads by the way):







Did you figure it out? It's that the topic of homosexuality is inappropriate for children. (Gay children don't exist, obviously.) Now, I'm probably a little biased when it comes to this topic, so I wanted to ask you non-gays what you think of gay characters in children's books.

This is probably a good time to point out that The Marvels isn't actually a children's book. It's middle grade, and almost always recommended for 12 and up. I actually think that's a pretty good age considering this book also talks about AIDs (a little more serious than love in my opinion), and I hear there's a bit of death, but here's the thing: these reviewers (as a whole) are complaining about the homosexuality element of the story, not the other parts. So not only can they not read the recommended age, they also don't realize that there are worse things than gay people.

Anyway, let's go to the question: should there be gay characters in children's books? Your opinion is yours to decide, but let me give you some arguments for and against the inclusion of gay characters in children's books:

Pros:

  • Being gay is something that's introduced as normal, therefore avoiding more future homophobic assholes also known as bullies of my gays.
  • Gay children will realize that they're not crazy, and they won't spend years of there life being confused and/or hating/killing themselves and contributing to the staggering suicide rate among LGBT youth.
  • Gay children will look towards more books that feature people they identify (because they realize that books with LGBT characters exist) with rather than being annoyed by straight romances all the time (me), thus they will become readers. What kind of parent is against that? (Ones that want to keep there money in the bank and not in a bookstore, I suppose.)

Cons (according to the aforementioned homophobic assholes):

  • Parents will have to explain what being gay is to their innocent cishet children (supposedly).
Obvious Counterargument: You don't have to explain what being gay is if you introduce them to the idea from the get-go. How about you stop showing them old Disney movies about princes saving princesses from evil queens and start reading them more books what reality's like? I mean, I don't have a source for this, but I'm pretty sure babies don't come out of the womb screaming "kill the homosexuals!" No. Homophobic behavior is learned just like racism or sexism. If you just treat it as normal, they'll know that it is.
  • It scares the Goodreads user, Russ Bruxvoort.
Obvious Counterargument: And people say arachnophobia is an irrational fear... Dude. You have a problem. It's just love.
  • Homosexuality is sexual content that is inappropriate and shouldn't be allowed in books for children!
Obvious Counterargument: Really? This is one of my main problems with these people. They think that the presence of a gay couple is somehow equal to graphic anal sex. Either these people have never gotten passed first base (how did these people have children), or they actually think gay relationships are all about sex. Being a gay person myself, I wish people would realize how fucked up that is. My sexuality isn't just about sex. It's about love. I enjoy having crushes and falling in love with people of my same gender (actually most genders if we want to get technical here). That's something that I've been doing for my entire life. It's not sexual (always...), and it's not something I chose. (Why would I want to when there's so many people like them in the world?) Gay love, like any other kind of love, is innocent. Are you really trying to teach children that love is inappropriate? Because that's what it sounds like. There's a chance the child you're teaching this to is gay, and guess what? If you continue to push this kind of harmful message on children, you're going to end up with a miserable child. Parents like you are the reason almost half of all gay teens have attempted suicide. I hope you're proud of that.
  • The synopsis should make the topics of the book obvious so that the parents can make the decision about whether or not they want their child reading this book.
Obviously Counterargument: And what? Make sure that all the hateful homophobic parents raise hateful homophobic kids? The earlier these topics are brought up the better. Children need to be introduced to the idea that not every experience is like their own, whether that be based on sexuality, gender, race, religion, etc. Parents need to STOP KEEPING THEIR KIDS IN A BOX (and for some, in a box pushed into the back of a closet). I spent so much of my life being completely unaware of the diverse world around me, and that's not okay. Children being shielded from the world around them is what ends up making kids become bullies. They pick on the kids who are part of an unfamiliar community. Children need to know that there are people and communities that are different from their own. How else will they ever be compatible with other humans? If anything, parents should be thrilled at the happy surprise! Seriously though..It's not like they have to tell you there's a straight romance! 
  • It pushes the homosexual agenda.
Obvious Counterargument: Honestly, I don't have a counterargument for this. It's true, I do have an agenda. What can I say? I just can't remember anything otherwise. I would forget so much homework if it weren't for my agenda. For those of you wondering, I prefer this agenda for all my gay agending.

Sure there's more cons than pros, but I think my counterarguments were pretty good, though that isn't hard when the arguments are incredibly invalid. And offensive.

Well, that's my opinion. Please feel free to leave yours down in the comments.

