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Topic: Please recommend some books for my 17-year-old sister

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Subject: Please recommend some books for my 17-year-old sister
Date Posted: 11/14/2008 9:58 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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My sister is 17, she's been out for about a year and until lately she's been pretty happy.  There's no drama from anyone in our family about her being a lesbian, her friends have been really accepting & cool, she had one pretty disastrous relationship, but it ended on her terms and she knows that her ex was playing mind games and being a total psycho.  She & I are really close, we talk about everything.  I'm six years older, so I've answered a lot of her questions about sex/relationships/etc that she didn't want to ask our mom. 

But sometimes she has questions I can't answer, everything from the genetics of homosexuality to how lesbians practice safe sex.  So any books that answer biological questions like that would be great.

Also, yesterday she came home really upset, because one of her classmates said that she probably wasn't a lesbian, that she was just a prude.  It seems they were talking about penises and my sister said they gross her out.  I'd like to direct her to some coming out/coming of age stories about girls realizing they were lesbians, or something like that.  She doesn't know any other lesbians and I think it'd help her to know what other people like her were thinking at her age.  Or whatever you think would be helpful to her, I really have no idea what to look for. 

Thanks :-)

Date Posted: 11/14/2008 10:10 AM ET
Member Since: 6/13/2008
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Try checking out books by Julie Anne Peters... they are fiction, and don't answer and bio questions, but I think she'd enjoy them.
Date Posted: 11/14/2008 3:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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I'd recommend The Full Spectrum : A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities edited by David Levithan and Billy Merrell.

It's essays written by young adults ages 13-23 dealing with their own sexuality.

 

Date Posted: 11/14/2008 4:05 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2007
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I don't know of any books, but if she wants an online buddy she can email and ask questions feel free to ask for my email and she can write away! I've been involved with LGBT youth organizations and also the leader of queer social and activist groups at my college so I've been able to help a lot of people figure stuff out :)

Date Posted: 11/15/2008 2:11 AM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2007
Posts: 527
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"Is It a Choice? - 2nd edition : Answers to 300 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Gays and Lesbian People" by Eric Marcus. http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780062516237-Is+It+a+Choice+2nd+edition+Answers+to+300+of+the+Most+Frequently+Asked+Questions+About+Gays+and+Lesbian+People

I thought this one was very interesting and pretty informative. It's written in a question-answer format and there is also one in the system.

"What If Someone I Know Is Gay?: Answers to Questions About What It Means to Be Gay and Lesbian" also by Eric Marcus. http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9781416949701-What+If+Someone+I+Know+Is+Gay+Answers+to+Questions+About+What+It+Means+to+Be+Gay+and+Lesbian

This one is also a really good one information wise. Ironically, I feel it actually has better info that the ones written for the gay teens themselves. *LOL*

 

"everything from the genetics of homosexuality to how lesbians practice safe sex."

Those two books touch on those topics and a few others. As to the first, tell her to look up... actually give me a minute.

O.K. Simon LeVay. A Pioneer in Research on sexuality and the human brain. Kind of (O.K. Really controversial) but to date, I think his info seems to have the most weight scientifically. Of course the research states that it isn't a simple one way clear answer. In this area reading about Transgender topics will actually help her since the research over lapse a lot of the time.

For quick basic reading the old favorite: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_LeVay .

Discover also did an article about it. http://discovermagazine.com/1994/mar/sexandthebrain346/?searchterm=levay  

And if you feel like some heavy reading: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/scotts/bulgarians/nature-nurture/levay.html

And he himself has written a few books on the topic.

 

As far as the Genetics aspect goes: http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_caus4.htm . In fact this is a good site in general to read. Has a lot of good info. New York Times also has an article on it: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9904E7D91231F936A15753C1A9659C8B63 .  There is a LOT of information and books out there. And That's just the non-fic stuff. Feel free to PM me for either more Non-fic books and info, Fiction for gay teens, or heck, even just to ask a simple question. I might even have some of my older books from back then. They'd be a bit out of date (and beaten up more than likely) but if I have them PM and I'd be glad to send them. :)

 

Tis lots of confusing stuff. Thank goodness there's a book for every question or I'd have never made it past 14. ;)

 



Last Edited on: 11/15/08 2:14 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/15/2008 3:42 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Jacqueline Woodson is a black, lesbian YA author. She's examined sexual orientation a lot in her work. I love her style. Try:

The House You Pass On the Way

From The Notebooks of Melanin Sun

The Dear One

Collection of shorts stories, Am I Blue by Marion Dane Bauer

Not lesbian but transgendered youth, Parrotfish and Luna. I enjoyed these both.

One I've heard of but haven't read yet, Down to the Bone by Mayra Lazar Dole

 

Date Posted: 11/15/2008 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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Thanks everyone, I've ordered a bunch of books (for me & her), but any more recommendations or advice is always welcome!

Date Posted: 11/15/2008 4:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2007
Posts: 527
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LaTonya, I loved Luna. Makes you almost cry at the end though. Cherilyn already metioned her too, but one of my favorites by Julie Anne Peters is "Keeping You a Secret". And I second the "Am I Blue" recomendation. Very nicely done short stories. The actual short story, "Am I Blue?" was/is my favorite YA short story (Not just GLTB YA, but young adult in general) ever.

Other good ones (although a bit out dated) are, "Annie on my Mind", "Good Moon Rising" and "The Year They Burned the Books" all by Nancy Garden. The Last one also has a nice free-speech/anti-censorship theme to it.

If you want one that's pretty well known, you can read "Patience and Sarah" by Isabel Miller.

"The Well of Loneliness" by Radclyffe Hall, is a true lesbian classic, written in the 1920's (I think). It's really thought provoking and heart touching, but it does have an ending that some readers might find slightly (or really) depressing due to the time period it was written in. If nothing else it will give you an appreciation for how far our society has come. 

Date Posted: 11/15/2008 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Two titles that are not centered on sexuality but have great LGBT characters are:

Born Confused by T. Hidier and Burn by black artemis. Both have kickass characters and good storylines. They're both contemporary, too. When possible, I try to find the most contemporary work being written.

Date Posted: 11/16/2008 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 6/13/2008
Posts: 358
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For those of you on myspace - julie anne peters is really involved with talking with her readers through there. she posts blogs, replies to messages and such.... it's really nice how there is a whole collection of her readers talking to each other and her on the myspace page. 

Date Posted: 11/17/2008 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,384
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Solitaire by Kelley Eskridge.  Wonderful SF book.  Starts with the main character being high school age.  Rather intense so I won't recommend it to younger YA. 

Date Posted: 11/19/2008 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/30/2007
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I don't have any suggestions, but I think you are a great sister.  I wish I had someone to help me at that age.

Date Posted: 11/19/2008 11:37 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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I'd like to check the page, but MySpace always clogs my system. Virus magnetic!

Date Posted: 11/21/2008 7:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,531
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I am almost purely a fiction reader so.....

I have just started I know why the Meadowlark sings.  Very interesting so far.  Future story.

I loved the novels that Rita Mae Brown wrote early in her career - Southern Discomfort, Loose Lips, Venus Envy, Six of One.   I was about your sisters age when I read them.  I haven't kept up with her books since the tennis one, but someone might be able to recommend them.  In searching her name I found this book  

  Growing Up Gay/Growing Up Lesbian: A Literary Anthology
I think you are a great sister.   She will find her way.  I found it gets easier the older I get, like so much of life.