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Gender Queer: Elena Joy's Perspective

I run Pride and Joy Publishing and for months I’ve been hearing about this breakthrough novel in the LGBTQ+ community, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe (e/em/eir). I was told it was “first of its kind” as one of the first graphic novels that was also a memoir. (another great one is Fun Home by Alison Bechdel). I was told it was a physical experience to read and that once I had, I’d never forget it.  

The leader of an LGBTQ+ networking group I belong to asked me to lead a book club discussion and I chose Gender Queer.  I decided to pick Gender Queer for the discussion as I figured the accountability would make sure it got read. Having made a very public commitment, I ordered the book. Within the first weekend I could, I sat down to read.  

By page 31, (when Maia got eir period for the first time) I was shaking. Crying by page 48 when 13-year-old Maia walks into eir school’s diversity club for the first time. The story on page 103 had...

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Suicide Hotline Number - 988

Uncategorized May 04, 2022

**Trigger Warning: Suicide**

Beginning on July 16, 2022, The National Suicide Prevention Hotline will now have an emergency crisis number. In addition to their hotline, you will soon be able to dial 988 for crisis assistance. 

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in America for people of all ages. The World Health Organization lists suicide as the 4th leading cause of death among 15-19-year-olds. According to the Trevor Project, LGBTQ+ youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. The 2021 national mental health survey mentions increased numbers in trans and nonbinary youth. This is serious and requires an urgent call to action. With anti-LGBTQ+ legislation on the rise, and increased isolation during the COVID pandemic, mental health support is critical now more than ever. 

Suicide ideation and attempts can impact anyone at any time for a variety of factors, and it’s important to educate yourself and be aware of...

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A Letter from Z's Mom


Here at Pride and Joy Foundation, we recently found an incredible trans poet in 11-year-old, Z.W.* from Colorado.  We have published his poem here.

 Since so many in our audience are parents of kids just like Z, we wanted to share some thoughts from his Mom.

I am the parent of an AFAB (assigned female at birth) wonderful human. Z’s Journey has also been my journey. He has tried on multiple names and is continuing to get to know who he is. In the beginning of our journey I felt lost and struggled daily, but now, two years in, I have realized that for me to join him in his being lost does not benefit either of us.

In the beginning, I thought I needed to understand everything that Z was going through. I wish someone had told me when we first started down this path that it is not my job to figure it out for him, just to love and support him while he figures it out for himself. It would have saved me many hours of emotionally draining sits, filled with gut-wrenching...

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Gender by ZW


My gender is something

Something so perfect

Like a sphere of black goo

Floating in space


A concept so void

No human could understand

Not even me

No, not even me


Are you a boy? A girl?

I always say a boy

That is true

In a way


I like being a boy

I love being treated as one

Called one



That's not all.

A bit of girl

Just a bit

But there's more


It's agile as a cat

Joyful like the sun

Shy as the moon

Loud as a puppy

but still quiet as a mouse


It wears flowy dresses and skirts

eyeliner and lipstick

when someone says


it shakes its head


It isn't a girl,

but it doesn't mind being called one.

But don't call it they.

It isn't a they.


It is bright colors

it's lying under a warm blanket

on a snowy afternoon

it's jumping into the pool

on a hot summers day


It's loyal as a dog

and kind as a deer

Sometimes it's loud

or too quiet to hear


Every time it's put in a box

it never quite works.

Girl, boy, neither,...

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Surviving and Thriving Transformations and Changes in Parenting

In February, Elena Joy Thurston was a guest on the Energy is Love Podcast hosted by spouses Steph and Craig. Their conversation was abundant in subject matter, but one main thread stood out among all of this: helpful information for surviving and thriving change and transformations in relationship dynamics, particularly around parent and child.   


Change is hard. We are creatures of habit. Transformations are challenging, but so powerful. We are constantly witnessing transformations around us: Spring has arrived, caterpillars turn to butterflies, clouds pass us in the sky, taking their own shapes in fractions of time. It’s natural. So shouldn’t we be more intune when it happens in our own families and households? You would think. 


Whether, like Elena mentioned in the interview, you are a parent coming out to your children, or a parent with a child coming out about their gender or sexuality, or even a parent dealing with a late teen/early...

