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lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Before the sea of Ariana Grande fans comes after me, I want to make it clear that I would elect Ariana Grande, with my mail-in voting ballot, as pop queen president. Last night my girlfriend and I watched “positions” from our bed, which prompted a ten-minute examination of heteronormative undertones that hold women to different standards than men. It’s worth asking, is this a song a straight man would ever sing? I am weary of the rhetoric of empowerment that marries women to a never-ending to-do list and certain requirements of being in a heterosexual relationship.

As a queer woman, my partner and I are in daily conversation about the dishes that soak in the sink, work balance and the vulnerability of intimacy. We never have to assume roles. Our roles are in continual flux because we don’t need to prove our merit as superwomen. Ariana, as a straight woman, has a responsibility to critically examine her language and ideas of female empowerment. The palatable ideas that women in positions of power regurgitate affirm a comfortable, less revolutionary feminism to the masses. …


The opportunity for marginalized people to control the narrative of history

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Jason Leung/ Unsplash.com

We live in a particularly lush queer literary landscape in 2020. All of these voices are unapologetic, fierce, hopeful and ready to share nitty-gritty details of their lives. Many people in the LGBTQ community lived their stories behind closed doors, were whispered into a lover’s ear or kept out of the spotlight.

“Memoirs are the backstairs of history.” — George Meredith

Memoirs are the opportunity for marginalized people to control the narrative of history. To sprinkle and add an unexpected flavour you didn’t know was missing. …


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Radu Marcus/ Unsplash.com

I read 28,459 pages of books and 94 books in total. I don’t know if I will ever have a reading year like this again. At one point in the pandemic, I was reading two to three books a week. Books and bath’s, acting as a dynamic duo, kept me mildly placated. I knew that amidst the last two terms of my creative writing degree I needed to give myself over to the whims of other creators. Reading this year was my grounding exercise, something that kept me tethered to solid stories, not tainted by the pandemic.

To be honest, I felt like Belle locked up in the Beast’s castle. Unable to seek freedom beyond my swinging wooden gate. At least I could console myself with the thirty books that had built up on my shelf. I found that this year was all about tending to things that I had once neglected, and what was in my home became a constant backdrop. …


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jcomp/ freepik.com

I used to believe that growing out my leg hair was a symptom of ‘letting myself go’ and not taking personal responsibility for my hygiene. The lack of body hair became equated with cleanliness and how much self-respect I had. If it was long, that meant I did not love myself. It is a train of thought that launches you off the cliff into patriarchal notions. Modern, western world shaving practices are the love child of capitalism and branding practices that trick the consumer into thinking a preference is essential.

The phrase, ‘letting myself go’ implies rule-breaking or a slow descent into chaos. We have been taught to always make sure that we have control over our bodies and to manage our unique ecosystem. In the age of body agency, you would think control means freedom, but unfortunately, it does not. All of our decisions are informed by voices in our lives, which we must always interrogate. …


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🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič/Unsplash

Our inner child may have many illogical and deep-rooted fears that require gentleness. We all deal with anxieties around abandonment, worthiness, rejection and shame. As children, we could not discern if our primary caretakers were upset because of us or an external situation. Since a child’s sense of self is still intrinsically tied to the caregiver at a young age, we believe that everything that happens around us is a direct reflection of us.

If a parent is volatile and unpredictable, we carry a deep belief into adulthood that if someone around us is angry then we must have contributed to this response. This belief could not be farther from the truth, but we carry these deeply embedded narratives for years to come. …


Look before you leap.

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Africa Studio/ Shutterstock.com

It is normal to wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. We go through multiple versions of ourselves in our early twenties and want our surroundings to mesh with our identity and beliefs. Before you decide to choose a permanent scenery change I would like to share a few tips. Please don’t be afraid to slow down and think about the bigger picture.

Halfway through my undergrad degree, I decided to transfer to another university since I was becoming bored and wanted to explore my new queer identity. My wanderlust smitten soul threw caution to the wind and trusted, naively, that I would make it work and romanticized surviving on my own. I was living with my parents in a basement room painted powder princess blue. I was freshly out as queer, and falling in love with my first girlfriend (and present partner) who was moving to a nearby city. …


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Andrew Cline/ Shutterstock.com

Young Adult Fiction is the one section of your bookstore where you can see LGBTQ romances, transgender main characters, BIPOC lead characters and cast.

These stories challenge the white-centric concept of being “literary.” One of the possible reasons for this is because YA markets itself towards teenagers, which means that authors don’t need to impress anyone with flowery language or use tropes that would glorify them into canonical status. The biggest hope an author has is that their book gets in the hands of someone who has not yet seen themselves between the pages.

Young adult contemporary fiction is about identity, managing growing pains and learning hard lessons about life with some laughs along the way. The reader follows a pathway that allows them to understand their adolescence through these books, regardless if they are a teenager or adult.
I came out, as queer, later in life when I was 24 and desperate for books like these to replenish narratives missing from my Christian adolescence. I barely read YA fiction before I began to work at a local bookstore, Mosaic Books, and now, I read at least one YA book a month. …


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Masson/ Shutterstock.com

One of the first questions, among many, when I came out was “do I even want to wear a dress?” Many people in the LGBTQ+ community feel the need to scream to the world that they are gay through their choice of shoes. It can be a daunting task to fit into this community. There is not much of a difference between squeezing yourself into cisgender, straight passing rules and abiding by the gay ones. Many people feel they are going through second adolescence because every aspect of your identity is up for debate and alteration.

I will chronicle my journey from dress-wearing, straight passing to my now soft butch comfort-driven style. …


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NYC Russ / Shutterstock.com

If you are a book fanatic like me, you need a way to keep track of the hundreds of books that don’t make it to the cash register. Or when you close that cover, a place to share your thoughts with a community of like-minded readers who might find your rant-reviews slightly helpful. Many of us have history and loyalty that runs deep with Goodreads, but I discovered something that I can never unlearn.

Amazon owns Goodreads. If this is news to you, I release you to travel through the five stages of grief and, only then, resume reading this article.

Amazon subsumed Goodreads, not for the intent of improving the cream colour scheme and janky app mechanics, but instead to eliminate any foreseeable competition. Many people, myself included, up until recently was tricked into believing that it is still a quaint and unassuming start-up app…with just the best of intentions. Amazon uses the app to market and advertise irrelevant books to your taste and has access to all of your logged data to continue to fortify their monopolized industrial complex. …

About

Amanda Kelly

lifestyle blogger| LGBTQ+ community | self-help| books

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