October is GLBT History Month, and here on TLT, we thought we'd highlight some of our favorite GLBT writing authors and books. Today, we're looking at Alex Sanchez.
Alex Sanchez was born in Mexico City, to parents of German and Cuban heritage. Bullied and harassed throughout high school, he has stated in interviews, presentations and on his own website that he always knew he was "different" from other boys, but that it wasn't until later that he actually came out that he was gay.
He started writing in college, and Rainbow Boys (first published in 2001) reflects directly on his own issues with his coming out. Since then, he's been nearly a book per year, and the books have been lauded by The Lambda Literary Awards, ALA's YALSA's Best Books for Teens, and The Rainbow Project.
In addition to being lauded for his writing realistic GLBTQ characters and situations, his books have also been challenged across the country exactly for those very reasons. In addition, he has had a presentation to a school district in Canada cancelled due to objections from parents. None of this has stopped his writing, or his advocating for GLBTQ teens.
I have an extremely hard time keeping Alex's books on the shelves in my small library. If you would look at the check out statistics, they will be smaller than others, but interestingly enough, they go walk-about with a lot of frequency. They will be missing for a few days to a week, then they will mysteriously appear shelved exactly where they are supposed to be, but a little more worn. Or they will be hidden into a corner, or a different shelf after a group comes in, and a wandering teen will come in a little later looking in the same section. So while I may not have hard evidence to back up my anecdotal evidence, I know that they are being used.
My favorite book of Alex's is Boyfriends with Girlfriends, which tells the story of four teens dealing with growing relationships and friendships, questioning and learning about their sexuality, and trying to find out where they fit.
Which of Alex's books are your favorites? What do your teens think?