Windy City Media Group: http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Author-talks-aboutThe-Detroit-Queer/42211.html
In his self-published novel, The Detroit Queer, 19-year-old author Tegan Joseph explores what it means to be Black, Christian and gay in the United States. The semi-autobiographical work follows Jimmy, a young Black man in Detroit who struggles to overcome homophobia and claim his identity at school, at church and at home."[Jimmy] comes from a family where reputation is valued in the community," Joseph told Windy City Times. "So he's going on this life journey by himself."
Race plays a major role in Jimmy's isolation. At church, Jimmy's pastor calls homosexuality a "white man's disease." Jimmy's father, Samuel, reinforces this message as the family drives home after the sermon, instructing his sons to stay away from "corrupt white folks."
"[Homosexuality] only happens in white society," Samuel says. "I just want ya'll to know that we are not created that way."
Without LGBT-affirming role models in his community, Jimmy struggles to reconcile his race, his faith and his emerging queer identity.
"Community leaders don't know how Jimmy struggles," Joseph said. "When it comes to his sexuality, Jimmy feels like a failure, even though he's succeeding in other parts of life."
As Jimmy goes though school, he encounters bullying and considers suicide, but when a teacher reaches out to him, Jimmy's self-perception changes.
"For the first time, [Jimmy] did not feel like a second-class citizen," Joseph writes.
Joseph is currently a student at Duke University, where he studies history and philosophy. The Detroit Queer is one of many contributions he hopes to make to the LGBT movement.
"I've really had the experience Jimmy has in the book," Joseph said. "With this book, I hope to be an agent for social change."
Joseph aims to inspire readers to find comfort and happiness within themselves.
"There comes a time in your life when you have to live a life that's truly reflective of who you are as a person," Joseph said. "Whether you're gay, straight, lesbian, black, white, tall, short...there's no greater joy than living a life that's truly yours."
Interview by Between The Lines , Pride Source : http://www.pridesource.com/article.html?article=59050
For many, the trek from Nigeria to Ghana to Duram, N.C. would be a lifetime of travel. For 18-year-old Duke University student, Tegan Joseph Mosugu, it was just the first few steps on his journey. Now, that journey has taken him from Duke to the streets of Detroit in his debut novel "The Detroit Queer."
Released in March 2012, "The Detroit Queer" follows a boy named Jimmy as he comes to terms with and eventually embraces his sexuality. Being that he's gay, black and Christian, that isn't an easy task.
"Queer" is a coming-of-age story that, like many others, focuses on themes of love and acceptance. But it is, perhaps, the unique urban Midwest setting and unconventional main character that will help it stand above the rest. It also probably doesn't hurt that Mosugu was able to draw inspiration for the main character and story from his own life and experiences.
The Lagos, Nigeria-born author, who identifies as bisexual, experienced much of the same shame and self-doubt that Jimmy experiences. When talking about what that time was like for him, Mosugu shares his feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability.
"At first I thought there was something wrong with me, that I was the only one," he says.
"When I was about 12, I knew that there was something off but I wasn't really sure exactly what was off," he says. "It didn't really happen until I was maybe 15, 16 that I was starting to understand my identity."
The road to writing "Queer" began as just a desire to write a book. From there Mosugu developed the character of Jimmy and eventually found the setting that would give the story its flavor.
"I didn't know how this was going to take place. I don't know what happens. I'd just like to write a book," he says. "So, I was like, 'Let me create this special character who happens to be black, Christian and happens to be from Detroit, of all places.'"
According to Mosugu, the choice to use Detroit as the setting for queer came from a desire for authenticity and personal connection for the readers.
Although it started as just a desire to pen a book, once the wheels began to roll on "Queer," it quickly became a cathartic experience for the first-time author. It was also an experience that, by his assertion, allowed him to grow as a person.
"There was a part of me that felt relieved, but there was also a part of me that felt growth," he says. "It's OK to feel relieved, but if you're not growing and learning while you're feeling relieved ... I think that it was good for me."
It seems that lately Mosugu has been doing a lot of things that are good for him. Not only is he a published author by 18 but he was admitted to Duke at just 16. He even runs his own company, 1520 Products LTD. Later this month he'll sit in on the youth advisory board at Ruth Ellis Center and, at 8 a.m. March 26, present during Affirmations' Gay Business Networking.
According to Mosugu's personal website, 1520 is in the business of "entertaining and teaching us on key and important aspects of life (such as marriage, sex, etc.) through the playing of games which will allow us to laugh but, at the same time, pass a message of what is the right or ideal way."
Established in 2005, 1520 currently offers two card game products that claim to help you reach your "ideal or perfect situation."
That search for the ideal situation is part of what led him to attending Duke, where he majors in American history and minors in philosophy. He also serves as an opinions columnist for the University's paper, The Chronicle.
With his accent and excited manner of speech, it may be generally difficult to discern what the young maverick-in-the-making has to say. But it is within his short profile on The Chronicle's website that the picture becomes clearer.
"Be fierce, be real," he says.
