Friday, December 31, 2010

Ring in the New Year with Neil Patrick Harris and Family...(Discuss)

The above photo is from People magazine, but I "took it" if you will from After Elton. If you don't know, you have Neil Patrick Harris and his partner, David Burtka. They had twins a couple months ago, a boy and a girl named Gideon and Harper. Aren't they just an adorable family? I think it's wonderful that LGBT couples are able to have children of their own (they used a surrogate) but I know that there is still a lot of debate and angst involved with this as well...whether it's adoption or surrogacy. That part is horrible, because everyone should have a right to a family...and in the case of adoption, so many children need a home. Why should they be denied that because of someone's sexuality?

I suppose I could go on and on about my feelings...but for now, I'll just bask in all the happy news in these type of cases. Feel free to share your thoughts though. You don't have to agree with me, of course, but be respectful or we can delete your comment.

Happy New Year everyone! Let's make 2011 the year that really pushes Let's Get Beyond Tolerance.



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Betcha Haven't Heard of This Book...

Hidden by Tomas Mournian

Post by: Lauren

Amazon Associate: Buy the book from this link and we get a small percentage

Out: January 25, 2011 (according to Amazon)

Summary: When Ahmed's parents send him to a residential treatment center known as Serenity Ridge, it's with one goal: to "fix" their son, at any cost. But eleven months of abuse and overmedication leave him desperate to escape. And when the opportunity comes, Ahmed runs away to San Francisco.

There, he moves into a secret safe house shared by a group of teens. Until they become independent at eighteen, the housemates hide away from authorities, bound by rules that both protect and frustrate. Ahmed, now known as Ben, tries to adjust to a life lived in impossibly close quarters with people he barely knows, all of whom guard secrets of their own. But even if they succeed in keeping the world at bay, there's no hiding from each other or from themselves. And there's no avoiding the conflicts, crushes, loneliness, and desire that could shatter their fragile, complicated sanctuary at any moment. . .

What I Think: I first heard of this book in Romantic Times magazine. As a warning, I should tell you that it was reviewed in the Mainstream Fiction section and not the Young Adult section. I tell you this only as fair warning about the content inside...this book could very well be about young adults, but written for a more adult audience in mind.

However, I think it sounds like a really unique premise and I'd definitely be interested in trying it out. It's crazy to think that these type of places would ever exist...

What are your thoughts and what are you Waiting On this week?

Be sure to leave your thoughts on Don't Ask, Don't Tell!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thoughts on...Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Do Not Own

Don't Ask, Don't Tell has finally been repealed. Its been a long time coming, and this will change the lives of many men and women. This doesn't mean things will be altogether better and there is still a long way to go...but it's a step. A small step, but a step, and that's the main thing. You can read this AOL article if you wish to know more about the details.  The following guest posts on the topic of this repeal have been written by our author co-founders, Catherine Ryan Hyde and Lee Bantle.


Do Not Own

Well, I think I'll be echoing the sentiments of a lot of people with what I have to say.

I think this is great, momentous, and deserves celebration. So long as we don't forget that we still haven't repealed the Defense of Marriage Act, or passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And that by ending the ridiculous and discriminatory DADT, we have won a victory for the LGB community, but not for our T friends. Then again, we have to start somewhere. When the military doesn't fall apart, maybe people will calm down a little, or at least run short of excuses to discriminate. And maybe it will create a domino effect. I hope so.

I think it is lost on the conservative and homophobic realms of the straight community how much harm is caused by institutionalized prejudice. It's one thing if the bully down the block thinks it's wrong to be gay, but when it's your government, it's really daunting. Especially to young people, who are just discovering and (hopefully) accepting themselves, and who I would really like to see not killing themselves anymore.

So, one way or another, it's a good day for equality. It's just not the last of the good days we need to work for, win and celebrate.

-Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Jumpstart the World
The repeal of don’t ask – don’t tell is a landmark shift. If you can be gay in the military, then you can be gay anywhere. No employer can justify discrimination based on sexual orientation if discrimination in the military is unlawful. We should soon see passage of a federal law barring discrimination based on sexual orientation. Let’s whoop and cheer and sing. We are truly going to ring in a new year!!!

-Lee Bantle, author of David Inside Out

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2011 Book Challenge: Catherine Ryan Hyde

One of the co-founders of this blog is author Catherine Ryan Hyde. In honor of her books, I decided to START my very first challenge for the new year. All you have to do to sign up is agree to read ONE book by Catherine (YA or Adult) sometime in 2011. That's it! It's super easy.

