In a very short time, my exploration around the signage on single-stall restrooms in Austin, Houston, and beyond, has turned into a Call to Action. You can get all the details about the #PeeInPeace project here.
You can support our work – and get free #PeeInPeace perks – on IndigeGoGo.
If you’re already on board, and ready to purchase your own inclusive, ADA compliant signage, then scroll on down to find out how to get your discount from SmartSign.
Support our goal to 100%!
WANT TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN MORE QUICKLY? DONATE NOW:
Thanks to our fantastically supportive sponsors at SmartSign, you can get a discount when you purchase All Gender Restroom signs here. (Email Katelyn, and mention Censored2Celebrated, to get your discount.)
Click on the SmartSign logo to see their signs, and email Katelyn about your discount.
Melita Noël Cantú, MA CEO & Founder aka “Rainbow Celebrator Extraordinaire”
PS: Can I ask you a favor? This is a labor of love and celebration of the power of individuals coming together to make change. Please take a moment to donate $4 dollars – or more – to receive your free gift(s) and support the implementation of this celebratory project.
With thanks to the sponsors of the #PeeInPeace project:
Find out how you can sponsor us – for less than you’d imagine – here.
Season 2, Chat 3 features PFLAG Austin Board President, and fashion maven, Anna Nguyen.
RSVP to tune in for the Blab with Anna and Melita on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 3 pm CST here, or watch it right here on this webpage.
Why Join Us for the Live Blab? Our webcasted conversation is an opportunity for allies and advocates of the LGBTQ community to gather. Together, we will explore how to connect in order to support – and celebrate – each other around diverse gender and sexuality.
Through this webchat, Anna will offer her experience and insights to gender variant people considering transitioning or is in the process of transitioning. Join us live to learn and jump in to ask questions!
About Anna Nyugen I am a transgender woman from Austin, Texas. I started transitioning in December 2013 and came out in July 2014. I am the current President of PFLAG Austin, which is co-sponsoring the Transgender Day of Remembrance event at Austin’s City Hall on 11/21.
I am a software engineer. I currently own a small software company that publishes fashion-related applications.
Anna Nguyen, modeling a Halloween costume of her own design
PFLAG Austin had provided a supportive and welcoming environment during the early stages of my transition for which I am very grateful. I serve on its Board as a way to give back, to ensure that PFLAG will continue to be a supportive and welcoming environment for all those who need it.
Check out Anna’s personal website here. Connect with Anna here.
A quote that inspires Anna Nguye
More on What We’ll Be Talking About in Season 2 Each month in Season 2, we’ll be diving deeper into our discoveries from the Celebration Tour 2015.
In September, for Chat 1, we talked with author and educator Sally Ember, Ed.D. Watch the video clip with Sally here.
In October, for Chat 2, we learning more about what author Amy G. Dalia is up to, as well as got a chance to see her in-depth lists of LGBTQ books and films. To launch our new season we wanted to explore some of the most common questions we covered last year in Season 1, give you insight into the many reasons we align ourselves with the rainbow, and lay the groundwork for our next-level conversations focusing on the Celebration Tour.
Click here for the Rainbow Video Clip Q&A series with Melita about Celebrating Diverse Sexuality & Gender
Get all the Censored2Celebrated news delivered to your in-box: Sign up for emails here.
What We’ll Be Talking About in Season Two Each month in Season Two, we’ll be diving deeper into our discoveries from the Celebration Tour 2015. To launch our new season we wanted to explore some of the most common questions we covered last year in Season One, give you insight into the many reasons we align ourselves with the rainbow, and lay the groundwork for our next-level conversations focusing on the Celebration Tour.
Click here for a Rainbow Video Clip Q&A with Melita about DSG
Get all the Censored2Celebrated news to your in-box: Sign up for emails here.
With gratitude to Sue for gifting this colorful, life-changing book to the Celebration Tour.
“I read this to my daughter (mtf) when she was 5, and when we got to the end she exclaimed, “Roland is just like me!” It was the first time we read a book she really related to….very powerful.”
Not surprisingly, the book was written about the author’s own son. Looking her up, I found her blog which I felt was pretty interesting, and goes into more detail and emotional honesty than the upbeat ending of the book delivers: “We like you for you, whatever you wear.”
After her son had decided that he wanted to start wearing boy clothes because of the comments of some of his classmates, Kiernan-Johnson writes: “I suppose it was inevitable that the weight of peer pressure would reach him at some point. I just imagined that it would be further down the road, that we’d have more time to inhabit our happy little bubble of authenticity, that he could obliviously be who he is without the burden of arbitrary societal dictates intruding on that. It isn’t that I want my son to waltz through life in a ballgown; it is that I don’t want the world to crush his spirit and stamp out his unique way of being. I don’t want it to burst his bubble.”
