Prepare to be offended, or maybe not.

For those of you that didn’t know, this month is National GLBT Awareness & National GLBT Book Month. And no, all our dyslexic friends, GLBT  is not the acronym for a garlic bread , bacon lettuce, and tomato sandwich. Although that’s really good.

GLBT stands for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and in the spirit of “we need to stop making so big an issue over this our kids are killing themselves (or each other)” . . . . here is a good read for non-GLBT people to tackle on the topic: Oranges are not the only Fruit, by British author Jeannette Winterson.

The book was written in 1985, but was also an award wining series on the BBC in 1990. The book and subsequent BBC mini series, adapted by Winterson, is believed to be semi-autobiographical and is generally based on Winterson’s life in AccringtonLancashire, after moving from her birth town Manchester. The book was written many years after any actual events as Winterson moved to her present location London.

The main character of the book is a young girl named Jeanette, who is adopted by evangelists from the Elim Pentecostal Church. She believes she is destined to become a missionary. The book depicts religious enthusiasm as an exploration of the power of love. As an adolescent, Jeanette experiences homosexual tendencies, and her mother’s group of religious friends subject her and her lover to exorcisms.

In many ways Oranges is probably considered dated, because people are now used to find gay characters in books and on tv as simply main or side characters who happen to also be gay. But the book is still a fast quirky read that will make you think.

Annie Proulx short story (64 pages) Brokeback Mountain might make for a good read as well.

If you’re thinking transgender, you can’t go wrong with Austraila’s 1994 comedy The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert An absolute classic with Hugo Weaving (Lord of the Rings), Terence Stamp (Too many to list!), and Guy Pearce (LA Confidential).

Last but not least, and probably the most provocative recommendation if you’re straining to process even a film like Priscilla, but . . .Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out is still considered a classic must read, though it is becoming a little dated. In this book by Loranie Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu, real people are allowed to tell their real stories.

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