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6 Must-Read Books Featuring Transgender Protagonists

If Caitlyn Jenner has taught us anything in the short time since she transitioned, it is that the world is very much ready to discuss, and hopefully embrace, the transgender community. From Laverne Cox on Orange Is The New Black to Jenner’s Diane Sawyer interview and reality show, transgender individuals—and particularly trans*women—have never been more represented in television. And we have a feeling the publishing world is soon to follow. Before we see a boom in much-deserved transgender books hitting the shelves, we thought we’d take a moment to point out the trailblazers who are already out there.

Posted by Diana R. Wallach

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Hey everyone!

Paul V. here, author of Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay.

First, I send a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has so fervently supported my book. And as a gift to show my appreciation, I’ve created a megamix of incredible music (above) – all created by the LGBTQ community (and a few non-gay allies, too).

As you might know, I've been a club DJ for 30 years now, and back when I was coming up (and out) in the early 80's, it was just about the greatest era for music. And it was a time when many artists and musicians did not hide their sexuality. With everyone from Boy George to Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys) to Frankie Goes To Hollywood to Jimmy Sommerville (Bronski Beat) and Marc Almond (Soft Cell), these were my heroes and my peers at the time. And what a thrill it was to play their songs in the clubs I worked at during that era.

You'll find all of them in the mix, along with my good friend Andy Bell of Erasure (who is in my book), and some newer artists like Hercules & Love Affair, Ladyhawke, Gossip, Adam Lambert, Le Tigre, Scissor Sisters, and of course Sia (who is also in the book). They are all carrying the torch for LGBTQ pride. And though Freddie Mercury (Queen) was never officially out, we knew his truth. And his spirit rules this mix!

There's also some bits of comedy and many other artists I will leave to surprise you. And, as I like to keep you dancing, this is a continuous 30-minute DJ mix.

Posted by Paul V

Happy Gay Pride 2012: Why We Should Celebrate

As we approach Gay Pride 2012, we start to hear the rumblings (from the gay community itself) to the effect of “Why do we even need Pride celebrations? Nowadays we’re all over the TV and more visible and accepted than ever. Even Obama loves us now!”

While much of that is true, there are still religious organizations calling for blatant discrimination against us, as well as presidential candidates and a chunk of this country who’ve made it clear that we are still 2nd class citizens in their eyes. And for every out, proud, and headstrong gay adult, there are still those scared or confused gay kids (millions of them, actually) who are just coming to terms with their own truth.

As a gay teen, I had no idea there were other people just like me. Or that there was a place I could be and feel safe, let alone a yearly celebration that wasn’t hidden or shameful.

So our Pride celebrations are still essential, because they give us the opportunity to be among only friends, to feel 100% free to be ourselves without judgment, to rejoice in our uniqueness, and to discover that we can create a family with people we’re not even related to.

Many gay people in Born This Way have shared those exact revelations in their own growing up experiences. Perhaps someday very soon, the LGBTQ community will finally have complete and full equality. But until that time comes, we still need to gather together to remember our past and celebrate the possibilities of the future.

And yes indeed, look fabulous doing it!

Posted by Paul V