Look how smooth Radclyffe is….
When really, inside, Radclyffe feels like this…
Look how smooth Radclyffe is….
When really, inside, Radclyffe feels like this…
In just one week, RADCLYFFE will open as part of the Trans Theater Festival at The Brick!!! The piece has grown and changed since its last production in NYC at the Fresh Fruit Festival, and I’m delighted for the opportunity to present it in a festival with so many other talented trans theater artists! I hope to see you there!
Radclyffe Hall, notorious author of the censored “Well of Loneliness,” swaggered their way through the early 20th century. This pseudo-historical solo performance/seance weaves together stories from Radclyffe Hall’s life and times with what England’s second most notorious invert would have to say about trans/queer life today, such as: “what ever happened to ‘romantic friendships’? What the hell is a ‘genderqueer?! And where can an invert get a good haircut in this town?!?”
Sure, I’m sad/disappointed to have lost last night, but YOU: the queer freaks, genderf*cks, perverts, littles, punks, and runaways and your love for, and commitment to my books means more than any award ever could! so really, I kinda feel like the biggest winner after all even w/o the plexiglass trophy <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
+ my publisher is the sweetest
also my partner Kestryl and I looked fabulous on the red carpet, and I had an amazing night hanging out with some of my favorite queer authors!
HUGE congratulations to all the authors whose books were finalists and to the winners!
Is it already May?! I completely failed at writing and posting my April blog oops!!!!! Well, better late than never I suppose. April was amazing and super busy.
The month started with an AMAZING trip to New Orleans to attend and present at the Saints & Sinners Queer Literary Conference where I was on a panel about the future of queerness WITH Dorothy Allison who is basically my femme hero, moderated a panel on writing as activism and read from Lost Boi. I also got to attend a bunch of interesting workshops – including a master class with Dorothy Allison.
I don’t really enjoy conferences in general – I think I’m too much of an introvert for them, but Saints & Sinners is one that I make an exception for! This was my second time going and while I would love to see the conference be able to continue to grow and diversity the conference attendees it is really the only place where you can sit in a room full of LGBTQ authors and talk craft and identity. I live tweeted most of the conference and you can check out my experiences of panels and workshop on Twitter under the hashtag #SAS16
I feel like I left this years conference really inspired to keep thinking about what kinds of stories I’m most interested in telling and how I can make that happen.
Check out this cute picture of us together!!!
I also got some fun vacation time in New Orleans after the conference with my partner. We stayed In a super cute hotel with a tiny balcony in a grapefruit tree! During the conference I tried to write out there just because it felt so Romantic – alas I just write my best on the subway here in NYC but it was beautiful. We did a lot of tourist sight seeing kinds of things-cemetery tour, ghost tour (yes I really saw a ghost) on a swamp tour where we got to see the bayou which is an ecosystem unlike anything I’ve ever seem! For sure a highlight of that for me was getting to see a real live gator! Did you know they eat marshmallows?! It was like seeing a living dinosaur! It wasn’t until I looked back at my photos that I realized just how big that gator was too! New Orleans was Definitely the kind of vacation fun I was in need of to rejuvenate a little from the stress of my muggle job. Also, we went to this SUPER creepy park called “Storybook Land” that was recommended by a fellow queer leather person and OMG SO CREEPY!!! Totally the kind of place that nightmares are born aka i LOVED it!
I ended April with a long-weekend self imposed staycation writing retreat. It was really productive and I was able to finish writing the first draft of the queer, leather christmas novella that I’ve been playing around with for the past few months. I got the first draft finished and now getting to do my favorite thing – edit/revise! This first edit I’m working on now is really about insuring consistency. I made a little table for myself to track names/pronouns/pets/flagging – y’know the literary priorities, at least for me. This was a fun little project – not sure where it will live yet, stay tuned!
