It’s Okay To Wish For Gay – #LetThemBeDragons

I don’t often post personal notes like this, but I have had a revelation, and this is my only real “blog” to post on. So although I usually just post book stuff and adult stuff since I write adult books, please take a moment to listen and try to understand something I’ve never spoken about publicly before. It has to do with my life as a parent, which is very separate from my life as an author.

As I said, I have had a revelation.

I am not the shining example of an LGBTQ ally that I wanted to be.

I advocate. I teach. I accept. I befriend. I’d escort any transperson to any bathroom they needed help entering.

I discovered the gap in my ally-ness when I said something along the lines of, “I’m totally cool with whatever my child is! But I would never wish for my child to be transgender. It’s a lot to deal with.”

It made sense as I said it. After all, who would wish their child to face a less-than-ideal life?

But I wouldn’t say, “I would never wish for my child to be ____ (athletic, geeky, smart, mechanically inclined, etc).” I wouldn’t say, “I would never wish for my child to be blue eyed with brown hair and a great sense of humor.”

I had such flawless rationale for the statement: “Those are all positive things that won’t make them face adversity in life. It’s not the same thing.”

But are any of the letters – L,G,B,T, or Q – negatives? Or is the adversity itself the only negative in the equation?

Parents never want their children to face negatives: discrimination for being gay, or having a hard time finding a peer group as a lesbian, or dealing with the double standards bisexual people deal with, or enduring the teasing that transgender people do. I get that. No parent wants their child to struggle to be accepted for who they are. And once an accepting parent experiences the “coming out moment,” they often feel pressured to defend their acceptance by talking about our natural reluctance to deal with the stressful issues.

We, the parents of non-conforming children, are supposed to be the greatest LGBTQ allies. Is an ally someone who points out the negative in the demographic they claim to defend? Is an ally someone who expresses reluctance at the necessity of being an ally?

In saying “I would never wish for my child to be queer,” how am I helping my queer child feel like he is every bit as valuable as his athletic/smart/geeky/musical/mechanical/humorous/blue-eyed/brown-haired cis peers?

Every time I say I’d never wish for my child to be queer – whether I have a queer child or not – I am furthering the attitude that queer = less valuable. That the double standards and persecutions of LGBTQ people are inescapable realities of life, and that the world is never going to change to embrace my child as every bit as valuable as a straight cis athletic comedian with wicked computer programming skills. That the negatives my child faces are acceptable.

My youngest child is valuable. She is imaginative, stubborn as hell, beautiful, and creative.

My middle child is valuable. He is hilarious, charming, noisy, and the most loving soul.

My oldest child is valuable. He is smart as a whip, prone to nuclear meltdowns, confident, and a book review blogger.

My best friend has four children, and not one of them even batted an eye when my oldest child declared he would like to be referred to by male pronouns. They rattle off a few names at a time to get it right, just as we do when we can’t remember which child we’re yelling down the hallway at when it’s bedtime. They don’t even really care that he now has a new name and is a brother rather than a sister. They just accept, without pointing out any potential negatives of his identity.

It’s not the kids who make a big deal out of these things. The children know the truth: my child’s gender does not detract from my child’s worth in any way, nor is it some hushed, negative secret about my child’s overall being.

I know it, too, and so do all of my incredibly, stunningly supportive friends and family members. I’m just still learning how to properly say it when I’m still fighting the social training of my generation.

If we are going to change the way the world views sexuality and gender, we must become more accepting than simply accepting. We must celebrate. We must be as proud of the possibility of our child being LGBTQ before they come out (of the closet or the womb). Just like we are as we wonder if maybe he’ll be a pilot, or maybe she’ll be a doctor. If we treat their sexuality or gender as something to be feared because of what the world might do to them, we are, in a way, giving the world permission to inspire that fear with continued cruelty.

And we are teaching the world that our children expect to be persecuted, not that they expect to be treated equally. We are showing the world that we just accept our child’s sexuality or gender, rather than that we’d never have things any other way.

We cannot just show this unconditional love of our child’s identity/sexuality at Pride parades and through clever filters on our Facebook profile pictures. We must show the next generation of parents – by our example – that an LGBTQ child is a gift in our words every day, both in and out of earshot of our children. That they are a unique breed of human immune to the closed-minded bigotry that possessed so many in the previous generations.