We obviously hope if you read more than one, that you will buy at least one of her books that you read. She's one author that has been around for awhile and deserves to have the success these newer authors have. So help her have some great sales in 2011 and buy a book.

More than anything, sign up! You never know what books you'll start to love or if Catherine will become a favorite author. Take a chance.

You can sign up on my main blog.  There is no official giveaway for this challenge...but we WILL be having some fun giveaways throughout so you don't want to miss those! Spread the word, post the button.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Movie Review-Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Movie Review

By: Lauren

Amazon Associate:  Buy the movie from this link and we get a small percentage!

I decided to review this movie for the site because of the LGBT elements only. Yes, I loved this film and I think it's a lot of fun, and yes, I do think you should give it a shot if you didn't when it was in theaters. For the review though, I really just wanted to say how I loved Kieran Culkin as Wallace Wells. He's Scott Pilgrim's roommate, who happens to be gay.

You hear about it and can see it throughout the film...but it's not a big deal, and I loved that. Wallace doesn't care that he's gay, nobody else hassles him for it, he's not dealing with coming out or trying to please other's just Wallace. And he happened to be a really hilarious, wonderful character in the film. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if it wasn't for him. He even gave me one of my new favorite movies quotes: "I want to have his adopted babies!"

Plus, I think Kieran is a really good actor and I'm excited to finally see him in more roles...and in bigger things too, I hope. One thing I really enjoyed was hearing Kieran talk about his character and how he didn't want to make Wallace's being gay an issue either. I found an interview from moviefone that talks about that a bit. I'll post the one question below...if you want to read more on the topic, as well as see the full interview, then click 'moviefone' above and it'll bring you to the interview.

Cinematical: One of the key reasons that Wallace is such an interesting and effective character is because his sexuality is open but the movie doesn't feel a need to "deal with" him being gay. How did you make sure that part of his personality was presented in a way that showed that it was just one part of who he is?

Kieran Culkin: I think that was easy. When I read it, that was how I saw it; I read it in the script and the comics and was like, okay, that's Wallace. To me, and while I'm talking about it now I'm not trying to be p.c. or anything like that, but when I played him that has nothing to do with who he is. That's just his sexual preference – that's just his sexuality. And after that, people have said, why do you think or what was the point of his being gay, and the only thing I can think of having read the comics and a little bit in this movie, is to show how immature Scott is – just by saying, "hey, this is my gay roommate Wallace Wells." It was important to me because I think it was the way it always was; if that's the way it was in the comics, I feel like that was probably important to Bryan Lee O'Malley, and it had some appeal to me too. At last a character that doesn't have to be "the gay character."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Gemini Bites

Gemini Bites by Patrick Ryan

Out: March 1, 2011


One of the strangest (and funniest) love triangles ever to hit YA fiction, when a pair of twins (one boy, one girl) both fall for the boy who moves in with them…who may or may not be a vampire.

Judy and Kyle Renneker are sixteen-year-old fraternal twins in a rambling family of nine. They have a prickly history with each other and are, at least from Judy's perspective, constantly in fierce competition. Kyle has recently come out of the closet to his family and feels he might never know what it's like to date a guy. Judy, who has a history of pretending to be something she isn't in order to get what she wants, is pretending to be born-again in order to land a boyfriend who heads his own bible study.

When their parents announce that the family is going to be taking in a fellow student for a month so that he can finish the school year before moving away, both Kyle and Judy can't help but sit up and take notice. Garret Johnson, who is taking temporary residence in the newly finished attic, is a young man who moved into town less than a year ago and who is a mysterious, goth loner . . . and claims to be a vampire. He's not an easy person to get to know by any means, but the twins find him (to varying degrees) both strange and alluring.

GEMINI BITES explores what it means to pretend to be something you aren't, what happens when that backfires, and how in-your-face honesty is almost always the best course of action.

Why I Want It: Personally, I still like vampire novels...though if this is truly a vampire novel or just a guy claiming to be one, I'm not sure. Either way, it sounds interesting. And I love that there is a YA vampire novel coming out where one of the main characters are gay. It's different and very exciting, especially in regards to this sites' whole message: Let's Get Beyond Tolerance. Maybe a book like this will help with that.

I'm also a freelance publicist and this book is something that I would love to help promote. So hey, if the author reads this and you're interested...get in touch. Here's my site.

What are your thoughts? PLUS, what other 2011 books feature LGBT characters? I can't really find any beyond Gemini Bites!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: Love Drugged by James Klise

Love Drugged by James Klise

Review by: Lauren

Copy From: Author--his site

Amazon Associates: Buy the book from the link and we get a small percentage

Offiical Summary: If you could change who you are, would you? Should you?

