Hi all and welcome to my spot on the blog tour for Queer Up by Alexis Caught. Today I’m sharing an extract from the book on Allyship.
About the Book
Queer Up is an insightful and empowering guide which takes young people by the hand, and offers uplifting advice and activities to help readers through life’s challenges and instil them with confidence and pride. The book provides an inclusive account of what it means to grow up queer, with chapters on questioning, coming out, friends and family, love and relationships, sex, shame, pride, being transgender and/or non-binary and allyship, with a key focus on positive mental health strategies. The book also features personal stories from notable LGBTQ+ figures and allies, including award-winning transgender activist Charlie Craggs, author and journalist Kuchenga, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, writer and producer Russell T Davies, and writer and activist Scarlett Curtis.
Walker Books will be donating 20p for every copy sold to Shout 85258, a free, confidential, 24/7 text support service for anyone in the UK who is struggling to cope, for which Alexis is an ambassador and trained mental health volunteer. 45% of young people who text Shout 85258 identify as LGBTQ+.
“This books is like a big, queer hug, every bit of advice is a lesson in how to be confidently LGBTQ+ and happy.” – Dr Ranj Singh
About the Author
Alexis Caught is the creator and co-host of the British Podcast Award-winning LGBTQ+ podcast Qmmunity, exploring queer culture, history and identity. He is also a mental health advocate, qualified psychotherapist, writer, speaker, model and rugby player. His writing has been featured in Attitude magazine and The Mirror along with the best-selling anthology It’s Not Okay to Feel Blue. His areas of passion and expertise are mental health, wellness and the queer community. On talking about the book, Alexis said this is the book that he “so desperately needed when [he] was 14.”
Extract on Allyship
What does an ally do?
Take a minute to think about what you’re actually, proactively doing to support LGBTQ+ people.
• Whether you know them or not, if you see or hear someone being made fun of, are you speaking up or is your silence deafening?
• When you’re with friends and your unfunny mate tells another gay joke, are you challenging them or are you just not responding?
• When the phrase “that’s so gay! ” gets thrown about, are you challenging them or are you letting it slide in a way you’d never let someone say “that’s so Black” or “that’s so Jewish” as a way of meaning something bad?
• If somebody is outed or gossiped about, are you indulging in the gossip and spreading rumours or putting it to bed with a “so what?” and expecting better of your friends.
• When considering what television show to watch, do you think about what kind of jokes the characters make or what message their storylines are sending? Do you stop watching it if hosts or characters say homophobic or transphobic things? When you think about how much you like other celebrities, are you considering their behaviour and the things they’ve said?
• If a problematic relative is going off on one about how “everything’s too liberal these days” are you just letting them dominate and set the tone or are you making it clear that no, you don’t agree, and speaking about people in derogatory ways is not OK?
• If you have siblings, cousins or friends who may be LGBTQ+, are you helping to make sure that they know they are free to be themselves and express themselves however they like around you? And that you love and support them unconditionally?
• Are you actively creating a safe space that your friends can go to and be their authentic selves, knowing they can trust you and that you’ll never share their secrets or judge them?
I apologize if you found the last few paragraphs confronting, uncomfortable or challenging. Self-reflection is often very uncomfortable. Thank you for sticking with it. We need to be able to have uncomfortable conversations to get anywhere. The starting point of doing better is always reflecting on how well we’re doing now. But I also want to clarify — if you found yourself awkwardly recognizing that you might be guilty of some of those behaviours, I don’t blame you. I don’t think you’re a bad person. I don’t believe there is a single person on this earth who isn’t at least 0.1 per cent homophobic — even LGBTQ+ people can be, and are, homophobic or transphobic. All of us are a little bit because it’s how we were raised. But that’s not an excuse and it’s up to us to educate ourselves and do better.
Education plays a huge part in becoming a great ally. The first step (and it’s a continual process) is to educate yourself — and you’re already doing that! So, whether or not you already knew that when you picked up this book, you’ve already taken a great step forward and I’m so pleased to have you on this journey with us — your friends and siblings will be too.
