Young adult fantasy novel about friendship between a young lesbian and a straight female warrior -
The Second Mango (Prizm Books), by Shira Glassman
It’s hard to find a girlfriend when you don’t know any other lesbians, so the young, nerdy Queen Shulamit hires the legendary warrior Rivka to take her around the kingdom on the back of her dragon in search of other girls like her. But the simple quest quickly turns into a rescue mission when they discover a temple full of women turned to stone by an evil sorcerer.
Available in print and Kindle from Amazon as well as in various eBook formats at the link above.
From the author: I wanted to put my own experiences about growing up attracted to women into a classic fairy tale structure, where the knight and the dragon team up to rescue the princess (in this case, a barely-qualified queen still distraught at her father’s sudden death) from herself. I wanted to write a lesbian fairy-tale heroine who gets the girl in the end (not Rivka—she’s got a hetero romance subplot of her own to contend with—but a different girl), and I also wanted to write something that was focused on female friendship and female interaction in general.
One thing that’s been particularly moving about the experience of writing this book is that my mom read it and seems to be a lot more relaxed about my own queerness now that she’s seen “me” as Shulamit. That’s what made me think of sharing it with PFLAG. It’s definitely not just a book for queer ladies—it’s for anyone who enjoys feminist fantasy that’s on the whimsical side.
There’s a sequel due out next summer and I’m already more than halfway done with book three, by which point Shulamit and her partner are raising a six-month-old Crown Princess—guarded still, of course, by Rivka and her loyal dragon.
Anonymous asked: Thank you for what you posted regarding my last Ask (the 17 yr old bisexual) I will definitely have a look at the book and work on being more comfortable in myself! So thanks!!
I appreciate you writing. By asking this, and bringing it up, you have helped let a lot of people out there know they aren’t alone. Not the only Orthodox Jew who is struggling with their sexual orientation. That’s important.
Queering the Text
Anonymous asked: Hi, so I identify as a bisexual female and I'm 17. I am also New Orthodox Jewish so I'm unsure whether I can come out to family/community in fear of what they'd think of me (because of what the Torah says about lesbians) Any advice on what to do?
As it is the Sabbath, I thought it a good time to do some reading on what it means to be an Orthodox Jew and a Queer Orthodox Jew. I found an article written by a Gay Orthodox Rabbi. I wanted to pull quotes from it for you but the entire article is SO good that you simply must read it all. Here is just one paragraph:
At yeshiva I realized, to my great alarm, that I was attracted to another student named Yossi, and I didn’t know what to do about it. Instead of going to the rabbi of the yeshiva I chose to consult with the great rabbinical sage of the generation, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, leader of the Lithuanian sect, who lived in one of the most insular communities in Jerusalem [Elyashiv died last year at age 102]. I sat down across from him and I said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbi, I’m attracted to men and women both. What should I do?’ Rabbi Elyashiv answered, ‘Dear one, my friend, you have a dual power of love. Use it carefully.’ I was stunned. ‘That’s all?’ I asked, and he smiled and said, ‘There’s nothing more to say.’
One thing I want to say first though, is you need to accept yourself. When you read the whole article, you will see that the Rabbi had to struggle in the same way. When he became comfortable with his sexuality AND his religion, loving another man AND loving G-D, he became able to to enter the synagogue with confidence in himself. The Torah is an ancient text written in its time for its time. The Rabbi explains how he interprets it here:
“For a religious person, the text is eternal and living, and is not subject to just one interpretation. ‘The Torah has 70 faces,’ goes the saying. The text is still binding and I feel the words of God calling to me. But I hear them in a different way because I live in a different time. It’s impossible to understand the text while ignoring the people in the street. They must be heard, and if the rabbis won’t listen to the stories that each one of us carries, they will have difficulty understanding the text. The process of change has begun. The rabbis have stopped responding aggressively toward gays. Our strategy is to enter into the halakhic discourse, and this is what I did in the book.”
So first - love and accept yourself. For real. Then you can have confidence that G-d created all of us in all of our varieties- and THAT IS GOOD.
Here is a link to his book Wrestling with G-d and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition
WARNING: as with ANY controversial topic, DON’T read the comments. Virtually any article about LGBTQ+/GSM people will have vile comments. Best to read the article and ignore the haters.
I hope this helps.
amberellenpoe asked: so,I've identified as bisexual for a while now, and am really pleased by how my friends and family have taken it. I've received nothing but acceptance and encouragement, but there's one person i have yet to tell- my dad. he was raised VERY catholic,and even though gentle expiramentive questions suggest he has no problem with gsm individuals, i'm just not sure how i can tell him, or how he'll react. also, i was wondering if there's a word for people who arent cis or trans, but somewhere between?
It is great to hear the reception you have received from the people close to you. Give your dad the benefit of the doubt - - how do your mom or other close relative think he’ll respond? People can be “very Catholic” and still accept and unconditionally love their GSM kids.
Somewhere between cis and trans is ”genderqueer” or “gender non-conforming”. There could be other terms but these two work.
Anonymous asked: My mum said that 2 weeks ago, I left my email open & she found out I liked a certain girl at my school. She wasn't angry but she was really persistent on asking if I was gay. I kept denying it though and told her I will talk to her some other time. She thinks it's cuz I go to an all girls school & wants to help me change..which I really can't. It's so embarrassing & i'm not comfortable with her knowing. I'm only 15..I wasn't planning on telling her until i'm out of school..what should I say?! :(
Hi! So many young people leave their email or fb or Tumblr open and parents see them. It happens ALL the time. Warning to everyone: LOG OUT.
Right off I will tell you that keeping this a secret from you mum for 3 years would be so very, very hard. Maybe impossible. It’s just that 15 FEELS so close to 18! But 3 yrs is a long time to keep a secret like this. I understand that it could be uncomfortable, so much depends on the type of relationship you have with her. Do you think this could possibly bring you closer together?
You can start by being honest with her, as long as you feel safe to do so. It is always a good idea to have a friend for backup- not there, but somewhere you can meet up for any needed comfort. Give her something to read (see paragraph below) and tell her you really want her to understand because this is simply a part of who you are. You want to share these years of dating with her, but you can’t if you have to hide it from her.
Did she say she wants to help you change? Perhaps it is time for education for her about what it means to be LGBTQ. Check out the resources on my main page on the left- and at PFLAG.org. There are simple and short info brochures that could help enlighten her some.
It is my BIG hope that your mum loves you more than you might think and that she could come to understand if given the right tools and some time. Remember to approach her with love and respect- it makes it harder for people to be upset with you if you do.
Best to you!
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