LGBT Pride Month Roundtable Discussion… What Does Gay Pride Mean To You?

ImageThis week on my blog, we’re trying something a little different. In honor of LGBT Pride month, I am among a great group of panelists who will be hosting a month long discussion about Pride, LGBT Youth, Allies, and more.  Our panelists are a diverse group of readers, writers, and supporters of gay fiction, including Larry Benjamin, Rick Bettencourt, Brandilyn Carpenter, Rob Colton, Andrew Q Gordon, Lane Hayes, Debbie McGowan, and Brandon Shire. Each week, two people will answer two questions related LGBT pride, rights, and related topics. We will also be giveaway free copies of eBooks by our participating authors and a Amazon gift card. You can enter on the RC below.  There are special entries for each week of June, so don’t miss out on those.

Please join in the discussion in the comments.  You can gain entries into the giveaway, but more importantly, you can be part of a important and fun discussion.  Though only 2 panelists will be posting each week, we will all be joining the discussion.  Visit this week’s other guest panelist, Rick Bettencourt.

This Week’s Discussion

What does “gay pride” mean to you?

As a proud mother of a gay son I believe a sense of Pride starts at home. I watched my son from a young age take note of the ways he was different than other boys.  I witnessed him withdraw when he felt rejected or shunned.  When he came out to his father and me at age eighteen (2 years ago) he was afraid of our reaction.  He knew we loved him but was nervous his revelation might change things.  I wanted to roll my eyes and tell him not to be so dramatic.  I’d been waiting at least two years for him to come out!  But this wasn’t about me.  It was about him accepting himself and hoping he still had a place in his family.  My husband and I assured him nothing had changed.  He’s ours and we’re unbelievably proud of the man he’s becoming.  Now it’s time for him to be proud of himself.  He isn’t always.  Though he knows he’s loved and supported, he doubts himself and isn’t always comfortable walking in his gay shoes.

Pride is about celebrating yourself.  Not the you who has found a way to fit in but the person you are at the core. My son is a work in progress, but aren’t we all? I know he gets closer to accepting himself a little more every day. My job is to be there, to support by listening or occasionally by offering advice (he’s just out of his teens, so you know how that goes…), and whenever I can, by being an advocate for LGBT rights.

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Do you think gay pride events are still necessary?

Yes! A million times, yes! Visibility is a key component in acceptance and although great strides have been made, there is still a long way to go. Complacency or the desire to rest on the laurels of the accomplishments made so far would be a blow to LGBT youth. It’s vitally important for kids to know they aren’t alone; to know there are people out there just like them who are wonderful, goal-driven, responsible citizens.

Silence is death. Don’t be quiet. Be loud, be proud. Wear the colors of the rainbow and march in a parade with other LGBT people and the people who love and support them. I will be attending my first ever Pride in San Francisco next weekend with my husband and our gay son. I’m thrilled, my husband doesn’t know what to expect, and I have a feeling our son will want to ditch us within an hour. But the point of us going in the first place won’t be diminished in any way. We’re his support. We are the people who love him most of all. We want him to take Pride.

About our Panelists

Larry Benjamin: Bronx-born wordsmith Larry Benjamin, is the author of the gay novels, Unbroken, and What Binds Us and the short story collection Damaged Angels. Larry will be hosting the discussion starting 9 June 2014

Twitter: @WriterLarry

Website: http://www.larrybenjamin.com

 Rick Bettencourt: Rick Bettencourt is the author of NOT SURE BOYS, PAINTING WITH WINE and TIM ON BROADWAY. Rick hates to cook, and can often be seen eating out. He lives in the Tampa Bay area, with his husband and their dog, Bandit. Rick will be hosting the discussion starting 23 June 2014

Twitter: @rbettenc

Website:Rick Bettencourt

Brandilyn Carpenter: Brandilyn is the odd duck in this group. She owns an LGBTQ fiction focused review blog, Prism Book Alliance, and is the married mother of 3 young children. She is an advocate for equal rights and tirelessly promotes the gay fiction genre. Brandilyn will be hosting the discussion starting 16 June 2014

Twitter: @BrandilynRC

Website: http://www.prismbookalliance.com

Rob Colton: Rob Colton is a software developer by day, and avid reader of romance novels at night. A romantic at heart, he loves stories that feature big, burly men who find true love and happy endings. Rob will be hosting the discussion starting 16 June 2014

Twitter: @robcub32

Website: http://robcolton.com

 Andrew Q Gordon: Andrew Q. Gordon lives in the DC Metro area with his husband and 2 year old daughter. While he enjoys most types of fiction, his current works include MM Fantasy, Paranormal and Contemporary Fiction.  Andrew will be hosting the discussion starting 2 June 2014

Twitter: @AndrewQGordon

Website: http://andrewqgordon.com/

Lane Hayes: Lane Hayes is a M/M author, 2013 Rainbow Award finalist for her first release Better Than Good, designer, reader, lover of chocolate, red wine & clever people. Lane will be hosting the discussion starting 23 June 2014

Twitter: @LaneHayes3

Website: https://lanehayes.wordpress.com

 Debbie McGowan: Debbie McGowan is based in Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven fiction, runs an independent publishing company, and lectures in social science. Sometimes she sleeps, too! Debbie will be hosting the discussion starting 2 June 2014

