Change can be scary. And in today’s world of ever-evolving language around gender and identity, it can make it hard for someone to ask questions without feeling judged or misunderstood.
In today’s episode, host Calan Breckon opens up the conversation around navigating non-binary with genderqueer author Jason June and what his journey was like and how it now informs his work as a writer.
Together they explore questions like…
- What is Non-Binary and what does it mean to be non-binary?
- What’s the most important thing people need to know about Non-binary and genderqueer people?
- Why do you think we’re experiencing more of a conversation around gender and gender identities in recent years?
- and much more!
After this episode, you’ll have a better understanding of the term Non-Binary and how you can navigate this ever-evolving and growing landscape around gender and identity.
About today’s Guest: Jason June (it’s a two-name first name, like Mary-Kate without the hyphen or the Olsen twin) is a genderqueer writer mermaid who loves to create picture books that mix the flamboyantly whacky with the slightly dark, and young adult contemporary rom-coms full of love and lust and hijinks.
When not writing, JJ zips about Austin, Texas. He loves dinosaurs, unicorns, Pomeranians, and anything magical that takes you to a different world or time. JJ is a tried and true Laura Dern stan, and he is actively looking for an Andalite friend.
Connect with Jason June:
- Website: https://www.heyjasonjune.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heyjasonjune/
- Books: https://www.heyjasonjune.com/books.html
– Connect with us –
All right. Welcome back to another episode of gay men going deeper, a podcast series by the gay men’s brotherhood, where we talk about all things, personal development, mental health, and sexuality. Today, I’m your host Calan Breckon and I have very special guest, Jason June with me. Jason is a gender queer writer mermaid who loves to create picture books that mix the flamboyantly wacky with the slightly dark and young adults,
contemporary romcoms full of love lest and hi-jinks when not writing JJ zips around Austin, Texas. He loves dinosaurs, unicorns Pomeranians and anything magical that takes you to a different world or time. JJ is a tried and true a Laura Dern, Stan, and she is actively looking for an add a light friends. I love the Animorphs reference you got going. And today we’re going to be talking about navigating non binary.
We’re also going to be exploring questions like what is non-binary and what does non-binary mean? Or what does it mean to be non binary? What’s the most important thing people need to know about non-binary and gender queer people. And why do you think we’re experiencing more of a conversation around gender and gender identities in recent years, as well as much, much more this podcast and YouTube channel are the listener and viewer supported.
So if you enjoy what we’re creating, you can support us by heading on over to our Patreon page and contributing to the show. You can also subscribe to the early access option on apple podcasts and gain early access to new episodes. As soon as they come out, all your support helps us to continue making great content for you and supporting our community. And we thank you in advance.
So now onto today’s show a welcome Jason, how are you doing? Good. Good. I’m so excited to be here and this is going to be so fabulous. And just one tiny little mention. My name is Jason June like Mary, Kate, but without the hyphen or the Olsen twins. So it’s a two name, first name, but feel free to also call me JJ,
if, cause I know Jason gins a little out of the ordinary for most nights. I love it. I love the name. I love a good nickname as well, like JJ, JJ. So welcome. I’m so, so excited to be diving into this topic. We’ve not really touched in this topic. We’ve kind of covered a little bit, but I’m really excited to finally be putting out an episode about this.
So to start things off, let’s go on the adventure of Jason and your non-binary adventure of growing up JJs non-binary adventure. Take us on it. I love it. So for me, I knew that I was queer as young as three. I just didn’t have the words to describe it, but I remember watching the little mermaid over and over and over again,
and really being enamoured with king Triton. And then if I was ever picturing myself in this like wedding scenario that you get to the very end of the movie, which is also problematic because Ariel 16, but whatever, that’s a different, I actually thought about that, but yeah, it’s pretty problematic. Yeah. But picturing that future, I never saw myself as the masculine energy in a wedding scenario,
it was always the feminine energy. And I didn’t, yeah. I didn’t know how to pinpoint that. I didn’t know what it was. I was feeling except it just knew what I was gravitating towards. Like to imagine being one of king Tritons daughters and just like basking in this wonderful feminine under the sea palace would have been so magical. And as I grew up that I kept being pulled towards that or kept being kept repeatedly watching things that definitely had queer undertones or very blatant overtones,
like movies like labyrinth with David Bowie and being so enamoured with that bulge in his crotch being like, what is that what’s going on there? Why can I stop thinking about, or things like to Wong foo? I mean, that’s obviously like, so in your face gay, it’s such a Crazy movie that is so Good. It is so good. I love it.
