Huge props to mtv's Faking It for featuring TV’s first ever intersex main character in Season 2! On my blog, I tried to debunk 5 Myths About Intersex. But the real deal is interactyouth, who posted a terrific FAQ, which you can read in its entirety at http://www.interactyouth.org.

Inter/Act has been working with MTV’s Faking It on building a (more) true-to-life intersex character, Lauren (played by Bailey Buntain). We anticipated a few new people to our page, wondering what exactly intersex is. The following intersex FAQ was compiled by the members of Inter/Act. It is intended to be a living document that we will continue to tweak, change, add-to and subtract from. Please feel free to reference it, re-blog it, and ask us questions (at inter.act@aiclegal.org)

What is intersex?

Intersex is an umbrella term that describes people born with intersex conditions or DSD (Differences of Sex Development). There are over 30 different conditions that cause intersex people to have physical differences inside and/or outside their bodies, making their sex neither purely male or female. Biology class has always taught us that sex is merely black and white, “male” or “female,” but now we know that’s not true. There are a lot of awesome gray areas in the middle!

Clearly, there’s more to the lack of diversity in children’s books than whether or not POC are creating and publishing them. Could it be that some lack the motivation to seek out the books that are already there? That’s what René Saldaña, Jr., is asking. Now, I am, too.

Mind you, I’m not saying that we don’t need more books by people of color, because we most certainly do. The numbers show that we are woefully off the mark in producing diverse books in numbers commensurate with the proportion of our ever-increasingly diverse population. But that said, I am suggesting that we, perhaps, look at the issue a little more closely, that we ask a few more uncomfortable, but necessary, questions.

Mister Cellophane by Nikki Grimes

(via richincolor)

(Source: tubooks, via richincolor)

Ellen Oh’s Prophecy Trilogy and Why #WeNeedDiverseBooks

BLOOM features WNDB president Ellen Oh and how We Need Diverse Books went from a campaign to a nonprofit.

Diversity in lit starts with kids

We love the conversation #WeNeedDiverseBooks has engendered, and we’re doing our part. The Weekly Writing Workshop is a collective of college chapters dedicated to empowering kids from low-income backgrounds (often students of color) to write. We believe in this so much, that we published an anthology of their writing, and in our opinion, it’s really good.

We want people who read, write, and love books to check out the anthology (available on request; check some stories out here) and write a letter to a kid whose story you enjoyed. It will mean so much to them to know that people reading and loving their writing. Tweet it to us, and we’ll get it to them. #weneeddiversebooks starts with kids.

Children’s Books: Still an All-White World?

Walter Dean Myers’ NYT article and BookCon confirmed that the lack of diversity couldn’t and shouldn’t be ignored and We Need Diverse Books started because of this understanding and continues to grow. SLJ looks at the momentum and statistics and what’s offered and how diverse representation can be improved, still. 

Forgive Me My Bluntness: I’m a Writer of Color and I'm Right Here In Front of You: I’m the One Sitting Alone at the Table

(Source: diversityinya)

“ A child doesn’t care if the story is about a white, black, or disabled character. It’s usually the gatekeeper that inserts themselves at an early age into the reading tastes of the young. And we have to ask gatekeepers – from teachers, librarians, publishers, even parents – to recognize their own prejudices and to realize that diversity for all children is a good thing. ”
Ellen Oh, Q&A with Ellen Oh, at Bloom
What is the best way to accurately write from the perspective of a character with a different orientation than you?


Well, first of all, remember that everyone’s experience is different. Some people, even with a completely different orientation, may have experiences similar to yours and some people with the same orientation will have completely different experiences.

Talk to several people who do have that orientation, both in real life and online if you can manage it. Ask them about their experiences (if they’re willing), and try to ask questions that will relate to the situation(s) you’re writing about.

Do other research too. Read blogs or books or other things written by people of that orientation. There are a lot of blogs on Tumblr that offer writing advice and information on various orientations and identities, they would be a good place to start. We have information on writing XXX characters that I will tag and add to that link every time we have a discussion on it.

Harmony Ink Press gives some pretty good advice in terms of writing diversity. There are many resources and don’t forget to do your homework and find out what the story means to you.

Diversity in 2013 New York Times Young Adult Bestsellers

In April, the wonderful Malinda Lo broke down the numbers of NYT YA Bestsellers and how many of them included diverse characters and/or were written by diverse authors. We are so very glad to see Jacqueline Woodson as part of the bestseller numbers for 2014…

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