My Current Writing Ideas/Projects That Are All Gay Duh + Aesthetics!

I’ve thought of talking about all the writing ideas/projects going around my brain for a while now. Then I thought: why not talk about all of my LGBTQIAP+ WIPs/ideas for Pride! Then I realised that’s all of my ideas ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’ve Been Working On This For Almost Two Years and It’s STILL Unnamed

You may be familiar with this one as it’s my main WIP right now and I’m hoping to finish it this year *fingers crossed*. I’ve written a blurb for it for a few writing tags, which is not complete as it does not mention the other two main characters, Reyna and Hye-su, but it’s the best I got right now.

Yong-sun An is worried about a lot of things, but at the top of his list? The future. Worried his anxiety will get in the way of everything he does, he has no clue what he’ll do after graduation. If he even graduates. Because that’s another thing he worries about. Not that his grades are bad, far from it, but one time it’s bound to go wrong, right?

Meanwhile, his not-best friend (except he is his best friend) Drew suddenly starts to act weird. Yong-sun has no idea how to help, but he has a feeling that it has to do with the mysterious text messages Drew has been getting.

So yeah none of my four kids are straight, Hye-su has two dads (one of them bisexual) and Drew’s aunt isn’t straight either

If you want to know more about my WIP you can check out these posts:

💛 Introducing My Characters
💛 Sharing 7 lines from the WIP
💛 Snippets: How To Flirt 101 by Andrew Lewis and Yong-sun is a Blue Cow
💛 All Hallows Write Tag 
💛 Winter Is Here Write Tag
💛 Your WIP in Gifs Tag

The Unnamed Sequel to the Unnamed Contemporary

HAHA YES. I HAVEN’T FINISHED MY UNNAMED CONTEMPORARY BUT I ALREADY GOT IDEAS FOR A SEQUEL HAHA HELP ME

So basically this unnamed sequel to my unnamed contemporary* follows Hye-su going to art school, but her insecurities and anxiety are getting the best of her. She feels like she doesn’t belong, that she’s not good enough and she gets major art block, resulting in her friends taking her on a road trip. It has an f/f relationship that originally would have sailed in the prequel, but I didn’t like the idea of not really seeing their relationship develop as the prequel is told from Yong-sun’s pov. Honestly I’m tempted to give Reyna and Drew their own books as well, but I have no clue yet what they’d be about

Anyway recently I got the silly idea to finish the prequel after my exams (June 19th), outline this one and then make it my Camp NaNo project what is wrong with me

* That’s what I’m gonna name them. I’m just gonna stick with that. Just wait and see

Gay Superheroes Squad

Plot?? What is that?? I DON’T KNOW BUT I LOVE MY SUPERHERO KIDS. All I know is that a bunch of kids suddenly find themselves with superpowers, eventually they all find each other and decide they want to use their powers for good and as the working title gives away they’re all LGBTQIAP+. I’m not sure yet if they’re only going to fight homophobia, racism, sexism etc. or if they’re also just going to fight general bad guys. Oh and they go to a retired superhero (who I picture as Isaiah Mustafa) to train them and such, and they also meet his husband who’s a healer (and who I picture as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson). I haven’t really worked on this yet, though I did write a first chapter (yes even though I have no plot) from Julius’ pov because he’s my fave*

Also here’s an aesthetic for Julius because did I mention I love him??

Fun fact: I picture Keiynan Lonsdale as Jules, and Alberto Rosende as Jaimie

* I don’t like to play faves when it comes to my characters but?? I love this boy so much??