Fifteen-year-old Jamie Bates has a simple strategy for surviving high school: fit in, keep a low profile, and above all, protect his biggest secret-he's gay. But when a classmate discovers the truth, a terrified Jamie does all he can to change who he is. At first, it's easy. Everyone notices when he starts hanging out with Celia Gamez, the richest and most beautiful girl in school. And when he steals an experimental new drug that's supposed to "cure" his attraction to guys, Jamie thinks he's finally going to have a "normal" life.

But as the drug's side effects worsen and his relationship with Celia heats up, Jamie begins to realize that lying and using could shatter the fragile world of deception that he's created-and hurt the people closest to him.

Told with equal doses of humor and suspense, Love Drugged explores the consequences of a life constructed almost entirely of lies . . . especially the lies we tell ourselves.

Review: I love LGBT literature, but Love Drugged doesn't seem to completley fit that category. Don't get me wrong...yes, Jamie is gay and yes, he is dealing with his own coming out story (in a very unique way, might I add you)...but I'd classify this as more pre-LGBT. Why? Well, Jamie never fully becomes himself until the end and he spends a lot of time trying to make the pills work and hoping that his relationship with Celia will actually begin to feel real to him

Parts of the book dragged a bit, only because I really wanted Jamie to come to terms with who he was and  find someone to really appreciate him. This does and does not happen in the book, but I won't give everything away. I will say that I loved the end. The suspense really picked up and the pills become one interesting addition to this coming-of-age/coming-out story that really makes Love Drugged intriguing.

By the end, it's like you've entered an action film with fire and threats, and I certainly enjoyed this book's villian. It's not your classic YA least when it comes to contemporary novels, but it's certainly fun.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Letters to Your Favorite Authors: Prize Pack Giveaway

Whether you've read David Inside Out or not, this is still one week that you want to pay attention to.

In Lee's novel, main character David and his best friend Eddie write letters to their favorite authors. Obviously, all of you reading out there are probably book lovers yourself and wish you could tell your own favorite author something.

Thankfully, four bloggers (one is an author herself) were willing and able to write up a letter to an author they love and post it on their blog. You must check out their respective blogs, on their particular date, to find the letter though. By doing so, leaving your thoughts, and even following the various get entered into a prize pack (more prizes will be added as this goes along so keep an eye on the list).

First off, here is the schedule:

Tuesday, Nov. 16- Eleni from
Wednesday, Nov. 17- Courtney from
Thursday, Nov. 18-Cass from
Friday, Nov. 19-Brent from

Rules to Enter the Giveaway:

+1 you will get a point for each letter you comment on. That is a chance to earn four points. (leave a new comment on this blog each time you do though!)

+2 for every single blog you follow, including Let's Get Beyond Tolerance. That is a chance to earn ten points (leave two new comments for each blog you follow)

If you have any questions, please let me know.

The giveaway will end November 30th and it's open to U.S. only, I'm afraid.

Prize List

A signed copy of David Inside Out by Lee Bantle donated by the author
$5 Amazon Gift Code donated by Lauren
$10 Starbucks Gift Card donated by Courtney

--more may be added!

Eleni will have her own, seperate giveaway on La Femme Readers that goes along with the author she wrote. Be sure to follow those rules there!

Note to Bloggers: a lot of bloggers were, unfortunately, unable to write a letter for this, so I'm hoping to do something similar with more bloggers posting letters and a bigger prize pack in the new year. If you want to help, let me know.

Amazon Associates: buy the book from the above link, and we get a small percentage to support the site.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Filled With Glee (Giveaway)

Thanks to BenBella Books, I have one copy of Filled With Glee to giveaway. This is an anthology of essays (by various authors) that have to do with...what else...the show Glee.

I was lucky to recieve a review copy and will hopefully have my thoughts posted soon. For now though, I want to hold the giveaway so I hope you will enter and spread the word to other Glee fans (whether you like the show or not).

To Enter: What other book from BenBella would you like to read?

Open To: U.S. and Canada

Ends: November 20th

Extra Entries

+5 follow the instructions on this post. It's really not that hard, and it would be a great help if you could!! (please leave five separate comments so I don't miss your points)

+2 for every single post you leave a comment on, whether a past post or check what you've already commented on! (Let's Get Beyond Tolerance blog ONLY!) (please leave two separate comments each time so I don't miss points)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Film Review: Just a Question of Love

Do Not Own

Just a Question of Love

Review by: Lauren

Country: France

Just a Question of Love tells the story of the relationship between Laurent and Cédric. Laurent is a college student living with and pretending to be in love with his best friend Carole, to hide the fact that he’s gay. His aunt and uncle’s son, Marc, was also gay but kicked out and abandoned when he revealed the fact. Even when Marc falls ill and eventually passes, Laurent is the only one in his family willing to go and visit him. As such, Laurent keeps his sexuality a secret and uses Carole as a cover for his family, who he loves too much to be honest and risk losing them.