Monday, July 18, 2016

BookTubeAThon TBR! (2016)

Hello! The BookTubeAThon started a little over two hours ago in my time zone, and then I realized that I forgot to make a TBR post, so I decided that I'm going to do a quick post right now to let you guys know what I'm going to be reading this week!

If you want more information on the BookTubeAThon (or if you just don't know what the hell it is) then you can check out their YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Also, this is Book Depository's BookTubeAThon page with discounts and stuff.

Last year, I read six books, and completed six of the seven challenges, which is actually pretty good. I'm hoping that I can complete all seven this time around, but even six is pretty good in my book!

Challenge #1 - Read a book with yellow on the cover.


I'm going to be reading Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella because so many people adore it, and I've been avoiding it for awhile, but I thought I'd try to read it now. I really wanted to read it last year, but that just didn't happen... At least from the description it sounds like it's going to romanticize mental illness, which terrifies me because NO, but obviously I don't know so correct me if I'm wrong.




Challenge #2 - Read a book only after sunset.


I honestly don't know which one this is going to be sooo.... But I am going to try to do it with The Crown by Kiera Cass, mostly because it's currently night, and I plan on reading that one first.

Also, can we talk about how TERRIFYING and CREEPY this cover is? Just look at that face! What the hell is that? I literally have a poster of it that came with it that I refuse to hang up because the face creeps me out (though the other side is The Heir, mostly I'm really lazy..)




Challenge #3 - Read a book you discovered through BookTube.


For this challenge, I'm going to be reading My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Wanga. To be honest, this book also sounds like it's going to romanticize mental illness, but that seems to be a thing, so let's just go with it. I mean, I already own it (friend's gift), so I might as well read it amirite?

Also, it's literally one of the only books that I remember being recommended to me by a BookTuber. It was JesseTheReader, no, I have no clue what video.



Challenge #4 - Read a book by one of your favorite authors.


I really really really need to read The Hidden Oracle. I've been attempting to avoid spoilers rather unsuccessfully so far, and so I think it would be best to just read it. I've been meaning to read it forever (this is not the first TBR this book has been on, unfortunately), and I think it might be time to force myself to sit down and read.

Also, people keep talking about Solangelo. Is that in this book?? Is it? I NEED TO KNOW.




Challenge #5 - Read a book that is older than you. & Challenge #6 - Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation.


I'M GOING TO BE READING HARRY POTTER, OKAY? AND NO, I HAVEN'T READ IT YET PLEASEDONTKILLME. Yes, this book was on my TBR last year. But on the bright side, it's one of only two books on the TBR that's older than me (the other one being White Jenna by Jane Yolen), so I'm probably going to be forced to read it this time around. And as for the book-to-movie adaptation challenge, it's is legitimately the only book on my shelf I haven't read with a movie adaptation, which, no, I also haven't watched. Kill me.

Challenge #7 - Read seven books.


My last two books are The Battle of the Labyrinth and The Demigod Files by Rick Riordan. I really need to read The Battle of the Labyrinth for The Half-Blood Readalong (info here), and it seemed fitting to read The Demigod Files directly after it since that's the order it was published in. I also didn't read them in that order the first time (I read The Last Olympian first), so I thought it would be nice to read them in publication order during my reread of the series.


Hurrah! I'm really looking forward to this week full of reading! Are any of you guys participating? I know most of you guys are bloggers, not BookTubers, but it's honestly so much fun for everybody as long as you like reading. Definitely check it out!

Thanks for reading! Are you participating in the BookTubeAThon this week?

PS: If you're curious, Camp NaNoWriMo has once again been a flop. Several things came in the way that I wasn't expecting (including but not limited to: random trips to Chicago I wasn't informed about, Sherlock series two, this readathon, The Half-Blood Readalong stuff (so many bookmarks), my birthday next week and the misgendering by family members that comes with it, and the fact that I'm very ADHD), so I've pretty much given up. BUT: I do really want to if not finish than at least come close to finishing my novel by the end of the summer. As of right now, August looks pretty open for me, so I'm hoping I'll have enough time to crank out some words. Please, somebody hold me to that. I don't want to fail.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

DOUBLE REVIEW of The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan! (Half-Blood Readalong)


Hello! This is the third review of the Half-Blood Readalong of Percy Jackson series hosted by me (Alex) and Arvenig @ Arvenig.it. If you want more information on our readalong, you can check out our announcement post. Join the Goodreads group for a free entry to our Percy Jackson-themed goody bag giveaway, and you can enter here!

We’re going to do a different kind of review. Obviously, it’s going to be from both of us, but it’s also in a Q&A format! (Tell me what you think of this because I really like it!)


