It was now or never, and the idea of never hurt too much…
Seventeen-year-old Arthur Jensen has never kissed another boy. The small town he lives in thrives on gossip, and he has enough problems fitting in being Jewish and mainly fatherless.
Then handsome, muscular Mitch moves in next door. For the first time ever, Arthur decides to pursue an actual relationship. At first the boys keep it to themselves, but soon that isn’t enough for Arthur. Mitch is afraid to come out, but Arthur can’t stand to keep their relationship in the closet. When the boys decide to declare their love openly, the whole school turns on them in ways they never expected.
They just wanted to be happy. That was their “sin”.
Author Stephanie Silberstein has utilised her considerable talents to create the novel Shades of Gay, an engaging work of sensitivity, compassion and humanity.
Shades of Gay is described by Silberstein as a young adult novel, written specifically for LGBT teens, which features three teenagers caught up in a love triangle of sorts: Arthur, who is gay; Mitch, who is bisexual; and Emily, who is asexual.
The novel is told from Arthur’s point of view, and examines the effects of homophobia on LGBT teen’s lives, as well as delving into coming-of-age issues such as leaving home and holding onto friendships for longer than appropriate.
Author, Stephanie Silberstein, created Shades of Gay in response to a close friend’s struggle to accept her orientation. The novel is intended to support LGBT teens who may be feeling isolated and/or suicidal and 10% of the novel’s profits will go to support the Trevor Project.
Stephanie told me:
My main interest as an LGBT advocate is in suicide prevention. My best friend nearly committed suicide, in the summer of 2008, because of non-acceptance of her sexual orientation. Even at times when she was not acutely suicidal, she was suffering and hurting.There are many ways to make a difference, many methods to repair the world. It’s not necessarily about writing a book and it’s not even about waving a placard or marching in a parade, unless that’s your style. Instead, it’s about finding the correct method of communication for you.
Nobody should be in that kind of pain just because they don’t happen to be heterosexual.
I decided to write my novel, Shades of Gay, in honor of her struggles. It is for her and for all the people who still suffer from depression/suicidal thoughts and impulses because of being LGBT.
Somewhere along the way, I learned that her situation is not at all uncommon; in fact, 1 out of 3 suicides are LGBT related. At this point, I realized my mission was bigger than writing a book for LGBT young adults. I wanted to dedicate my life to lowering the suicide rate in the LGBT community.
This issue has become even more important to me now because I’m realizing that it is not a ‘hot button” issue like many of the legal issues we are dealing with. I believe this issue is just as important and needs as much press time/advocacy time as marriage equality. Our community is losing members to suicide on a daily basis. My mission is to change that.
We must ALL find the strength, resolve and determination to lead and influence the change we want to see, to bring hope to those who have none.
As Stephanie Silberstein says, “I live by the principle of Tikkun Olam. God calls Jewish people to repair the world. According to the Kaballah, when we do mitzvot (good deeds), we reclaim the lost pieces of God. In addition, on a personal level, I feel my life has meaning when I have helped and/or positively affected others. So I strive to make people’s lives better and by so doing make the world a little better”.