Tag Archives: victoryates

Updates/Lambda Literary Award

What a year it has been. And, none of it would have happened, if I continued to listened to the voice of doubt. Self-doubt and pessimism plague me on a consistent basis. However, after I published my novel, a number of miracles happened. I was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Debut Fiction. I had the opportunity to read at the Carl Bean House, the West Hollywood Library (with other Lambda finalists), and the Playa Vista Library. My crowning achievement was winning the Lambda at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York on June 6th.

The awards celebrated excellence in LGBT literature and 28 years of groundbreaking literary achievement. Back in March, when the finalists were announced the Lambda Literary Foundation revealed that over 933 submissions were received from major publishing houses, independent presses, and on-demand services from around the world.

The recognition has given the book greater visibility and presence. I will be forever grateful to the Lambda Literary Foundation for that.

The book can be purchased at Amazon or CreateSpace or Kindle or Barnes and Noble.

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Video Q&A with Emerging LGBT Leader Carolyn Wysinger

The name Ruth Ellis may not be as familiar to you as Harvey Milk, but it should. Ellis, born in 1899, was the oldest living open lesbian and LGBT rights activist. Before she died in 2000, her life was documented in the film project, Living with Pride, directed by Yvonne Welbon. She came out as a lesbian in 1915 and in the 1920s she met Ceciline Franklin. They moved from Springfield, Illinois to Detroit, Michigan in 1937 and lived together for 30 years until Franklin’s death in 1973. During the three decades that they lived together, Ellis became the first American woman to own a printing business in Detroit and her home with Franklin became “a refuge for African-American gays and lesbians.”

Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis at 100 is being screened at the Art Exchange in Long Beach, this Sunday, starting at 5. Emerging LGBT leader, Carolyn Wysinger, is one of the key people responsible for putting together the screening.

Carolyn Wysinger is an activist, writer, and event coordinator, whose goal is to build bridges within the LGBT community. She earned her B.A. in English from California State University, Long Beach and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Organizations that she is involved with include: BUTCHVoices and Black Lesbians United. She is also active in the local Long Beach community as a member of the Leadership Long Beach Class of 2013 as well as a Member-At-Large of the Lambda Democrats.

Qulture writer Victor Yates spoke to Wysinger about the life of Ruth Ellis and Sistah Sinema as well as her community work.

Watch the video above to learn more about Wysinger and go to Qulture.org for more LGBT news and information.

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Kontrol Magazine Interviewed Me: Check it out

Writer Victor Yates Photoshoot for Natural Gal photo 2

Photo Credit: Garen Hagobian/Stylist: Rico Cherry

Kontrol is a lifestyle, fashion, and entertainment magazine, based out of Atlanta and features new writers and/or writing projects monthly. I am the new featured writer.

An excerpt from the interview is below:

Get to know Victor

Why did you choose to get involved in this project?

I wanted to be involved in the project, because I believe it is important to start having more open conversations in families where sexuality and/or sexual abuse are taboo. The book form is a great package to hand to someone and say read this and get back to me. Books make great gifts, for any occasion, and speak when people cannot. I know of so many households where kids, growing up, were not allowed to talk about being gay. Because if they talked about homosexuality, they were talking about sex and sex talks were a no-no. The feedback from the project has been overwhelming. Different readers saw themselves or found similarities in their experiences with specific pieces. I’ve had two readings in L.A. so far and people have come with their mothers or bought a copy for a relative with children. Someone even told me they were buying a copy for their job.

Read the full article at: http://www.kontrolmag.com/author-conversations-with-victor-yates-kontrolreads/

 

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New article on SB 1172 or the gay cure bill

Assemblyman Lieu

Assemblyman Lieu (Photo credit: Barack Obama)

Over at Edge On The Net, I wrote an update on #sb1172 or the gay cure ban, sponsored by Senator Ted Lieu, which prevents mental health professionals (ex-gay counselors) from attempting to change the sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity of minors. An excerpt from the article is below:

Marea Murray, a social worker in San Francisco, sobbed uncontrollably when she learned that the governor of California had signed SB 1172 into law. Murray counsels clients of all genders and orientations on sexuality concerns and like a number of other mental health professionals, she has come to know people psychologically abused having undergone treatments thought to cure homosexuality. That is one of the many reasons why she worked through Gaylesta, a LGBT Psychotherapy Association, to mobilize supporters for the bill.

The bill specifically sought to prohibit professionals from using techniques to change gender expressions, gender identities, and/or sexual orientation for patients under eighteen.

After SB 1172 was approved, two lawsuits were brought against California, one filed by an ex-gay Aaron Bitzer, who is studying to be an ex-gay therapist. The therapist-in-training claimed the ban not only infringed on his rights to freedom of speech and religion, but also the ban prevented him from pursuing his profession. His lawsuit, led by Christian legal group Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), argued that “the law ignores young people who have same-sex attractions as a result of being victims of sexual abuse” and that lack of access to treatment will lead to irreparable harm.