The kids… they already know this. My friend’s children are the perfect example of that, and it’s so clear to me that they’ve been raised to accept absolutely anyone for every reason. Discrimination isn’t even a thought in their heads. Only by speaking against the normalcy of our LGBTQ children can the adults change and close their growing minds.

Many parents mourn the loss of a daughter when they discover he is actually their son. Many parents ache, deep within their hearts, as they trade their transgender daughter’s soccer balls for ballet shoes. The sorrow is valid. We’ve bonded with a name, a pronoun, a spirit, and the true identity of that spirit shocks us. We’ve been taught to expect certain behaviors from our children when they pop out of their mothers’ bodies based on whether they come with a penis or a vagina. Of course we feel sorrow when we can no longer stand beside a parenting magazine and present ourselves as a shining example of normalcy to society. Of course we feel loss when our calendars become schedules of hormone treatments and psychiatrist visits instead of baseball practice and singing lessons.

Of course we fear the worst for our children in a world where our LGBTQ children are not treated as the best. Of course we grow angry and feel horrified as friends fall off our social media lists because we choose to support rather than condemn something our children cannot change about themselves.

But this sorrow doesn’t have to continue into the next generation of parents and children. If we teach our kids to be excited about their gay friend or lesbian cousin or transgender brother like it’s the best thing that could have ever happened…

Well, just picture it! Imagine a world where having a transgender child is something so rare and precious you are celebrated for it, rather than forced to endure the loss of friends and family members who think you’re trying to influence your child’s development in a negative way. Imagine a world where your daughter comes out as lesbian and you receive congratulations cards for it. Imagine a world where your son comes out as bisexual and you can’t wait to call and tell your mother: it’s just what you’ve always dreamed he would be!

Imagine a world where you browse parenting magazines as you wait for the ultrasound on your unborn child and see a family on a magazine cover with a gay father and an intersex child below a headline reading “Quick Recipes for Busy Families” or something else totally chill, and you think to yourself, “Wow, are they ever a lucky family. I wonder what we’ll have.”

Imagine a world where every single parent – like my friend’s children – doesn’t even bat an eye at someone’s gender, sexuality, or other expression of their identity.

That is not some far-off fantasy world. That is the world we can create for our children. It is the world we can teach them to create. And it starts with us: the parents of the next generation, whether we or our children are cis, straight, L, G, B, T, Q, or anything else. Let them be dragons if they want to be.

It’s already starting. I see it every single day in groups of parents accepting their children and celebrating their true selves.

Hope for your baby to come out healthy. But also, go ahead: hope for him to come out gay. I give you permission. The same way you might hope for him to be athletic, or a successful entrepreneur, it is okay to hope for your child to be gay. Wish for her to be transgender. Wish to have a son and a daughter all in one lifetime, one body, one soul. Pray she will be bisexual, and not discount the possibility of a relationship based on the gender of her love interest. Wish that he will be happy no matter what he discovers about himself along the way.

It is a gift to have a queer child or friend or neighbor or sibling. Instead of saying, “I would never wish for my child to be anything other than heterosexual/cisgender because of what he will face,” say, “I would never wish for my child to be hateful. I would never wish for my child to discriminate others based on things they cannot control like race, birthplace, sexuality, or gender. I would never wish for my child to feel they are anything other than exactly what I wanted, queerness and all.”

Those are the true demons to wish against. Take the power away from fear. Take the power away from hate.

I am not saying it’s realistic to not feel sorrow when your child’s life takes an unexpected turn. I think I felt more fear than sorrow, and it shows in the words I’ve chosen to use.

I am saying that we can shape the world – today, in the changing landscape of our entire human society – to embrace our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters in such an all-encompassing way that we no longer need to feel a shred of sorrow when our children come out.

If we don’t treat our queer children – and the queer children of our neighbors – like they are exactly what we wanted, then the world will not want them. If we talk about our queer children like they are accepted, but their situation is not ideal, the world will treat them as though they are not ideal. If we talk about the medical interventions for transgender kids as something we wish was unnecessary, the world will view it as unnecessary. If we act like we’re afraid our peers will judge us for celebrating our child’s homosexuality, then that’s exactly what they will do.

We can change that. It starts with the parents of today’s children. It starts with me. I’ll never again say I wouldn’t wish for a queer child. I didn’t know how to embrace it with the flawless acceptance of a child. I hope I do now, and I sure as hell will keep trying. I asked my queer child to read a Word doc draft of this post before I published it, and you know what he said?