And so it was as time went on, it became more and more obvious that I was gay. And I came out as gay in my senior year of high school. It was in a rural part of Washington state, Eastern Washington. And it was heavily religious the community. A lot of people when they hear Washington state think Seattle, which is very blue and liberal,
but Spokane is only 20 minutes away from Idaho. And it’s way more in line with what you think of Idaho ideologically than what you think of when you think of Seattle. So there was some trepidation coming out, but I was really lucky that I had my parents support. I had my whole family support, my small little farming community high school. There were probably like 80 of us in my class.
They were super supportive minus one guy who made it his mission to tell me that he did not like my lifestyle, but I need to have 79 people out of 80 and be like, we’ve got your back was really unexpected and really, really magical. So that was delightful. But then like coming into my own as a gay person was magical and I eventually moved to west Hollywood and it was just like,
we’re in gay paradise here, but I still didn’t fully feel like I fit in. And so I was trying to be this little muscle twink that you see around west Hollywood. And it was like the more and more I tried to fit that body image, the less and less happy I was. And it went through a whole range of things, just feeling like no matter what I did,
I wasn’t living up to that standard. And it came into like body issues and body dysmorphia. And it wasn’t until I just stopped all of that, like stop the excessive, working out and weightlifting and protein powder consuming and just let my body become this more scrawny, curvy thing that I hadn’t ever seen before and myself that I realized this. Isn’t just some,
some thing it’s like who you are, it’s who you are meant to be. And I really embrace my feminine side and it wasn’t until my thirties that I realized like, and it was because of gen Z creating all these different terms and throwing them into the lexicon that could actually pinpoint how I felt that I realized that I was gender queer and fem and have just really embraced that now in my mid thirties and feel like,
yeah, this is who I was always meant to be. Oh, I love that. I love that journey. I love that people at your school like really support you. Cause I grew up in Vancouver, like in Canada, Vancouver, not too far away. And I’m well aware of like Seattle is great, but then going out anywhere else like that,
my family mostly grew up in Washington state as well. So I’m, I’m very well aware of like how things can be in that part. So I’m glad that you did have support other than, you know, there’s always going to be that one bully, but they just have their own internal stuff that they’re going through and you gotta, you know, from over there,
thank you very much, sir. And I love that, you know, you stop trying to live for other people and that’s when you really found your own authenticity of yourself. So what was that like feeling like going through that transition of being like, fuck it, like, fuck it. Like, what was the wall is the thing that you hit that you were like,
fuck it. My fucking moment was probably, it was about three years ago and it was trying on clothes that are like coded as boy clothes and hating, hating, hating the way that they looked on me. I hate the way specifically jeans that are made for biological men are say they are quote unquote for that, even though I don’t think clothes can have a gender hating the way they sat on my hips and it wasn’t until I grabbed a pair of good old Chloe Kardashians,
good American jeans that are very high-waisted sit above your hip. That I was like, this is how I’ve always fucking wanted jeans to look sorry. It’s not supposed to create No, no, no, no swearing. I know this is a swearing. You have the explicit on every episode. Okay, great, amazing. So I was so fucking happy and those good Americans and it was like,
I don’t, I’m not the first person to try on clothes that have been said that there are for women. But for me it was the first time where it was like, oh wait, no, you can do this. I had always seen male bodied people wearing feminine clothing and being like, God, they look so great. And I’m like, so enamored with their style.
And it wasn’t until that moment that I was like, that is what I’m going to do. That’s like, I’m, I’m just going to be wearing feminine clothing from now on. And it was like a slow and steady progression. It started with those jeans and then it all pants and then heels. And then like any kind of top where it was like,
this is how I want my to look and clothing. And it’s been really exciting and liberating. So it was for, it was from something superficial as fashion, I guess. But that was really the thing that unlocked my confidence in myself. I love that you had your jeans liberation. And I understand that. Cause I literally just got two pairs of jeans delivered and one fits beautifully.
I’m like, yes, these are amazing. And the other ones they’re supposed to be like, not skinny, but like slim and this and that. And I’m like, they’re still so giant and baggy and the button I’m like, these are some people pants like these are bad straight people. I’m going to have to send those back. I love the fashion.
So predominant in the world, everybody wears clothes like, and you know, maybe there’s a couple of places that they don’t, but like for the most part, we live our life by clothes. And so to be able to feel comfortable in those is so important and to not be able to feel authentically yourself, it it’s just, it kills your soul.
