Spotlight On: the ‘It Gets Better Project’ & Torquere Press’ Charity Sip Blitz
What is the Charity Sip Blitz?
From Torquere Press’ official blurb about the event…
In 2008, Torquere Press’ fantastic authors decided to support a charity with an annual short story collection called our Charity Sip blitz. In the past three years, we’ve donated more than $13,000.00 to charitable organizations that support GLBT causes.
For 2011, Torquere’s authors have chosen the theme “Getting Better” in honor of the It Gets Better project, which helps LGBT youth understand that life as an openly queer adult is not only possible, but happening for millions of people, worldwide. More than thirty authors have written short fiction pieces and have agreed to donate all proceeds of the sales of these stories to this year’s charitable organization. Torquere Press Inc. will match the authors’ donations completely.
This year, we’re also pleased to announce that our distribution partner, Rainbow eBooks, has agreed to be the title sponsor of our Sip collection, and will be our sole distributor outside of the Torquere Books website. Please support our sponsor by visiting them at www.rainbowebooks.com.
Torquere Press and our authors truly believe we can make a difference by donating to organizations that promote awareness and equality. If you’d like to help, please support the Charity Sip Blitz and enjoy some great romance today!
Q&A with a few of the participating authors
(From Torquere Press LiveJournal. See more here)
Why did you decide to participate in this year’s Charity Sip Blitz?
“I’m ashamed to live in a world where people aren’t treated equally. It goes against my sense of justice. And kids being bullied for being who they are? It’s about time that stops.”
Nancy M. Griffis
“It’s just a wonderful charity! Even though it’s better now, a lot of kids still need to know they have options in life and will have even more when they’re adults.”
“The charity is what sold me in the end. If there was any chance that I was going to help the It Gets Better project I was going to take it.”
Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
“I have a lot of gay friends and I’m so glad to see things really are getting better for them–we still have a long walk to take to get to the civil rights that all human beings deserve no matter their sexuality, but at least we’re starting to take the first steps.”
“This is where I got hung up on whether or not to do this interview. It involves bringing up a time in my life I’m still not completely comfortable talking about, but then perhaps its time to let go of the past a bit more. I’ve been a supporter of the It Gets Better project from the start because not so long ago I was one of the teens it tries to reach out to. It’s been less than a decade since I graduated high school, and the scars still hurt from the teasing and isolation I felt as the only openly gay student in my class. There were a few times that I seriously considered suicide, and my heart breaks for every young person that has chosen that path. What saved me was knowing I was never alone.
I am forever grateful for having gay men to look up to, in my own family, who had the courage to come out and show me that life does get better when you embrace it. I am forever grateful to the family of Matthew Shepherd, who turned their tragedy into a movement that proved love can overcome hatred, and compassion is the greatest tool against ignorance. Today, manditory regrets aside, I’m happy with the life I’ve tread and the circle of friends I’ve found my place in. I have high aspirations for the future — Still looking for Mr. Right, but hey, that just means more stories about sexy men to sate me, right? 😉 “
“It does: right after I graduated, I worked for a year as a residential tutor at an international school in the UK. I was responsible for a house of teenage girls, and sometimes also looked after the neighbouring house, when their resident tutor was away. I’ll always remember sitting in a residential staff meeting and our head of residential students saying that he wanted to put two of our teenage girls into counselling because “they’re still young enough that we might change them.” In other words, make them not be gay.
I was the youngest and newest member of the staff, the only gay person on the staff that I knew of, and well aware that the school would not approve if they knew that about me. I remember shaking when I said that we couldn’t do that, and being so grateful to be backed up by my fellow teachers. The girls didn’t get put into counselling; I don’t think they even knew that had been a threat for a while. I don’t know where they are now or what they’re doing, but they’re who I think of when I hear ‘it gets better.’ And I really hope that, for them, it did.”
“Yes, but not in the way you might think. My childhood was kind of tough, and I really wish that somebody would have told me back then that things would change, that I would survive and come out on the other side being reasonably whole, much stronger and very capable of pursuing my dreams. Hope is a very powerful tool, and I really think that the It Gets Better project creates hope.”
“Very much so. I used to loathe attending school because the bullying was so terrible. I had the triple curse of being different, being poor, and being smart. So I was a scruffy looking teacher’s pet and that pretty much painted a target on my back. Children are very unkind to each other. But now, outside of that closed environment, as an adult I’ve learned that high school is not the entirety of my existence. That things do, indeed, get better.”
“Hell, yeah. I was bullied one year in middle school, badly. I was taunted, hit, shoved, had my possessions stolen and destroyed, and I was pushed down a flight of stairs. The worst thing that happened was having my stall door in the bathroom kicked open, then having the lights shut out and being left alone in the dark to find my way out. I became absolutely terrified every moment that I was at school. My parent’s advice didn’t help. The teacher I told only made things worse. Finally, and I am so incredibly grateful to her, a friend took charge and forced me into my guidance councilor’s office, where she proceeded to explain what was going on. Fortunately, the guidance councilor acted — the next day, she got all the girls who’d been bullying me, and their parents, into her office, and that was the end of it. Sort of. Twelve-year-old me didn’t know I needed some help getting over it, and schools didn’t think about that kind of thing then. I know I still have scars inside from what happened that year. I can’t go into the building today without feeling sick. Whenever I go down that flight of stairs, I hang on tightly to the railing and feel the old pain in my ankle, and when I finally made myself go into that bathroom again, thirty years later, I burst into tears. But they were good tears, tears of thankfulness that I survived. Because, without what my friend did for me, I don’t think things would have turned out all right.”
“Beyond normal childhood angst (and parents divorcing when I was 12), I was spared the horrors I hear some kids report today. Why does it seem that bullying is all around us? Hopefully, the media is inaccurately stating the instances and the overall numbers. If not, then the IGB Project is needed even more than I thought. Nonetheless, I think all kids do need to hear, no matter what their particular problem is at the moment, that life does indeed get better. And it’s usually because someone, somewhere along the way, does something that makes a difference in our lives. We either directly benefit from great advice, wisdom or intervention, or we learn about it through the selflessness of others. Children need someone to tell them, this too shall pass and your life will change. And they need the leadership of caring adults to shepherd them along the way.”
The Charity Sip Blitz will be available for purchase from Torquere Press and Rainbow eBooks starting tomorrow, September 17th. I know this was a looooong post, but I felt it was worth the extra length to get some of these author testimonials in. Thanks to Torquere Press for all the information about this charity event and to the participating authors for sharing their time, work, and experiences with the world.
Look for Missouri Dalton’s “Fiends in Low Places” short in the Charity Sip Blitz!
Torquere Press authors Missouri Dalton, Angela Benedetti, and DC Juris will be appearing on GraveTells in October. We’ll be reviewing some of their work as well as doing some fun interviews and giveaways, so stay tuned! And of course…
Happy 8th Anniversary to Torquere press!
Everyone deserves a happy ending! =) Click here to enter the celebration giveaway.