During school, Laurent is given an internship to help him graduate, for he’d been slacking off ever since Marc died. This is where he officially meets Cédric, who is in charge of his internship. As time goes on, the two finally begin a relationship, but Laurent still refuses to be honest and Cédric won’t live a lie. Though the two are in love, they can’t seem to reconcile their differences, leading to a very emotional second half.

Just a Question of Love is a French film (though I watched it with the English subtitles) that is emotional, sweet, funny, passionate, and true. This isn’t a big action film, but rather one that deals on a more simple level to provide you with a story that could ring true for a lot of people. The main actors Cyrille Thouvenin (Laurent) and Stéphan Guérin-Tillié (Cédric) did an amazing job. Their chemistry on screen made me believe that this story could be real.

Do Not Own

Just a Question of Love is a great film and I’d definitely recommend it to those who are at all interested. I especially love the overall message, which was simply and beautifully put by Laurent: “It’s not a question of gay or straight. It’s just a question of love.”

Note: I know this is only our second film review for the site, but I did want to mention that not everything will be a foreign film. There just happen to be a lot of great LGBT films that aren't from the United States.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Giveaway: Five Copies of Gleeful up for Grabs

Interview with Gleeful Author, Amy Rickman!

By: Lauren

Follow the Author on Twitter

1. What made you first start watching Glee?

Funnily enough, I actually didn't catch the very first showing of Glee when it launched after American Idol. But what I did notice was after the show, suddenly all my friends were talking about (in person, on facebook, on twitter, on their blogs) this amazing new show that was a musical as well! I'm a huge fan of musicals so I had to check it out -- after watching the pilot episode online, I knew I was hooked.

2. Who is your favorite character?

My favorite character has to be Sue. Sue -- and the genius that is Jane Lynch -- elevates the show to a whole other level. I think she's a huge reason why Glee has such a huge audience. My boyfriend would never watch a show described as a musical. But a show with Jane Lynch? Definitely.

3. What can people expect to find if they pick up Gleeful?

A lot of Glee-tastic info! I tried to think of everything a Glee fan would want to know about the show -- from the history of glee clubs to Ian Brennan's original concept for Glee (a movie!) to biographies of their favourite cast members. I also incorporated some fun, trivia-related sidebars (called 'Gleeful moments!) which list things like the locations of Lea's tattoos or songs that were cut from an episode. You'll also find a list of every song in the show, so if you heard something you liked and want to download it, you can look it up in Gleeful! Of course, if you get bored you can always look at the great pictures. All the cast is so photogenic!

4. Who do you want to see guest star on Glee or have their music featured?

Honestly, it seems like every time I think of someone who would be great for Glee, they're one step ahead of me and put them on the show! Neil Patrick Harris was a great choice. And Britney? Loads of people were skeptical but she was brilliant! Maybe it's time to bring Justin Timberlake on the show...

5. What makes you gleeful (besides the show)?
Books! I'm a book-a-holic. Aside from writing about awesome shows, I work in publishing in London, UK, so my apartment is filled to the brim with books. There's nothing like the thrill of diving into a new story...


Want to win one of five copies of Gleeful!? Take a look at this Gleeful question below and send your answer to (Open to residents of US/Canada only)

Q. What's the name of the actress who plays Rachel Berry?

a. Jenna Ushkowitz

b. Lea Michele

c. Naya Rivera

Giveaway Ends on Oct. 31

Amazon Associates: Buy the book from this link and we get a small percentage to support the site. Thanks!

The Country Teacher (Guest Film Review)


Director: Bohdan Slama

Czech Republic

Review by KenG

When I found out I’d be screening a film with a gay man as the protagonist, I was both apprehensive and curious. I’ve seen too many films where a leading gay character has to die or suffer some miserable fate as a necessary part of the story’s narrative (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, A SINGLE MAN). However, as a gay man myself, I was curious about gay life in eastern Europe, particularly in a non-urban setting. It didn’t hurt that the film was a 2010 GLAAD award nominee for best film.

THE COUNTRY TEACHER, directed by Bohdan Slama, presents a realistic portrayal of a gay man in conflict that is free of the more annoying stereotypes one has come to expect from Hollywood. The movie tells the story of Petr (nicely underplayed by Pavel Liska), a closeted prep-school teacher from Prague who comes to a bucolic Czech village to instruct children in the natural sciences. In an early lesson he advises prophetically, “If we don’t understand nature, we can’t understand ourselves.”

