LGBT Bullying Front and Center in New Novel
Human Rights Campaign’s 2011 Father of the Year Explores the Effects of Bullying in Debut Novel
Edwards-Stout, who was honored by the Human Rights Campaign as a “2011 Father of the Year”, believes that while campaigns such as Dan Savage’s It Gets Better have done a great job at getting the message out to LGBT youth that, in time, they will discover that life does indeed get better, more needs to be done to deal with the issue immediately, when it occurs. Many of the current campaigns trying to alleviate the problem of harassment, he states, are missing the point. “We can never get rid of bullies. There will always be another,” he notes. “So the question becomes, what can we do about those who suffer at their hands? What tools can we give them? How do we make sure they have every chance to overcome their ordeal and blossom into well-functioning adults? It is our duty to help them not be defined by that moment.”
As Charles Perez, founder of the No Shame Project, a campaign to erase the shame of being gay in America, states, “It’s no longer acceptable to bully someone, reject someone or to fire someone just for being gay. Kids are killing themselves because someone taught them that being gay is so bad, so shameful, that death is a preferable alternative. That has to end.”
Edwards-Stout began writing Songs for the New Depression many years before the media focused on the suicide rate of gay youth. “Even though my high school days are long behind me, I still think of that as a time of terror,” he notes. “Growing up gay can be harrowing, and my belief is that we need to find ways to not only help those who have suffered, but we need to promote the idea that for LGBT people, our growth process does not stop at coming out. Many may think that, after that, they are done. But we need to continue to grow and inspire others, and I tried to communicate that through Gabe’s journey in this book.”
As Perez notes, “Songs for the New Depression is a bold reminder that life, especially in its most difficult moments, is worth living. It is an important book.”
Kirkus Discoveries calls Songs for the New Depression "a distinctively entertaining novel written with moxie and bolstered by pitch-perfect perspectives."
ABOUT KERGAN EDWARDS-STOUT
Kergan Edwards-Stout is an award-winning director, author and screenwriter, and recently published his first novel, Songs for the New Depression, through Circumspect Press. Inspired by his years of working at AIDS Project Los Angeles, as well as the loss of a partner to the disease, Songs for the New Depression takes its readers on a compelling journey to personal awakening.
Shorter works, including essays and short stories, have appeared in such journals and magazines as American Short Fiction and SexVibe. He is honored to have been named by the Human Rights Campaign as a 2011 Father of the Year.
Currently, Kergan lives in Orange, California, and is at work on his forthcoming memoir, Never Turn Your Back on the Tide.
For a full electronic press kit, please go to: http://kerganedwards-