Title: The Titan’s Curse
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Book Three)
Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 320
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Published: May 5th 2007
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.32 out of 5 stars
Alex’s Rating: 5 out of 5
Arvenig’s Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis: IT'S NOT EVERYDAY YOU FIND YOURSELF IN COMBAT WITH A HALF-LION, HALF-HUMAN.
But when you're the son of a Greek god, it happens. And now my friend Annabeth is missing, a goddess is in chains and only five half-blood heroes can join the quest to defeat the doomsday monster.
Oh, and guess what? The Oracle has predicted that not all of us will survive...


What were your thoughts before reading?

Alex: I was super excited going into this book because it was my favorite book the first time around. There several characters (Zoe Nightshade, Nico di Angelo, and Rachel Elizabeth Dare in particular) that I was really looking forward to being introduced again.

Arvenig: I was excited since in the last review Alex said the other three books were going to be better! And I really wanted to start the third book because the second, well, ended with a very strange event! (Sorry I just don’t want to spoil anything :))


What are your final thoughts after reading the book?

Alex: I think this is the first book that I actually liked as much as I did the first time I read them. There are just so many lovable parts of this installment. The new characters, the early Percabth feels, the fact that this is the only book in this series that actually makes me cry. It’s just great.

Arvenig: I was surprised because I admit I didn’t expect much! I love Artemis, and I obviously loved when she was around with her Hunters! I really enjoyed the fact that we met many gods and goddesses. I really found it interesting and fun! The book didn’t make me cry (I think I wasn’t in the mood), but Nico…...

What did you think of the plot/storyline?

Alex: Obviously, this book has the same quest format as all of them do (that’s kind of a fantasy thing, honestly), but I really love the slow reveal of the new characters backstories, even if I did already know what happens. This book in particular does an amazing job of giving you just enough clues to confuse you, but not enough that there’s no big reveal at the end. Oh, and that big reveal at the end was still pretty great. Nico is so cute...

Arvenig: Same format, but this time I really enjoyed it! As I said before there are many more gods Percy “interacts” with, and I find that really cool. I really liked that this time other than the quest there were backstories, links to other events, etc.


Who was your favorite new character introduced in this book?

Alex: My favorite character in this book is Zoe Nightshade. I don’t know what it is about her. I just really love her character. She really has that “independent heroine” thing going for her, and she’s a really good role model, honestly. I keep hoping Rick Riordan will announce a spin-off with Zoe’s backstory, but that doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon...I can still dream.

Arvenig: I agree with Alex. I really liked the independence of Zoe and her personality, and I think that the spin-off with Zoe’s backstory would be awesome!. 
But I find Thalia very interesting character, and I also liked her personality! Sometimes I really could understand her. At the beginning you think she would be the kind of girl you don’t want to mess up with, but in the end she has a sweet side as well. I admit that from the description of Thalia I thought she was going to be into emo or punk and when I got to know her better I think she had “only” a difficult life and she was just building a wall to seem stronger.
(By the way these are my thoughts, so if you don’t agree, I’d love to hear about it in the comments, but please don’t hate)


What are your top 5 favorite quotes?

Alex: 
1. “‘Let us find the dam snack bar,’ Zoe said. ‘We should eat while we can.’ Grover cracked a smile. ‘The dam snack bar?’
Zoe blinked. ‘Yes. What is funny?’
‘Nothing,’ Grover said, trying to keep a straight face. ‘I could use some dam french fries.’
Even Thalia smiled at that. ‘And I need to use the dam restroom.’
...
I started cracking up, and Thalia and Grover joined in, while Zoe just looked at me. ‘I do not understand.’
‘I want to use the dam water fountain,’ Grover said.
‘And…’ Thalia tried to catch her breath. ‘I want to buy a dam t-shirt.’”
2. “‘Do you always try to kill people when they blow their nose?’”
3. **SPOILER** “‘Stars,’ she whispered. ‘I can see the stars again, my lady.’
A tear trickled down Artemis's cheek. ‘Yes, my brave one. They are beautiful tonight.’
‘Stars,’ Zoe repeated. Her eyes fixed on the night sky. And she did not move again.”**
4.“‘Look, I need to tell you something,' I continued. The words came stumbling out of me. 'I couldnt stand it if...I dont want you to---'
‘Percy?' she said. 'You look like you're going to be sick.'
And that's how I felt.”
5. “‘That’s us,’ he said. ‘Those five nuts right there.’
‘Which one is me?’ I asked.
‘The little deformed one,’ Zoe suggested.”

