I’m gay. It took me a very long and sometime perilous journey to be able to say that out loud and with pride. It’s taken me a long time to say I love myself. I like who I am. These are things I couldn’t say when I was 14.
I am trying to remember the first time someone called me a faggot. It’s happened so many times that I can’t pinpoint when it started. It still hurts. The best revenge I’ve come up with is to make a book about being a faggot, and how it’s nothing to be ashamed about. How being a faggot is a beautiful thing. How being gay and colored and fat isn’t ugly. I want all the little faggots out there to know they are loved and to wear their faggotry like a crown. We are kweens after all. We are not dirty. And we are not sinners for being gay. We sin when we believe the lies that are perpetuated against us. We sin when we apologize for being here. I sinned when I didn’t want to give myself a chance because I didn’t think I was worth anything. This story is my penance and my redemption.
Today my book, FLAMER, is in the world for you. It is gay. And I am proud of it.
If I were in a more sales & marketing sort of mood, I would give you a synopsis right now and talk about the process of making this book. But there are already plenty of great interviews that can fill you in. My elevator pitch and art nerd street cred feel inconsequential in comparison to what I want to share with you here.
Children are killing themselves. Because they think they are unlovable. Because they think this world is not for them. Because they are afraid that if they don’t kill themselves, someone else will. I was a child like that. But I chose to stay. And I would like to ask my sweet, beautiful, worthy fellow flamers to stay. Stay here with me. We can see what happens. It won’t all be good. But there is more good in the world than you know. Sometimes life pulls a reveal. What gay person doesn’t love a plot twist?
FLAMER is a lot of things. Flamer is me going in deep. Deep into the pain. Snapping old broken bones into place and learning to stand up on them. I feel strong now. I want to give that strength to others.
FLAMER is fiction. But it’s also real. This is real life. This is what some people go through. Real life is violent and crass and funny and treacherous and shockingly hopeful. Flamer is me living. Flamer is me encouraging people to find a way to live. Your life doesn’t have to be lived on anyone else’s terms but your own.
You’re enough, kid. You are enough.
Join me tonight at 7:30PM EST for a launch event with Jarrett J Krosoczka (Hey, Kiddo). You will received a signed book and an art print via Brookline Booksmith.