Oh wow I think I am gay

In this episode, “Oh Wow! I think I am Gay”, Sheena is joined by Tara Scott to talk about coming out stories. This two part podcast series takes us through 8 books about different types of coming out but each one special in its own way.

This is part 1 of 2

Sheena’s Picks

Girl Squad by Kim Hoover

Publisher Bella Books

Synopsis

A lazy small town summer in 1970s Texas turns treacherous when Cal Long’s mother goes missing. Cal and her best friend Rachel, along with sophisticated new friend Jane, use every trick in their teenage arsenal to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Along the way, Cal is drawn to Jane in ways she’s never felt before while Rachel struggles to understand her best friend’s new attraction. From Amarillo to Palo Duro Canyon to Ft. Worth and back, the girls puzzle through the connections surrounding the mystery of Cal’s mother’s disappearance.

But their shocking discoveries are soon eclipsed by the explosive consequences of Cal’s surrender to her feelings for Jane.

Girl Squad is a story of friendship, of betrayal, of passion, of awakening. And ultimately, a story of transformation.

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Hidden Truths by Jae

Publisher Ylva Publishing

Synopsis

“Luke” Hamilton has been living as a husband and father for the past seventeen years. No one but her wife, Nora, knows she is not the man she appears to be. They have raised their daughters to become honest and hard-working young women, but even with their loving foundation, Amy and Nattie are hiding their own secrets.

Just as Luke sets out on a dangerous trip to Fort Boise, a newcomer arrives on the ranch—Rika Aaldenberg, who traveled to Oregon as a mail-order bride, hiding that she’s not the woman in the letters.

When hidden truths are revealed, will their lives and their family fall apart or will love keep them together?

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Tara’s Picks

The Space Between by Michelle L Teichman

Publisher Ylva Publishing

Synopsis

Everything’s great for Harper Isabelle, the most popular girl in grade nine. That is, until she meets Sarah Jamieson. Sarah is a reclusive artist, a loner who wears black makeup and doesn’t have any friends, but for some reason, Harper can’t stop thinking about her.

Sarah isn’t used to people looking her way, especially popular girls like Harper Isabelle. Scared, religious, and unsure of herself, when Sarah begins to realize that her feelings for Harper might go beyond friendship, she is afraid to take the plunge and tell Harper how she feels.

Emotions build between these young women until they both reach their breaking points, and they need to make a choice about coming to terms with who they really are, and what they can and cannot live without.

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The London of Us by Clare Lydon

Publisher Custard Books

Narrator Lucy Price-Lewis

Synopsis

Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have fallen in love with? Alice Di Santo has it all – everyone says so. Perfect boyfriend, great job, settled home life. But when she meets Rachel Cramer, all that changes. Because Rachel is everything Alice has never considered – and now cannot stop thinking about. 

This charming tale of coming out in your 30s sees Alice risk everything to go after what she wants, soon discovering she’s deserving of love – and especially this love, which takes her breath away. 

The fourth book in the London Romance Series features favourite characters from the previous three novels, and proves that falling in love is never scripted. 

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Find all our coming out book reviews here.  


Transcript

please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect.