Alas I kinda gave up on my Neko Atsume cats but I have been keeping up with my Goodreads reading challenge of finishing a book a week! My favorite book I read in April actually kept me company on the flights to/from New Orleans and is Meliza Banales’ “Life Is Wonderful People Are Terrific” this book is a finalist for the Lammys this year and is super rad on so many levels – definitely suggest everyone check it out! In random pop culture news – Did I already mention how good Zootopia was? Seriously, if you haven’t seen that movie you should!!! I also really enjoyed The Jungle Book – it was visually stunning, and also REALLY scary! I actually jumped and shrieked at one point in the movie! I’m of course a sucker for all things Disney but these two are definitely stand out films that I recommend.
I’m getting SOOOOOOOOOO excited about the Lambda Literary Awards. I’ve got my fancy dress all picked out! The awards are the highlight of my literary year – the chance to be in the same room with so many incredible queer authors is pretty dreamy, and it’s overwhelming and thrilling to have Lost Boi as a finalist this year alongside so many super fabulous queer books! Last week I get to join some of the awesome local to NYC Lammy finalists for a reading at the Leslie Lohan Museum
Besides working on my novella, I’ve been keeping busy writing pieces for Curve Magazine and Dogster! I will have more articles in both of those publications coming in May including fun dogproduct reviews, and my take on trending topics in canine news! Want to stay updated on What I’m writing ? Follow me on Twitter /Facebook – I try to always share things out there plus a whole lot of pictures of my furry kiddos, and photos from little adventures I go on which this spring has involved lots of trips to see cherry blossoms and my local zoo!
I spoke this morning at the press conference with National LGBTQ Task Force and True Colors Fund for the launch of the new “At The Intersections: A Collaborative Resource on LGBTQ Youth Homelessness ” Report. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to author the section on “Redefining Families” which addresses the important role queer families play in the lives of homeless LGBTQ youth, and how essential it is for service providers to understand and respect those created families. The section I wrote also included the story of awesome homeless queer youth advocate Independence Taylor.
Below is the transcript of my statement this morning on the conference call discussing the importance of intersectionality when talking about LGBTQ youth homelessness, the important role that The Task Force’s first report which was excerpted in Kicked Out played with grounding LGBTQ youth homelessness as an epidemic!
Sassafras Lowrey on “At The Intersections: A Collaborative Resource on LGBTQ Youth Homelessness” True Colors Fund & National LGBTQ Task Force Press Conference April 26, 2016 :
My name is Sassafras Lowrey and I am a queer author based in Brooklyn, New York. I grew up in Oregon and when I was in high school I ran away from home after the physical abuse intensified when I came out, and then a couple months later I was kicked out by the adult friends whose home I fled to when they discovered I was queer, leaving me no choice but to couch surf in my semi-rural community. I survived because I created queer family with other homeless kids whose lives mirrored my own. I built my own family, creating a family that amongst other things taught me how to navigate social service systems as an out and proud queer person. The creation and ongoing support of that queer family is what not only helped me to survive, but is what inspired me to dedicate my life writing and advocacy work on behalf of current and former homeless LGBTQ youth.
My literary work has predominately been framed around centering the importance of queer families that we as LGBTQ people create, and so I was thrilled when I was invited to write the section on “Redefining Families.” For this powerful new report.
I believe that it is not only important, but essential to approach all areas of work with homeless LGBTQ youth from an intersectional lens. Too often, I have heard people say “LGBTQ youth homelessness doesn’t happen in my community” or “here is THE best practice that should be employed when working with homeless LGBTQ youth” both are dangerous limiting statements. We know that LGBTQ youth homelessness is an epidemic that impacts ALL communities across our country. As such, if we are going to talk about LGBTQ youth homelessness, and the experiences, and needs of youth who are currently running away or being thrown out of their homes and communities, we must be committed to naming that this experience happens in every community, but we also cannot assume LGBTQ homeless youth to be a monolithic group of young people, or that solutions to ending the epidemic can take a one-sized-fits all approach. For example, my needs as a white, semi-rural, runaway genderqueer identified teen in the early 2000s looked very different than some of my peers who were genderqueer and cisgender youth of color living on the streets in the city where I moved to while couch surfing, AND all of our needs and experiences looked different than those of youth today. As we are talking about LGBTQ youth homelessness, we must remain aware of, and attentive to, the ways in which homelessness intersects with racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, abilism, and sexism impact the lives of individual homeless youth.