Do Not Own.

Shortly after his arrival, Petr is befriended by Marie (Zuzana Bydzovska), a local cow herder who lives with her teen son Lada (Ladislav Sidivy). While tutoring Lada in math, Petr finds himself attracted to the young man and embarks on a course of action that has traumatic consequences. It made me wonder, if Petr had been an out gay man, would he have had the problems he had? Is it possible to have a healthy romantic relationship if you still have at least one foot in the closet?

This provocative yet sensitive movie doesn’t flinch from showing Petr’s feelings for Lada. We also see that certain cultural touchstones for adulthood are more relaxed in this rural community. There is no adult censure when 17-year-old Lada is seen drinking hard liquor or smoking pot and there is acceptance of his sexually active relationship with a young woman. Does the film show that homosexuality is also acceptable? Well, to a certain extent, yes, but there is also a good deal of bewilderment, fear and ignorance.

Director Bohdan Slama (LIKE HAPPINESS, THE WILD BEES) bravely declines to portray Petr as criminally disturbed and it was refreshing to see that Petr’s parents seemed more concerned about his loneliness than his sexual orientation. While Petr may have felt the need to be alone when he fled city life, he soon discovers that isolation is not the answer. As he stumbles awkwardly toward making bona fide human connections, he discovers they can be found in unanticipated places.

As for Marie’s reaction to Petr’s encounter with her son, Zuzana Bydzovska’s beautifully layered performance shows us that a cow herder can have a pretty sophisticated understanding of human nature. In fact, Marie’s intuitive abilities regarding both Petr and Lada left me wondering whether she was the real “country teacher” here.

For nature lovers, there are two graphic scenes showing a cow giving birth on Marie’s farm. I leave the symbolism for others to discern. But if you’re in the least bit squeamish, you’ve been warned!

KenG has worked in film and television for over twenty years and is a senior advisor to LinkTV’s Acquisition Division.

Amazon Associates: Buy the movie from this link, and the site will get a small percentage. If you do, thanks for supporting!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How LGBT is Glee?

I do not own this photo. Click it to see where I found it.

Ever since the first episode, I've been a huge fan of the show Glee. I think it's amusing, fun, genuinely moving at times, and just a really interesting show. The dacing and singing are always fun to watch (and I'll admit I'm a bit envious I don't have those talents) and the characters just keep you pining for more. Remember, the show is on at 8 p.m. EST on Tuesday nights so be sure to watch today's episode, or tape it if you can't.

This post isn't a giveaway post...but rather a discussion. I want to know who you love, how LGBT friendly you feel GLEE is, what songs you want to see, who you want guest starring, etc. Let me know. Whatever you have to say about Glee...I'm curious. Just be aware of other's feelings and no flat out hate or we do have the right to delete your comment.

As for me, I think GLEE is very LGBT friendly. It would be great to see more variety on the spectrum in the future, but having Kurt is a start. He's becoming more and more confident in himself and I love to see that. Of course, there are also many openly non-straight actors and actresses on the show and as guest stars which is also amazing. I commend Ryan Murphy (out himself) for creating this show and allowing GLEE to be real, while at the same time goofy and sweet.
If you post about GLEE on your own blog, link back here and let us know in the comments. I'll be sure to stop by and show my love via commenting too.

Keep an eye out for a couple GLEE giveaways this week.

And again, anything you want to see? Drop us a line!


Monday, October 11, 2010

GLSEN + GLBT Week + All Things Glee!

Today, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day. In honor of that and the release of Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde tomorrow is the reason behind some auctions happening here. All the money benefits the Cincinnati chapter of GLSEN. They are an amazing organization, so think about bidding and supporting...or picking up a copy of Jumpstart the World tomorrow.

James from Book Chic is also having a GLBT themed week going on. You can go to his blog to find some great posts and contests.

As for Let's Get Beyond Tolerance...don't forget to check out the posts from last week (sorry there weren't AS many as I wanted) but this week there is going to be a theme: GLEEK WEEK. That's right, lots of fun posts that deal with the hit show, Glee. There might be some non-Gleek posts, but if not, you can certainly find those after this week.

Thanks for following. I hope you'll comment and share your thoughts and ideas! This is about all of you as well...share with us!!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Giveaway!! Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Signed)

Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde (Co-Founder of this here blog)

Out: October 12, 2010 (this Tuesday!)

Amazon Associates: Buy from this link, and we get a small percentage for the site.