It’s like being in the closet, it’s just, it eats away at your soul and you can’t express those things fully. So I’m really curious. What do you feel are what, what is non-binary exactly and what does being non-binary mean to you and your experience? So let’s unpack what non-binary is first for those who are listening to who they might not know.
Yeah. So non-binary just means for a person’s gender identity, they do not identify with either end of the gender binary that we’ve been told. There is there’s a man and woman, and there’s very specific ways that you’re supposed to act based on your genitals and your genitals alone. And so to identify as non-binary means that you don’t fall in that. And that’s not to say that people can not identify with the ends of the spectrum.
Those are still beautiful, wonderful, valid identities. But for someone who uses the term non binary, it means they do not feel like they are, they are emblematic of what either end of that spectrum is quote, unquote, supposed to entail as our society says it. Wow. Okay. Well, thank you. I’ve learned a little something. And then,
so what does that mean for you? Because I also know that you use, he him pronouns. This is where some people can get confused and we’re going to unpack this a little bit later, but you know, you’re non-binary but you still use he him pronouns. And so how does that look for you and your interpretation of it? So that’s also the beautiful and confusing thing about terms like non-binary or gender queer,
which is another term that I use for myself is that there is no one way to be non-binary or gender queer. It just means that you’re not a part of, of those two very specific and limiting options that we are ingrained in us from the womb about how you can act and be so for my non-binary penis, it’s my femininity is the overriding energy in my soul.
And it’s, it’s how I outwardly present. And I use the term non binary because while I still like embrace my male body that I was born with and feel like it is the right body for me, I also really want to embrace the femininity that for so long has been said, I can not be a part of and display myself in a feminine way.
So I still use key him as sort of a tribute to my body, the actual physical attributes that make it up. But I also go by she, her pronouns, if people are picking up on the way I present myself, that there’s a very specific reason why I present this way. It’s because I do identify with feminine energies in general. And she,
her has been coded as feminine in our society. And so when I, when people, when people are referred to me by she, her especially strangers at large, and especially in masks, if you could only see my eyes and above people automatically think I’m a biological woman and that’s totally fine, like I’m presenting this way for a reason. So for me,
that’s my sort of makeup. Why would you use both? He, him and she, her and, and I’m just kind of like, I feel like I, well, I don’t feel like I am on either end of the gender binary. I do feel like I’m in between it somewhere. So sometimes non-binary, doesn’t always feel like the best term for me.
I still use it because I’m just sort of embracing the fact that I’m not on either end, but I do feel like that sense I’m in between that a lot of my buyings Mo a lot of my being still is represented by the images and energies that we have made up in the binary itself. So a lot of times I’ll use gender queer. So as not to,
not to kind of dilute or confuse the message from other people that feel like they’re not a part of the binary at all. And that’s why they use non binaries because they’re trying to be like, I am non in the system, you know? Yeah. And I do love that about the LGBTQ plus community. We do have like, we are the originals being outside the boxes.
And that’s why I think so many of us have been able to explore so many other aspects of ourselves. And it’s, you know, it comes with its big of shit. But the fact that we broke outside of that box, we’re like, well, I’m already outside of the box. I might as well explore other aspects of me. And that’s why so many of these beautiful experiences have been birthed from that because we’ve been the community who says you be yourself.
Like, you know, nobody has it figured out, just go on your journey. And as long as you’re enjoying your journey and you know, you’re not doing anything wrong to anybody else then like have at it have fun. I do think people can get very confused because there are a lot of terms and there are a lot of identities. And I think what people need to know about that is that it’s not about being right about it.
It’s about wanting to get it right. And the intention that’s behind it. So we’re definitely gonna, we’re gonna unpack that a little bit later, but I want to continue on. So what do you feel are the most important things people need to know about non-binary and gender queer people? I think the, you know, and I want to give a caveat to this whole conversation that I am not the expert on that binary and gender queer existences.