Authenticity and ferocity seem to be a recurring theme with the author, student, budding business man and sometimes model. Not only does that seem to be the theme for his life but, for Mosugu, that's the theme of "Queer" as well.
"The book is more, I guess, about living a life that is very, very true to who you are. So as long as you're able to find the courage to live a life that is who you are, I think that's the greatest accomplishment ever. No matter what people say and no matter what people think you should be."
For more information on Mosugu's March 26 Affirmations presentation, visit http://www.goaffirmations.org
2012 GMAD Endorsement. Brooklyn, New York City
By Jamie Woo:
Tegan Joseph Mosugu is probably one of the most accomplished students of his time. Started anonline company
? Check. Traveled the world? Check. Wrote and published a book? Make that a double check, since he’s produced TWO. Nationwide tour to showcase his book? After this summer, another check.
Tegan’s biggest accomplishment right now is his book, The Detroit Queer,
which was released March 9th, 2012, and ended up on Amazon’s hot new list for 3 weeks in a row! Born in Lagos, Nigeria, where LGBTQ identified folks are not often tolerated or accepted, if at all, in the community, Tegan brings part of his own personal experience and growth to the story of Jimmy, who struggles with accepting his identity as a black, Christian, gay man. Having lived all over the world, which included places such as Ghana, London, and California, Tegan recognized how staunch the presence of homophobia was back in his hometown. Regardless, Tegan explained that he will always “refuse to be sedated by the ignorance of people and is much happier being authentic.”
A sophomore pursuing a History major and a Philosophy minor, I have the privilege of sharing a class with Tegan this semester. Luckily, I was able to sit down with this marvelous guy, outside of the confines of our classroom walls, and get a better glimpse of his intriguing life. What inspired you to start writing a book?
I just found myself writing a story. It was the fall of last year, when each day I just found myself writing thousands of words and I liked where things were going. Once I started, I couldn’t stop – I would zone out of everything else. How was the process of writing/editing/publishing? What was the most challenging aspect?
Don’t even get me started! Just writing alone is extremely intense. I submitted my book to 16 different publishing companies and received 15 offers from them, which was really encouraging. Going through a bunch of editors was tough, and I realize that what I write is never the best, but it is still my product so I never really felt like people were taking away from my story. The toughest part was the fact that I was overloading and working at the time. I also found it difficult knowing when to stop! I felt like I could have kept writing forever, but it would have lost its creativity. Can you tell me a little bit about your book?
It’s about a boy named Jimmy; he is a black gay student who lives in Detroit, and is discovering more about his struggle between his spirituality and his sexuality. It’s basically him against the entire world, and him finding his one true self and one true path. The book is all about the human experience, and about common humanity, which allows people from all backgrounds to relate to it. Everybody has some type of struggle, and this book is about overcoming that struggle, discovering yourself, and being authentic to yourself. It’s a bit of a coming of age tale about the human experience. Do you find yourself relating to “Jimmy”?
[laughter] Jimmy kind of talks weird and is a little socially awkward, so I can definitely relate to him. We also share common experience in that we have both struggled with our sexuality and personal identity. It takes a lot of time to realize who you are and your identity, and having to come to terms with yourself. What I find fascinating, though, is that no matter how long it takes for him, he still lives an authentic life. I think it is so important for everyone to feel as though they can live a genuinely authentic life that is a reflection of who they are, without worrying about society’s expectations. What was the best part of this experience?
It’s funny because I don’t really care whether I sell one book, or one hundred, or one thousand. I know that I made a huge accomplishment and that’s what I’m proud of. I had a passion for writing the book itself, and not really for the purpose of selling it. But even so, I definitely felt a sense of achievement when I found out I was on Amazon’s Hot New List for 3 weeks in a row! It’s updated hourly, so knowing that I was on there for that long was wonderful. I’m also attending an event in New York, which is sponsored by the New York City Public Library, and deals with the Civil RightsMovement
. It’s supposed to feature African American writers, and so I will be giving a talk about my book. I’m so excited! My tour for my book will also be this summer, when I will travel across the country to places like LA, Chicago, Detroit, Philly, NY, and Washington DC. Is this something you see yourself doing in your future career?
Actually, no. I have never really liked the idea of trying to pinpoint your entire life to detail. I like to take life by the moment and so if writing happens, then that’s great. But it is just as possible that that may happen with journalism, law or business. I just want to do something that I’m happy with. If you were to write another book, what kind of topic do you think you would write about?
Well actually I have already written another book! [laughter] It’s going to released next year. It’s a bit of a self-help book, on how to live the best possible life. Who is your role model?
I love Tyra Banks. She stands for, and represents creative thinking and champions expressing yourself and finding beauty from within. I also really like Wendy Williams, the talk show host. I just really like people who are free to be who they are, who are smart and very motivated. What else do you like to do in your free time?