Sjakoo Retelling

I actually got this idea from a blogpost last year in which I talked about story ideas for books set in The Netherlands – I got more than one idea from this post actually, but this is the only one that I actually have a plot for. I’ve basically been obsessed with Sjakoo since I was a little kid, but you’re probably wondering ‘Michelle who is Sjakoo??’ Sjakoo is said to have been a master criminal in  18th century Amsterdam and to have had a fort with secret passages. Most of his story is a myth, but I just love the idea of a YA retelling about Sjakoo, living in 18th century Amsterdam, becoming a criminal, starting a gang and creating his fort. I haven’t found anything that indicates he wasn’t straight but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Short Stories

I’ve been meaning to write short stories for the next two aesthetics since I made them… last year?? the year before that?? who knows time is a concept. Anyway, I’m lazy and forgetful ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Two girls run a bakery together and fall in love 

I can’t say much about this since I don’t really have much of a plot?? It’s sweet and soft and just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  One day I may write it

It’s like the Swan Princess but instead she’s a unicorn

When the clock strikes midnight the beloved princess turns into a unicorn

Again I have no plot but when I made this aesthetic I apparently thought of the princess having a girl gang as well? Anyway, of course the curse* can only be broken** with a true love’s kiss so this Unicorn Princess needs a princess.

* Though is it REALLY a curse to turn into a unicorn 🤔
** Does it really need to be broken though like it’s not that bad to turn into a unicorn during the night?? Just lie down and get some sleep girl

I actually do have more projects lol (that are semi-active, meaning I still think about them/plan on writing them one day). One is one of my first stories, that I tried rewriting a few years ago but got stuck because I no longer like the plot. I actually stumbled across an aesthetic I made for it back then while I was putting together this post and?? Suddenly?? Inspiration struck?? I STILL don’t have a full, better plot that is not a frickin’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer rip-off but!!! things are happening inside my brain!! The other three projects are kiiiiinda a secret as in I’m terrified someone mean will come along and steal my idea(s)

but maybe one day I feel confident enough to share them!

What are you currently working on? Or planning to write? Are any (or all of them) LGBTQIAP+? Let me know in the comments!

Lost Boy, Found Boy // Futuristic Neverland Where No One Is Straight™

Author: Jenn Polish
Genre: Sci-fi // Retelling // LGBTQIAP+ //YA
Goodreads rating: 2.75
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a futuristic world, Neverland is a holomatrix, Hook is a cyborg, and Tinker Bell is an automated computer interface.

Peter is desperate to save his lover from a military draft that, unbeknownst to him, Mir volunteered for because they are desperate to be able to fly. So, naturally, Peter programs an entire island—Neverland—as a refuge where Mir can fly without having to fight in a war.

But he doesn’t locate Mir right away; instead, he fights for control of the island with automated interface Tinker Bell, and in his attempts to find Mir, others arrive on the island. But Peter’s single-minded focus on Mir generates repercussions for everyone.Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

Well, this was a fun read! Unfortunately this book does lack a lot of worldbuilding and the characters are kinda flat. I still enjoyed reading it though, even though it left me with a lot of questions. Let’s start out with the things I liked

What I liked

💛 Peter is trans and in love with Mir, who’s non-binary. Peter also refers to them as their enbyfriend!
💛 Tinkerbell is an asexual lesbian computer interface and in love with Gwen, who is based on Wendy
💛 Hook is a bisexual cyborg (though I do have one problem with how this was written but I’ll get to that)
💛 Two of the Lost Boys are in love with each other!
💛 Hook is a part of the squad!!
💛 It was fun to see how the original tale was woven into this
💛 Peter is such a soft boy for Mir??
💛 It’s a really quick read

What I didn’t like

Now as for things I didn’t like/felt the book could improve on…

💛 I have NO CLUE about the world this is set in. It’s clearly a futuristic world, and as they talk about ‘old Earth’ I think it’s a different planet? But I have no idea. There’s also a war going on, but that’s barely touched upon. I don’t know why there’s a war or who they’re fighting. Also: I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW NEVERLAND WORKS I DON’T KNOW IF I’M STUPID OR WHAT. So basically Peter has a dream about Neverland and then decides to make it real. It’s VR but it’s also real?? They’re actually taken to Neverland?? How does this work help maybe I’m just overthinking it too much but for a while I thought it was all virtual reality because Peter puts on a VR helmet?? Did that helmet transport him to the world he coded?? And then it turned out he was really there?? MUCH CONFUSION

