Thursday, 10 July 2014

Guest Post Shoulder Pads and Flannel by Jo Ramsey

Shoulder Pads and Flannel CoverHigh school football star Guillermo Garcia can count himself among the popular kids—for now. Although he secretly dates Evan Granger, who is openly gay and badly bullied for it, Guillermo doesn’t dare let his teammates, classmates, or close-knit family learn about his sexuality. But Guillermo witnessed an attack on Evan, and now the school bullies plan to out Guillermo in retaliation. In their small town, word spreads rapidly, so Guillermo must make a quick choice—come out now on his own or risk having someone else do it for him.

Contemporary LGBT Fiction, Published by Harmony Ink, an imprint of Dreamspinner Press

The Story of Shoulder Pads and Flannel

Being a teenager isn’t exactly easy. You might not have the same stresses adults have, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t stress.

One of the hardest things about being a teenager is figuring out who you are and how that fits with the rest of the world. You want to be like your friends, please your parents, and be true to yourself all at the same time, whether or not it’s possible. And sometimes, being true to yourself is the scariest part.

We’re living in an era now where homosexuality is no longer considered a psychological disorder. It hasn’t been all that long since that change occurred. And it’s only within the past year or so that professionals have decided identifying as something other than cis-gender is not a mental illness. Among my kids and their friends, I see a lot of acceptance for each other’s sexualities and gender identities, and I think that’s a wonderful thing.

But some teens are facing the fact that they identify as something other than heterosexual, or that their gender doesn’t match up with the body they’re living in. They’re afraid of being rejected by family and friends. Of losing their homes. Of being hurt or even killed for no reason other than being who they are. And yet denying themselves is painful too. They’re stuck.

In my novel Shoulder Pads and Flannel, Guillermo Garcia has known for several years that he’s gay. He’s even dated two boys in the past, and is currently dating Evan Granger, the most openly gay boy at their high school. But Guillermo keeps his sexuality—and his relationship with Evan—a deeply hidden secret. As the oldest son in his family, he is held to certain standards by his father. He fears his parents’ rejection, along with the condemnation of their church. Guillermo knows exactly who he is and isn’t ashamed of it, but he doesn’t dare to show his true self.

Guillermo’s coming out has a happy ending for him. But too many teens and even adults face negative results. And too many continue to live in silence, afraid to be themselves.

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