Arvenig:
1. “She looked a little hurt, and I was sorry about that, but I was ready to be out of the car, If my mom told one more story about how cute I looked in the bath when I was three years old, I was going to burrow into the snow and freeze myself to death.”
2. “‘You might as well ask an artist to explain his art, or ask a poet to explain his poem. It defeats the purpose. The meaning is only clear through the search.’”
3. “There is always a way out for those who are clever enough to find it.”
4. “I looked at Thalia and Zoe and I decided it wouldn’t be the worstthing in the world to die fighting with friends like this.”
5. “Even the bravest can fall.”


What’s your rating for this book and why?

Alex: I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars. As I said before, it’s one of my favorite books in this series. This is this book where the series really takes off and becomes the series so many people are obsessed with (me). It’s the first book that really gives me all of the feels, and it just makes me really excited to continue. I have no complaints.

Arvenig: I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. Lots of feels, adventure and new people! There are some great quotes and lots of fun things.

The Twitter Giveaway Winner

We had a twitter giveaway yesterday where we gave away a bookmark made by me! We also (finally) had a winner for our giveaway a couple weeks ago!

The winners of the giveaway were… Caiichi Michelle (@MimiUnicornRain) and Liz Lima (@lizlima05)!

We'll be having another giveaway in a couple weeks on July 29th at 12 PM EDT, so make sure to look out for that!

Don’t forget: We’re having a Twitter chat at the end of our readalong on Friday, August 12th at 12 PM EDT. Please join us as we discuss the series!


Our Twitters:


Let’s talk…


What was your favorite part of the book?

And remember to enter the giveaway!!!

Monday, July 11, 2016

LGBT YouTubers!! (Reccomendations)


Hello! As an LGBT person, I'm subscribed to a ton of LGBT YouTubers. Most of them are transgender (not the LGB part of LGBT), but many of them are also not straight, so I thought I'd just go with LGBT instead of transgender or whatever.

I do actually know of LGBT YouTubers that aren't on this list, but I wanted to keep this least having just my favorite YouTubers as well as relatively small YouTubers. All of these people have less than 600'000 subscribers (that's still kind of a lot but whatever, I'm just not going to mention Tyler Oakley or somebody else obvious), and some have as little as 200. Also, since I discover new YouTubers almost every day, I might end up adding this to my LGBTQ+ Books tab and changing it to...I don't know. LGBTQ+ Media.

Anyway, I'm hoping many of you will discover some people you really like in this list! I think all of these people are just amazing, and I hope you guys do too. :)

Note: I have a glossary at the bottom of this post for any words that might confuse those of you who don't spend your lives on Tumblr or just don't quite get them. I'm not going to include words like "gay" or "straight" because I'm assuming you know those... Obviously, if you're confused about anything feel free to ask me! (Though not every question will have a simple answer.)

Amanda of AmandasChronicles

Amanda is one of my favorite YouTubers, if not just my favorite YouTuber period. And they're gay! (Side note: even though Amanda is usually called by she/her pronouns, I prefer to call them by they/them pronouns because of this video. I feel weird saying she/her, and they obviously don't have a problem with it.) They are basically the reason that I became comfortable with my own sexuality, and the reason I cut my hair. Without Amanda, I would have never came out to anybody, let alone myself. Plus, they're fucking hilarious.

Amy Ordman

Amy Ordman

Amy is actually Amanda's girlfriend, which is how I originally found her! She hasn't changed my life as drastically to be honest, but she's still gay and fun to watch. I can't say no to that!

She also likes Dan and Phil, which is always a plus.





Ashley Mardell

Ashley is pansexual, and is currently in the process of getting married to her girlfriend Grace. (I mean, as far as I know.) Ashley's channel is mostly focused on education about LGBT identities and issues, which was really helpful when I was first figuring out who I was. (I say that like I know now XD.) I find Ashley's channel is super helpful if you are LGBT or if you're an ally who wants to learn more.




Ashley Wylde

This Ashley is the one that created The Gender Tag, which you may have heard of because Hannah Hart participated in this tag last year, and it actually became a pretty successful project. Ashley is nonbinary and...queer (sexuality is fluid, ya know). Like Ashley Mardell, she frequently makes educational videos, but she also does the occational tag, challenge, vlog, etc. She's pretty amazing at explaining gendery stuff.



Benjaminoftomes

Ben of Benjaminoftomes

I'm sure some of you have heard of Ben because he's a BookTuber and this is a book blog. And even though I've been subscribed to him for more than a year, I didn't actually know that he's gay until around 5 or 6 months ago when he made a video with his boyfriend. It was freaking adorable (I like watching couples, especially gay ones, okay?), and Ben is just a really fun person to watch. He's so happy and it makes me happy I don't know.