Twitter: @writerdebmcg

Website: http://www.debbiemcgowan.co.uk

Brandon Shire: Brandon Shire writes fiction about human intimacy and interactions. He loves chocolate and is a staunch advocate for homeless LGBT youth. Brandon will be hosting the discussion starting 9 June 2014

Twitter: @thebrandonshire

Website: http://brandonshire.com

Giveaway

Prizes (4 winners):

 

$ 10 Amazon GC, eBook Listening to Dust by Brandon Shire, & eBook Not Sure Boys by Rick Bettencourt

$ 10 Amazon GC, eBook Painting with Wine by Rick Bettencourt, & eBook from Andrew Q Gordon’s backlist

$ 10 Amazon GC, eBook Unbroken by Larry Benjamin, & eBook Champagne by Debbie McGowen

$ 10 Amazon GC, eBook from Rob Colton’s backlist, & eBook from Lane Hayes’ backlist

a Rafflecopter giveaway

22 thoughts on “LGBT Pride Month Roundtable Discussion… What Does Gay Pride Mean To You?

  1. That was an amazing post Lane! You brought me to tears. Good tears, but tears nonetheless. I hope you, your husband, and son enjoy yourselves in San Francisco and the Pride event. It’s such a great city. And I too think that silence is death. I try to be as loud as I can.

    • Thank you Jen. We’re really looking forward to going. Our son is marching with the office he’s interning with this summer, so it’s cool to me on so many levels. I appreciate your kind words. Lane xo

  2. Good for you for being so supportive of your son. It’s people like that are the best gay activists—supporters for all the right reasons.

  3. Hi Lane, a wonderful post, thank you for sharing. Your son must be proud to have you as his Mother. Love your books.

    • Thank you, Hannah! Ironically, our son is the only one of our kids who know what I write. 🙂 I wanted to “come out” to him as he had to me and hopefully see it as a form of support. Lane xo

  4. Hi Lane, a few words that come to mind when I think of what gay pride means to me is acceptance and tolerance. A friend of mine was at a Pride event this weekend and was very upset by the protesters that turned up and the verbal abuse those partaking and celebrating received from this despicable group.

    I had a close friend who was afraid to come out when he was a teenager and sadly his fears were justified as when he was brave enough to tell his parents they kicked him out. They did say they would financially support him at university, but that was it and they never wanted to see him again as he had let them down. I tried to keep in contact, as we went to different universities, and went to see him as often as I could but I knew he was suffering and his heart was not in his studies. This is the first time I have written about this, so it is truly difficult for me and still makes me cry now, but he committed suicide in the first semester and to this day his parents will not talk about him. I miss him every day and I did try to get him to find a support group, but I still feel that I could have done more and I should have known.

    I am really happy to know that there are families like yours, who support their children, and I do have other LGBT friends who have had a no problems or did have a few problems with friends or their family. When my friend Matt at was university there was not the support groups which there are now and I often think how alone you must feel in such a new place, without your normal support group of friends and family.

    Sorry to be so maudlin, but I would really like to thank all the hosts and all those trying to make it a safer and tolerant world.

    • I am so very sorry to hear about your friend. It breaks my heart. Honestly, I don’t understand how people can be so cruel. The thing about parenting, whether your kid is gay or straight, is that we are given this amazing opportunity to help guide very different individuals to be the best grown up humans possible. I have 3 children, 20, 17 & 15 and they are all very different. Everything gets harder when you’re raising teenagers because there are so many things beyond your control. But the kids themselves…they are still a blessing. Your friend’s story is an important one. There is so much more to do. Thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry for your pain. Lane xo

  5. Thank you for an amazing post Lane. It is easy to see taht your love and support go to your very core. Your son is lucky to have you and his father in his life.

    I agree with you on both points. Visibility is vital. Anyone who is LGBT has a responsibility to be out and proud and visible. Our youth need to SEE us.

    Pride begins at home, absolutely. Pride is about celebrating yourself. “Fitting in” is overated and makes our youth believe they must “fit” to belong.

    • Thanks Larry. My son isn’t someone who is comfortable being front and center, which is fine because certainly not everyone is. However, I don’t ever want him to hide. Hopefully one day he’ll be comfortable in his own skin and ready to lend a loud voice to the LGBT community.

  6. Lane, I’ve been waiting to see your take on the topic because you are the only parent of a gay child among the panelist. We all have our own unique perspective and I’ve enjoyed them all, but I trying to be more like a parent since ‘lil q is growing up and even if she turns out to be straight, she is going to need us to support her as she tries to be herself. And that is what i’ve taken from your post – Parent, Child, Love – what more is there to say. Your son is extremely lucky to have you both – if only the world had several million more mothers like you 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

    Andy

    • Thank you Andy. Having met you in person, I can tell you’re an amazing dad who adores his daughter. What more is there to say? It’s unconditional love. They may aggravate you to no end, but you’ll always love them. Best wishes to you and your family. 🙂 xo

  7. It’s good to hear from a parent who still believes in unconditional love.
    Thanks Lane for hosting this discussion and the giveaway.

  8. Love your post. It’s absolutely empowering and it strikes a cord in the belief that we all have to be more accepting of ourselves to be proud and have pride in ourselves. Your son is very lucky to have you both there to support him.

  9. Thank you. We love him. That’s the easy part. 😉 It’s helping him get past the prejudice and feelings of self doubt that aren’t so simple sometimes. We’ll get there. Thanks for your kind words.

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