Category: video

Queer Eye for Disaster Relief

I am obsessed with queer responses to climate change. If someone faces threats and challenges when it a beautiful day out, things only get worse with the weather. Climate change is a threat multiplier. We have always had storms, floods, droughts, and heatwaves, but climate change magnifies these making them bigger and badder. Similarly, threats people face because of their identity, mobility, health, etc also increases with the more extreme weather events.

Homeless LGBTQ youth face many risks and dangers on sunny days. These explode with extreme weather, especially when they don’t seek shelter. Up to 40% of homeless youth avoid shelters.

According to LiveAbout.com

If at all possible, LGBT teens who are facing homelessness, or who are already homeless, should try to locate LGBT-friendly services.

When dealing with a crisis like homelessness, the last thing you need is a hostile or homophobic service provider.

Fortunately there are some of these LGBTQ-friendly shelters.

The Ali Forney Center in New York, has complied a list of such resources in 16 states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

I see addressing homeless LGBTQ youth needs (in nice weather and nasty weather) as a queer family values issue.

Fellow queer Quaker, Brian Blackmore told me about the work of The Night Ministry in Chicago. “They have a mobile bus that offers temporary shelter, counseling, Health care and testing, and sometimes food. The people who work there are some of the most valiant and compassionate people I have ever met. Tikkun Olam realized.”

I would love to hear of your own experiences, insights, and ideas of how we can build stronger communities before disasters come.

LGBTQ Youth, Disasters, and YOU from Peterson Thomas Toscano on Vimeo.

I’ve gone full cowboy for this new book

Coming Out Cowboy

Yep, I broke out my cowboy hat and my Joan Crawford “Johnny Guitar” inspired shirt to review a new book: A Good Hiding by Shirley McMillan. This young adult fiction book does not shy away from serious issues: teen pregnancy, a gay teen in a homophobic world, alcoholism, death and dying, religion, and hiding out in a crypt with visits from a vicar with some big secrets.

13689679_10154182251190781_943308001_nSecrets and Friendship

In facts, secrets play a big part of this book. Some of the action comes from the unearthing of these secrets. But it is much more than a plot-driven teen drama, these are realistic characters with strong voices, believable voices experiencing real life problems and sometimes making big mistakes. It is also about friendship and determination.

Here is the description from Shirley McMillan’s website:

A Good Hiding is a Young Adult novel set in Belfast, exploring themes such as secrets, violence, homophobia and religion. It is told via first person dual narrative through the characters of Nollaig, a pregnant fifteen year old intent on running away, and Stephen, her best friend, a gay teenager who himself has had to escape a violent past. Through their encounter with an Anglican minister who has secrets of his own, Nollaig and Stephen explore what it is to be a friend to someone whose safety requires secrecy and lies.

Reading the book for the second time, I decided to create a video review. And although the story is set in the crypt of a church in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I felt I needed to get downright country in my literary analysis (You can even hear Patty Cake, my horse in the background)

A Cowboy Review of A Good Hiding

Or Watch it on YouTube

A Good Hiding is published by Atom Books and is available at Amazon and elsewhere.

Memory, Fantasies, and Guns

A video a week

These days I have been doing a video a week for my YouTube Channel, and I am taking requests! My good friend and colleague Noach Dzmura, requested,

I would like to see you take on the issue of gun violence. Specifically, how do we change our nation into one that makes no war upon itself?

I confess I did not know where to even begin. Gun violence is not something I speak about much, although like most people in the USA, it is often in my face. I let the request sit inside for a bit and began to think about guns and my own personal history with them.

A funny and disturbing memory unearthed

The first thing that came to mind was a funny and disturbing memory from my childhood home. The event actually took place after I had grown up and was home visiting. My dad surprised me with some real live gun action IN THE HOUSE. I had forgotten I lived with a trained killer. Here is my video: It Happened in the Kitchen. The day Dad freaked me out.

I spent more time thinking about gun violence in the USA. I realize we are not the only country to experience violence. My friend Shirley McMillan, a young adult fiction writer in North Ireland, grew up with violence that was all too common. While much of the conflict has subsided (but still simmers) the memories remain and I see it seep into conversations often when I visit.

My imagination has been hacked!

This got me thinking to how our imaginations get hacked by violence. This is the case for me, someone who has enjoyed years of “hero fantasies.” Suddenly these fantasies have changed and have grown troubling.

Here is this week’s video: Revealed! My secret fantasy

What about you?

I want to hear your thoughts and comments. Also, let me know of any requests or questions you want me to consider for future videos. And I would LOVE it if you shared any of my videos with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.