In 2010 i edited the two-time American Library Association Honored and Lambda Literary Award finalist, Kicked Out Anthology – this book brought together current an former homeless LGBTQ youth ranging in age from youth who were currently street homeless at the time of publication, to individuals who had been forced to leave home as teenagers pre-Stonewall, as well as the perspective of advocates and policy leaders. Kicked Out was the first book of its kind, born directly from my frustration of not being able to find any books that spoke directly and in the words of survivors to the experience of being runaway, throwaway, kicked our queer youth. I was thrilled that the National LGBTQ Task Force agreed to allow me to excerpt a portion of their groundbreaking report “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness” into the anthology. This excerpt provided my readers which have included countless college students, service providers, and most importantly to me youth who are experiencing homelessness and looking for connection, a nuanced understanding of the scope and scale of the epidemic of LGBTQ youth homelessness that is needed in order to understand this is not something that just happens to the occasional youth, but as a crisis impacting our entire country. The report supported us in framing queer youth homelessness as the epidemic that it is.
I believe the strength in this new resource guide is the way it provides a focus on the importance of intersectionality when talking about issues facing homeless LGBTQ youth, and more importantly the way it queers service provision by highlighting and prioritizing the needs of youth voices, framing the epidemic of LGBTQ youth homelessness as a core issue facing the LGBTQ community as a whole, recognizing that current and formerly homeless LGBTQ youth are our current and future movement leaders, and prioritizing the need to create space for us to be out about our experience of homelessness.
In the section I authored on “Redefining Families” , I focused on the lifesaving role that created families play in the lives of homeless queer youth. An embodiment of LGBTQ youth resilience is creation of our own families. It is essential that service providers respect youths’ definitions of family, and who they consider family in the same ways they understand the importance of respecting the chosen names and pronouns of any youth. To NOT respect chosen families is to reinact the same identity rejection many homeless LGBTQ youth have experienced from their biological families. Queer kinship networks, and created families in all of their diverse forms are frequently a primary source of support for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, and those queer families take many forms. Some, but not all mirror “traditional” family structures using terms like brother, mother, uncle, or daughter for example. Service providers should talk with youth about what their queer families mean to them!
The highlight of writing this section on redefining family was the chance to incorporate a current youths story. Independence, a homeless a-gender teen in California shares in their own words what creating queer family has meant to them, and I want to end this morning with their words “If you haven’t tried to pull in a homeless queer youth into your life or community, now is the time. We need everybody to help get us support and to allow us to grow.… Pull us in and give us love and support and we will flourish.”
March has been a really exciting and fantastic month! Without a doubt the most exciting thing that happened this month has been learning that Lost Boi is a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards!!! I’m so thrilled that Lost Boi has been recognized in this way, and I’m really looking forward to being at the awards here in NYC on June 6th! I’ve already got my dress picked out!
Earlier this month I had the fantastic opportunity to hang out with some Georgetown students who are in NYC on an alternative queer spring break!!! We talked queer literature, activism, identity politics, and of course, favorite Disney characters!!!!!
Also this month I learned about this fabulous indie queer artist Jem Eli was so inspired by reading Lost Boi that they wrote and recorded a SONG inspired by the novel! This is by far one of the coolest things that I’ve ever heard – and such an incredible honor to have had something I wrote inspire art that someone else is creating! The song is so amazing, and such a beautiful reinterpretation of the book! You can listen to the song below, read all the lyrics here and purchase a copy – it’s also going to be included on a new indie queer album.
I wrote several articles for Dogster.com this month – one of which went dog world viral. That was a new experience for me, filled with complicated feelings especially as the comments went wild as people started saying really cruel and unfounded things about my family. Biggest lesson of all something I already know but sometimes have a hard time following – don’t. read. the. comments.