“Oh my God, Mom, you can’t honestly think you’re not doing a good job at this stuff.”

…Okay. I can deal with that. It really is as simple as the children say it is.

So go ahead: wish for a gay child. I promise you: we can teach the next generation to embrace him with the simplicity and purity of today’s children. We can, and we will.

Because they already know how.

I Am Not Just #ADirtyWord.

Slut. Whore. Tramp. Hussy. Easy. Loose. Must be like throwing a hot dog down a hallway in there.

Nearly every woman has encountered these words. Whether you’ve said them or heard them, you’ve encountered them. Generally, they’re used to demean and insult a woman who is actively pursuing a man, or expressing her sexuality openly. Maybe she wears low-cut shirts that show off her cleavage to work. Maybe she has had sex with 9 out of 10 guys in the bar. Maybe she’s just attractive and flirty. Maybe she is rumored to have accepted money for sex in the past.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s no one’s business but her own.

I’ve spoken about slut-shaming before. It is a degrading practice, and I think women everywhere should feel empowered by their sexuality and their active expression of it. If you want to live as a nudist, I am cool with it. If you want to sell sex toys and speak openly about your orgasms, I am cool with it. And likewise, if you are a Catholic nun sworn to celibacy, I am cool with that as well.

But here’s the thing: You shouldn’t care if I’m cool with it. You should tell me to fuck off for even assuming you care that I am cool with it. You should not give the slightest moment of your emotional energy to my opinion about your sexuality. It is your life, not mine. What you do and do not do, sexually, is between you and your partner(s). It is absolutely none of my goddamn business.

When Emily Faith and I set out to write The Core: Andee and The Core: Alice, we didn’t have an “agenda” in mind. We wanted to express our own fantasies and some experiences, and we wanted to share that with readers in an erotic, sexy way. Part of the evolution of the story was to incorporate slut-shaming, because we don’t want readers to feel ashamed of their sexual openness. But the story evolved and became so much more than that.

Andee and Alice, the main characters in The Core are, by society’s definition of them, sluts. Whores. Hussies. Tramps. Harlots. Floozies.

Andee and Alice embrace this title. They hold it proudly, and wear it like a banner. They shout it from the rooftops: “We love sex, and we don’t care what you think of that.” In The Core, they are not chastised for it (and if they are, the offender is removed from the property). In The Core, sluts are safe from discrimination.

But in the real world, and in the world outside The Core, Andee and Alice (and every single woman on this planet) are faced with a different set of standards. They are shunned, gossiped about, and disrespected based on their sexual choices and expression. They are labeled. They are tormented. They are afraid the opinions of others will have real, life-long, devastating consequences on their relationships. And in The Core: Alice, that is exactly what Alice grows to fear: that in public, her lover Evan will grow ashamed of her as he hears whispers of her slutty “status” in society.

These are not just fictional characters. Women everywhere live with secrets, the fear of exposure, and the hate-filled practice of slut-shaming every day. We not only have to fear rape and catcalling and inequality from our male counterparts, we have to fear it from the other women around us, too. Women, every day, make sexual decisions (whether to do something, to not do it, or to hide that they did) out of fear.

Emma Watson recently made history with her #HeforShe speech at the United Nations. But the campaign for equality cannot stop at wages, voting, and the right to choose who you marry.

Men who sleep with 100 women are perceived as, “Wow, he must be good in bed. Everyone wants him!”

Women who sleep with 100 men are perceived as, “Wow, what a slut! Bet it’s like throwing a hot dog down a hallway in there!”

Is it anyone’s goddamn business? Is it your business how many men I have slept with? Is the condition of my vagina open for your public judgement and slander?

Does a woman have the right to sleep with 100 men? In many countries, yes (and in some countries, she would be killed for it). But in those countries where her life is not in danger for her sexual habits, are her securities – financial, employment, and social – stable? Does she risk losing a job for being too provocative? Do her friends abandon her for being too loose? Does she have free, undisputed access to safe contraception before, during, and after intercourse?

Does a slut earn rights under the #HeforShe campaign, or do only monogamous, modestly-dressing women earn protection from all the men and women screaming for women’s rights?

She was not asking for it when she was raped, and she is not asking for it when a person judges, ostracizes, and shames her for her attire, profession, or level of sexual activity.