💛 The characters are unfortunately really flat. They only have a few characteristsics, though in case of The Lost Boys they pretty much have none? New characters kept appearing without really developing the previous ones, and the Lost Boys are suddenly there and barely get any screen time. Hook is a cyborg through experiments but?? We don’t know why or what exactly happened

💛 The plot is really, really rushed, which also leads to a lot of telling instead of showing. For example we don’t see Gwen and Peter falling out. There’s a time skip where it’s already happened because Peter starts to get really frustrated and takes that out on the others, but I wish we could’ve seen that happen

💛 So there’s nothing to indicate that Hook is bisexual in the book, though since this is an ARC that may change. It’s clear that he’s not straight, but if it weren’t from the author’s bio on Goodreads I wouldn’t have known that he’s supposed to be bisexual, which is a real shame.

💛 Tink and Gwen are cute but we don’t really see them develop as a couple, which makes me so sad

Basically this book has A LOT of potential. If the book had been longer, developed the plot, characters and the relationships more – this would have been a really, really great book. It’s such a fun take on Peter Pan and there’s a lot of LGBTQIAP+ rep. I definitely have hope for this author’s next works.

Lost Boy, Found Boy comes out 19th March!Have you read Lost Boy, Found Boy, or are you planning to? Have you read any Peter Pan retellings that you’d recommend? Or other LGBTQIAP+ retellings? Let me know in the comments!

None of the Above // An Important Read, But A Bit Lacking

Author: I.W. Gregorio
Genre: Contemporary | LGBT+ | YA
Goodreads rating: 3.89
My rating:  ⭐⭐⭐


When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?A really important read, but in some ways I found it a bit lacking. It’s clear that the author has done a lot of research and knows what she’s talking about. Kristen is well developed and her coming to terms with being intersex was well explored, but when I only had a few pages left I was wondering – is this it? It might be that I had different expectations, but for me the story was far from over. Of course Kristen’s story is never finished, and I’m okay with the fact that her story doesn’t have a definite end – but I just wish that some things had been explored a bit further, like the support group for intersex women and I wished Kristen had come to the realisation that her ex-boyfriend is a jerk and that he’s not the victim. At some point she thinks to herself that she doesn’t deserve him, that he deserves love – no girl, he doesn’t deserve you.

I also found it a shame that the supporting characters and their relationships with Kristen were quite underdeveloped. While reading I had no trouble remembering them, but I know that after a while I will have forgotten them.

While I’m glad the romance took a backseat, it may have taken a bit too much of a backseat*, as I felt like the love interest didn’t show up enough times and his relationship with Kristen wasn’t that well developed. When I got towards the end I was wondering how they were still going to end up together** as there just hadn’t been enough scenes between them for me. That said, the love interest is a sweetheart and I do approve.

* I can’t believe I’m complaining about this since I usually complain when a romance takes over the story lmao
** Them ending up together was obvious

All in all, I flew through this book and I’d definitely recommend it.

Have you read None of the Above? What did you think? Any other YA books with intersex characters that I should check out? Let me know in the comments!

It’s Not Like It’s A Secret… That I Have Very Mixed Feelings About This Book

Genre: YA // Contemporary // LGBTQIAP+
Goodreads rating: 3.69
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like that fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend.

When Sana and her family move to California she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. There are just a few problems: Sana’s new friends don’t trust Jamie’s crowd; Jamie’s friends clearly don’t want her around anyway; and a sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Meanwhile, her dad’s affair is becoming too obvious to ignore anymore.

Sana always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wants to date a girl, but as she quickly learns, telling the truth is easy… what comes after it, though, is a whole lot more complicated (Goodreads).