What is not allyship?
Being an ally is not a fixed status, one that you achieve once and then get to not think about again. It is something that must be consistently practised, regardless of who is around us. Allyship is not a party trick, something you perform in front of us and other people for praise. Being an ally is something you do when we’re not in the room and, even more importantly, when you’re then the odd one out for calling out queerphobic behaviour.
Being an ally is not a title you can award yourself, it is earned and given to you by those you support. Importantly, it’s also not an opportunity to put yourself in the spotlight. Think of it like this: in most films and TV shows queer characters are sidelined and become “the gay best friend” and are just a token. But this is our film, we’re the main characters and a good ally is a supporting cast member.
Power and privilege
Without allyship, what is friendship and support of the LGBTQ+ people around you? Being neutral is only an option for people with privilege and power. There is nothing inherently wrong with having that privilege or power, that isn’t your fault as you didn’t decide to have it (just as we didn’t decide to be queer) — but what you do with it is your decision.
Whatever the equality and rights movement, it needs allies, but they cannot be centred within the conversation, otherwise a space and a movement designed to bring greater power to a minority can quickly become a place where that minority is once again marginalized and made a side feature in their own story. All too often this happens to LGBTQ+ people — in particular to women, people of colour and trans people as sexism and racism are still social issues within the LGTBQ+ world.
The important thing for an ally to do is to use their inherent power and privilege to help others. Don’t change the narrative of our story to build up your part or get more lines. Instead, please tell our stories and share our stories. Use your voice, your power, for that. Echo us, don’t talk over us.
Copyright © 2022 Alexis Caught
Cover design and Illustrations © 2022 Walker Books Ltd.
From QUEER UP: AN UPLIFTING GUIDE TO LGBTQ+ LOVE, LIFE AND MENTAL HEALTH by Alexis Caught
Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd, London, SE11 5HJ
Being an Ally is a constant journey and reading books like this to educate ourselves and find out more about why our Allyship is needed is a really good place to start.
Check out the other spots on the tour. Thanks to Walker for the #gifted copy of the book, the pin and the postcards.
Publishing tomorrow- 9th Dec 2021 is the concluding book in the Invisible Library series – The Untold Story by Genevieve Cogman.
About the Book
In this thrilling historical fantasy, time-traveling Librarian spy Irene will need to delve deep into a tangled web of loyalty and power to keep her friends safe.
Irene is trying to learn the truth about Alberich-and the possibility that he’s her father. But when the Library orders her to kill him, and then Alberich himself offers to sign a truce, she has to discover why he originally betrayed the Library.
With her allies endangered and her strongest loyalties under threat, she’ll have to trace his past across multiple worlds and into the depths of mythology and folklore, to find the truth at the heart of the Library, and why the Library was first created.
About the Author
Genevieve Cogman got started on Tolkien and Sherlock Holmes at an early age, and has never looked back. But on a perhaps more prosaic note, she has an MSC in Statistics with Medical Applications and has wielded this in an assortment of jobs: clinical coder, data analyst and classifications specialist. Although The Invisible Library is her debut novel, she has also previously worked as a freelance roleplaying game writer. Genevieve Cogman’s hobbies include patchwork, beading, knitting and gaming, and she lives in the north of England
The Unread Story 🤦♀️
What happens if you mix a book blogger with ADHD, a TBR house, a penchant for stories about stories and a rapid response to a PR email?
You get me. Excited about the idea of The Untold Story. Recognising the author as the one that wrote The Invisible Library that you’ve been meaning to get to for a while. Requesting this one to read them together and realising that this is book 8 and the reason you didn’t read the first one was because you liked the Story but weren’t keen on the audio narrator. Sorry.
So, um. I appear to have unintentionally added an 8 book series to my to read list. 🤦♀️🤦♀️ The Blurb says that the book can be read as standalones or as a sequence but I personally can’t read out of order – it’s not the same. And someone on goodreads mentioned a cliffhanger in Book 7!