hi there I’m Sheena and this is the    lesbian review podcast the podcast is a  spin-off of the popular review website  the   lesbian review.com where we review  the best books movies and music with  leading lesbians bi or queer woman the  goal of this podcast is to bring you  closer to the best queer media and give  you access to interviews with people who  are behind the scenes in creating it  today I’m joined by the fabulous Tara  Scots who is a fellow reviewer at the    lesbian review she also does reviews it  like various other sides and she does  the Les Deux books  podcast Tara thank you for joining me  today thanks for having me today we are  talking about coming-out stories it is  October it’s very exciting that we’re in  October where has the Year gone but  apart from that October is coming out  month so I’m doing this – series podcast  on coming out of books and Tara is my  super guest for both of those episodes  today we’re looking at the first in sort  of a section of types of coming-out  stories which is oh wow I think I’m gay  so this encompasses young people coming  out all all the people coming out let’s  talk about coming out Tara do you think  it’s important that when people come out  they use the lesbian label per se  no because not everybody is a lesbian  which I mean I can say as having come  out as bisexual but at the same time I  also think it’s okay to not know the  label that you want to use like when  you’re just figuring out that you’re not  straight that’s a lot to deal with  that’s a lot to grapple with and I think  the actual label is one of the less  important things depending on the person  maybe it is important I know for me  there was a while when I really  struggled to figure out what is that  label there was a while when I wondered  like am I actually gay and I was like  well no I’m still you know quite happily  married and attracted to my husband and  was pansexual the right label and it’s  like well technically it might be more  correct but it felt like a weird shirt  that I was trying to put on and it was  quite a while before I felt like I  landed  the right one so I like when we can find  coming out stories that show that same  tension or that show people grappling  with trying to figure out what fits  because it’s kind of one of those things  that means nothing and everything all at  the same time absolutely an interesting  part of you and I being the hosts of  this particular series is that I came  out when I was in my 20s but I was  already having that discussion with  myself from quite a young age from about  this you know so I was already asking  myself you know am ia lesbian you can  listen to my own personal coming-out  story on the channel but so I don’t want  to go into that but I was grappling with  that for years  but your coming-out happened later in  your life mm-hmm I was probably 32 or 33  yeah I was I was probably about 33 and  there was those first months where it  was just me kind of smacking my head  against that wall with Neil helping me  out a lot and it was kind of one of  those like gradually letting in a couple  of friends at a time reaching out to  friends from university who I had known  were queer and kind of getting to where  it’s at the point like I’m 40 now and I  can you know it’s very easy to talk to  anybody about it to internalize this the  fact that you are not the label you  thought you were or the label that you  and I’m putting this in inverted commas  should be this the straight that  everybody feels like is normal and I put  normal in inverted commas too because  it’s such a BS but that internal  discovery is I think the longest part of  the journey for a lot of people so and  it takes years it’s not like a I’m gay  boom kind of space no and I think like  for me the hardest thing was that I  didn’t ever want to actually bring it up  and have the conversation with my  parents because they are evangelical  Christians  my dad was a deacon in a Baptist Church  for many years and so I kind of took the  passive-aggressive route of just posting  things on Facebook until finally one day  my mom noticed and we had the  conversation and it wasn’t as bad as I  thought it was going to be it was  uncomfortable and she asked some  questions that I don’t think she  understood were wildly offensive but it  was fine and it’s to where now so we’re  recording this around pride time in  Calgary and the company that I work for  makes a pretty big deal out of it and  you know they marched in the parade and  they announced that they’re doing new  initiatives to make sure that everybody  really feels like they belong so that  anybody can use any washroom that fits  with their preferred gender they’re  gonna be setting up i’m gender neutral  washrooms like that kind of stuff which  i thought was really cool and so i  actually sent an email to the CEO and  our vp of people which is like what  would be called HR and any other normal  company just really thanking them for  creating this incredibly inclusive space  because when I started working there I  mean you and I were friends and you  remember how I looked I like to joke  that that was my Mormon cousin because I  had such a kind of boring style but  because of the kind of company I worked  at I was able to really explore what I  wanted my gender representation my sorry  what I wanted my gender expression to be  I’m figuring out that it is this like  androgynous genderqueer kind of that’s  where I feel comfortable and because I’d  had so many conversations before and  we’ve done the ask a bisexual podcast  and I told my story so many times I was  able to come out to my CEO and like the  ED of it the head of HR at the company  just so that I could say what you guys  are doing is working and it matters  because it lets people feel like they  belong and I couldn’t have done that  when I started your company accepting  gay people and it not being a thing or  bisexual people jeez  the the non-gendered bathrooms is huge  huge well we have at