Oh boy. Okay, so I have a LOT of mixed feelings when it comes to this book, so I decided to make some lists of things I liked and didn’t like. Because 1) I like lists 2) It will hopefully help me gather my thoughts. So let’s go

What I liked

💛 Sana is Japanese, and so is the author, so in that aspect we get own voices (what I could tell from the author’s note at the end she isn’t a part of the LGBT+ community herself)
💛 Sana’s parents speak Japanese a lot in the book and Jamies mom speaks Spanish (though we don’t see her much) It made the book feel authentic and no worries if you don’t speak one or both of these languages! It’s clear from the context what’s being said
💛 Speaking of Sana’s parents, while her dad isn’t around a lot, it’s clear he loves her. While Sana and her mom don’t always see eye to eye (actually, most of the time), towards the end of the book they have a beautiful heartfelt moment which is one of my favourite scenes.
💛 Sana’s new friends. I do wish they had been developed a bit more and had a bit of their own arc outside of Sana (and besides getting a boyfriend), but their interactions with each other and Sana were really fun to read and it was great to read about Sana finding friends that understood her
💛 It’s a pretty quick read
💛 There’s quite a bit of racism in this book that gets adressed, whether it’s aimed at Sana or comes out of her own mouth (or other characters). While I wish some more time had been spent on Sana’s own racism towards Mexicans, it’s made clear that what she said and thought wasn’t okay and it wasn’t resolved that easily
💛 Sana gets the assignment to keep a poetry diary, and the poems she collects and analyses are a part of the novel. Before she got the assignment, she already loved poetry and bonded with Jamie over this. They start to exchange (romantic) poems which is really cute
💛 While I have mixed feelings about the obstacle between the two girls, the way Sana asks for another chance is really romantic and super cute. I’m a sucker for stuff like that.

What I disliked

💛 At some point some boys are clearly interested in Jaimie’s ex-girlfriend, and Sana wants to yell at them to give it up, because she’s a lesbian. Um. Sana. Is she sapphic? Yes. Does that mean she’s a lesbian? No. Bisexuality does exist. There were a few other times that I felt like there was some bi-erasure, but I don’t know if I was overreacting? At some point Sana says to a boy that she would like him if she were straight, and at first I screamed ‘BI-ERASURE’ in my head, because why not say ‘if I were into boys’? She knows bisexuality exists, because at some point she does wonder if she may be bi (though briefly). But I don’t know if I’m overreacting here? It definitely stung though and  put a bad taste in my mouth
💛 Insta-love. Honestly, I have NO IDEA why Sana and Jamie are into each other, besides probably attraction? Oh and they share a love of poetry. Of course this book doesn’t solely focus on romance (it focuses on family, friendship and racism to name a few as well), but since the romance is a big part of the book, the fact that we don’t really see the relationship build up, or actually see much of them as a couple, it just doesn’t work. Were they cute? Sure. Did I ship them? Not really. I honestly couldn’t care less what happened. Of course there’s an obstacle at some point (which I’ll get to later) but I wasn’t invested in their romance at all. I was told they’re in love, but I wasn’t really shown it, let alone why they fell in love. So when things got rough? I didn’t care at all. Besides I knew there was a 99 percent chance things would work out anyway. Also at some point Sana was like ‘it’s only October’ and I went ‘HOLY IT’S ONLY OCTOBER?!’. It’s been a little over a month. A few weeks. WHY
💛 So. The obstacle. Sana did something stupid. And I really wish that what she did (spoiler: she cheated. She thought Sana was cheating on her and thus kissed a boy that liked her, even though she didn’t like him) wasn’t the obstacle in their relationship. On one hand I feel like she was forgiven way too easily, but on the other hand I also understand why she did it. She let her insecurities get to her, then she panicked and only made it worse by not telling the truth to the parties involved and just made it worse. She’s only human, but it still left a bad taste in my mouth.
💛 Like I said before, I wish Sana’s friends had been developed more and had gotten an arc of the own. Same could be said about the other supporting characters. They were flat and I didn’t really care for them. Since they weren’t well-developed and I barely knew anything about them, they didn’t really stand out from each other. 

That definitely helped me get my thoughts about this book a bit clearer. There are things I liked (or even loved) about it, but when romance is a big part of a book, and I’m not feeling the romance, it’s hard to enjoy the book to it’s fullest. While the other problems I had with it didn’t help either, I think the fact that the romance wasn’t developed is the biggest reason why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped.

Have you read It’s Not Like It’s A Secret? What did you think of it? Any similar books that you think I would enjoy more? Let me know in the comments!

