iOS app Android app

Janet Mason
Janet Mason is the author of Tea Leaves: A Memoir of Mothers and Daughters, published by Bella Books in 2012. She lives in Philadelphia.

Entries by Janet Mason

Coming Home: Selma, Int'l Women's Day, LGBT Rights and Unitarian Universalism

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2015 | 12:12 PM

In 1965 when events that were part of the voting rights struggle unfolded in Selma, I was 6 years old. I must have seen parts of it on television. I don't remember. But I do remember that I was influenced by the Civil Rights movement.

This weekend is the 50th...

Read Post

LGBT Books to Warm Up With

(1) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 12:55 PM

It's been a cold winter. Very cold. One of the things that I'm doing to keep warm is to take an imaginary LGBT cruise in my head -- through books -- to exotic lands.

The first stop was the land of queer history, which I entered by reading Katie Gilmartin's...

Read Post

History Repeating Itself: Odd Girl Out and Under This Beautiful Dome

(0) Comments | Posted December 24, 2014 | 4:03 PM

History repeats itself.

Just last week, I went into the new Philadelphia AIDS Thrift at Giovanni's Room, the organization that took bought the old Giovanni's Room Bookstore, the iconic bookstore that opened in 1973. I was thrilled to hear that Giovanni's Room was continuing in some form, of course. But...

Read Post

Your Gay vs. My Gay: Coming Out and Becoming a Better Parent

(2) Comments | Posted December 19, 2014 | 7:06 PM

I came out in the early 1980s -- into a thriving lesbian community that was fueled by the feminist movement and had some overlap with the gay male community. I always knew that there were different realities for gay people and that many still were in the closet. I dismissed...

Read Post

Three New Books on the Theme of "It Isn't Easy Being Gay"

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 9:10 PM

Many years ago -- more than two decades -- I was friendly with a gay man named Vincent, whose trademark lament (with a dramatic sigh and a stereotypical swish of the wrist) was, "It isn't easy being gay."

LGBT rights have come a long way. However, Vincent's lament still...

Read Post

New Book Is a Message to Parents With Drug Addicted Teens

(0) Comments | Posted December 7, 2014 | 11:52 PM

The central message in Bonnie Kaye's, M.Ed., memoir (Jennifer Needle in Her Arm: Healing from the Hell of My Daughter's Drug Addiction (CCB Publishing: British Columbia) to parents of drug addicted children is: It's not your fault."

This is a conclusion that the author came to after a painful process...

Read Post

The International Gay: Around the World in Three LGBT Books

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2014 | 3:23 PM

One of the things that I love about being part of the LGBT community is feeling strongly connected to the rainbow way that spans the globe. Sometimes our experiences are different -- vastly so -- but there is some commonality in struggle and, for me and most likely for many...

Read Post

Living Marriage Equality: Redeeming the Dream and All I Love and Know

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 12:38 PM

I was elated with the recent victory for same-sex marriage. The dominoes are falling -- even if we still have a fight ahead of us. I was delighted to read, in Michelangelo Signorile's post on the right's new strategy, that one of the crusaders against gay marriage is...

Read Post

Marriage and the Military: Three New LGBT Books to Enjoy and Think About

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2014 | 4:41 PM

I like surprises. And (almost) nothing is better than a good book that takes me to an unexpected place. I recently picked up Lesbian Marriage: A Sex Survival Kit (2014) by Kim Chernin and Renate Stendhal, and then I picked up Active Duty: Gay Military Erotic Romance, edited...

Read Post

'Just Know That I Am a Person' -- Three New Books on Transgender Issues

(1) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 1:22 PM

Rigid gender roles are irritating to many of us, damaging to society at large (whether people know it or not), and absolutely toxic to gender nonconforming children and their families. But like it or not, there are "boy's toys" and "girl's toys" and they are marketed aggressively.

As a second-generation...

Read Post

A Positive View of LGBTQ and Living Out Islam: There Is Magic All Around

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 8:05 PM

Reading two new books on LGBTQ identity gave me pause to reflect on the fact that identity is an ongoing issue for all of us -- particularly those of us in the LGBTQ community. Perhaps this is particularly true as the mainstream widens to assimilate us.

A Positive View of...

Read Post

When Bookstores Save Lives and Preserve Culture: Reflections on Giovanni's Room

(3) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 12:57 PM

I still remember the first time that I set foot in Giovanni's Room, the beloved LGBT bookstore that recently closed its doors this past May. It was 1981, the year that I came out. I was in my early twenties. I had known about Giovanni's Room, the gay and lesbian...

Read Post

Still Married in Pennsylvania: PA Constitutional Ban Struck Down and Marriage Is Re-Defined

(4) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 8:52 AM

"So are we all legally married?" was the question that I posed to our long-time friends, Mary and Joanne, and my partner as we all drove to a Thai restaurant. Last summer, the four of us went to the Montgomery County Courthouse when a judge went rogue, got...

Read Post

Lesbian Author Tackles Edmund White, Gains a Deeper Understanding of the Gay Icon, the Writer, the Human Being

(1) Comments | Posted May 8, 2014 | 3:10 PM

I knew about Edmund White as a writer long before I read his books. I knew that he was a gay icon and had written many books, fiction and nonfiction. I knew that he was especially known for his coming of age novel, A Boy's Own Story, written in 1982,...

Read Post

Lesbian Truthtellers Write Books to Take Home With You: Essayist Judith Witherow and Novelist Renee Bess

(2) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 10:45 AM

I was reminded of the quote from the late poet Muriel Rukeyser -- ''What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open'' -- when I read Judith K. Witherow's collection of essays, Strong Enough To Bend, Twin Spirits Publishing, 2014. Then when...

Read Post

'The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray', 'Foolish Hearts': Gay Love and Marriage?

(0) Comments | Posted April 2, 2014 | 10:50 PM

Love makes the world go round. And when it comes to LGBT civil rights, love is what all the fuss is all about.

Two recent books from Cleis Press (both published in 2013) brought the idea of love to the forefront of my mind, in very different ways. In The...

Read Post

Experimental Poetry and a Good Old-fashioned Mystery: Lesbian Staples to Live By

(1) Comments | Posted March 24, 2014 | 12:15 PM

Walk into any LGBT book store (those that are left) and you'll find two major sections of lesbian literature -- which may seem to have nothing to do with each other: lesbian mysteries and lesbian poetry. Some might describe these all high brow and low brow, but the fact is...

Read Post

Heal This Way and Coming Around: Words for LGBT Youth and Their Parents

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 5:07 PM

It has been said that children are our future. This is exactly why we should be concerned about LGBT children and teens -- and in fact with any kids who are different in any way. I was strongly reminded about this with two new books that recently came across my...

Read Post

Post-Modern Lesbian Erotica Comes Harder

(0) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 1:24 PM

It's tempting to think about a collection of lesbian erotica as inconsequential. The word erotica signals that it's just about sex -- right? The definition of erotica is that it is literature or art dealing with sexual love. And the word erotica is based on the Greek word Eros.


Read Post

My Russian Dream: Time for Olympic Athletes to Step Up and Right Wrongs

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 1:23 PM

I watched the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi and was enchanted by the Russian dream of a land that was home to so many important writers and intellectuals such as Chekhov and Tolstoy. I was also influenced by the poet Anna Akhmatova, but since she...

Read Post