Elle is a loner. She doesn’t need people. Which is a good thing, because she’s on her own: she had to move into her own apartment so her mother’s boyfriend won’t have to deal with her.

Then she meets Frank, the guy who lives next door. He’s older and has a girlfriend, but Elle can’t stop thinking about him. Frank isn’t like anyone Elle has ever met. He listens to her. He’s gentle. And Elle is falling for him, hard.

But Frank is different in a way that Elle was never prepared for: he’s transgender. And when Elle learns the truth, her world is turned upside down. Now she’ll have to search inside herself to find not only the true meaning of friendship but her own role in jumpstarting the world.

Tender, honest, and compassionate, Jumpstart the World is a stunning story to make you laugh, cry, and honor the power of love.

In honor of Jumpstart's release as well as National Coming Out Day (Monday, October 11) there will be a week of amazing auctions on my main site here. These aren't books...but you'll definitely want to check them out because you might find something great for yourself or a friend/family member, especially with the holidays approaching. All the money for the auctions will go to the Cincinnati chapter of GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. It's an amazing charity so you'll certainly want to support them.

If you don't bid or don't win an auction, you can still expand knowledge by supporting LGBT books and buying Jumpstart the World or requesting it at your library. Support Catherine, support people that need these books, support people that want these books, and show that you believe in these titles.

Auctions will run from Oct. 11 to Oct. 15. You can even find a button in the top right hand corner of my site (link above) if you wish to use that. Spread the word though. If you post about this on your blog (the book AND the auctions) then you are eligible to enter to win a signed copy of Jumpstart the World!

To Enter: Post about this on a blog if you have one...if not, tweeting or facebooking is okay.

Ends: October 15th

Open To: U.S. only I'm afraid

+1 if you follow this blog (leave a new comment)

+1 for any post on Let's Get Beyond Tolerance that you comment on (leave a new comment here so we count it)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Top Ten LGBT Books According to Lee Bantle

My Top Ten Favorite LGBT Books of All Time By Lee Bantle (Author of David Inside Out)

1) ANNIE ON MY MIND by Nancy Garden. This is a must read! If you want literature, if you want great writing, this book is for you. And if you’re a girl who thinks you might like other girls, this compelling love story will resonate. I aspire to write like Nancy Garden. She is lyrical and this novel is beautifully realized. Winner of many awards. Deservedly so.

2) REFLECTIONS OF A ROCK LOBSTER by Aaron Fricke. This book has faded and deserves revival. Nonfiction. Aaron took a boy to his prom. In 1980! Way before people were doing that. And then wrote the story. What guts! A pioneer. Fulfilling and historic, this memoir is another must read.

3) GIOVANNI’S ROOM by James Baldwin. Baldwin is a brilliant, intuitive writer and this is a classic. Bear in mind though that it was written in the 1950's and that being “homosexual” was far from accepted. That said, Baldwin broke new ground by taking on this theme and exploring erotic love between men.

4) BOYS LIKE US – A Collection edited by Patrick Merla. This compelling collection of coming out stories from gifted gay writers is evocative, moving, and marvelously entertaining. Edmund White, Andrew Holleran, Brad Gooch. There is nothing more revealing than a gay man’s exposition of this coming out experience. Don’t miss the astounding entry by Alan Gurangus.

5) BORROWED TIME by Paul Monette. This harrowing tale of the last 19 AIDS-wracked months of Monette’s lover is not for the faint of heart. I remember being overcome with despair as Monette’s powerful love and practical intervention are not enough to save the man who means more to him than life itself. Heartbreaking. An important historical document of the calamitous 1980’s.

6) DANCE ON MY GRAVE by Aidan Chambers. “If I die first you dance on my grave,” the young hero tells his new BF. This request gives life to a coming of age love story which is delightful and quirky. Adolescent love is captured in all its awkward, passionate glory. Written in 1982, this one has stood the test of time.

8) MAURICE by E.M. Forster. Forster is, of course, one of our literary lions. This tale of love between men was written deep in the past and, at the author’s request, published posthumously. So no punches were pulled. Taking on the class structure as well as societal disdain for gay love, there is no question what desires lay deep in Forster’s eloquent heart.

9) TALE OF TWO SUMMERS by Brian Sloan. A delicious summer read. This book keeps you hooked. Hilarious, sexy and surprising, it’s the story of two friends — Hal and Chuck (one straight and one gay) — apart for the summer, who keep in intimate contact through a blog. Hal’s tales with Henri (the French bad boy) will leave you panting for more.

10) WEETZIE BAT by Francesca Lia Block. Magical realism comes to gay LA. Anything by Block is a quick, fun, uplifting read. She gets it. There is depth. The perfect book for one of those sleepovers when you never go to sleep.