The Artsy Hufflehoe: Zanele Muholi and the South African LGBTQI Community

The Artsy Hufflehoe is a feature on here (I’m not even going to bother and say monthly feature, because even though so far I haven’t missed a month yet when it comes to this feature, my other ‘monthly’ features aren’t that monthly) where I talk about all things art! This month I talk about my new favourite artist Zanele Muholi.

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Zanele Muholi’s exhibition is the most powerful exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum right now, and I’m so happy that it’s a really big exhibition too. There are several rooms dedicated to her work, and there is so many! Her work is incredibly moving, powerful and important, so to see the museum dedicate so much room to her work is wonderful.

But who is Zanele Muholi? Muholi is a South African photographer and visual activist. Her mision is ‘to rewrite a black and queer trans visual history of South-Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond.’ Guys, I’m ashamed to say that I had no idea what was going on in South Africa. Of course I know that there are still a lot of countries where people from the LGBTQIA+ community are treated horribly, but I’ve never heard anything about South Africa specifically, whether it’s on the news or on the internet, which means I never really thought about it. Which is horrible. We need to talk about this and spread awareness. Which is exactly what Muholi wants to do with her work. 

Muholi only photographs black people from the community, and in the case of her most recent series ‘Somnyama Ngonyama’ (Hail the Black Lioness), she photographs herself, capturing the multiple roles that she assumes as a black lesbian. By using a high-contrast of black and white tonal values, she exaggerates her skin tone to emhasize her ‘blackness’. 

I absolutely love every piece of work I’ve seen of hers so far, but one of my favourites is definitely ‘Bester’. There are four portraits with ‘Bester’ in the title, which pay homage to her mother, Bester Muholi, who worked as a maid in a white household for 42 years. In the portraits Muholi uses everyday objects that refer to domestic chores, such as scourers and clothespins, as accessories and in hairstyles. By doing so, she creates personas that celebrate hardworking and underpaid women. 

I also adore her series Brave Beauties. The majority of those who are portrayed are participants of Miss Gay beauty pageants in South Africa. The photos don’t only celebrate the body and individuality, but also the women and men brave enough to publicly take part in queer beauty pageants, thereby helping to raise awearness for the LGBTQIA+ community, despite endangering themselves in the process. The photographs are beautiful and inspiring. They’re such a joy to see.

Apart from her photos (and there are many more!), the museum also shows two documentaries. One is made by Muholi herself, the other by Human Right Watch in which Muholi talks about the violence and discrimination the South African LGBTQIA+ community faces and how she strives to give this community a face.

Muholi has documentated weddings and funerals in the LGBTQIA+ community in South Africa. The other documentary shows the wedding of Ayanda and Nhlanhla, a transgender man. With these documentaries Muholi wants to highlight the contradictions that while same-sex marriage is legal, lots of people are still raped and murdered because of her sexuality. 

I don’t know if these documentaries are always part of her exhibitions, but if you have the chance to watch them I’d definitely recommend them, though do keep in mind that they can be triggering. 

While the entire exhibition is incredibly powerful and moving, the end is just… I have no words. At the end of the exhibition, there’s an archive on the wall in which Muholi documented hate crimes faced by the LGBTI community between 2006 and now. It takes up pretty much the entire wall (though it’s on there in both Dutch and English, so it looks a bit bigger, but it’s still way too big). It’s heartbreaking and chilling to read and if I had been alone I definitely would’ve cried. It’s horrifying, but so so so important to know what’s happening in other countries. Zanele Muholi is an inspiration for keeping track of all the horrible things that happen in her country and not letting it get her down, for giving her community a face and fighting for her and the rest of her community in South Africa’s rights.

I’d definitely recommend to read up on and take a look at her work and go to an exhibition if you have the chance.

Oof that was hard to write. I have so many feelings for this woman, her work and this exhibition, that I didn’t know how to put it into words (thus why I’ve put off writing it so long). There’s so much more I want to say, but I just don’t know how. Have you seen her work in person? Any other important artists like her that I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

BewarenBewaren

Goldie Vance // Black Queer Female Teenage Detective

You may know that I’ve been reading quite a lot of comics lately, and today I wanted to talk to you guys about another favourite that deserves more love (obviously all my favourites deserve more love but ssh), namely: Goldie Vance

Goldie Vance is about a teenage detective solving, well, mysteries obviously. It takes place during the sixties and is just a lot of fun. So why should you read it?

💛 First of all, because it’s about a black queer female teenage detective!!

💛 Goldie is such a fun character

💛 All characters are so colourful and unique

💛 Goldie has a cute girlfriend!!!

💛 It’s a fun read

💛 It takes place during the 60’s yet has a diverse cast

💛 Girls who race!!!

💛 Girls who work on cars!!!

💛 Girls who love cars!!!

💛 Lot’s of girl power and girls supporting girls

💛 There’s more to the mean girl than meets the eye (which honestly is one of my favourite tropes I can’t help it I’m such a sucker for it – maybe because ‘the mean girl’ is a far more used trope??)

💛 It’s funny and just delightful???

💛 THE ART. LOOK AT IT. IT’S SO CUTE AND COLOURFUL

💛 And the clothes omg I love the clothes

💛 Positive parental figures and positive relationships with their children

💛 Good mysteries!

💛 Basically: read it??

I hope my fangirling was useful to you and convinced you to read it haha. Do you know any similar comics or books (besides Nancy Drew) that you’d recommend? Have you read Goldie Vance? Let me know in the comments!

The Artsy Hufflehoe: Pride Edition 🌈

The second Artsy Hufflehoe! Maybe this is finally a ‘monthly’ feature that I will actually do every month haha

Since it’s Pride, I had to make The Artsy Hufflehoe a Pride edition this month. I chose six artists because I didn’t want this post to get too long, six artists equals six colours in the rainbow flag and it’s not like I won’t share more LGBTQIA+ artists in future posts.

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Frida Kahlo – Bisexual

There’s a big chance you’ve heard of Frida Kahlo, but did you know she was bisexual? I sure didn’t! I only found out a little while ago as I researched her for a post on International Women’s Day (not for this blog, but for the Blikopeners Tumblr. You may know I work as a Blikopener at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Blikopeners are teens between 15 and 19 (unless like me you turn 20) who try to get other youth intersted in art, give tours, help with/organise workshops and events and some other cool stuff. So when you click on that link it will take you to our (Dutch) Tumblr)

I didn’t know much about her before that, though I did like the art that I had seen of her. After reading up on her I fell in love. She is such an icon: a feminist fighting against gender stereotypes (by smoking, boxing, winning tequila challenges from men and dressing as a man in family portraits) and racism and intolerance. She painted about themes like abortion, miscarriages, childbirth and breastfeading, which were often ignored or seen as taboo.

She was very open about her bisexuality, which was also seen in her work. Like her painting ‘Two Nudes in a Forest’, which shows two naked women, who are sitting next to each other on the ground. One of them is resting her head on the lap of the other. Frida gave the painting to her girlfriend Dolores del Rio.

Josephine Baker – Bisexual

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Okay guys, I’m in LOVE with Josephine Baker. She’s such a badass?? She’s well known as a dancer, singer and actress, but you know what else she was? A spy during World War Two.

Baker had openly supported Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia, so the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy and Japan) thought she was ‘one of them’. Baker used this to her advantage. Naturally she brought sheet music with her when she went on tour in Europe, but on a lot of those sheets were hidden messages written in invisible ink. She could also smuggle lots of stuff, like pictures of German military installations pinned to her underwear, because her baggage was never thoroughly checked. Because of her work as a spy she became a lieutenant in the Free French Air Force. After the war she received the Croix de Guerre (which was the first time an American Woman received it) and the Medal of Resistance. Like Frida she also fought against racism.

Another fun fact: Frida and Josephine had a relationship

Cassils – gender non-conforming trans masculine (they, them, their)

When you want to recreate the rainbow flag but the yellow hurts your eyes rip I apologise to your eyes I am suffering with you

Seen as one of the ‘ten transgender artists changing the landscape of contemporary art’ by the Huffington Post, Cassils got international recognition by using the body as a form of social sculpture. With their body as a sculpture, they fight the gender binary. Their art offers shared experiences of violence, representation, struggle and survival, often accompanied by immediacy, urgency and the transience of live performance.

Cassils doesn’t portray transgender as ‘crossing from one sex to another’, but as a continual process of becoming. Inspired by conceptualism, feminism, body art, gay male aesthetics, Cassils creates a serie of powerful, trained bodies for different performantive purposes. With sweat, blood and muscle strenght, Cassils creates a visual critique surrounding ideologies and histories.

Basically I’d  recommend you all to take a look at their website, because their work is really cool and powerful. My favourite is 103 Shots, based on the Pulse Shooting. It’s very powerful and emotional.

Zanele Muholi – Lesbian

Look at that another artists I’m currently obsessed with – who am I kidding, I’m obsessed with all of the people on this list. Maybe a little bit more with Zanele because her exhibition at the Stedelijk will open soon and I can’t wait. My wallet is scared though because I NEED BOOKS ON HER.

Why you ask? Well I’m glad you asked *finger guns*

Zanele Muholi is a photographer and visual activist. Her mission is ‘to rewrite a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond’.

In her photography she researches, documents and depicts the black LGBTQI identity of contemporary South Africa. In her most recent series ‘Somnyama Ngonyama’ (Hail the Black Lioness) Muholi herself is pictured capturing the multiple roles that she assumes as a black lesbian woman. Through the high black-white contrasts in her pictures she emphasises her ‘blackness’ (the picture above is a part of this series).

If you happen to be in Amsterdam between July 8th and October 15th, you’ll be able to catch her exhibition at the Stedelijk. So grab that opportunity! (I know it sounds like I’m promoting the museum where I work but I promise I just want everyone to support Zanele’s work)

Mickalene Thomas – Lesbian

When you’re using your post you wrote for work for reference and find out you wrote Michalene instead of Mickalene rip I’m so sorry Mickalene 

Mickalene Thomas is an American feminist, filmmaker and artist. She explores ideas around beauty, race, sexuality, gender and feminity. In her work she shows that every body is beautiful. She is famous for her paintings depicting the sensuality of African-American women. She also depicts powerful (black) women such as her mother, celebrities and iconic art-historical figures, like Michelle Obama. This portrait is considered to be Michelle’s first solo portrait.

For some reason her site doesn’t work for me? I don’t know if that’s just my computer or if that’s the case for everyone, but you can also google her work which I obviously recommend. My favourite (probably? My favourites always change when it comes to art) is ‘Le déjeuner sur l’herbe: les trois femmes noires’, a photograph in which she recreated Manet’s ‘Le déjeuner sur l’herbe’

Amos Mac – Transgender

Amos Mac is a photographer who captures striking and playful images of gender non-conforming people, capturing their entire beings rather than solely their gender identities. His work is often colourful and abundant. Instead of examining transgender bodies or documenting transition, he wants to show the wholeness of his subjects.

I can’t pick a favourite, so just take a look at his website and look at all that beautiful photography. Seriously, all the series are worth it so I can’t choose. I was about to say ‘especially this series’ but um no I can’t choose. Sorry to disappoint, you’ll just have to look at all of them but it’s worth it I promise.

Amos also co-founded Original Plumbing, a magazine dedicated to trans male culture. It expanded to include apparel, events and accessories for the trans community and beyond.
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That’s it for now, but I will definitely share more in future posts. Now excuse me while I fangirl about all of these amazing artists and people

Any artists that you think I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

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BewarenBewarenBewarenBewaren

Let’s Track Some Unicorns and Fall in Love With Girls In Unicorn Tracks

Before I start this review: yes it is I, Michelle, having returned from the pit of darkness that is a blogging slump for… well at least for this post lmao. I have finished everything on my to do list and now have to wait for a friend to finish her to do list before we can work on our assignment, and I realised I could actually blog? And I wanted to? I was shook (still am). Anyway, let’s finally review this book that I’ve been meaning to review for weeks.