It is time for women to stand up and fight for each other. We can all agree that there is a need for rape culture to end, and for men, as a whole, to stand up for equality on behalf of women. Emma Watson hit that right on the head with her #HeforShe speech. But it is not just men who degrade women; women do it to each other all the time. Women judge, slander, and shame each other. Women oppress, label, and shun each other.

#HeforShe involves so many facets of society, including contraception, wages, rape, and plenty of other issues. But this might be the easiest part of the #HeforShe battle we can fight: women championing women. Raising each other up instead of cutting each other down. Refusing to slander or insult each other based on sexual expressions. Refusing to break each other’s value down to simply #ADirtyWord.

So you love smut? Great, me too!

So you work as a phone sex operator? Not my scene, but cool, your job is probably as fun and yet stressful as mine!

So you have only slept with one man in your life? Also not my scene, but I’m happy you’re happy with it!

Is it any of my goddamn business?

No.

And it’s none of yours. Refuse to shame other women for their sexual choices. Take the power away from words like slut and tramp. Don’t have conversations on Facebook about what makes a person loose or slutty. Don’t say a celebrity “looked like a slut at that awards show.”

Lift each other up, ladies. Having fewer sexual partners does not in any way make one woman a better woman than the lady next to her who has five guys texting her right now. It doesn’t define her. It doesn’t identify her. It doesn’t make her any less beautiful or valuable than you are, and vice versa.

Feminism is not #ADirtyWord. But neither are you.

You’re a woman. You’re not a dirty word. You have the right to feel loved and safe. And if someone insults you for your sexual choices… just tell them that.

“I am not #ADirtyWord, and this is none of your goddamn business.”

Please feel free to join me on Twitter @NolaSarina, where I will be Tweeting about instances where I was reduced to just #ADirtyWord! I’d love to connect with other women who want to see this slut-shaming end once and for all.

New Story In The Core!

Great news… ENTICED (The Core: Alice, #1) is now free on Amazon as well as other venues! Check it out for zero pennies if you haven’t yet. This is Alice’s spinoff story from The Core, and it’s a steamy story told in parts just like Andee’s story.

And if you’re enjoying the spicy hot action of the first in Alice’s story, we’ve got more spice for you in SEDUCED (The Core: Alice, #2)!

Seduced Continue reading

A kinda belated update!

Whooo! I’m recovering from a long and wonderful trip to New Orleans! Emily Faith and I had an amazing time meeting our agent, Michelle Johnson, in person and hanging out with authors like J.S. Scott *FANGIRL FLAIL!!!!* and Cali McKay. We also had the pleasure of meeting author Angel Payne, and hung out on Bourbon Street for a long time. What a wonderful city, what wonderful people.

But in the haze of travel and party and literary events, I didn’t manage to post our newest book release! So here it is: ENTICED, the first short story in Alice’s perspective of The Core! This one is a steamy hot romance. It’s free on most venues, so if you get to Amazon’s page and it’s not free be sure to let them know it’s free on other venues like Smashwords and Google Books. Grab it and dive in – Alice’s story is a steamy hot romance with a man who challenges her like she’s never experienced before. Will she give in to passion, or keep her heart closely guarded to protect her secrets?

Enticed - Nola Sarina & Emily Faith

Read it and find out! 😉

WHOOPS! My bad.

whoops

I had a major error with Amazon this week! When I posted before about the release of Gilded Destiny, you were likely brought to a dead link. The link is now live and in action, and I’d so appreciate if you’d check it out – I put the price down to $.99 to apologize for the delay. Thanks for your patience with me! Also… here are some additional giveaway details!

I’m giving away a $50 iTunes giftcard with the blog tour for Gilded Destiny, so click here to enter! If you subscribe above, you can earn ten additional entries in the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition, I have a giveaway for a signed paperback copy of Gilded Destiny going on over at my Goodreads page for the book. Do check it out if you get a chance. The image shows the old book cover, but I actually only have the new book cover in stock so that’s the one you’ll get. 😀

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00008]

Calli’s memory returns when she falls in love with the monster who took it from her. Nycholas, a deadly, serpentine Vesper on the run from his brutal master, wants one thing before his final darkness falls:
Calli, for three nights.

My deepest apologies for the hiccup with Amazon! Everything should be available now on all platforms, so if you have any difficulty with purchase, please just let me know.