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Hashtag Queer: LGBTQ+ Creative Anthology, Volume 2 by [Sage Kalmus]

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Hashtag Queer: LGBTQ+ Creative Anthology, Volume 2 Kindle Edition

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Book 2 of 3 in Hashtag Queer: LGBTQ+ Creative Anthology

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Editor's Note
Pride is one of the biblical deadly sins. Yet every year millions of us queer folks and our allies across the globe gather to celebrate just that: our pride. The irony of this is certainly not lost on many of our straight acquaintances over the years who've inquired of us, "Why do you have to hold a parade about it? You don't see straight Pride parades, and if you did, everyone would be up in arms about it!" And they have a point. But what they're missing is that straight people have not been teased, belittled, mocked, abused, discriminated against, shamed, beaten and killed explicitly because of their straightness. Straight people have not lost jobs, housing, benefits and the right to serve, let alone family and friends, just for being straight. Straight people have not been forced to decide between living in the closet--living a lie--and risking being ostracized, alienated and subjugated for the rest of their lives for, if not proudly then at least unashamedly being who they are. But we have. 

And we can't escape it either, because even when we try to focus on something other than what makes us so different, the fact of it confronts us everywhere we turn. When straight people look around, they see themselves everywhere they turn. Not so for queer folks. When straight people see themselves on TV and in the movies, for example, they see themselves in all sorts of roles, just like in real life. But with scant exception, and much of it pandering, the history of gay people in cinema has us appearing almost exclusively as villains, foils, and lovable, sexless BFFs to the straight hero. Today's efforts to capital-R "Represent" queer folks in the media seems almost the polar opposite: an antidote, a nod to Pride, and hence just as inauthentic. 

Because in real life, sometimes we are the villain, the foil or the lovable, sexless BFF. Sometimes we're the heroine. Sometimes we're the fuck-up or the passive observer. Because even before we are queer, we are human, with all the good and bad, the sin and virtue that contains.

Another argument against Pride parades we hear a lot of late is the world has changed. They may have been necessary in the past but now there's legal gay marriage in the US and everything's okay, isn't it? Unfortunately, not quite. Not yet. Legalized gay marriage, while certainly welcome and a long time coming, was imposed on much of the country, not decided collectively. Many people still begrudge that imposition. The current administration in Washington has ended the practice of declaring June National LGBTQ Pride month. Thus, now more than ever, and as long as there continues to be shame, there needs to be Pride, as a countermeasure, a protest, a rejection of a paradigm that should have died with the dinosaurs. An assertion and a validation that we exist and, more, we belong. Queer acceptance and equality are only an issue because they're an issue. In other words, if they weren't an issue for others, they wouldn't be an issue for us. Pride parades would be irrelevant, and we could go on living, loving and being ourselves. But that's not the world we live in. Not yet.

Our world is and forever will be filled with people flawed and conflicted--some may suggest it is precisely why we are here--and queer people are no more or less innocent of this. The risk of capital-P "Pride" is that it risks sending us in the opposite direction, to a higher ground, indeed, but one just as separate, as alienated. We are no worse or better than people not like us. We are not the demons some make us out to be, sure, but that doesn't make us angels either. Queer folks don't have the monopoly on making pride a virtue. nor is pride the only Deadly Sin we celebrate or its antithesis, humility, the only Virtue with which we struggle.

The six other Deadly Sins and their corresponding ironically so-called Contrary Virtues are: envy/kindness, gluttony/abstinence, lust/chastity, anger/patience, greed/liberality and sloth/diligence. Whether the precise terms bear relevance, the concepts certainly do. All of us--queer and straight alike--feel the push and pull of the conflicting forces competing for our attention. All of us struggle toward the virtuous while coming to terms with our sinfulness, whether we frame it in those terms or not. As human beings first, beyond sexuality and identity, we all try to elevate ourselves while remaining ever-present to what we are aiming to elevate ourselves from. Beyond (and beneath and behind) the battle for outward and inward acceptance, queer folks' lives--like all lives--are a constant war between our best and worst selves.

This dual struggle--one universal yet one so personal--forms the conflicted origin and wounded soul of Pride: the need to feel good about who we are as we claim our rightful place among the family of other perfect and perfectly flawed human beings. And this is the spirit of the work presented in this volume. Where Hashtag Queer, Volume 1 presented "A Life in the Day", revealing the experience of being queer at various stages of life, this volume presents us as people first and queer people second. The stories, essays, memoirs, poems and plays in these pages don't try to candy-coat their queerness or capital-R "Represent". Rather, they expose their writers' raw vulnerability as everyday people struggling with the eternal conflict in each of us between, to put it one way: "Sin and Virtue". 