Read more at: http://www.edgelosangeles.com/news/local/features//140531/implementation_of_california’s_gay_cure_ban_delayed_until_hearing

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Reading at West Hollywood Library

West Hollywood Library Grand Opening & Dedication

West Hollywood Library (Photo credit: City of West Hollywood)

Recently I read from For Colored Boys at the West Hollywood Library with Antonio Brown and Jonathan Kidd (contributors to the anthology), and actor Jorge Ortiz. I edited and posted the reading on YouTube; please watch the videos and comment. I will be reading again at the West Hollywood Library during  the City of West Hollywood’s ‘One City/One Pride’ Festival in June.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Question and Answer Session

Stay tuned for more information on the West Hollywood Library reading in June.

US iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store

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Interview with Diary of a Natural Gal

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For my Diary of a Natural Gal Style Files interview, I worked with an amazing crew to shoot the pictures. The photographer was Garen Hagobian and the stylist was Rico Cherry. I can’t wait to post the full interview here. Here is an excerpt:

Kisha Roby: I would describe your style as sultry school boy, where do you draw inspiration?

Victor Yates: Is that a good thing (laughs)? I use to only wear black and gray. That’s it. Then my best friend started picking out clothes for me that I wouldn’t normally wear. I went from school boy realness to wearing cowboy boots, with khaki linen cut off shorts, and shirts and sweaters from the 80’s. I love 80’s Adidas shorts, vintage designer clothes, and conversation pieces. Today so many things inspire me. I like patterns, textures, and bold colors and mixing things together that the average person might think is strange. Since moving to Los Angeles my thrift store obsession has grown. Buffalo Exchange and Wasteland are my top thrift stores in L.A. But out here thrift stores are like coffee shops.

Kisha Roby: When did your passion for writing begin? What is your ultimate dream for your writing career?

Victor Yates: I started writing poetry at 14, after reading Maya Angelou’s work. I loved libraries and would read a lot. Also, my mother loved books and she would buy books for me as well. I remember trying to read The Firm, by John Grisham, and not being able to understand it. I hope to write quality fiction books and venture into short stories and writing plays.

Credits:
Photographer: Garen Hagobian
Website: http://www.motonicausa.com/photo.html
Number: 323-459-6100

Stylist: Rico Cherry
Email: rico243@yahoo dot com

Interviewer: Kisha Roby for Diary of a Natural Gal

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I’ve put down my beautiful cape: a poem

I’ve put down my beautiful cape
the bulls can chase me through the streets
carry me back home in gold and pink
red cloth fogged what they saw
a bearded man to flaunt
I’ve put down my beautiful cape

I’ve put down my beautiful cape
the bulls can chase me through the streets
I was so afraid what they’d say
the not-gods, I obeyed
them and the sadness
I’ve put down my beautiful cape

Countee Cullen Reading Heritage

Countee Cullen’s poetry haunts me. Cullen’s poem, “For A Poet,” is one of my favorites. The poem published in the book “Color” (1925) is used a symbol in my book, The Taste of Scars.

For A Poet

I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth,
And laid them away in a box of gold;
Where long will cling the lips of the moth,
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth;
I hide no hate, I am not even wroth
Who found earth’s breath so keen and cold;
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth,
And laid them away in a box of gold.

— Countee Cullen

Countee Cullen, photographed by Carl Van Vecht...

Image via Wikipedia

This poem inspired me to write “I’ve put down my beautiful cape.” Their are different theories why Cullen wrote “For A Poet.”

“Married to W. E. B. DuBois‘s daughter Yolande in 1928 (they divorced in 1930) and Ida Roberson only six years before his death (in 1946), Cullen had a steady string of male lovers in the United States and France,” according to Alden Reimonenq, Professor of English and Chief of Staff to the President at California State University, Northridge. “Cullen was a premier member of a thriving gay coterie in Harlem. Cullen and most gays of the period were, understandably, closeted publicly. The influence of gayness on Cullen’s literary imagination can be seen through the coded references to homosexuality in much of his poetry.”

“The poems “Tableau,” “The Shroud of Color,” “Fruit of the Flower,” “For a Poet,” and “Spring Reminiscence” can be classified as gay poems in which the speaker decries the oppression of those who are different.”

One theory is that “For a Poet” was “written at a time when Cullen was embroiled in unrequited love for Langston Hughes.” Langston Hughes is a black gay icon known for writing some of the most widely read poetry to come out of the Harlem Renaissance. Other important gay and bisexual writers from that period include: “Alain Locke, Claude McKay, Wallace Thurman, and Richard Bruce Nugent” says Reimonenq.

To read more of Countee Cullen’s poems go to Poem Hunter.

Countee Cullens Poem Yet Do I Marvel Read by Todd Helens


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