Welcome to the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia! Today kicks off my second round on this Hop, and it’s good to be back! Last year was amazing, and I hope to see many rainbows this week! The Hop runs from May 17-24, and it looks like a great turnout again! Much love and support are to be had!


Last year, I wrote a piece called Always Keep Fighting, which you can find by clicking on the link. In the last twelve months, much has happened in my life, both good and bad, but one very important thing happened only last month on my birthday.

I came out to my family in Texas.

My plans were to do it over the Christmas 2015 break, on a vacation I wanted to take so badly to see them—I’d not seen my parents in over three years. I wrote a mockup of how it’d go and called it Glittering Soul. I felt like a walking open wound, nerves raw and infected. I worried that all the building I’d done on my relationship with them over the last fifteen years was soon to be swirling down the drain, that I’d be truly alone.

My plans fell through when HR didn’t approve my vacation in time, which began a new wait… ye gods, that was killer for me. I’d already been waiting since October, when I’d made the vow to be honest, to never keep myself a secret ever again. The bout of depression I’d been swimming through prior to the holidays grew worse, and on the morning of the seventh (I think) of January, I found myself losing the battle of the day before the day had really even started. It was a Rise Against and Hozier day, and as I was getting ready for work, all I could see was how bad I was, and for a plethora of reasons. I’m almost forty-one. I’m not one of the beautiful people. I’m not successful. My writing is mediocre at best. I’m hidden (or is it hiding?) in the basement of my best friend’s house.  I’m never going to be more than this. To top it off, I’m all alone. Still. Come out or not, I’ve no-one to share it with and I’ll probably never find her.

Sound familiar?

[Digressing for a moment, on Memorial Day of 2015, I decided that I wanted to make and be my own anti-depressant, so I designed a tattoo based on three things: blood and fire, Winchesters, and Within Temptation. Their translation is below:

20150529_133332(left forearm)

My anti-depressant works quite well. On good days, it makes me smile because I know I’m strong, I know I’m a “fire sign, man, a fire sign!” and so I burn hot, and I know I can keep going… and I know how far I’ve come. On bad days, it pisses me off because why the hell did I put some stupid symbol on my body forever? Why the hell did I choose that one? Stupid logo. You’re such a stupid person, why the hell should I keep fighting? And scars? My scars are ugly and that’s why—why the hell did I put that there?!

Yeah, it works pretty well, I’d say!]

Going back to what I was saying, that day, I was wishing like hell I’d put it somewhere I couldn’t see it. The day was a normal day, but for my mental state. Nothing spectacular or terrible about the shift. I came home, ate my dinner and watched my Winchesters, trying desperately to draw strength from the brothers, and I saw a comment on Facebook from my friend Anna—“Oh, David…”—and what little positivity I had gleaned from my little happy place took a flying leap off a cliff.


If there’s one thing I’ve always had to keep me somewhat sane, it was music… and David started it, he rescued me when I was twelve with his Heroes and Never Let Me Down albums. Losing him was horrendous for me, and coupled with all my terrible what-if’s… I spiraled for an almost unbearable three months.

The week before I left on vacation, I spoke with one of my friends. Her girlfriend lives with her and they’ve been together for years. I asked them both about coming out, and my friend said hers was nothing. Her girlfriend’s was a different story, one many of us know all too well, one ending with her not speaking with them anymore. I remembered in that moment, my best friend’s advice from way back: “tell them when you know you can exist without them, because you might have to.”

I did what I could to prepare, but the environment Texas is currently in, politically, made things rough. I traveled at night, so the morning would be long. I made it through Easter and the next morning, my mother took me to lunch at my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in Grapevine. I didn’t plan for the conversation to be right then, but after the server took our drink order, my thoughts drifted to “what if I told her here?” and I guess she picked up on it, because she asked me, “What is it?”

I must’ve blanched. I felt my heart move up into my throat and I think I could hear it. My mouth went dry. I felt my eyes sting. I rambled. “Well, I… I want to talk to you about something. I mean, I need to—I’ve wanted to for a long time—I-I-I—”

My mother’s face broke into an expression of concern. “Just say it. You’ll feel better.”

I knew she knew then. I knew it. Didn’t she? “You do know… don’t you?” is all I could manage. The tears in my eyes blurred my vision as I mentally begged all my gods that I wasn’t about to lose her. Not her. Not my mother.

She furrowed her brow. “That you’re gay?”

I blinked, sniffled, and nodded. “Yeah.”

“I’ve known for a long time. I’ve just been waiting on you to tell me.” She smiled at me. “You know, I’m always going to love you and I’m always going to be proud of you. Do you have a girlfriend?”

(screenshots of the text I sent my best friend just minutes after we left the restaurant)

Over the course of the next three days, I experienced much the same reaction with my grandmother, my little brother, and even my father. None of the hatred I expected to be subjected to, came from any direction when I came out of my Texas closet… and as I was flying home, I realized one very important thing: it shouldn’t be like that.

I shouldn’t have to worry about what I wear—I should be able to wrap myself in a Pride flag and run down the street if I wanna, or wear my NO HATE IN MY STATE Texas shirt, or just one of my AKF shirts. It shouldn’t be an issue of If I wear it, will I get attacked? Secondly, I shouldn’t have to worry that I’m going to lose my family because I love someone. Something my daddy said to me when I spoke to him really sticks out. He said, “The greatest command the Lord gives us is to love one another and the second greatest command is to never judge. How can I follow His commandments and not love you? How can I follow His commandments and shut you out because you love someone? I am not the Judge, He is. I am your father, and I couldn’t live with myself if I hurt you for loving someone.”