least  one person that I know that just that I  know of who is non-binary and uses they  them pronouns so I think it’s fantastic  that they’re going to be able to use  whatever bathroom they want and it’s not  going to have to be that kind of  attention and trans people as well I  mean it make a huge difference to them  and yeah butch woman yes but we’re  getting a little subjective but actually  talking about folks today and we were  recommending for books that fits into  the oh wow I think I’m gay category  which I just like saying cuz it’s kind  of fun to say it is I think it’s very  important for us to sell coming-out  stories to tell these stories to read  these books to have the representation  because people are still struggling with  coming out so yes while companies like  yours are doing amazing things it’s  still groundbreaking that they are doing  it it’s not the norm yet no especially  not in Calgary where I live and I do  think it’s kind of interesting if you  look at let’s fake and lesbian romance  and kind of like where it started in the  trajectory that it’s on there was a  while when most of the stories were  coming out stories and I love that as a  genre we’ve been able to kind of get  past that but at the same time I totally  agree with you like the stories are  still necessary so I’m happy that some  authors are still doing them you know if  they’re doing them maybe a little  differently than they would have done  them before which brings me to my very  first pick which is a young adult novel  called girl squad by Kim Hoover  so Bella books brought this out it was  last year maybe this year maybe lost you  it was either this you lost you and it’s  good one of them yes definitely one of  them this is where my swiss-cheese brain  kicks in the camera is this bright pink  cover with these white sort of  silhouettes of girls on them okay if I  had honestly seen this cover I probably  wouldn’t have picked it up because the  cover looks like a teen romance  thing which is absolutely is not it’s in  fact a really interesting layered story  that revolves predominantly around a  mystery so here is the synopsis a lazy  small-town summer in 1970s Texas turns  treacherous when Cal Long’s mother goes  missing Cal and her best friend Rachel  along with the sophisticated new friend  Jane used every trick in their teenage  Arsenal to get to the bottom of the  mystery along the way Cal is drawn to  Jane in a way she never felt before  while Rachel struggles to understand her  best friend’s new attraction from  armored alerts Palo Duro Canyon to Fort  Worth and back the girls puzzle through  the connections surrounding the mystery  of Cal’s mother’s disappearance but  their shocking discoveries are soon  eclipsed by the explosive consequences  of Cal surrender to her feelings for  Jane girl squad is the story of  friendship betrayal passion awakening  and ultimately the story of  transformation that is actually a really  good synopsis for exactly what it’s  about it’s a fantastic coming-of-age  story the mystery is really great the  fact that it sits in the 70s is so much  fun because there’s so much like  ambience from the time period involved  and all in all I just love the story so  why it’s it’s part of my coming-out  stories is because Cal has to come to  terms with the fact that she is falling  for the new girl in town Jane in amongst  you know trying to figure out where her  mother’s gone and all the like danger  and mystery surrounding that I have not  read it but I think that’s especially  interesting too because it was in the  1970s where it still wasn’t necessarily  safe or okay for people to be gay so  that’s a hard kind of time in place it’s  not like she would have had role models  to look up to or celebrities or there  probably weren’t people in her life who  should be able to really talk to about  it so that would be really hard and it  was the the representation from that  point of view was great but what I  really liked about this is her friend  her best friend who they were like  he’s in a pod really came to terms with  it quite easily and really stuck by her  side which I thought was a really nice  fresh take on it so she wasn’t  completely isolated it was just the  adults being done which was cool that  sounds good it is good and I encourage  everyone to read it and I feel really  sad by how few Amazon reviews it is all  right people you know what to do get  this book ignore the cover we didn’t  review it the thing is I don’t really  like young adult novels that much  because I find the stories overly  simplistic but this story had a lot of  layers it was quite complex I enjoyed  the mystery elements of it I enjoyed the  coming out yeah I would absolutely say  as an adult go read this book it’s great  um okay so my first book is the space  between by Michelle l-type ‘men which is  also a ye romance I am torn between  reading the official blurb which is  actually very well written but is  missing an important element and the  synopsis that Brooklyn and/or I wrote  for our review which is written okay but  has that important element well how  about you read the this official  synopsis and then tell us what the  important element is alright the  official synopsis is everything’s great  for Harper Isabel the most popular girl  in grade 9 that is until she meets Sarah  Jameson Sarah is a reclusive artist a  loner who wears black makeup and doesn’t  have any friends but for some reason  Harper can’t stop thinking about her  Sarah isn’t used to people looking at  her especially popular girls like Harper  Isabel scared religious and unsure of  herself when Sarah begins to realize  that her feelings for Harbor might go  beyond friendship she is afraid to take  the plunge and tell Harper how she feels  emotions build between these young women  until they both reach their breaking  points and they need to make a choice  about coming to terms with who they  really are and what they can and cannot  live with them the thing that is not  