That’s okay. Everybody has a different take on it. So this is just one individuals. Exactly. Yeah, exactly. So I think one of the most important things to remember is when you are interacting with the non-binary or gender queer person, don’t put your baggage onto that person. And I know that’s really hard to do because this is a prison house of gender that we have had ingrained in us from birth,
especially people who are older than gen Z, where, because what’s really magical interacting with gen Z people and younger is seeing all kinds of queer people existing in schools, existing colleges, that, and so it seems like way more and more your cis-gender and or straight classmates are exposed to queer experiences and are a little more liberated in that front. But for older than gen Z,
when you’re interacting with somebody who is displaying their gender in a way that you don’t think is traditional to use a lame word, like traditional, give them respect. And don’t put, don’t put the baggage that you’ve got ingrained in your subconscious. And for some people in their blatant conscious who want to like reinforce the very rigid gender roles. Don’t if you expect somebody to be male body,
just from the way that you look at them, don’t get into the nitty-gritty of that. Don’t ask them about like, don’t ask about their very private lives. That really, it should only matter for them, their partners and their doctors, unless they are willing and ready to have that conversation with you because they want to help teach you about new ways of being,
and also respect that these, this person or people that you’re interacting with is saying I’m not a part of the binary. So if you think this person is male bodied or female bodied, don’t unload the baggage of how you think a person with that type of body is supposed to interact and how you’re supposed to interact with them when you’re having that. And that’s kind of a really convoluted way to just say,
come at them from a neutral playing field. Don’t, don’t be that person. You’re like, oh, I think they’re female body. I need to hold the door open for them when you wouldn’t do it for somebody who’s male body do just treat everybody as equal and do that for your cisgender friends too, where it’s like, don’t, there’s a lot of baggage that we have to unlock.
And most of it is subconscious. And I think most people are really well intentioned, but if somebody gently calls you out on it, don’t get defensive and just be like, Hey, this is a great learning moment for everybody involved, you know? Yeah. I love, I love so much of what you just said about don’t put your baggage on other people.
Cause it reminded me of this. I watched Oprah like a hundred years ago and there was a woman who like had lost her memory or something. And she said something along the lines of I’m going to butcher this, but like be responsible for the energy that you bring into the room because she had no filter. And so it was like, whatever you brought to the room,
it was like, I believe you, it’s like, you know, dealing with kids, whatever you say to them, they’re going to believe you because they haven’t developed that part of their brain. And so if you come at life with just respect for all the people you interact with, regardless of what they present as, or who they want to be,
or you know what political party they are, whatever. I always come at life from the angle of, I respect everybody to the point that I’m willing to come to the table to listen to you, to hear you. But that does not mean I will agree with you. And respect does not mean that I will agree with you or that I agree with you.
And I can very much disagree with a lot of things, but I’m still willing as a human being to be capable of having those conversations. Because I think that the world has gone in so many far different directions and like polar opposites that nobody’s willing to come into the middle anymore. And I think having this conversation around gender and gender identity is a non-binary when people get really stuck in those,
you know, far ends of the binaries, they’re like, no, it has to be this way. I just encourage you to kind of take a step back and, you know, get curious as to why you think that way and why you have those beliefs. And if you’re capable of maybe giving yourself that grace in order to be able to come to the table and sit there and be respectful when having these conversations,
because it really doesn’t matter for me. I don’t care who you are, what you present is as long as you know, I know that I can ask you and then you can let me know in a respectful way of like, what are your pronouns? What do you want me to use? And then I try my best. I might not be perfect sometimes,
but I try my best to use that. I think it, a lot of it comes to the intention as well. Right? Completely, completely. I think in my experience in real life, I think there cause you know, online, we know there are terrible, horrible trolls that specifically make it their point to come into your space and tell you that you’re wrong.
But in real life, when I’m interacting with people, the vast majority of the time, everyone has a really good heart and good intentions and just wants to learn, which is really nice. I think for those people that are, so I think there is, there’s kind of two camps of people when they, when you’re talking about this in real life where it’s either,
I’m just so confused and I want to learn more and just like you said, I might get stuck in the way things have been ingrained in me and ha and mess up and everything. And some of the things I might say might sound kind of ignorant, but truly at the heart of it, I’m trying to get better. That’s amazing. And then there’s another camp of people where they’re just,
they cannot get past the obstacle and are of the obstacle of the gender binary and will insist that based on your genitals, you need to act a certain way. And when you call it out to them where it’s like, we’re having this conversation, but you’re the one that’s thinking what’s between my legs. And I’m not thinking about, I’m not thinking about that about you.
That’s usually kind of like this aha moment for well-intentioned people in real life. I’ll say you can, you can have really logical, perfectly clear explanations online and it’s not gonna work right in real life when you’re like, listen, your thinking about my deck right now, and I’m not thinking about yours, or I’m not thinking about your vagina, who should we really be examining here as the quote,
unquote, you know, wrong person or perverted person or whatever, terrible. Where do you want to put on that? It’s not me because I’m not the one that’s obsessed with other people’s genitals, it’s you. Right. And I think this is ties perfectly into what Bernay brown always says. She says, I’m here to get it right. Not to be right.