Brendan Jordan

Brendan Jordan

Some of you may know who Brendan is because of this video that went kind of viral, but they also have a YouTube channel (they started around a year ago) where they are generally really gay (and also genderfluid). It's not like they changed my life or anything, but damn are they entertaining.





Brooklyn Beauty

Brooklyn is a trans woman, and I've been watching her transition for several months now. Since I haven't met many trans women in real life (many more trans men for some reason), I really like trying to educate myself about what trans women are going through, and not just trans men. I like hearing about trans people's stories in general, and I really love Brooklyn's personality.



ChandlerNWilson

Chandler is agender, which was always a really big deal to me because, before I discovered their channel, I'd never actually seen anyone else who identified as agender, so it was pretty exciting. Chandler does some educational stuff, but a lot of their channel is just filled with life updates, challenges, and talking about non-gender related things. I really love it for some reason.



Cady of ChasingCady

Cady is also agender (there might be a theme because oh hi I thought I was agender once XD), but they don't do a whole lot of gender-related videos, and definitely not anything that would be considered "educational" on any grounds. Most of their videos are fandom related or just...random. It's entertaining.




Princess Bubblegum

Chloe Spencer

Chloe is a pretty new YouTuber. She only started out about 4 months ago, but she's grown pretty quickly because she already had a decent following on Tumblr/Twitter/Instagram/Etc. As of right now, she's been doing mostly advice revolving around gay/partially gay females, but I've found her channel helpful even though I'm not a girl. Honestly, for those of you who aren't LGBT, I don't think Chloe would be very useful for you. I mean, unless you really want to get into the mind of a gay female...

Danni

Danni

Danni is a very small YouTuber, but entertaining nonetheless. They're agender (can you see the pattern), and have done several gender-related videos, but also some random things. They also uploaded all of them playing Undertale, which I will watch once I finish the game. I don't want spoilers! But I am really excited to see them play, even if it will take me 10 hours to watch..




Dez Van Buren

Dez Van Buren

To be honest with you, Dez followed me on Twitter a few months ago, and that's how I found her. But I am so glad I decided to check out her YouTube channel because I actually really love it. Some of her videos are useful (mostly for LGBT people), and some of them are just fun to watch. She doesn't have very many videos since she only started last year, but I really like the ones that she does have.




Dodie Clark

Dodie of doddleoddle

I've loved Dodie for years, and she only "came out" as bisexual about a month ago, and it made me SO HAPPY. I was like YES DODIE YES. She doesn't really make any LGBT-related videos at all, you know, other than that video. If you don't know, she does more music and story telling (mainly on her vlog channel). Anyway, I was so happy when she announced that she's bi. That was a good day. I love Dodie so much.



DumandsONE

DumandsONE (I'm pretty sure their actually name is unknown) is hilarious and just...great. I've been watching their videos for awhile, and it's been really cool to see them kind of discover themselves I guess? When I first started watching them they thought they were cisgender, and then later discovered otherwise. They're nonbinary and asexual, but who the hell cares? They're just amazing. I love their videos. It's not that complicated. That's why I love all of these people.


Gavin Gender

Gavin is a trans guy that has tons of FTM help videos for trans guys. These videos have helped me a lot with coming out and just...figuring myself out I guess? He's one of the many YouTubers that helped me discover my gender and expression, as well as educate me about a lot of things regarding my transition. These videos are mostly directed towards trans guys (or AFAB nonbinary people), and not towards people trying to learn about trans people, so keep that in mind if you check out his channel.

charlie

Charlie of GoodTimeCharlie

Charlie is nonbinary/genderfluid, and even though they haven't been on YouTube very long (not even a year), I still really love the videos they put out. Some of them have to do with gender identity, and some don't, but I really like all of them. They're really pleasant to watch... XD






HaydenGise

Although just gay himself, Hayden is an activist for the LGBT and feminist movements, and mostly does advice videos for all kinds of LGBT people and talks about other issues, as well as some random story time videos. I originally found him through his Tumblr, which I also really like.





Jackson Bird

Jackson is most well known for his Will It Waffle? videos, but recently he's done some LGBT related videos as well! I've been subscribed to Jackson for awhile, but he only came out as transgender in May of 2015. His story was the first one I ever watched, and was most of the reason I started looking for other transgender YouTubers, which is what made me continue questioning my own gender. Mostly, though, it's all about waffles.



