November 27, 2014

Reading about the Adolescent Experience, a Look at Teen Bullying, and Recent LGBT Art Exhibitions

Posted on 08. Feb, 2013 by in Features, News

San Diego-based author Laura Preble’s latest book, Out, is likely to get people thinking about same-sex relationships from a new angle. Preble’s story begins when Chris Bryant, the son of a preacher, finds himself in love with a girl. This might sound pretty conventional, except for one detail: in Chris’s society, a romance between members of the opposite sex is forbidden.

Meanwhile, in our society, the launch of the “It Gets Better” video campaign a few years ago, by writer Dan Savage, might have some members of the LGBT community wondering if it does, in fact, get better. According to the findings of a recent study conducted in England, however, teen bullying has decreased by over 40% between 2003 and 2010. The study involved more than 4000 young adults and tracked the experiences of 187 gay, lesbian and bisexual teens over the course of seven years. Researchers are optimistic that similar results could be found in the United States.

And more for young adults is this list of books from advocate.com, meant not just for LGBT readers but also those looking to understand the range of emotions associated with being different in any way as an adolescent, among other things. The list includes books like I Heard the Pastor’s Daughter is Gay by Luana Reach Torres, a novel about what it’s like to be a gay Christian, and We the Animals by Justin Torres about “two young parents with three small boys, told from the viewpoint of the youngest on the cusp of seven[...]”

Speaking of families, for the past six years, photographer Alix Smith has been putting together a project she calls “States of Union.” The concept: the portrayal of gay American families through portraiture. In an article for Slate Magazine, which also includes some of the photographs, Smith highlights the continued importance of her project in spite of recent progress for the gay community:

“While the slow shift in marriage laws across the country is a wonderful sign, it does not preclude the need for both documentation and ongoing public imagery that helps show who we are and what our lives can be.”

Also in the art world is a new exhibit will open at the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives Gallery and Museum in West Hollywood this Saturday night. The exhibit is called “Queers Print” and looks at archives of Los Angeles-based LGBT publications, dating as far back as the 1940s. To be showcased are issues of magazines like Vice Versa: America’s Gayest Magazine, which was created in 1947 and is thought to be the first lesbian publication in the United States. There were only twelve copies per issue, and each of these was hand-delivered to be sure it arrived safely.

[Books Cover Image:  We the Animals via Houghton Mifflin Harcourt]

Julie Levine is a poetry MFA candidate at The New School. She received a BA in English and Creative Writing from Emory University. Her work is forthcoming in Tar River Poetry.

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