This post was written for and originally posted at Elisa Rolle's Livejournal. As a warning, she does write and focus on adult books and topics but all fall under the LGBT tag. The link I gave you brings you to Lee's post there, where Elisa gives you details and links for all of these books.  
Amazon Associates: Buy the book from the above link and we get a small percentage to support the site!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Review: Sprout by Dale Peck

Sprout by Dale Peck

By: Lauren

Also for Teens Read Too (I recieved my copy from them)

Author Site:

Sprout has seemingly made his life an open book: in a new town, people know that he lives in the trailer covered in vines, that his dad is the town drunk, and even that his mother passed away before he arrived. However, his being gay is supposed to be in that category and it’s not completely that way. It does become known as the story goes on that he’s gay and I love that he doesn’t have a problem with it, but it’s still a bit of a secret for awhile.

Nature Pictures, Images and Photos

This book is told through the point of view of Sprout and the set up is a bit hard to explain, but reads a lot like essays strung together in an overall story. Things in the beginning are mentioned later on, but there are points when it seems the story starts over and focuses on something else and then goes back. For example, the beginning of this deals a lot with a teacher and Sprout working on his essay writing in the summer so he can enter a competition that she believes he can win…only, of course, if he doesn’t mention he’s gay. Then the story stops talking about that for awhile and you focus more on a boy named Tyler that Sprout hates at first, but slowly starts to fall for. Eventually the two parts line up for the end.

It might sound a bit confusing, but it seems to work overall. I found myself invested more in the Tyler part as the story goes on, but the competition is a big part in Sprout’s life and truly shows how he changes in the end.

This isn’t a happily-ever-after, but it’s not so depressing you can’t find the hope. That’s something that Sprout always had to do…find hope and brightness in his sometimes messed up life. His relationship with Tyler was awkward and interesting and quite different than anything most people have read about, whether a straight or gay relationship. It seemed more realistic in a way though. It wasn’t “I’ll love you forever” right away or even in the end. It was complicated and tough.

In the end, Sprout is a different book that would appeal to people looking for something a little off, a little goofy, a little sad, and a little lovely.

Photo from Photobucket. I do not own.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Official Launch Week + We Ask You, You Ask Us!

This week is the official launch of Let's Get Beyond Tolerance! Again, this was co-founded by myself (Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag), author Catherine Ryan Hyde, and author Lee Bantle. They are both fabulous and you should definitely check out their own LGBT themed and not themed books.

I hope to have some fun posts every day this week, but please forgive me if a day is missed due to school and other such fun activities. You'll find a variety of things this week that you can continue to see in the future: book reviews, author guest posts. book giveaways, movie reviews, concert reviews, and more. I've been saving up some reviews for this week so I really hope to get your feedback and see what you think. Be sure to look out for the announcement post this week as week is going to be a really fun THEME week to continue along with our launch!

As for this very first OFFICIAL LAUNCH post, I want to know what you would like to see. If you have any questions that you'd like the authors or myself to answer, please leave them in the comment as well. If we get enough...we'll make a fun Ask Us! post and feel free to leave a question or comment anonymously if you aren't comfortable stating who you are. Of course, this isn't cause to bash or be mean...those comments will be deleted as soon as I notice them.

Now let's go: What Do You Want to See on Here? and What Questions Do You Have For Us?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Congrats to Glee's Chris Colfer!

Thanks to anyone who has come over from Kristi's blog The Story Siren. She's having an amazing two weeks focused on LGBT lit. We're still planning our big coming out party, but for now, you should definitely give Kristi some props and maybe win a few fun books!

Up now is a guest post and giveaway for Catherine Ryan Hyde who happens to be a co-founder of this here blog. You know you want to give her some comment love.

Now, the other reason I'm writing this post is to congratulate Chris Colfer for winning a Teen Choice Award-

Choice TV: Male Scene Stealer

Chris Colfer, Glee
He's definitely a scene stealer. I think it's amazing that we can have a show like Glee on television where people LOVE and ROOT for a gay teen like Chris Colfer's portrayal of Kurt.

ETA: For anyone that saw the Teen Choice Awards, you know what I'm talking about...but the co-hosts were Katy Perry and the boys of Glee. Some of them talked about how in their teenage dreams Katy would be a prom queen or a cheerleader...but ever the amusing one, Chris said "in my teenage dreams, I'd be hosting alone."
Don't worry...we'll talk plenty more about Glee this coming September when Season 2 starts. For now though, what are your thoughts on the show and Chris/Kurt? Feel free to congratulate him yourself too (not that he'll see, but all good vibes are good yes?)