mentioned is that Harper also dates  sarah’s twin brother so that’s kind of  an interesting element to it too because  they’re sort of  I think they’re sort of like both  figuring out their queerness like Harper  is bi but at the same time there is sort  of that like is she gonna stay with the  brother or is she going to get the girl  while she gets the girl cuz it’s a  romance so you know happy endings that’s  how that goes this was a book that I  found difficult to read but also  affirming to read because while it was  very different from my situation like we  said I came out in my 30s there was a  lot that I really identified with  Sarah’s dad is a pastor at an  evangelical church much like the  churches that I grew up in and it was  very easy to identify with all those  extra restrictions that her family put  on her as an evangelical girl it’s not a  comfortable or easy situation to be  figuring out that you’re queer and so I  just felt uncomfortable because I could  see some of the stuff that I could  recognize in myself in a retrospect like  yeah okay I came out of my 30s but like  obviously when I look back at my life  it’s like oh I was attracted to that  girl and that girl and that one and that  one and these two boys  thank goodness for these two boys that  let me say to myself that I’m straight  because there’s no way that would have  flown in my church and my church was  exactly like her Church so I think that  especially for kids in evangelical  families and churches this is a really  really important book because it’s the  kind of book that’s going to help them  see that they are not alone that this is  a thing that definitely happens to other  people like them and that it’s okay and  that you know what maybe they are gonna  find love and that’s gonna be okay –  this is not a book that ends up with  Sarah in conversion therapy or anything  like that which again is so important so  if there’s a kid in your life who is  churched  you think is likely queer and maybe  needs a story like this I would highly  recommend it and the thing is you still  get those kids who are queer in their  evangelical sort of church space and  they do need these stories mm-hmm yeah I  think my life probably would have been  very different if I had had access to  stories like these but I mean but I  don’t regret anything it’s just  different paths if it can help a few  these kids then it’s going to have done  its job  agreed you’re listening to the lesbian  talk show the lesbians all choked on you  have of podcast information okay my next  one is hidden truths by Jay it’s not  it’s kind of like a more a new adults  book I think that a young adult because  the main characters are at the age where  they’re starting to to think about  moving out of the house and and starting  their own kind of careers and I say that  in inverted commas because I don’t know  if it really applies because it’s a  historical – it’s hard to say well it is  about very young people falling in love  mm-hmm and coming out and what I why I  chose this one is because the coming out  was so difficult for the main character  I think she was harder on herself than  most characters I’ve ever read about in  coming out stories the Pogo okay so the  synopsis is actually a big lie rather  read we all like Liars around here  well the synopsis focuses on on the half  of the story that isn’t the most  interesting it’s like hey you love you  Nora  come back for them and then you read the  book and it’s like they were there for  10 hot minutes what was that about  exactly well no they were okay then they  fall for 20 20 minutes yeah  for about half the book they were they  but they really weren’t the main thrust  of the story they were kind of like a  side a side story okay so I’m going to  read the synopsis that either you and/or  Brooklyn Roads okay Hendrika has nothing  left after her best friend Gehenna dies  and she loses her job and is kicked out  of the boarding house she’s been living  in nothing left that is but the ticket  from Boston to Oregon that Joe was sent  by a man expecting his mail-order bride  with nothing but her meager belongings  in a carpet bag and trepidation for  taking a dead woman’s place at a  stranger’s side she hops on the train to  begin her journey you wrote this  I can tell by the writing hi dad Nora at  Luke Hamilton have made a good life for  themselves their daughters are growing  in the ranch is making quite a bit of  money from the outside they’re a perfect  family but you can’t judge a book by  it’s cover everyone has a secret  Luke Nora and their children Amy and  Nettie and Hendrika have all told Liars  out of love or necessity eventually the  truth will come out and that is a much  more accurate and better synopsis  frankly so the reason that I say that in  the synopsis on Amazon is a lie is  because hidden truths is the second book  in us in the series if you like  backwards to Oregon as the first book so  what the publisher did is because  backwards of – Oregon was such a massive  hit they went and focused more on the  characters from backwards took Oregon  when actually they’re more side  characters in hidden truths whereas  their children because this happened 17  years after the first book it’s their  children that’s the main thrust of the  story particularly Hindry Kerr who is  the mail-order bride Toofan who’s a  farmhand on looka Nora’s ranch and looka  Nora’s daughter amy and their romance  between the two of them did that make  sense yeah okay good so now I love this  book because Amy who’s the daughter is  the  amazingly written character and she  beats herself up for having these  unnatural feelings because her only role  models are her father and her mother  father in quotes the father in quotes  because Luke who’s her father is  actually a woman pretending to be a man  which is a whole nother trope we love  but I’m pretty sure we’ve discussed  backwards to oregan in a previous  podcast before so Amy so hard on herself  and she doesn’t know