The Story is About + mainstream

Guest Post: Ellen Hopkins

When Kristi first asked me to write a guest post, I said sure. She gave me the final date and I said cool. And then along came this little issue in Texas. If you haven't heard, and I can't believe you haven't, I was "uninvited" from a teen literature festival. I won't go into all the details again, but suffice it to say not everyone in Humble Texas likes the way I think.

Okay, not everyone everywhere likes the way I think. I'm vocal when it comes to my beliefs--that the Texas Board of Education shouldn't rewrite history for their students. That, like his politics or not, Barack Obama is American, and the President of the United States, and as such, demands a certain respect. That women should have the right to choose what to do with their bodies. And that gay couples should have the same rights as straight couples, including the right to a legal relationship they may call marriage.

If you've read my books, you know many of them include queer characters. I never started out saying, "I want to write about gay people," or "I think this book needs a queer character." They just end up there, and because there wasn't a "I need them gay" intent, they tend to be relatively mainstream. Kristina's sister is a lesbian, and a cheerleader. Tony isn't sure of his sexuality, so struggles to find love. Seth is gay, and dealing with the same issue--survival--as the straight characters in Tricks. In the upcoming Perfect, debutante Cara comes out as a lesbian, while straight Andre comes out as a dancer. My characters are gay just because they are.

I think it's important to realize that gay people simply are how they are. They were born that way. I know, because my oldest son is gay. He didn't decide to be gay, and no other person made him that way. He just is. Acceptance (I like that word better than tolerance, because we should accept people for how they are, not tolerate them) will only come when we recognize that gay people, like all people, simply are they way they are, and as mainstream as anyone else.

You can learn more about Ellen and her books at her website!

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Guest Post: Ellen Hopkins + mainstream