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Discuss: Degrassi Does Transgender

The much-loved series Degrassi is introducing their first ever transgender character this season, Season 10 by the way, which has started now. The character of Adam (shown in the above pictured) is played by Jordan Todosey, who is most notably known for playing little sister Lizzie on Life With Derek. Adam was physically born a girl but identifies as male...and even has a homophobic stepbrother named Drew who is sure to make things interesting for Adam.

Personally, I watch Degrassi off and on. It's not because I don't like the show...but rather I didn't always have the channel that plays the show so I've missed random bits through the Next Generation. (I really need to get the DVD's). Anyway, I think it's great they are finally having a transgender character, which will hopefully raise more awareness and understanding. After all, they've already focused on girls and boys that are gay, lesbian, and bi. This is the next step and I think if anyone can make it work, it would be Degrassi. I  can't wait to see Jordan in her new role.

For more information, visit here!

One of the ways Degrassi has been promoting the new season is through these carnival themed commercials. There are two seperate ones that showcase some old and new characters, giving you a look into what might be happening with them this season. If you watch the one below, you will see the character of Adam, dressed as a boy, but seeing a girl in all the carnival mirrors. I think it's very interesting and a fun promo. Also, this video is the full it's both commercials together.

Discuss: Do you watch or will you start watching Degrassi? What are your thoughts about a transgender character? Comment as you will!

Written by: Lauren

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Reason Behind the Name

                                         Why I Co-Founded This Site by Lee Bantle

I hate being tolerated! It's so flat. No emotion. No joy. I don't want the world to tolerate LGBT people. I want us to be loved. For all our creativity, our style, our panache'.

And, Hello! Because we're part of the human tapestry.

Which explains the name of this website. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance. We don't want to be tolerated. We want more. We want to be embraced!

The way we're going to work on that is to celebrate LGBT people, the books and plays they write, the music they make, the shows they star in. This is a rich vein to draw from.

Let's be honest. Without gay contributors, human culture would be impoverished. Sappho, Walt Whitman, Steven Sondheim, Rita Mae Brown, Ian McKellan, Ellen DeGeneres. Can you imagine a world without them? Or the multitude of other gay artists?

On this site we're going to celebrate all kinds of LGBT artistry. Music from Queer Urban Orchestra to George Michael. Authors from Christopher Marlowe to Jacqueline Woodson, from James Baldwin to Malinda Lo. Movies from Patrik, Age 1.5 to My Beautiful Laundrette. New authors, new plays, new music. But also the classics.

This is gonna be a fun, hip site to watch. And it's gonna be so gay.

If you like that, sign up. Write us. We LOVE comments.

Above all, embrace us. Help us get beyond tolerance!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Who Are We and What Is This?

Welcome to Let's Get Beyond Tolerance! Maybe you noticed already, but the title is based around the acronym LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bi, and Transgender (aka Let's Get Beyond Tolerance). The title was created by author Lee Bantle after I shared another LGBT title I'd come up with. I loved his much better and it became the official name of this blog.

So what is this blog?

It's an entertainment blog for Young Adults (and that simply means, we will focus on things that are appropriate for YA and up) with LGBT themes. I know there are other sites out there similar to this one for Adults...but none that I know of that is for the Young Adult set. So I figured...why not create one? Instead of complaining about the lack of something, I'd rather fill the void as best as I could.

So what's up with the Official Author thing on the side?

Well, I love Catherine Ryan Hyde and Lee Bantle's work, especially because they are filling the LGBT YA void in their own way. Therefore, they are the official authors of the site. Other books and authors will be featured and promoted...but these two will always have their work featured on this site and they will even contribute as well! You can expect to find their thoughts in guest posts, reviews, and perhaps even in questions for other people. Fun, right? Right! So go and click those links over there to buy their work if it interests you.  You gotta support and allow them to continue writing amazing books!

So what now?

Now you should-

1. Follow!

2. Spread the word for others to follow!

Super easy and we'd appreciate you very much if you did!! There won't be that many posts at the moment. You'll probably find some highlight posts and links in the sidebars as we continue setting everything up...but you want to follow now because we're planning a COMING OUT PARTY!

And that means?

We want to kick this blog off right with some fun interviews, guest posts, reviews, and of course...giveaways! But you need to start following and get others to follow as well so it can be the best party ever.  There will be all sorts of fun posts to come which will probably last for about a month...just so you can see the types of things we'll continue to do in the future. So it's worth it to follow and keep following!

Come Out With Us and Let's Get Beyond Tolerance.

Sincerely yours,

Lauren from Shooting Stars Mag