I never intended to ramble on this long. I never intended to do anything but assure you that we are here for you. The end should never be your answer. Your fight should continue until you cannot fight anymore and then your cry for help will draw our community to your aid. Love is love, remember?

Another thing to remember? YOU ARE NEVER ALONE! I love you. We all do. One day, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia—I hope those will be a thing of the past. Until then, I stand with you, beside you, and I’m proud of you.


You are worth it. Your life… it’s beautiful! Your song… it’s perfect. Live on the breath of a hope… your spaceship knows which way to go. I promise.

20160412_191404 B

M. LeAnne Phoenix, 17 May 2016

Follow the Hop!
Follow the Hop!



I remember the first time I ever thought about taking my own life.

I was eighteen. I had just gone through the most traumatic event I’d ever been through and I had to go to prom not twelve hours later. I knew that if I told anyone what had happened, they’d never believe me and so I didn’t… and prom is still—twenty odd years later—kind of a blur. I mean, I remember the big moments, but not the stuff I wish I remember… I don’t remember talking to my best friends, and I barely remember what one of them wore. I only remember my prom dress because it was a good day with my mom and because I wore it a few times afterwards to The Church, a goth club in Dallas, Texas. Everything of that day was overshadowed by the fact that I couldn’t think about anything but what had happened that night, and truth be told, I still have problems when I think about it.

So let’s set a few things straight on the outset. Number One: I’m a gay woman and I’ve known that I was gay for a long time. Number Two: I was raised in a very Christian household located in the buckle of the Bible belt (Texas). Number Three: I came out quite hesitantly in 2008, in Las Vegas, Nevada… but I am still not out to my family in Texas.

Coming out, for anyone, is not an easy thing to do. I don’t think it’d be any easier for someone who had the perfect circumstances versus someone who didn’t. You come out twice, really—once to yourself and once in some public fashion. I remember standing in my bathroom, staring in the mirror like the nice book suggested, and saying those words. I am gay. Do you know how hard it is to get around the programming? For me, it was 33 years of it… and so looking myself in the eye to say those three words—I am gay—was emotional. It’s surreal to look back, only seven years later, and see how hard it was for me

… and then I think about what it must be like to have been Leelah or Cameron or Taylor, to inherently know that you were born in the wrong body. To wake up every morning knowing that the bullying you’ll get at school won’t just be over a stupid club thumb (true) or because you’re fat (true), but because the kids at school have been raised by bigots. To know that when you come home, you face more of the same.

To know that you have nowhere to go to feel safe, and loved, and needed.

It breaks my heart to think about these children, these wonderful and beautiful children, who feel so very, very alone—as I did when I was their age—and who also endure so much. It breaks my heart because I didn’t think it was possible to live through it, but I did. I had an amazing friend named Rhonda held me tight  and talked me down in the wee hours of the morning after prom. I think that the only reason I made it through is because of my two best friends, Rhonda and Holly. Support is a necessity! Without it, I wouldn’t be here writing this post.

The National Suicide Hotline posts frequently on Facebook and whenever I see the ads, I share them immediately. I also share the messages from organizations like To Write Love on Her Arms, The Trevor Project, and It Gets Better; I share them because it does get better. Easier? Only because you become practiced at it and you realize exactly how much you can take… and because you do find friends that become family. You grow, and you grow stronger with each day that passes and each new obstacle you face. You bloom and you grow some more. You get better and as you get better, life gets better. You don’t get over it, but you get through it. Each day, you go through this process and each day, you get to the end and realize that you made it.

The key to it all is this: you may think you don’t have someone to be your champion, but you do. You have YOU and you are STRONG. You are BEAUTIFUL. You are AMAZING. You are WORTH IT. Bigots will always exist and they will always try to chip away at you, but YOU can weather them. YOU can do something they don’t want you to do and that’s LIVE.

And remember this: WE LOVE YOU. Even if you don’t take away anything else from my post, read these words over and over and over until you know them and you can hear us saying them to you: WE LOVE YOU. We love you for all of what you consider to be your weaknesses and for every single solitary strength you possess. We love you because you are YOU. Perfect and wonderful you and we will ALWAYS love you and we will ALWAYS fight for you. Family does not stop with blood and you are family.

So never give up. Never give in. Always keep fighting because you are worth fighting for, and this life of yours—it is worth fighting for! I will keep fighting—for you and for me and for all our brothers and sisters.


I am including in my post the specs for a giveaway. In the comment box below tell me: 1/ what makes you happiest, 2/ what song gets you through the hard days, 3/ what is your favorite word and why… and I will choose one winner on May 25 to receive a copy of both World’s End and Butterflies are Free!

Hop Against Homophobia, Bi- and Transphobia!

On May 17, this blog– M. LeAnne Phoenix’s The Worlds in Our Stars— will be participating in the Hop Against Homophobia, Bi- and Transphobia, which will be in honor of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. This hop will continue until the end of May 24, during which time all participants will be running contests and giveaways to benefit this amazing cause! Anywhere you see the below badge– which you can also see in full size to the left of this page– you will get a peek into the blogger’s mind about what this day means to them.


On May 17th, my post will center around the recent rash of suicides of the beautiful transgender teens. My heart hurts with each one that has passed, and I know that there have been more than just Leelah, Taylor and Cameron, but these three beautiful lights that have gone out shook me up. Having only been active in the gay romance world for almost a year, I feel like I’ve really only been active in the LGBT community that long. It is my hope to become ever more active, to help save as many as I can with the words I write.

Hopefully, my post will be far more eloquent than this one feels. 🙂

See you there!