I don’t think she has to worry about the world crushing his spirits just yet (that doesn’t happen until you start working), but it did make going back reading the joyful exuberance of “Roland Humphrey” a bit bittersweet, and for me, more meaningful.
Usually there are a few shy comments about how “my brother likes pink,” or “my brother likes to wear girls’ swimsuits,” etc.( and it has been kind of amazing to hear about how many of these little “pink boys” are out there) but usually it segues into a very broad conversation about the small and large unkindnesses children endure no matter what they wear and how they present themselves.
Kids pick up on the universality of the acceptance themes and seem to be really hungry to talk about the slings and arrows that have bruised their small hearts. It has been a tremendous honor to be trusted with some of those stories. I was expecting more narrow questions about why Roland liked girls’ clothes etc., but these kids have been so savvy and have just honed in on the heart of the story and message and have been really honest in sharing how their own experiences have resembled the character’s. It has been an unexpected privilege to hold those stories with the kids.
My Favorite Quote I’m so much more than what colors or clothes I choose. And if you judge me on just that, I’ve got some sad news: You’re the one who misses out. It’s what inside that really counts.
With gratitude to Amy Pittel for donating this book that has allowed so many individuals, libraries, and communities to move From Censored to Celebrated!
“I’m thrilled to be able to help bring stories like these to kids who so need to find characters with whom they can identify.”
Three is a powerful number in this book due to baby penguin, Tango, born to Roy and Silo, a family of male penguins, at Central Park in New York City. According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), in 2014 it was also third on the list for attempting bans in communities across the USA. And it is my pleasure to celebrate And Tango Makes Three on Day 3 of our #aBookaDay preparations for the Celebration Tour in June.
I have to admit that I was surprised when I realized the extent that Tango had been censored, not just in its early years, but even through 2014. The reasons given for challenging it are listed as follows: “Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group….and promotes the homosexual agenda.” For these reasons, “Tango ranked as ALA’s most frequently challenged book for a record four years in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010.” Check out this timeline from the American Library Association for a visual history of banned books in the US.
As I mentioned, my family and I read this book without realizing thow much it has been banned over the past 9 years. Given that my daughter, Tulip, was born in 2008, and that she has a mother with a Master’s Degree in Sexuality Studies, it is not surprising that she didn’t find this book to be controversial or unusual. We both loved it, and had a great chat about it here.
While Tango engaged both my 6 year old and 16 month old, it also had the added benefit of finally helping us name our very large penguin – a much beloved and bemusing gift from Grandpa. (Our family penguin is now, yes, “Tango Lavender.”)
Tango also allowed us to further explore how families can grow and thrive when they have a safe environment where their strengths, innovations, and connections are recognized, and, yes, celebrated.
My Favorite Quote Out came their very own baby! She had fuzzy white feathers and a funny black beak. Now, Roy and Silo were fathers. “We’ll call her Tango,” Mr. Gramzay decided, “because it takes two to make a Tango.”
Many people have read this book on video. Here Tango is engagingly read by staff at Seattle’s Sanislo Elementary School during Banned Book Week:
With gratitude to Susie (copy in Biloxi, MS) &
Jessica Herthel (copy in Brookline, MA) for this life-changing donation!
UPDATE: July 2015 Jazz featured on ABC News about her show on TLC!
Be the Change
This book has made a huge difference in my family’s life, and across the US and beyond. It was published in September 2014. Amazingly, as I was in the process of writing this blog, a friend sent me this video.
Here, I Am Jazz was performed by 5th graders in my friend’s community in December 2014. Talk about dramatic impact – within 3 months of publication!
Favorite Quote Here Charles Girard, Welcoming Schools Project Coordinator, writes about the play performed at the Malcolm X Elementary School in Berkeley, CA:
Right before the play ends and the class dances with a little help from Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Jazz’s character addresses the audience:
“I don’t mind being different. Different is special. I think what matters most is what a person is like inside. And, inside, I’m proud of who I am.”
These inspiring words go beyond Jazz’s gender identity – they show the real changes that today’s youth are seeing as they grow up in a culture that is increasingly embracing – and celebrating – diversity.
As Charles Girard notes, our youth are “increasingly embracing – and celebrating – diversity.” Indeed, they are teaching the rest of us – bravely, beautifully and courageously.
Thanks Jazz, the youth at Malcolm X Elementary School, and all of you who are celebrating diversity in ways both big and small.
Every little bit of celebration you can offer to an individual, your community, or to yourself helps. Just look at the impact a book with only 32 pages is making!
How Do You Celebrate Diversity?
Do you have a favorite book that celebrates diversity? Have you read I Am Jazz?
Share in the comments how this, or another book, has changed – or even saved – a life. I will be highlighting your celebratory quotes about books I feature in my book-a-day blog.