Solidarity Week and MAN UP: A Search for Community and Acceptance
GLSEN’s (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Solidarity Week and the upcoming six month anniversary of my debut YA novel, MAN UP, seems like a good time to giveaway a copy of the book. MAN UP takes place in a high school where the solidarity is present but not always obvious. Some characters are very loud about their support while others are subtler. As the main character, David, navigates his coming out he gradually becomes aware that he is not the only one searching for acceptance. There’s the new girl at school, David’s unemployed dad, David’s (secret) boyfriend, and a teammate who becomes an unexpected ally.
The solidarity comes from a variety of places: a GSA meeting, a support group, an understanding teacher, a friend willing to listen, a teammate who takes a chance.
When I co-founded the GSA at the high school where I used to work, the first meeting had over thirty students attend. I was not only happy to provide a space for students who needed it but also see there were students who wanted to provide support as well. The GSA sponsor in MAN UP is named after my co-sponsor, Mrs. Katie Larson, who was the one to spearhead the cause and get the ball rolling. I guess she was the first person to encourage me to not just be an ally but active.
A GSA is not the only way to be an ally or express solidarity but it is where my activism grew. In honor of Solidarity Week, the real Ms. Larson, and all the kids across the country who are searching for a place to make them feel less alone, consider how you provide solidarity. How do you “show up” for someone? It doesn’t have to be something big like organizing a rally. It can be as small as listening to someone. As David learns and many can confirm, a seemingly small act can have a very big effect.
Thank you so much to author Kim Oclon for sharing this lovely guest post in honor of Solidarity Week. Be sure to check out my review of Man Up (and what gift I’d pair with it) as well as try your chance at winning a copy of Man Up on Instagram (U.S. only).
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