Right now I’m getting ready to fly down to New Orleans this week for the Saints & Sinners queer literary festival! I’m going to be moderating a panel on writing as activism, reading from Lost Boi and on a panel about the future of queer culture and writing! I really think it’s going to be a fantastic weekend, and I’m really looking forward to hanging out with so many other queer authors!
Ok i’m off to figure out how many dresses I can fit into my suitcase!
Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist! Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist! Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist! Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist! Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist! Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist! Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist! Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist! Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist! Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist! Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist! Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist! Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist! Lost Boi is a Lammy Finalist!
I might be just a little bit excited about this – ok lets be real I’m over the moon about this!
Lost Boi is in awesome company – click here to check out all the books who are finalists for this year’s awards!
I lucked out that it’s leap year so I get an extra day to finish and post my February blog! This month has been a little bit of a whirlwind, in a good way! It feels like 2016 is in full swing, and I’m hitting my stride creatively again which feels really good. Alas the Inside Out valentines I sent my pen pals basically all got chewed up by the postal system. Lesson learned, next year I can’t send lollipop valentines booooo.
This month was my 14th anniversary of bring kicked out. That day I was at my high school when I got paged to go to the office, I was told to never come home again. I had never felt more alone in my entire life. I lost my dogs (my whole world). That day there was no way I could have imagined the wonderful queer world that was waiting for me. The actual anniversary of being kicked out fell on a Thursday this week – dog training night! It was unreal to realize that 14 years later instead of crying myself to sleep on a strange couch, I was assisting at a dog agility class with an amazingly talented queer dog trainer who is one of my best friends. Talk about full circle!
Early this month I had the pleasure of getting to read at the NYC release of the Heels On Wheels “Glitter & Grit” anthology! My story in that anthology is titled “Constellation.” And is about a kickass broken hearted femme named Star. This story took a while to find the right home it was rejected from literary magazines (I share in part because I think it’s important to name that we all get rejected all the time and how important it is to keep sending our work out) but found the perfect home in the Glitter & Grit anthology!!! Do you have a copy of the book yet? It’s a really beautiful book and I’m so thrilled to be in this book, and to have a copy on my bookshelf!
This month we celebrated our youngest cat Thing’s second birthday (really his gotcha day)! Two years ago we found him as a tiny filthy little kitten starving in a snow bank, brought him home. We called him Thing so we wouldn’t get attached – clearly that didn’t work, and the name stuck! He ads mischief and fun to our little family every day!
February brought some unexpectedly exciting praise for my books. Roving Pack was named a Top 10 Trans book by a Trans author by The Guardian! The article is an impressive array of transgender literature aimed at YA readers – check it out!
What they had to say about Roving Pack:
“Roving Pack explores the world of queer homeless youth, a demographic that is often left behind even as the LGBT community makes strides. As Click, a trans kid, navigates throughout Portland, ze struggles not only with being genderqueer in a world that tries to force people into binaries but also with finding a place in the transgender community. An edgy and often painfully honest upper YA novel.”
I’ve been keeping up with my 2016 GoodReads goal of reading at least a book a week most weeks in February I managed to read a couple books (most of which courtesy of the Brooklyn Public Library!) So far for the year I’ve already read 20 books!!! The very best book I’ve read so far this year is Bill Konigserg’s “the Porcupine of Truth” truly outstanding queer YA. Want to see what else I’m reading? Follow me on Goodreads! I look forward to seeing what books you’re reading too because at the rate I’m reading this year I’m going to definitely need some book recommendations before spring!
In less serious news from this month, Neko Atsume obsession continues – I collected enough fish to upgrade my yard, got sassy Fran and the little conductor cat, and Billy the Kitten! I also got super excited, that Jamberry (my femme secret weapon for awesome designed nails) released Disney themed strips! I FREAKED out when I heard the news they were coming – Disney nail art is super exciting to me and thankfully Kestryl was able to order them for me right when they released (I was in a meeting and couldn’t excuse myself to place the order)! Right now my nails have little Minnie Mouses on them!