I write for The Chronicle
and I’m involved with the Law Brigades, which is an organization that mentors international law work. I work in the Admissions Office during the school year as well. Besides that, I’ve danced in the Lunar New Year showcase for the past two years with Sarah McCaffery. (you can check out her accomplishments here
, as well as hear more about Lunar New Year here
). That show is always so much fun to be a part of. I’ve also actually started my own online company, called 1520 Products Limited. It’s a company that seeks to redefine the concept of perfection and idealism by producing card games. There’s also an online thesaurus where you can search for perfect characteristics for any word of your choice. Aside from that, I love dancing. And smising. You know, smiling with your eyes. http://( http://www.hercampus.com/school/duke/tegan-joseph-mosugu
This month marks a very important and critical month for me. We are launching a 30 day campaign for The Detroit Queer. This campaign is being approached through the use of social media and the internet primarily. We are not only spreading the word, but we are planning on creating a buzz about Jimmy's story, my brand and the human experience.
Also, next month marks the kickoff of the book tour. This tour should take us well into the fall also. During the tour, I will be speaking at several events across the country, signing books and also speak to a wide array of demographics. I plan on making this book to LGBTQ members, allies & anybody who is just interested in having a conversation about the human sexuality & what it means to be living a truthful life.
My publicist Dennis Maurice & I , and our teams are revamping our approach in a strategic way. I have lots of things planned in the coming few months that I cannot really talk about. However, what I can say is that the train is moving at the right time and making all the right stops. Spread the word around. Read a free preview through Amazon or simply send the trailer to a friend or someone you know. The time's right, I can definitely feel it in my heart. I'm totally energized and we're just getting started. Thanks for reading, I appreciate all the love & support.
Today I parted ways with my manager. It's not because I didn't see his usefulness, but rather, he had a lot on his plate. My former manager, Manuel, is a very close friend of mine. We were and are still good friends before we became business partners. However, I knew it was the right thing to do. Sometimes you have to know when to call it quits, even when something turns out to be what you did not expect. Right now, my publicist is my main man! I am grateful for everything that he does and continues to do. Without him, this project and public awareness launch will be nothing. I'm currently in the last week of classes @ school. Even though people are stressing out, I'm not for some reason! I believe that as long as I do everything that I am supposed to be doing, things will work out if they are meant to. As long as my game is tight & right, nothing but the best can come out of it. The best can either come out today, tomorrow or years from now. As long as I keep pressing on and as long as I'm aware of myself, life is beautiful to me.
It has been a month since I last blogged. I know what you're thinking, but I promise to change that. My summer tour officially kicks off in July. I will be visiting major metropolitan areas across the country. Speaking to youth, audiences and individuals interested in Jimmy's story. In July, I'll also be featured by the New York City Public Library. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture will be featuring The Detroit Queer and my work as an activist. I have been thinking a lot lately these days. The reason being that I am currently planning the next phase for my brand. Even though, the details of my summer tour is yet to be finalized. I have to say that I do not regret anything at all. When I started writing my book, I made a promise to myself. Whether I sell one copy great! Hundreds of copies fantastic. Thousands of copies AMAZING! However, if I sell zero copies, I will not be moved at all. Reason being that I am the same person that I used to be a few months ago. Yes, I have grown and matured, but I am still me. At the end of the day, no level of success or accomplishment can change that. Hence, I am living every moment and seizing every opportunity life offers to me. Happiness comes from within and everyday I am reminded of the fact that I need to be authentic to myself. Life is a mystery, but at the end of the day it all comes down to us taking ownership of ourselves and identities.
So my book "officially" got on the market on March 13, 2012. I have received from people close to me, as well as praise from other individuals distant from me. That same week, my book was featured in both the Top 10 & Top 20 "Amazon Hot New Release" list for LGBT nonfiction. As I sit back right now, I seriously have no clue on what to expect. But hey, that's the beauty of life. Taking more chances, staying true to who you are & sometimes even risking it all. It's ironic that I'm listening to Glee right now. "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)" is currently playing. I have to say that this is quite true. I hope it becomes evident when readers read Jimmy's story & also read my story. Being different is beautiful. Being different is fascinating. Sooner or later, being different will become a standard in the world that we live in. As Matahma Gandhi said, "Be the change YOU want to see in the world." I'm not sure about you, but I will continue to be the change that I wish to see in the world. As far as I am concerned, I will always stand up for what I believe in no matter what. Either through writing or through activism, that's just me & whether you like it or not, that doesn't bother me.
I am currently on spring break. Resting in the beautiful Southern California. Just less than three weeks until my book goes on the market.. My first novel ever! To be honest, there are a lot of things running in my mind right now! Whatever happens, good, bad or indifferent, The Detroit Queer has been a blessing. I am very grateful to my publicist, Dennis Maurice, who is working diligently in securing book tours & speaking engagements. My manager, Mr. Manuel Montano for all the time, faith, money and resources he has invested in me. Most importantly, I am grateful to God because without him I would not have been able to do this! The Detroit Queer is my baby and within a few weeks, it will be born. My story, the story of Jimmy and thousands of other individuals will be heard. I have come a VERY long way and indeed, I have grown. I leave my book in the hands of my readers. Love it, hate it or be indifferent, I hope you come to realize that different is good. I also hope that you realize that we are all beautiful in our own unique way!
Start blogging by creating a new post. You can edit or delete me by clicking under the comments. You can also customize your sidebar by dragging in elements from the top bar.