And I think people who are stuck in those binaries want to be right and maybe they’ve come up with a, you know, they, they got energy from being right and like being right, played something in their life. It’s like, you know, the winning concept, like if I’m right, I’m winning and like they have to win at life and they get stuck in that energy and wanting to get it right.
Is more about being curious and being open. And even if I’m showing up and I’m getting it wrong, I’m still showing up and I’m trying to get it right. And that, I think a lot of people in today’s world, especially the keyboard warriors are missing the concept of genuine, genuinely trying and just, you know, showing up to the conversation in a open and honest way.
And I think that this really plays well into the next question, which is non-binary, isn’t new. It’s been around for like generations. Why do you think we’re experiencing more of a conversation around gender identities in recent years? You’re so right. It is not new. Like it’s literally been around for millennia. The term might’ve been different, not non-binary, but there have always been people that are outside of,
or within the gender spectrum and the gender binary. And that’s so magical. I think right now we’re having a lot of conversation about it because in our, in our recent past, the, the gender binary has been enforced so rigidly that it reached a breaking point and that probably timed in with the invention of social media and getting to have all walks of life.
All of a sudden like blasted out worldwide. And people are saying, there are so many other ways to live and there’s young queer kids or, or closeted queer people or who are out in queer, but no, there other gets to their queerness that they haven’t unlocked yet that are seeing people live their true, authentic selves and giving them an example of how they could be living,
which is what happened for me, seeing all these other people live their femme fantasy, being like, this is what I need to be doing. And I think that’s our, we’re having this conversation now that, I mean, like, you know, a couple of hundred years ago, the manliest men wore huge powdered wigs, potted their face for the back row and wore chunky heels everywhere.
And that was like, you were a manly powerful man and that’s very feminine by today’s standards. And so in, you know, since the advent of our country and specifically the, the United States of America experienced everything was it’s either this or that. And you are either one of the two you’re a man or a woman you’re free, or you’re a slave. And it’s like,
that’s, that’s the founding of America is, are Democrat Or you’re a Republican Or right. Or whatever the parties were when the country first started. It’s like you’re either, or, and we’re going to really enforce that. And in order to change the either, or there’s huge amounts of upheaval and like, and we see that through the history of America that it’s like in order to get out of the,
this or that, there’s gotta be some kind of like revolutionary thinking and revolutionary moment. And right now I think we’re having this sort of revolution of gender that’s going on because of the internet specifically where it’s like, we’ve always existed, but we haven’t been able to see each other exist outside of our little bubbles. And sometimes we made safe little queer bubbles in specific cities,
but now we’re connected worldwide. And now we’re seeing multitudes of ways of existing that are just so beautiful and wonderful. And, and we’re reaching this golden age. Like for me, I’m an author. And I think we’re in this golden age of queer books where we’re getting books that represent all kinds of letters of the beautiful rainbow alphabet soup, all kinds of gender identities,
all kinds of races, all kinds of religions and socioeconomic classes. And because we’re thriving like that, that’s why we’re seeing this increased attack on our experience as people who are insisting on the gender binary and these really rigid rules are coming at us hard because they’re seeing us thrive so much right now. And then, you know, they’re scared of that. Yes.
Which is perfect because change tends to scare people. The current conversation around gender and gender norms is, you know, no different. So how can someone who wants to be progressive support their loved ones without letting the fear of getting it wrong, hold them back. Like how can people be supportive and respectful while discussing these topics? I think one of the first things that you can do that is also like,
sort of maybe feels a little more safe, is pick up a book about, and by a queer person that is outside of your experience, because you’re just reading the pages. And you’re just learning about that person from their point of view in the book. And it’s totally like you get to digest it. You get to think of it in your own terms and on your own time.
And the more books you read outside of your experience that are specifically in the queer experience will help open your mind a little more and give you a little bit more vocabulary or a little bit more knowledge of different communities that then when you’re ready to take that step to having like an audible, actual conversation with another person, you already have a little bit of knowledge.
And I think for me, at least it’s always a great moment where at the beginning of any conversation, if you can just acknowledge, Hey, I don’t know a lot about your experience and I want to do better. I’m trying to learn more. So if there’s anything I say that’s wrong or hurtful, please, correct me. And let me know.
And I think just saying that, please correct me and let me know. And coming at it from a true, genuine spot and not getting defensive will open so many doors and allows you allows you the grace from that other person, or at least when you’re talking with me for you to screw up and for you to mess up. And even if you say something that I think is,
whoa, we really need to unpack that. It’s I already know you want to be a better person and you want to really accept me and feel like you can be there for me. So we’re going to unpack this and this isn’t going to be about attacking you. It’s going to be about like pinpointing the spots where, what you’re saying or how you’ve previously led your life.
Maybe could be hurtful to somebody else. And we’re on this journey together to make it better, you know? Yes. Getting curious, opens the door for having these kinds of conversations. And it’s the difference between somebody who maybe wants to learn, but doesn’t have the language around it. And so they say something to somebody and then that person then takes it as an attack.
And so then they come back attacking because both people’s backs are now up against the wall and they’re like, well, I’m going to come back at you. And it’s learning to lead with the curiosity of being like, I’m probably going to get this wrong, but I want to ask some questions because even those like that simple thought process of like, I’m going to fuck it up,
just know you’re going to fuck it up. Nobody’s perfect. And it’s okay. But I think we have this built in idea that you have to be perfect, that we have to be perfect and no human being is perfect. And so if you let yourself off the hook with that and lead with curiosity, you’re going to be way more open to learning.
And I love, love, love that you said to read books because that’s one of the best ways that I’ve learned. Like that’s how I’ve learned everything in my life is by reading. And I made a promise to myself during when the pandemic started is like, okay, I’ve not really ever read queer books. I’m to read LGBTQ based books through the pandemic.
Cause I really want to learn more about my community, but I also want to read books that are relevant to me and my experience. And at first it was really uncomfortable to read a sexy between two guys. Like I was like, why am I so uncomfortable about this? And it was, Yeah, because I never been experienced to it in that manner before.
And I was like, okay, well I need to unpack this for myself. But then the more that I read it, the more normalized it in my own mind. And I’m a very out and proud gay man. I’ve ran. Non-profits like, I am here on queer, get used to it. So books really are an avenue that you can take that are just so gentle and easy that nobody else needs to know that you’re doing it.
That it can just introduce you to so many more of these concepts that you can go. Ah, I get that aha moment to lead you to that place where you do have these conversations like you were saying. So I think that that is so beautiful and so amazing. And that also leads perfectly into the next topic, which is how has your experience influenced the writing that you do?
It always gives me a little seeds of, of a story, but then the vast majority of the rest of it is fiction. So like with Jay’s gay agenda, my first young adult novel, it was following Jay who was the only out queer kid in his rural Eastern Washington high school. Which, I mean, that was my experience. I was the only out queer kid in my roll high school.
But then from there, the, the sequence of events is very different from my life versus my characters lives. But I always tried to explore some facet of life that I think is relatable for the queer experience for some people within the queer community. So like with J so many of us know what it’s like to be the only out person and feel like we are kind of behind our straight classmates in terms of relationship milestones.
Because when you’re the only out one, how do, how do you hand hold and kiss and date when nobody is out to say they want to do that? So you could be like, Jay is senior in high school and still feel like you’re in middle school because you haven’t even had, you haven’t even held somebody’s hand romantically before, or with my new book out of the blue.
I think a lot of queer people have as part of their identity love for a place. And whether that’s because you grew up somewhere that you really, really loved and embraced, and that’s a part of you or it’s because you grew up somewhere that didn’t embrace you. And then you found a city that did, and that becomes a part of you. We,
we bodily, we have physical reactions to being in this physical space that we love. And then we can meet a person or people that we fall in love with. And either they have to move away because of, because of jobs or school or whatever, or they, you meet them away from where you live, but fall in love for them there.
And we have these kind of conflicting, loves of love for a place and love for a person. And how do we make these, how do we make these, if we literally can’t be with both at the same time. And so that’s kind of what I’m exploring and out of the blue through crest, who’s a Mer person and they literally have to choose between going back into the ocean forever or staying on land forever.
And is, is this cute guy they’ve fallen for and their time on land enough to override the love for their home, but they’ll never be able to go back to, and it’s those little like seeds of my life experience that, that, that find their way into my books. Oh, I love that. I love, I love that you’re bringing it all the goodness of the queer books to the world and all that kind of stuff.
So I want to talk a little bit about this coming out of, for you said something like, you know, gays don’t come out at the same time. We don’t experience the same dating life. As you know, straight people. They get to do that all through like school and middle school and high school. And like, we kind of have to wait until after we come out,
which is sometimes after high school. And I want to speak to that experience of like being older gay men. And when they come out, because I’ve worked with people who were in their sixties and coming out, and they’re kind of having this Renaissance where they are finding a little out to go to the club and like go out and have fun and take their shirt off and do all this.
And that can come with judgment from the gay community of being like, who’s this old man doing this. And I think people need to take a step back and realize that, like, we don’t have the same sexual journey that heteronormative people have. We don’t except to do that through school. So if you see somebody doing that for me, I always focus on like,
you get yours, you go girl, because I’m just happy that this is a person who finally gets to embrace their truth and their story and whatever negativity and stuff you got going on inside of you. Maybe it’s time that you get a therapist and talk about that because I’m getting really tired of people just attacking other people, like grow up, get a therapist,
do the work, figure it out. There’s lots of community programs and other things out there where it doesn’t have to be expensive. And I just, I just want to say that, cause I need to say that because you said that we don’t have that. Is, is there maybe a story about that eventually done your future exploring that? Well, you know,
first I totally agree that it’s like, it’s, there’s no one right way or time to come out or each on our own journey. And so to, to judge when somebody else felt safe, enough to come out is, is not yours to judge that’s. There is to figure out when is there a right time. So I’m totally in agreement on that.
And same, I know many, many, many people that have come out in their late thirties or beyond because for whatever circumstances they were in, it just wasn’t right. And it just wasn’t safe. And the best thing we could do is be so supportive of them when they finally feel safe enough to enter a big, wonderful queer family out in crowd.
That’s so magical. But then about a story that’s been, what’s really great about Jay is his in Jay’s gay agenda. His kind of delayed in his mind, even though he comes out, he comes out in freshman year, but since he’s not of high school, but since there’s nobody, no other out person to have these relationship milestones with, he doesn’t get that until he’s 18.
And so he feels so far behind and that’s what the whole story is exploring how we can kind of rush into catching up with everybody else. When we finally, when we finally get to be out and around other out people and date and have sex and be romantic and physical for the first time. And that was really fun to kind of explore the messiness of that when we,
when we kind of jump in head first to have all those experiences without kind of slowing down and taking a minute to enjoy the ride and to make sure that everyone else that’s involved in this brand new sexual and romantic awakening is, is also at the same pace that also wants to go that fast or that slow and all that. So, yeah, it’s,
it’s a really, it’s a really interesting aspect that I think so many of us have when we finally get to come out and like embrace ourselves. Yes, yes. And I love that. I’m really curious. What’s your experience been being, you know, gender queer non-binary and being an author. And there is this kind of Renaissance of queerness in books,
which is, I, I love it. I’m watching it, I’m following it, but it’s still very, very fresh. What is it like working with in that world and how have you been received in the quote unquote traditional publishing world? And what does that landscape now look like? Or what’s it starting to look like? It’s been a really great journey in terms of both the acceptance of other queer authors that are currently making work right now.
And my Partner, Robbie couch, who was on the podcast. It’s so amazing. So amazing. And his new book blame for the wind is so good. It’s like a queer legally blonde. It’s so cute. I love it. But that’s one of the things that I really loved about the queer community is it feels like everyone’s trying to look out for our own and make sure that debut authors are feeling safe and supported.
And then as we’re continuing on the journey that we’re all in constant communication with each other, and most of it’s just online, like the vast majority of my colleagues, I’ve never even met in real life, but I just adore their work and feel like our books have a conversation with each other, even though they’re in separate universes. And so that’s been really,
really, really great, especially during this time where we’re seeing so many book bands, that we’re all trying to figure out ways that we can get our books into the hands of the queer readers who really need them the most and how we can fight back against book bands. It’s been, it’s weird to say that’s been nice in such a strange, horrifying time,
but it’s at least nice to know that we have each other’s backs in this time and that we’re not fighting this fight alone. We’re doing it with each other. And then from the publishing side, it’s been really awesome that like every time, like when I pitched Jay’s gay agenda to my publisher, they were like, we love this title. They didn’t push back about having a potentially controversial phrase,
like gay agenda and the title. They were so on board for it. And they originally signed me when I was under my old name of Jason gal, her before I had become into my gender queer self and changed my name to Jason June. And when I had the name change, they were like, yep, we’re on board. There was not even a second of like,
what do you mean? How do we do this? They’re like amazing. We’re so excited for you. And they’ve been really, really, really lovely. And they know every time they get a new pitch for me, that it’s going to be very, very gay and they are always like super jazzed about it, which I love. I love hearing that.
I love hearing that the traditional publishing world is at least for your experience, has people in its realms that are like, Nope, it’s time we’re making this happen. Because I think it is so overdue to have like a gay Lord of the rings or a gay, you know, like bros, the movie bros is coming out. I’m looking forward to it where it’s just so true and authentic where it’s just like,
no gays do live different lives. We are not the same people, but we can still appreciate and value those people. It doesn’t mean like I watch straight movies. It doesn’t mean a lot. It’d be strange. I value it, but it’s not my journey, but I could still enjoy the entertainment of it. Exactly. And like fire island comes out today.
I think Joel Kim booster and Bowen, Yang’s new romcom on Hulu. I’m so excited to watch it. That’s the thing is we need stories in all mediums of art to that explore the queer experience from queer creators so that we can show like we do just like you said, we do live different lives. We have common tropes that are common for the queer experience that you might not understand or get in the straight world.
And that’s okay. You don’t have to understand or get them, but let us have our art where we do and we can celebrate it and, and laugh at it and cry with it. And just like have the best time having all these emotions evoked in us, which is the whole point of art. And I’m just so excited about that. And I hope that despite all the crap that constantly gets flung at us,
like the things like these censorship and banning efforts that, that the big capitalist conglomerates who are picking this stuff up, keep picking it up and understand that even if the audience might not be as big or whatever for a gay specific work yet, exactly. That it doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. And it doesn’t mean that you still can’t make a shit ton of money off of it.
You know what I mean? Yes. I wrote down a word, I circled it here is visibility. And I think that this perfectly wraps up our whole conversation here today because visibility really is the key to a lot of these things that we’ve been discussing. If visibility is the key to the conversations, visibility is the key to understanding visibility’s the key to curiosity.
Visibility is how you started your journey of seeing other people doing it. And so I think it’s just so important that we’re providing these or being provided these platforms, but also providing these platforms to people so that they can be visible so that somebody else out there, you know, listening or watching can look and go, oh, I resonate with that. Something they said really sits with me and,
and want to explore that. And I think that more, it gets more, it gets more. And that’s what social media has brought for us is it’s brought this visibility, which is why we’re having all the conversations, which is why the polar opposites are coming out. Because you know, people get really scared about change, but it’s the only inevitable thing in life.
Life is constantly changing. So either you can get on board with change and learn how to live with it, or you can push against it, but it’s still going to happen anyways. Right? Exactly. It’s still gonna happen. And it’s like, it doesn’t matter how many books you ban it. Doesn’t all of a sudden make it so poor people don’t exist because the book is not in the library anymore.
We’re still here. And so we’re constantly going to be creating things for ourselves and for the world. And it’s like, this is a it’s might be a tough battle, but it’s going to be a losing battle for the people that are trying to squelch our existence. It’s like, we, we can not be squelched. That’s Right. Oh my goodness.
This has been such a lovely conversation. Just kind of navigating the ins and outs of like gender queer non-binary and all of the good stuff with it. If people are curious, where can they find out more information about JJ? You can go to my website, Hey, Jason, june.com or on any social media platform. I’m at K Jason June, except for Facebook,
because I don’t like Facebook, but I’m on all the other ones. Amazing. Amazing. And then what are the, you have two books, correct? Yeah. So my debut young adult novel came out last year at JSK agenda about a very type a Virgo list-maker who, when he’s finally around other queers gets to knocking off all the items on his romance to do list,
but he calls his gay agenda and all that hilarity and shenanigans and mess ups that happened with that. And then my new book that came up this week that I’m so excited about is out of the blue. And it’s sort of a gay reimagining of splash or the little mermaid where a Mer person comes on shore for the first time and falls in love with a cute lifeguard when they fake date.
And it just, I really love it so much. Oh, I love that. Perfect. So if you’re listening and you’re curious and you want to start learning more highly suggest getting the books and just peeking around. Cause they always refer like other books. If you’re on like at the Amazon store, they always recommend the other books go and peek around and see maybe there’s other ones that also call out to you that you’re like,
oh, I maybe I’ll look here maybe over there. So thank you so much for being on today’s show. I am so excited for this to come out and we will catch you next time. Peace leverage. Great. I want to say to listeners, if you’ve enjoyed today, please give us a thumbs up on YouTube. If you’re watching over there and hit subscribe and hit the bell,
it’ll remind you when we release new episodes, every Thursday, you can also give us a star rating on apple iTunes, or also Spotify to start ratings. Now we would really appreciate that and leave us comments. We love reading them out before episodes and we love hearing for you. So that’s it for today’s show. We’ll hope you enjoyed it. Bye everybody.