Wednesday, May 16, 2018

DRAG PROM FAQs for THIS WEEKEND!


We've had a few questions via email regarding this weekend's DRAG PROM! We can't believe its finally here! At any rate, we've put together a list of what we think may be questions you have or have already asked us! 
  1. Q: Do I have to pay to come to the event? 
    • A: No, like most things that happen at the library, this is a FREE EVENT.
  2. Q: Is it required that attendees dress in drag? 
    • A: No, you can absolutely come as yourself! If you change your mind, we'll have plenty of materials to fit the persona-clothes and makeup, you envision. 
  3. Q: Do I have to be queer/LGBTQIA+ identifying to attend the prom? 
    • A: No, as long as you're a teen from 12 to 19, that respects and considers yourself an ally to the queer community, you're more than welcome to attend! 
  4. Q: Will there be food and drinks at the event? 
    • A: Yes, we'll have food and drinks for people to enjoy. 
  5. Q: Can I come to the event late? 
    • A: Yes, you can show up late, but you cannot leave and come back to the prom. 
  6. Q: Are middle schoolers welcome to attend? 
    • A: Yes, middle schoolers are more than welcome to attend! 
  7. Q: Are teens outside of Arlington allowed to come to prom? 
    • A: Yes, absolutely! We want teens to meet new teens and enjoy an alternative prom experience. 
  8. Q: Will there be adults at the prom? 
    • A: Yes, there will chaperones that have had background checks for the event. 
  9. Q: Where is Drag Prom being held? 
  10. Q: Will the Drag King and Queen do a number for everyone? 
    • A: Yes! They will do an opening sequence as well as a performance during the prom.
  11. Q; Can I just come to dance? 
    • A: Yes, absolutely. We've got a solid DJ to help you have a fantastic time! 
  12. Q: Will there be a photographer? 
    • A: Yes, there will be a professional photographer that will be there to take 'prom pics' for teens! The pics will be uploaded to a private online gallery.
  13. Q: Will I need to bring a date?
    • A: No date necessary! You're more than welcome to come stag or with friends! 
If you have other questions, please feel free to reach out and contact us! We'll be here, and we're happy to make this queer prom season wonderful! 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Needle SORT OF Recommends 'Jaya and Rasa' by Sonia Patel

Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story by Sonia Patel


This retelling of Romeo and Juliet is about two teens living in Hawaii. Rasa is of mixed race, the daughter of a neglectful prostitute and forced to delve into prostitution herself after she was raped at a very young age just to keep her and her younger siblings alive, and when she and her siblings are put into foster care, she ends up under the control of a manipulative, violent pimp. Jaya is an Indian, transgender boy from a wealthy family that, despite looking like the perfect family from the outside, is being destroyed by his father’s cheating and his mother’s eating disorder. The characters meet and feel an instant attraction, are kept apart by their families/pimps, you get the idea.  

Jaya and Rasa is one of those books that’s just chock-full of diversity: while many authors (and especially filmmakers) seem to believe that “diverse traits” can only appear one at a time and are mutually exclusive, this book does NOT have that problem. Now, I’m about to start talking about what I didn’t like: if you already are planning on reading this book, please do and skip along to the last paragraph. I’m almost afraid to jinx it by typing this but… I think Patel went just a little TOO above and beyond with her diversity quota. The story feels rushed and the characters underdeveloped: they are supposed to be 16 or 17 but unfortunately Patel’s immature writing ends up portraying them in an unsophisticated and immature light. In my opinion, she would have done her characters more justice by focusing less on making her book a poster child for diversity through tons of cliched, textbook situations of abuse, mental illness, and general bad situations. Instead, I wish she’d taken the time to develop her characters as people, as teenagers, with more original, nuanced, and deep representations of the effects of horrible life situations.  

But the truth is, I don’t want to bash this book and I still think you should read it. Unfortunately, we still struggle to see tabooed real-life issues in media, and it’s incredibly important to have book and movie characters that help reflect issues that teens all over might face, and start the conversation about these topics that will hopefully lead to support and understanding for victims of abuse, sex trafficking, neglect, racism, homo- and transphobia, eating disorders, and the many other problems people still fight against daily but are rarely discussed in the media. So yes, Jaya and Rasa was far from perfect as a novel, but I still support it because of the topics it deals with and the ever-present need for more books that aren’t afraid to deal with hard topics. 

WARNINGS: This book is very dark and deals heavily with sexual and physical abuse, rape, homo- and transphobia, eating disorders, attempted suicide, and neglect. If you are particularly sensitive about these things this book might not be for you.