Sin and virtue, bad and good, low and high, toxic and healing, oil and water--we are all all of it. And like the oil slick on the cover of this volume (inspired by the title of the poem by that name in this book), what emerges from that struggle can sometimes be beautiful.

We at Qommunicate Publishing and its parent, Qommunity Media LLC, see ourselves as not just a business, but a family--a community. We are, therefore, eager to build relationships with our writers and artists, to continue speaking and singing (and sometimes screaming) from the margins together. That is why, in this precious second volume of our flagship publication, we are proud (no pun intended) to welcome back several writers from the inaugural volume of the anthology. We welcome back from Hashtag Queer, Volume 1 Bill Gaythwaite and Thomas Kearnes with more fiction, Carla Sameth with more memoir, and mud howard and Kenneth Pobo with more poetry. We also welcome back, from Queer Families, our first True Stories Anthology, William Henderson with more personal memories from his queer family and Andrew L. Huerta, this time with some fiction for us. There is even one writer, our dear friend playwright and poet Richard Ballon, who we welcome back for the third (and hopefully not the last) time! In equal measure, we are delighted to welcome new writers to our family: Claudya Nicky, Melissa Sky, Isaac Andrew Arthur, Sara Codair, Allison Blevins, Krystal Norton, Ryan Skaryd, Marissa Johnson, Tréa Lavery, Cat Cotsell, Deborah Chava Singer, Mary E. Cronin, Lalo Lopez, Dale Corvino, Nicolas Johnson, Fabiyas M V, Amy Reichbach, Jessica Dickinson Goodman and Ephiny Gale. 

So, as you read all the exquisite and poignant words of these so generously vulnerable queer artists, may they kindle within you a spark of unity with all who are so like and unlike you. And may  this remind you that, while we may not be perfect (by whatever half-cocked estimation we define it) we are nonetheless inescapably one family and more alike than we are different. 
--Sage Kalmus

From the Inside Flap

Contents

FICTION | Short Stories & Flash Fiction


Loving Kindness | Bill Gaythwaite ..........................................3
Actual Miles | Thomas Kearnes.............................................34
Back Home Boy | Ryan Skaryd.............................................62
Mira | Melanie Bell..........................................................112
Raunch Daddy | Dale Corvino............................................122
Paul and Cézanne | Andrew L. Huerta..................................175
As Long As We Both Shall Live and After, Too | Ephiny Gale......187

Nonfiction | Essays & Memoirs

Simpson Meadow | Carla Sameth............................................8
Holy City | Cat Cotsell........................................................90
Taffy Stretched Between Two Poles | William Henderson..........106
Magnetic Attraction| Lalo Lopez.........................................133
A Weed Among Dandelions | Nicolas Johnson.......................151


POETRY


Hide and Seek| Claudya Nicky...............................................1
Quiero | Melissa Sky..........................................................28
A Flame and a Whisper | Isaac Andrew Arthur.......................31
myspace | mud howard................................................................54
Half and Half | Kenneth Pobo.....................................................58
Butter is not a dress | Sara Codair............................................59
Femme Poem #1 | Allison Blevins.............................................60
Normalcy Osmosis | Krystal Norton.........................................61
When straight girls complain about their boy problems and say: "I wish I liked girls. It would be so much easier." | Marissa Johnson.85
Oil Slick | Tréa Lavery.........................................................88
Studying Rachel Maddow in Provincetown | Mary E. Cronin......104
My Daughter Returns From Her Other Mother's House With Braids In Her Hair | Allison Blevins..............................................111
things i wish to do on the rag | Nefertiti Asanti.......................120
This is That | Kenneth Pobo................................................121
Soliloquy of a Diabetic | Fabiyas M V...................................156
Sliced Open | Amy Reichbach............................................157
Threads  | Amy Reichbach.................................................159
How to love a survivor | Amy Reichbach..............................168
Daughter, What I've Learned | Allison Blevins.......................161
Instructions to a Newly Dead Merwoman | Jessica Dickinson Goodman......................................................................162
Found | Melissa Sky.........................................................186
for k | Marissa Johnson.....................................................190


PLAYS


Adios | Richard Ballon........................................................46
The Morning After the Rage: Bitch and Pussy Through the Trumpocalypse | Deborah Chava Singer.................................94
Seeing Eye to Eye | Richard Ballon.......................................169

Contributors...................................................................193
About the Editor..............................................................200
About the Publisher..........................................................200

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Reviewed in the United States on December 18, 2018
Reviewed in the United States on September 6, 2018
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