Genre: YA // Fantasy // LGBTQIAP+
Goodreads rating: 3.84
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.

Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.

DISCLAIMER: I was given a copy of the book by the author. This doesn’t affect my review

(honestly when the author reached out she had me at YA fantasy with a lesbian romance)

THIS BOOK WAS SO CUTE. Though I do feel that the relationship was a bit insta-lovey, it was adorable and I loved these two girls kicking ass together and falling in love while doing it. They’re both such cool ladies. I loved how while Mnemba often runs into dangerous creatures, she still has her moments where’s she’s scared, making her very human. Though I did like Kara, she did feel a little underdeveloped.

I also loved the worldbuilding of this book. It took place in a fictional country ( inspired from southern African countries), so going in you don’t know anything about the country, its culture, customs etc. Going out? I could’ve written an essay on it, it was so well done (and no info dumps!). And the way all the mythical creatures are described? You’d think the author had seen them for herself. Though I do wish it had been a little bit clearer when the story took place. It definitely distracted me since a lot of the times I was trying to figure that out. But still, amazing world building (and in such a short book?? Some authors can definitely learn from Julia Ember).

OH AND UNICORNS! The book is about UNICORNS. Do you know how excited that made me? I mean, unicorns are well known creatures, but I feel like they’re actually hardly ever in any fantasy books? Same with fantasy tv shows and movies. For such well known creatures they’re actually quite underrated (of course I might have just been reading and watching the wrong stuff).

I did feel like the conflict didn’t take up enough pages, and that it felt resolved a bit too easily. All in all I’d definitely recommend this book!

TRIGGER WARNINGS 
Mnemba is raped before the story starts 
Kara is almost raped during the story
Animal cruelty 

Have you read Unicorn Tracks yet? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

Friendship to the Max! | Lumberjanes Review

Last year I read quite a lot of comics, but one of my favourites was Lumberjanes (which is still ongoing yay!) So what is Lumberjanes about? Good question.

Lumberjanes is about:

💛 Girl scouts

💛 Adventure!

💛 FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX

💛 Gods

💛 Magical and supernatural creatures

💛 Magical/supernatural woods that are probably alive

💛 Mysteries!

💛 Camping

💛 Healthy, supporting girl friendships

💛 ADORABLE relationship between the girls and their cabin leader

💛 TRANS AND NON-BINARY CHARACTERS

💛 TWO GIRLS SLOWLY FALLING FOR EACH OTHER AND BEING HELLA CUTE

💛 That’s not the only same-sex relationship tho

💛 Unique characters

💛 AND LOOK AT THEM

💛 THEY’RE NOT ALL WHITE

Aaand I just realised I also basically listed the reasons why you should read Lumberjanes oops.

So Lumberjanes is about five girl scouts and their cabin leader who discover that their camp isn’t really normal, nor are the woods the camp is in. They’re very badass and smart, yet also funny, loveable, with their fears and flaws. The Lumberjanes motto is basically ‘friendship to the max’, which is at the core of the story, even though it explores other kind of relationships and important issues as well. It’s kind of hard to explain it, because Lumberjanes can be a bit odd, especially in the beginning when you have no idea what’s going on, but it’s definitely worth it.

I can’t even put my love for Lumberjanes into words. I have so many feelings for it.

Other reasons why you should read it:

💛 Very pure and cute and fun and hilarious

💛 Though it also gets intense

💛 Did I mention the diversity (not just among the main characters!)

💛 Also I love how the smollest of them all is super strong like hell yeah

💛 And it shows that there are different kinds of intelligence

💛 The art style is so cute and pleasing to look at but can also be emotional when needed and the hilarious expressions are so on point

💛 The worldbuilding!

💛 It’s so relatable 

💛 Gender roles? Who needs those?

💛 Because I said so

Are you reading Lumberjanes? What do you think of it? Do you have any comic recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments!

PS. THIS IS A SCHEDULED POST I’M SORRY I NEED TO TAKE A MOMENT TO BE PROUD OF MYSELF