Another reason I can’t read it yet is because the blurb has echoes of a middle grade book I’m writing with a buddy so we want to finish our draft before we go reading other things that sound similar. We are halfway through so far. I suspect we mind have to add an intertextual nod in the rewrite.
The rest of this year is looking hectic for me so I’m going to host a readalong next year. One book a month – finishing on my birthday month of August. Who is in?
I will host it on booktok because why not. I want to move from just posting dog videos to talking about books and YouTube seems like far too much commitment. 3 min reviews sound ideal. So follow me there – I’m @kirstyes. I’ll post fuller details of the readalong at the weekend.
For fans of Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, All Souls trilogy, and Discworld. Lovers of dragons, skulduggery (not pleasant – although that would make an awesome cross over), faes and librarian spies and to top it all off, the foiling on the book a quote for N.K. Jemisin who says:
‘I absolutely loved this… flavoured with truly unique mythology and a dash of the eldritch. Such clever, creepy, elaborate worldbuilding and snarky, sexy-smart characters!’ Check out that exclamation mark.
So, if you’ve not read this series yet and you like the same kind of books I do this series really seems tailor written for us. Let’s start again right back at Book 1, Chapter 1 with
The Invisible Library
Synopsis – Book 1
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.
Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.
Huge thanks to @BlackCrow_PR, @UKTor/@Panmacmillan for the gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review which I promise will come next year. Hey. I bought 7 books because of the title and cover of the this one.
@GenevieveCogman – What kind of wild ride will I be going on in 2022? And who will be joining me?
Do check out the rest of the tour stops for bloggers who aren’t doofuses to see what they thought of the concluding chapter and to find out if they’ll be checking this series out again and joining our readalong in 2022 using #ReadInvisibleLibrary22
About the Book
From the author of One of Us Is Lying comes a brand new addictive thriller.
Ivy, Mateo and Cal used to be close – best friends back in middle school.
Now all they have in common is a bad day. So for old time’s sake they skip school together – one last time.
But when the trio spot Brian ‘Boney’ Mahoney ditching class too, they follow him – right into a murder scene.
They all have a connection to the victim. And they’re ALL hiding something.
When their day of freedom turns deadly, it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out . . .
It’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with murder, perfect for fans of One Of Us Is Lying and A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder. This explosive new thriller is impossible to put down.
About the Author
Karen M. McManus is the #1 New York Times and international bestselling author of young adult thriller/mystery novels, including One of Us Is Lying, One of Us Is Next, Two Can Keep a Secret, and The Cousins. You’ll Be the Death of Me will be her next novel, publishing December 2021. Her work has been translated into more than 40 languages worldwide. Karen lives in Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, which she mostly uses to draft fake news stories for her novels. For more information, visit www.karenmcmanus.com or @writerkmc on Twitter and Instagram.
What I Thought
Karen M. McManus certainly knows how to write a thriller. I love the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and her previous books so was excited to join the tour to see how they combined in You’ll Be the Death of Me.
It’s told from the points of view of the three protagonists, Ivy, Mateo and Cal who used to be friends when they were younger. We also have have a few sections from their school’s YouTube news channel for an external report on events.
Trying to recreate their Greatest Day ever the three skip school and it isn’t long before sh*t happens. Adding a deadline for solving the case was genius because it ramped up the tension. Will they work out what happened to “Boney” and get Ivy to her mum’s award ceremony in time? That is if they all manage to evade the police.
Re-igniting old crushes, rivalries and wounds this plot was so action packed. Each character has plenty of secrets they want to keep hidden, but does that make one of them a murderer?
🤐 You will have to read to find out.
Thanks to Dave at The Write Reads and Penguin Platform for the gifted e copy for the purposes of an honest review. Check out the rest of the tour stops by following the hashtags #YoullBeTheDeathOfMe #TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour.