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To Hope is to Love
By Ren Martinez
Editor's Note: If you love this review and want to read and learn more about the anthology, read our interview with Emma Eden Ramos previously published on February 9, 2019.
“We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer
These words by Lin-Manuel Miranda set the stage for Love_is_Love: An Anthology for LGBTQIA+ Teens. Edited by Emma Eden Ramos, it’s a collection of poetry, art, and fiction that celebrates queerness in all its forms.
The use of the alphabetically appropriate but numerically long “LGBTQIA+” as the identifier for this anthology is purposeful. In “The Unicorn” by Judith Schofield, the poet describes a bridge, called Straight-Passing, through which everyone has to go.
Watch out though,
In a world full of riddle-speaking trolls, it is a relief to find none of them here. Within this anthology, there is nothing but inclusivity, no gatekeepers holding guard, no quicksand-shifting standards to meet. While identities are defined, they are not definitive. Lesbians write odes to first kisses while nonbinary folk question their reflection in the mirror. All are welcome; none are denied entrance.
Love is a constant here, threaded through each piece, but love itself takes many forms. “Realignment” by Harri Aburrow-Newman is a celebration of first love, the wonder of dawn cresting over the horizon. Samuel J. Fox describes kissing boys and girls in “Two Poems,” but even fiercer is love for himself exactly as he is. I am not dying today not even if you murder me, he declares, watch me grow wings.
Since this is anthology aimed at teens, it’s not a wonder that there are not a few stories about family, about parents, about coming out. The flash fiction story, “Unbinding Bow” by Diana Clark, delves into the particular struggles of gender, the clash of gender identity and unknown parental expectations. It would almost be easier to tell a story with outwardly bigoted parents; those expectations are already laid clear and underlined in red. But, there’s a special sort of terror in not knowing how your parents, your otherwise loving, supportive parents, will react to your truth, because there’s so much more to lose.
But, not all hope is lost. More than love, more than acceptance, more than anything, this anthology is about hope.
ideas require darkness and a steady drizzle to germinate. letters
Despite our struggles, which all look different, feel different, but are important all the same, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it is love.
Want to support the anthology's mission to promote self-love and to give funds to The Trevor Project? Consider ordering a copy for someone in your life or for yourself.
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