The most exciting thing that happened in February when it comes to the books for me has to be the announcement of finalists in the National leather association-international writing awards – LOST BOI is a finalist!!! I’m so thrilled! Regardless of if I win the ward or not, it’s just a tremendous honor to have been a finalist in an award by/from my community of leather folks, and to have Lost Boi be listed amongst so many awesome books.
I let the secret slip on social media this month- I’m working on a new project, it’s going to be novella length (something new for me!). I don’t want to give too much away yet, but it’s a queer leather Christmas story!!! I just hit the 10,000 word mark this month so far this has been a really fun project to jump into. I’m really excited to see how the reset of the novella comes together!
In addition to working on a new writing project I’ve been writing a lot of articles. I still have my two columns at Curve and then have had four articles go up on Dogster.com one looking at discriminatory practices by guide dog training programs, my feelings against cloning dogs, training in canine parkour, and the one that has gone a little big dog world viral my letter to other dog parents that make life for my reactive dog much harder.
I’m really looking forward to going back to New Orleans for Saints & Sinners Literary Festival! I’m not one to generally get super excited about writing conferences, but I’m totally smitten with this one. I attended S&S for the first time in 2013 (and wrote about the experience here on Lambda Literary). I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to go back this year I’ll be on panels, reading and will be hanging out with some of my author friends I don’t see often. I am also THRILLED that I’ll have the opportunity to take a mater class with my all-time favorite writer Dorothy Allison!!! I’ll definitely be updating my facebook/twitter at the conference!
Easter!!! Easter comes really early this year; an I’m super excited about it. Easter is my second favorite holiday (after Christmas) and is a big leather family time for us. I can’t wait to dye my eggs and I hope the Easter bunny will come to visit our house!
I’m committed to more frequent updating of my website in 2016 (and have been doing lots better with it so far) but for more frequent (like really really frequent) updates of cats, my embarrassing obsession with shopkins, cheesy Disney princess memes, bubble tea, and updates on my current writing projects please friend me on Facebook, Twitter Instagram and/or Fetlife!
p.s. one of the books I read this year that has made a big impact was Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking” so….. here goes… if you’ve read one of my books (Lost Boi, Roving Pack, Kicked Out, Leather Ever After) and liked it, will you please consider leaving it a little review on Amazon or Goodreads? Those reviews go a LONG way for indie authors like me!!!
I’m so thrilled to have just received the news that Lost Boi has been named a FINALIST in the National Leather Association – International Writing Awards! This is a really big deal to me, because being a leather is so core to my understanding of myself, my community, and my worldview. As a writer, I’m most driven to write queer leather stories, that aren’t erotica (an important distinction for me as a writer) but that explore leather identities and dynamics. To have Lost Boi recognized in THE leather writing awards is a tremendous honor as a writer.
Lost Boi is in incredible company amongst this year’s finalists including books by Laura Antinou, Janet Hardy, DL King, Lee Harrington and so many other great leather authors. You can see the full list of finalists here
In 2016 I’m committing to more regularly updating my website, and am aiming for atleast monthly. I used to be such an active blogger, and miss it! January is always a bit of a strange month for me because it means that Christmas (my favorite time of the year) is truly over, this year it also included some drop from our special vacation to Disney World and Christmas at the same time. I got 2016 off to a really fun start though. I rang in the New Year in the polar swim jumping into the ocean at Coney Island here in Brooklyn. This was my 6th year doing the polar swim, so it’s become quite a tradition and definitely leaves you feeling refreshed!