Jake Edwards

I. Love. Jake. So. Much. I found him through his boyfriend, Alex Bertie (who's down in the T's), and completely fell in love with him. He's adorable and hilarious and amazing. One of my favorite songs ever is his cover of Fall For You. Did I mention how good of a singer he is? HE'S SO GOOD. I could literally listen to his voice all day. He's also done many videos over him being transgender and his transition, which have been super helpful for me. Also, Alex and Jake are my OTP. Even if you don't want to watch their videos, at least google pictures of them, because they're so fucking cute I swear.

Lee Inanimus

Lee has 8 videos. Not very many. They also tend to go several months between videos, which makes me sad. But of the videos they do have, I found them very helpful and relatable. They're agender and aromantic, which is pretty unique. They're one of two people I follow anywhere that's aromantic, but I still think Lee has helped me a lot with understanding what that even means. I would consider myself panromantic, so the concept of  not being romantically attracted to anyone is one of the weirdest things I've ever heard. I feel like I might understand it a little better now. Sort of.

Eden of LikeTotallyEden

Eden doesn't really talk about LGBT issues, like, ever, but she is asexual and lithromantic (aka akoiromantic or apromantic), which is really cool honestly. I rarely find people that identify as anything other than hetero/homo/bi/pan/a/romantic, so it's really cool to find someone who does. It makes it seem more legitimate I guess. She's also a musician and an artist, and she's hilarious, so I definitely suggest checking out her channel.


Alright, then, I'll go to hell.

Lexxi/Cody of ppusherr

Lexxi/Cody (I'm already confused) is aromantic (hurrah again!) and genderfluid. Their videos are funny as well as educational and helpful to both LGBT and non-LGBT people. I also quite like their Tumblr. (And I realize the quality of this picture is awful. They're a small YouTuber, it's the only one I can find! Well...without screenshotting one of their videos and cropping it, but that seems like a lot of work.)

Julie Vu

Julie of PRINCESSJOULES

As weird as this sounds, I kind of love watching makeup tutorials/makeup help videos, even though I don't wear makeup. I find makeup tutorials oddly relaxing. You'd be surprised how many makeup people (idk what they're called) I'm subscribed to. That being said, that isn't all that Julie, an insanely funny trans woman, makes videos about. She documented her transition on her channel, and also talks about recent LGBT-related issues in between her makeup videos. And, you know, the occasional vlog. Like ya do.

Stef Sanjati

Another trans woman, but I could honestly call Stef my mom. My bread mom. (If you've never seen her videos, I'm sorry for confusing you.) My real mom has essentially failed me when it comes to helping with my queerness, but Stef is just amazing. Many of her videos might be more help to a trans woman and not someone going the other way, but I still find her videos very educational and sometimes helpful for me as well. Her videos could also be useful if you aren't LGBT and want to know more about the experience of a trans person. And before you know it you're calling her bread mom...

Syd Wolfslayer

Syd is probably the smallest YouTube on this list at not even 200 subscribers currently. Sad, because I genuinely find their videos to be really funny and entertaining. They've only main one video regarding their gender (agender), but the rest of their videos are really good too. Even if they aren't the best video quality...I mean you can't blame them, they have 198 subscribers.




Alex of TheRealAlexBertie

As I mentioned before, Alex is Jake Edwards' (back in the J's) boyfriend. They're adorable, and I forgot to mention that I literally have Alex and Jake as the lock screen on my phone. That's really creep isn't it? Anyway, I found Alex when I was looking for help with my gender. He's helped me so much when it comes to getting information about binders, packers, dysphoria, surgery, etc. Honestly, he was the reason I discovered that I'm not agender as I had previously thought. I realized that I identified more as a guy than as a girl or even agender. That's why I now go by Alex, as a tribute to this Alex that has helped me so much with my gender identity. I mean, I also liked the name, and it's pretty similar to my birth name but whatever.

That seems like a really damn good place to stop. I had no clue that Alex Bertie would be my last person to mention since I just went alphabetically, but I'm glad it ended with him. That seems appropriate. Yay!


Glossary (for those of you who don't know all of the LGBT words):


Basics Words:

LGBT/LGBTQ+: an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. Sometimes seen with more letters on at the end that stand for different identities (the Q there is for questioning).
Queer: historically meaning a gay person (usually as a slur), but now is used as an umbrella term for the entire LGBT community, or as a words meaning "not straight." Some people still consider this word a slur.
Sex: categories into which humans and many other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions, including male, female, and intersex
Gender: one’s innermost concept of self as male or female or both or neither—how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than the sex assigned at birth. (I stole this from here because I'm not good at complicated definitions.)
Cisgender ("cis man" and "cis woman"): identifying with the gender you were assigned at birth, or being born with the body that matches your gender
Transgender (or "trans"): identifying with a gender other than the gender a person was assigned at birth.
Straight Ally/Ally: A straight, cisgender person that is supportive of the LGBT community/movement.