that Luke’s  actually a woman and she is tearing her  hearts to pieces because she she doesn’t  understand why she’s having these  unnatural feelings for this woman and so  Luke has to ask herself as a woman to  her daughter in order to help her with  her feelings I don’t think that’s a  spoiler is that a spoiler like a little  one I don’t think it’s that big of a  spoiler  it’s a really interesting story from  that perspective because I don’t think  I’ve ever read anything quite like it in  lyric coming out of everyone everyone  has to come out in this book hooray  so yeah but you read it you like it it’s  good yeah totally it’s a great book I  highly recommend it  there we go Terry I recommend does it I  recommend it so why used to listening to  the podcast I’m not buying this book  this is the question because there’s one  more book for them to hear about and  then they can buy that one too yes and  that book is the London of us by Claire  Lydon and I am going to read the  synopsis that I wrote because the  official one says almost nothing so  which is why we write our own synopses  for our reviews so many blurbs are lies  and I I do get it because they’re often  written before the book is written for  whatever reasons they have to like build  covers and stuff but whatever we give  you some options that are not lies so  the one for the London notice is Alice  de Santos life is perfect on paper  her boyfriend Jake is thoughtful kind  and ridiculously handsome you know  marriage material  they have a popular YouTube series if  they do with their friend Rachel Alice’s  job as a teacher is great too and she’s  about to head into her well-deserved  summer holidays there’s one major  problem though Alice can’t stop thinking  and dreaming about Rachel Alice always  thought she was straight and never had  any reason to question her sexuality  before but each day her feelings  intensify until she knows that something  has to change can she tell everyone that  her life is going to go way off script  this was a really fun book and I thought  it was gonna be like a massive angst  bomb and it’s actually not which is good  I mean there there is angst to it but  it’s not like I don’t know like  overblown or overdone or anything like  that  it’s told in the first person from  Alice’s perspective and so we really get  to see into her full journey of  understanding and accepting her  sexuality and when I say full journey I  mean like that first kind of phases  she’s falling in love with Rachel  because we know it’s you know it’s a  it’s kind of a journey in a relationship  that continues well past that point for  most people and when we were talking  about people grappling with labels this  is a perfect example of that Alice  didn’t immediately jump to the  conclusion that she’s a lesbian she’s  really kind of trying to figure out what  it means for her she knows that she’s  into Rachel I also appreciated that she  didn’t just say oh it’s just Rachel I’m  straight but it’s just this one person  because that’s occasionally frustrated  me in books too where it’s almost like  there’s this refusal to accept that a  character maybe could be by like dick  why can’t why can’t we explore that  possibility so she definitely does in  this one I think Lydon did a great job  handling that and you know there are  some some tough feelings because Jake is  really like he’s so lovely  he really is kind of the perfect  boyfriend and there is nothing wrong  with him like there’s just nothing wrong  at all she’s just supposed to be with  Rachel and that has very real  consequences for her  because she really thought she was gonna  marry this guy her family thought she  was going to marry this guy and so she  has to have some kind of tough  conversations and there’s also like it’s  a friends to Lover’s story so there is  also a certain amount of risk to her  friendship with Rachel because there is  that like can our friendship survive  this so if you like Claire Lydon and you  haven’t read this one yet you will like  this book if you like romantic comedies  you will also like this book because it  has that fun witty British humor and I’m  done I don’t know how else to write that  I like that we have we’ve chosen for  books with very different it’s coming  out stories but where the coming out is  the main thrust of each one so it’s  almost like a nice representation of  coming out because not everybody’s story  is the same yes that’s definitely true  so yes we did it in two weeks time you  will hear part two of this feminist  series in which we talk about books that  are oh no I think I’m gay which is  different to today’s podcast which is  about oh wow I think I’m gay  so it’s entirely different circumstances  listen stay tuned for that  yeah Tara thank you for joining me today  thank you for inviting me  all right so people can’t find you way  they can find my reviews on the lesbian  review at lambda literary at smart  bitches trashy books they can also come  find me on twitter at terra and de scott  and if there’s a kind of book you’re  looking for you can ask me there i’m  happy to give recommendations and lots  of people ask and lots of times she  gives great recommendations we’ve also  got a tag for coming-out stories which i  will post in the show notes so you can  go and find like all the coming-out  stories that we’ve reviewed  [Music]  this has been the leis been reviewed  podcast you can find this and other  awesome shows by switching for the    lesbian talk-show anyway you get your  podcasts we’re even on Spotify now you  can find more information about the  books that we chatted about in the show  notes including by Alixe and if you  enjoyed this podcast and want to see us  creating more awesome content then  consider becoming a patron not only does  this mean we can keep on doing this but  you will get exclusive pod courses that  do not appear on the main channel find  out all about it on patreon.com slash  the laser in dog show the link is in the  show notes  [Music]