Wednesday, July 1, 2015

New short story!

What's this? A second post in less than six months? That is just crazy.

Recently I was asked to write a short story for young adults to be published on Rainbow Rumpus, a webzine for kids with LGBT parents. It's a really intriguing concept: fiction (and some nonfiction) for kids and teens that depict households with parents who are not straight or what we have always considered "traditional." The parents' sexuality and relationships are mentioned in an almost offhand way, casually, and are not used as the basis for the conflict. In this way, the LGBT parents are normalized.

For instance, in my story, "Benny and the Jetes," the narrator is Benny, a high school junior caught between wanting to play basketball and wanting to dance ballet with a beautiful girl he likes. His parents just happen to be two men. Now, the conflict for Benny with his parents is not about them being gay. The conflict is like all kids and their parents: they want what he doesn't and he wants their approval.

The temptation for writers of stories with gay parents or anything beyond the "norm" of a straight household is to make the conflict and focus on the sexuality, whether it's bullying of the kid or resentment on the part of the child or some other divisiveness that needs to be addressed and ultimately resolved. But then the kids who have parents like that think, "Oh my situation is not normal and will always be looked at as weird."

Rainbow Rumpus serves the goal of taking away the stereotypical "gay-themed" "issue-oriented" story and focuses on the stories themselves, and really, it's the kids in the stories that other kids want to read about and identify with.

I hope you'll take a look at "Benny and the Jetes," and share it with your favorite teens and tweens.

Happy reading~