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It’s the story of a boy, growing up evangelically Christian, and fervently believing in his religion, and how he reconciles that religion to the growing realization he is gay. At the same time, he is dealing with being orphaned and left in the care of his older brother; being deserted by his childhood friend after learning that the feelings he had for him were reciprocated; becoming friends with a non-believer classmate Pearl; and finding dual father figures in Reverend Amos King, his godfather whose infectious religious rhetoric cloaks a secret of his own, and in Gregory Hart, a bachelor caring for his wheelchair-bound sister whose good heart cannot make up for the near-certain suspicion in this small Idaho town that Gregory is a homosexual.

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Book Review: A Secret Edge by Robin Reardon

In: Reader Submissions, The Arts, Totally GAY!

Jason Peele is your typical high school student, with one exception. He’s gay. Maybe. It’s something he’s just beginning to accept, and on this path to acceptance, he encounters both hurdles and helpers. Hurdles include jilted girlfriend Meg, a conservative and concerned uncle and homophobic bullies Jimmy and Dane. They’re balanced out by a supportive friendship with Robert and a tall, dark, handsome student named Raj.

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Coming out is hard enough. Coming out when you’re family is conservative and Christian is even harder. When Taylor Adams’ parents find out their son is gay, they ship him off for a six-week stay at “Straight to God” in the hopes that he can be saved.

Now Taylor had had no problems with balancing out his sexuality and his faith. His love for God was in no way affected by his love for his boyfriend Will. Still, to please his family, he is willing to endure this separation from the boy of his dreams. At “Straight to God”, Taylor is forced to try to put away all former images of his sinful life, easier said than done. The other kids in the program, whether there for drugs, violence, disobedience, or inappropriate lust, are a mixed bag. There’s some Taylor feels a connection with, some he doesn’t. First impressions aren’t always right though, and that’s only the first lesson Taylor learns at S2G.

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Book Review: Shirts & Skins

In: Reader Submissions, The Arts, Totally GAY!

It’s been a while since I came across a book that pulled me in and kept me hooked. Jeffrey Luscombe’s Shirts and Skins did though.

The book is written as a series of individual stories, seen through the eyes of Josh Moore, a young boy who grows up with his family in the poorer part of Hamilton. The first couple stories, when Josh is just learning how to process the world around him, are filled with past tragedy and scandal, but we only perceive as much of them as the very young Josh does. Already he begins to learn how to mimic the other people in his life.

As times goes on, Josh becomes even more of a human chameleon, observing, adapting, becoming what he needs to be to survive. The world around him is filled with artificial divisions. His family has them, between those who are already saved by Christ and those who aren’t. Sunday school has them, between God’s chosen people and everyone else. School has them, especially in gym class, between shirts and skins. Society has them, between gay and straight.

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I know that the word “great” in the title of this post is more than a bit lame, but I’d be willing to bet that for most people who have been waiting for this day, words simply cannot adequately describe the sheer depth and breadth of emotion that today’s Supreme Court rulings have given rise to, so it’s probably best not to spend much time trying.

DOMA

This morning, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, struck down s. 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority and joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, held that DOMA violates the US Constitution’s guarantees of liberty and equal protection as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

More on the rulings and what they mean after the jump…

The long road is almost over. After a legal journey that has gone on for many years, two landmark gay rights cases will be decided by the US Supreme Court tomorrow morning. Here’s a look at some possible outcomes, and what they’ll mean.

Proposition 8

California voters passed Proposition 8 in November 2008. The measure amended California’s constitution and banned same-sex marriage in response to a ruling from the California Supreme Court legalizing equal marriage in that state. A battle to have the measure overturned before state courts failed, and supporters of marriage equality recruited a legal dream team of Theodore Olson and David Boies to fight their cause in federal court. A district court held a full trial, after which the judge ruled that Proposition 8 violated the United States Constitution, and ordered that it no longer be enforced. Supporters of Proposition 8 appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals when California’s state officials refused to defend it, but lost at the Ninth Circuit as well. That ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard arguments in March.

So what are the possible outcomes?

Read about the possible outcomes after the jump…

Book Review: The Trouble Boy

In: Reader Submissions, The Arts, Totally GAY!

Some of the most surprising and enjoyable reads I have had lately have been the result of simply walking into my local bookstore, heading over to the gay fiction, and seeing what cover strikes my fancy. The Trouble Boy, by Tom Dolby, was one of these.

It was a quick read, relatable, entertaining, and one that resonated with me on a lot of levels. It’s the story of Toby Griffin, 22-year-old boy-next-door, fresh-faced college graduate, who moves to New York City knowing he’s going to conquer the world with his charm. His dream of writing a screenplay that gains him recognition and fame are very familiar to anyone who, like me, enjoys writing. His dream of finding that perfect boyfriend is also very familiar to anyone who, like me, has never given up on that love-at-first-sight happy-ever-after ending Disney taught us all to expect.

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Book Review: A Home At The End of The World

In: Reader Submissions, The Arts, Totally GAY!

This is the story of three people who make a life together. Three friends who become a family. This is the story of Jonathan and Bobby, friends, brothers, lovers, and Clare, the woman who shares their hearts, their bed, and bears their baby.

When Jonathan and Bobby become friends in middle school, it is to the chagrin of Jonathan’s mother, who sees Bobby’s hand in Jonathan’s pulling away from her. Jonathan’s father sees this simply as natural adolescence, and although he is right, he is not as intimate with the boys’ lives as is Alice, the mother. She has spent hours in Jonathan’s room, listening to albums, smoking pot, dancing. She bonds with Bobby almost against her will, and their home becomes a second home for him, an oasis away from the tragedy and dysfunction of his own.

In the meantime, boys will be boys, and Jonathan, gay, and Bobby, not gay but not straight, have experimented and explored their budding sexuality. Alice catches them with their pants down, and this event, traumatizing for all of them, ends the friendship between mother and son and surrogate son.

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