Transgender-Related Words

Trans Man: a man who was assigned female at birth, or born with female body parts, but is actually a man, not a woman.
Trans Woman: a woman who was assigned male at birth, or born with male body parts, but is actually a woman, not a man.
AFAB: assigned female at birth, or born with female body parts
AMAB: assigned male at birth, or born with male body parts
Misgendering: calling someone the wrong gender than the gender they actually are, also goes for calling them by the wrong name or pronouns (both cisgender and transgender people can be misgendered)
Gender Dysphoria: the terrible feeling a transgender person may get when someone refers to them as the wrong gender (misgendering) or uses their birth name or the wrong pronouns, caused more by other people and your surroundings rather than your body.
Pronouns: words that are used in replacement of a person's name. Ex: he, she, it, they, etc. These are not necessarily based on sex, but gender, and are something a person can choose.
They/Them/Their Pronouns: contrary to popular belief, "they" can be used as a singular pronoun. There are actually two different definitions of the pronoun "they," as you can see here:
Body Dysphoria: (there are many different and complicated definitions, but I'll try) a feeling in transgender people of foreignness in their own body, body parts feel and look wrong to them, they don't recognize themselves in their own bodies, they hate their bodies, etc.
Transition/Surgery: a transgender person may transition, meaning that they will use hormones and surgeries to achieve the body they feel they should have been born with. Usually seen as a clinical procedure rather than a medical one since it is used to reduce dysphoria.
Binder: a tank top/sports bra looking thing used to compress a person's chest to make it appear flatter and reduce chest dysphoria. Usually used by trans guys and AFAB nonbinary people.
Packer: a prosthetic penis used by trans guys/AFAB nonbinary people to reduce bottom dysphoria

Some Nonbinary Genders:

Nonbinary/Genderqueer: identifying as a gender other than male and female, including neither, both, a mixture of the two, somewhere else in between, etc.
Genderfluid: a gender that fluctuates between two or more different genders (usually male and female, but not always)
Agender: having no gender, being genderless, being neither male nor female nor somewhere in between.

Some Sexual Orientations:

Bisexual: being sexually attracted to two genders (sometimes seen as "both genders/sexes") Different people define it different ways
Pansexual: being sexually attracted to all genders, or being sexually attracted to people regardless of gender. Pan people use the phrase "hearts not parts" a lot.
Asexual: having no sexual attraction towards anyone.

Some Romantic Orientations:

Aromantic: having no romantic attraction towards anyone.
Lithromantic/Akoiromantic/Apromantic: a romantic orientation on the aromantic spectrum. Somebody who is lithromantic can feel romantic attraction towards others and also enjoy being in romantic relationships but only in theory. (Stolen from here...)
Heteromantic: being romantically attracted to the opposite gender
Homoromantic: being romantically attracted to the same gender
Biromantic: being romantically attracted to two genders
Panromantic: being romantically attracted to people regardless of gender, attraction isn't based on gender
Difference between sexual and romantic attraction: I can't explain it, so just go read this instead.

**These definitely AREN'T all of the words related to being LGBT. If you have any questions about gender identity/sexual or romantic orientation/transgender terminology/whatever, I'm happy to answer! (I mean, I'll try, I don't know everything, unfortunately.)**

Do you watch any of these YouTubers? Did you discover any? Do you watch any other LGBT YouTubers I didn't mention?

Saturday, July 2, 2016

DOUBLE REVIEW of The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson #2) by Rick Riordan


Hello! This is the second review of the Half-Blood Readalong of Percy Jackson series hosted by me and Arvenig @ Arvenig.it. If you want more information on our readalong, you can check out our announcement post. Join the Goodreads group for a free entry to our Percy Jackson-themed goody bag giveaway, and you can enter here.

We’re going to do a different kind of review. Obviously, it’s going to be from both of us, but it’s also in a Q&A format! (Tell me what you think of this because I really like it!)


Title: The Sea Of Monsters
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Book Two)
Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 279
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Published: April 1st 2006
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.22/5 stars
Alex’s Rating: 3 out of 5
Arvenig’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Synopsis: The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan's amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a "half blood" whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan's series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment. In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book's drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.


What were your thoughts before reading?

