Okay, okay. I know what you’re thinking. You’re obviously not a queer chick, so why did you read this?
Well, not that I have to explain myself, but because: (1) a friend on Goodreads said it was really good (thanks Lexxi Kitty!), (2) I was wanting to read an LGBT-positive non-fiction book from NetGalley for a change, and (3) because there’s actually a chapter for straight allies, which I do consider myself. If those aren’t enough reasons, then I don’t know what to say.
Lindsay King-Miller is an excellent writer – and she’s hilarious.
She starts out where you’d expect. Advice on coming out.
I’ve seen this happen:
“You may have to cut ties with people who are important to you if they won’t respect your life, your relationships, or your identity.”
And this makes me mad:
“Finally, if you think coming out may put you in physical danger (violence, being kicked out of your home, etc.), do everything you can to have an exit strategy in place before disclosing. This should include a place to stay, a way of getting there, and a plan for how you’ll support yourself, at least for the short term. If anyone makes you feel threatened, call 911 and/or activate your exit strategy immediately—don’t wait around to see if things get worse.”
Not at the author, obviously. But the fact that she has to include this in there (because it really is necessary) is just a horrifying part of our culture.
But a lot of her advice is just general good wisdom that anyone can use. The following is about coming out, but who couldn’t use this great advice?
“When you’re stuck and can’t see a way out, every problem is crushing and demoralizing. It’s easy to feel like the problem is you, like there’s something fundamentally wrong with the person you are. There isn’t—you’re a wonderful human being in shitty circumstances, and you will find a solution, as long as you keep setting goals and working toward them. It’s okay if it’s slow, it’s okay if it’s hard, it’s okay if you have unexpected setbacks.”
This is some great advice!
But don’t get me wrong – a lot of this is very specific to the “L” in LGBTQ.
I think this book is great even for non-lesbians who (1) are dating and (2) want to be more understanding of those in your life who are (lesbians).
Like the red flags – those are red flags for any relationship.
But mostly I’m glad I read it because Lindsay is funny as hell.
The chapter on bisexuality has some excellent information to clue us on on issues that are particular to those that call themselves bisexual. This is good learning for both straight allies and non-bisexual LGBT folks.
And she gives some good solid relationship advice about being ready for marriage, living together, heartbreak, what to do when your family rejects you… Of course, it all tends to be very specific to relationships between two women, but there’s a lot of overlap with other relationships.
I’m not sure what her background in relationships is (well, besides having them), but she has obviously done some good research and comes out with some good solid relationship advice.
And her advice for being a good ally? Just don’t be a dick. There’s more than that, but that’s how she sums it up and I love it.
She talks about the 2-year process of getting married to her partner. While I obviously support same sex marriage, this was good to remember why it’s important. Not just because of the legal rights it gives. But because it gives certain people a simple right that the rest of us take for granted.
And she has some great stuff to say about bullying.
But what I love most about this book is that it is filled with such hope. Whether you’re living a non-traditional life:
“No two happy families are exactly the same, but that doesn’t mean any of them are happier than the others. Be as creative as you want to be. As long as your family is built on bonds of love, respect, and support, it can look like just about anything.”
Or have big dreams:
“…you should never give up on searching for something so spectacular that it brings glitter and joy into every otherwise dull facet of your life. If you haven’t found it or can’t even imagine yet what it might be, that’s okay. It’s out there. It’s going to rock your world.”
This book is all about keeping at it and making it better.
And about your life:
“It’s not good enough until it’s amazing.”
I know that maybe the people that this was written to may need to hear this more because the world treats them like they should believe it less, and I don’t want to take this away from that audience. But it really is good stuff for anyone who has relationships.
Highly, highly recommended.
Thanks to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Blue Rider Press for a copy in return for an honest review.