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Rainbows and Spirituality

Uncategorized Apr 07, 2022

I can’t help but think about the moment Kalyela “Coach K” Josephs saw the big rainbow sign that said, God Loves All, from our recent podcast episode on Out of Queeriosity. I know a lot of us can relate to the struggle of wondering if queer and god can coexist like Kalyela mentions in our Queer on Purpose podcast episode.


Perhaps you have seen it. The anti-LGBTQ+ protesters at Pride, holding signs with bold letters condemning any act of homosexuality to a life burning in hell. They scream at people draped in rainbow flags, and all the colors of gender, identity and sexuality. Telling us god doesn’t love gays. This is traumatic. Behaviors and experiences such as this are enough to drive one mad and spiral into self-hatred, especially to those of us who may have grown up in a church of some sort. Can you imagine the shame of thinking God hates you for who you are? I know I can. The struggle of wondering if God still loves you is real. 


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Queer on Purpose

lgbtq podcast Mar 29, 2022

When did you know you were Queer, on purpose? I think the first time I realized it was the first time I hosted one of our ALP Workshops — standing for Ask.Listen.Plan. These are our Suicide Prevention and Awareness workshops for LGBTQ+ young adults in rural areas. We host them online, and frankly, I wondered if college kids would take time out of their lives to learn about suicide prevention?

But at that first workshop, over 30 students showed up! Many of them had struggled with suicidal ideation themselves, and just like me, didn’t want any of their friends and family to live on that edge like we had. There’s something about experiencing the darkness that makes you real proactive about staying in the light and keeping those you love in the light. Ego and stigma be damned.  

What I wasn’t anticipating about those workshops is what it meant to those kids to get to know our facilitators. Most of the students we serve are in rural areas and have had...

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Tips and Tricks to Publishing Nonfiction.


Do you want to publish a nonfiction book? Perhaps you have a story to tell, or expertise in an area. Maybe you want to help others. You are not alone. Roughly 80% of people want to publish a book yet only 3% end up succeeding. Why do so many people not follow through? For starters, the task can be quite overwhelming. Writing a book, editing and getting it into the readers hands requires a lot of time and energy. Not to mention, the industry has changed and regardless of what publishing path you choose, you will need to find ways to help market your book. It is helpful to know that the traditional way of publishing isn’t the only way and we will share some secrets to the publishing process in this blog post. 


When Elena Joy Thurston, founder of The Pride and Joy Foundation, had a TEDx Talk go viral in November of 2019, she had prominent literary agents inquire about a memoir by Jan 2020. It was exciting and she signed with one. She was told to get a book...

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Self love in the LGBTQ+ community

Uncategorized Mar 03, 2022

I’ve been thinking a lot about Arielle’s episode on our podcast, Out of Queeriosity.  I was tying it into my favorite topic right now, Non-Binary Thinking and how it’s affecting our future.  

I am beginning to see more grey in my life, less black and white.  Things that I saw as absolutely black (and “wrong”), I now see on a spectrum where what I perceived as black, I can now see is clearly charcoal.  

For example self-love and self-harm.  When looking at either of them in a vacuum, without the context of the other, we see simply two opposites.  If it’s not self-love, it must be harmful to oneself, etc.  

However, when we’re able to see both on a spectrum, that is where the magic of self-awareness really begins to take shape.  

An act of removing absolutely all restrictions on eating and drinking could be seen as self-harm.  How can you keep it together without knowing...

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Dean Rasmussen: Live Your Truth to Find Your Life Worth Living

The next speaker from our Pride and Joy Summit from May 2021, is Dean Rasmussen. Dean is a transman, hailing from Canada, and was on our planning committee for the Summit. Dean was in charge of our Gender Identity track, which was a powerful experience for everyone involved. When Dean agreed to also speak for his track, I was overjoyed. Because in the months we had been working together to create this Summit, I had learned what an incredible human he is.

Dean is a fellow conversion therapy survivor. He is a parent and a husband, as well as a trans life coach. In our planning meetings, Dean was never the loudest or the most boisterous. Dean never shoved his way into the spotlight, and even giving this talk was one of the more challenging things he’s done. Visibility is not easy for every queer person.

Yet, Dean had this calm, quiet authority. Dean has LIVED a lot of life. His wisdom, his clarity on sticky situations, was a guiding force as we planned this huge international...

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