Alex: Honestly, this book has always been my least favorite, but they only get better from here, so I kind of see this book as a bridge book to the last three. By itself, it’s still good, but I’m definitely comparing it to the rest, which are significantly better. 

Arvenig: I was excited to continue the Percy Jackson series. I didn't have many thoughts about it I guess.

What are your final thoughts after reading the book?

Alex: I enjoyed it because it’s Rick Riordan, but I’m still unimpressed with this book compared to the rest of the series. The foreshawdowing was a little weird since, well, I already know what happens (probably not Rick Riordan’s fault), but at the same time it was kind of funny. It’s strange and awesome to know exactly what’s going to happen to these characters, and it’s hard to not spoil it for Arvenig. (Especially regarding that cliffhanger XD.)

Arvenig: This time Rick Riordan left us a big question at the end (don't worry no spoilers) and this time I need to know what's going to happen in next!


What did you think of the plot/storyline?

Alex: I’ve always seen this book as a little less cool and creative compared to the rest of the books. I get annoyed with Percy over the whole Tyson thing. I miss Grover. Annabeth doesn’t seem nearly as smart, or, you know, smart at all. I get angry to the point of putting the book down for awhile several times. I basically find unfair treatment of characters impossible to read, and this one has a lot of that.

Arvenig: In this book the story has a main subject: a quest (again).I liked the fact that the books skip the school year (until something happens); it's original. Last but not least during the book Percy always explained things we learned in the first book again (ex. Chiron is a centaur, Grover is a satyr and it is a friend of Percy and Annabeth) I don't know if I liked that or not… 

What did you think of Percy’s new friend (Tyson)?

Alex: I like Tyson, but not as much as Percy’s other friends, Annabeth and Grover. At the same time, I’m pretty defensive of him when Percy starts being mean and childish. He’s occasionally amusing, but it’s not as good the second time around.

Arvenig: I like this character he's still a child (SPOILER: since for Cyclops he'd be 8 years old or something like that) and I loved his love for ponies (fish ponies, ect.).


What are your top 5 favorite quotes?

Alex:
1. "‘You weren't able to talk sense into him?’
‘Well, we kind of tried to kill each other in a duel to the death.’
‘I see. You tried the diplomatic approach.’"
2. "Ever come home and found your room messed up? Like some helpful person (hi, Mom) has tried to ‘clean’ it, and suddenly you can't find anything? And even if nothing is missing, you get that creepy feeling like somebody's been looking through your private stuff and dusting everything with lemon furniture polish?"
3. "‘The moral?’ Hermes asked. ‘Goodness, you act like it's a fable. It's a true story. Does truth have a moral?’"
4. "Young people don't always do what they're told, but if they can pull it off and do something wonderful, sometimes they escape punishment." (I live by this.)
5. "'Well, actually it carried Cadmus. Europa fell off and died along the way, but that's not important.'
‘It was probably important to her.’" 

Arvenig: 
1. "The only bad thing about Meriwether was that the teachers always looked on the bright side of things, and the kids weren't always.... well, bright."
2. "I pressed play and started up Chiron's favorite - The All Time Greatest Hits of Dean Martin. Suddenly the air was filled with violins and a bunch of guys moaning in Italian."
3. "'Um...' I said. 'Would this be the superdangerous prophecy that has me in it, but the gods have forbidden you to tell me about?'
Nobody answered.
'Right,' I muttered. 'Just checking.'" 
4. "If Annabeth and Tyson were actually agreeing about something, I figured I'd better listen." 
5. "' When you're at see, you have perfect bearings. That is so cool.' I wasn't sure about that. I didn't want to be a human GPS unit."


What’s your rating for this book and why?

Alex: I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars. For the reasons mentioned above, it’s never been my favorite book. I see it as a bridge to the next books. It’s still a good book by itself, but when you’ve seen how well Rick Riordan can construct a story, this one is just lacking. On the bright side, it’s short.

Arvenig: I gave this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. I found it a little bit repetitive, but I quite enjoyed reading it. I gave this rating probably because it didn’t get me so much.

The Twitter Chat Winner

We had a twitter chat yesterday where we discussed The Sea of Monsters. We also had a giveaway! It's still open, so if you want to win a custom bookmark, go check out our Twitters below!

Don’t forget: We’re having another Twitter chat for each book in the series! The one for the next book, The Titan’s Curse, is on Friday, July 15, at 12 PM EDT. We hope! to see you there!

Our Twitters:
Arvenig’s Twitter

Let’s talk…


What was your favorite part of the book?

And remember to enter the giveaway:

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