I’ve started (gingerly) writing again! After Lost Boi released last spring I took the rest of the year off to concentrate on releasing the book, touring, and now am slowly feeling the desire to start writing again. I had a whole novel outlined and then fell out of love with it, we broke up and I put it In a box. Maybe I’ll come back to it someday, maybe I won’t. One of the things I think I may be destined to learn and relearn is that the pressure I put on myself is my own creation and ultimately not very helpful. Just because I outlined a book doesn’t mean I have to write it- writing is supposed to be fun and that means I get to go where my passions lead me. Once I put that outline away, I immediately found myself inspired and hammered out a solid chunk of words on a story I’m much more inspired by. That story and I are spending some quality time tenderly getting to know one another. I’m continuing to write articles for a few publications (mostly Curve Magazine and dogster.com).
I’ve been reading a lot of books and have seriously committed myself to the goal of finishing a book a week. I started this somewhat informally when I got home from tour last spring and found it to be a really great self-care practice. I committed in earnest to reading a book a week for 2016, and am tracking my progress on Goodreads. So far I’ve been averaging about two books a week- and as a result replaced my expired library card (I didn’t know they could expire!) and have gotten really friendly with my local library! Last week one of the books I read was Amanda Palmer’s “The Art Of Asking.” I definitely don’t agree with everything in the book, but it gave me a lot to think about. Please friend me on Goodreads, I love to see what other people are reading!
This month I had the opportunity I to attend the Beyond Housing conference which is a national convening of activists and service providers working on issues of homelessness around the country. I co-presented a workshop “Formerly Homeless LGBTQ Youth: Today and Tomorrow’s Movement Leadership” with Jama Shelton who I worked with on the Advocate magazine pride feature with a couple of years ago on the same topic. We had intended the workshop was going to be spaces for formerly homeless queer youth advocates and service providers to talk amongst ourselves. Unfortunately we ended up being the only LGBTQ programming on the conference schedule so had to turn our workshop into a much-needed LGBTQ 101 training. While I’m glad we were able to provide those resources to conference attendees, it definitely was disappointing that the safe space we had designed to give advocates and providers who are formerly homeless queer youth a place to strategize from couldn’t happen.
In less serious January news I had one of the legendary Brooklyn rainbow bagels – SO YUMMY and ADORABLE! Much to the judgment of my three real cats, this month I have discovered and gotten completely sucked into the incredibly cute game Neko Atsume. Basically, it’s a super advanced tamagotchi (which I was super obsessed with in the 90s- why can’t you still buy those?!) Lots of folks I know online have gotten really into the game too, are you playing Neko Atsume? Right now I’m on a quest to try to get Sassy Fran to come visit my kitty cafe, but so far she hasn’t visited. This January I also went to see Star Wars twice, I think BB-8 is the cutest robot ever, and follow the Skywalker theory (though I think the Kenobi theory is interesting too). I also have been spending a lot of time in toy store isles searching for the mostly absent Rey action figures- finally today I was successful!
After some really warm (for us) weather around Christmas, it seems that winter has FINALLY arrived in NYC currently we are buried under about 30 inches of snow. I love winter so you won’t be hearing any complaints from me! All of this snow fell over about 24 hours. I happily spent the storm eating yummy snacks, playing video games, binging on cartoons and reading a bunch. I’ve also been having loads of fun playing in the snow with my pup Charlotte. Snow is her favorite so she’s pretty blessed out by getting tobound into snow banks taller than she is! My Chihuahua mix is channeling his inner Disgust
(have you seen Disney’s Inside Out?! – it’s my new favorite movie and I’ve been watching it probably at least once a week since I got it for Christmas).
Neko Atsume and snow aside, by far, the most exciting part of January came last week when I got the news that Lost Boi has been included on the American Library Association’s “over the rainbow” list of top LGBTQ books for adults!!!! It is such an honor to have Lost Boi included amongst so many other awesome books that came out in 2015!!! You can check out the whole list here
I’m committed to more frequent updating of my website in 2016 but for more frequent (like really really frequent) updates on what I’m working on, micro blogging, what kind of bubble tea I’m drinking, pictures i’m coloring, quarter machine toys, and cute dog pictures please friend me on Facebook, Twitter Instagram and/or Fetlife!