Tag Archives: Free2Luv

Hop For Visibility, Awareness & Equality

IDAHOT-banner-Jan15Welcome to my stop on the Hop For Visibility, Awareness & Equality! (THAPHOBIAUMBRELLA2016his great LGBTQ+ literary event’s former name was the Hop Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia)

Included in this year’s Hop are my reflections on the 2016 IDAHOT theme of mental health and well-being, and a GIVEAWAY for FREE ebooks, limited edition FREE2LUV® wristbands, and a FREE2LUV® t-shirt! This giveaway is over. Thank you to all who entered and participated!

In honor of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT), the mission of the Hop For Visibility, Awareness, and Equality is to bring awareness to discrimination and celebrate our diversity, not only within the LGBTQIA+ community, but within our own literary genre and books.

IDAHOT is the largest LGBTQ+ solidarity event to take place throughout the globe with over 1,000 events in more than 120 countries. The 2016 global focus issue is mental health and well-being. I wanted to talk to you about my thoughts on well-being in this genre that I love.

As a writer, I guess you could say I do a fair amount of day dreaming. I have onebookmagic2 in particular that I like to visit. There’s a person sitting in a shadowy space, and they are reading one of my stories. They begin to smile, gently at first. Soon, a warm glow builds and grows, brighter and brighter, along with their smile. This beautiful, magical thing happens because this person, this gracious reader, has just seen themselves in a story — maybe for the first time.

The character they related to was a gay shark research scientist or an agender badass who’s fighting their way through the apocalypse. This reader, this beautiful, magical reader, saw a glimpse of themselves through my eyes, and they saw that they were brave, smart, sexy, exciting — and normal, totally normal.

Most of us can relate to that experience, wherein understanding a fictional character we actually end up learning more about ourselves. I think a big part of the human experience is finding where we “fit”, wherever that may mean to us individually. It’s amazing to think that, as a writer, your humble stories might actually have the opportunity to help a fellow traveler along their journey.

Which is why I take on thereaderwellbeing responsibility of my reader’s well-being: I don’t know who will someday read my stories, or where their journeys have already taken them. For me, nothing is more important than representing marginalized groups through my work in the most respectful and responsible way possible. It’s not too much to ask. In fact, it’s truly my honor.

Whatever our community needs, I’ll be there meet it, evolving as a person and as an author. I know the power of words, how they can hurt — and also how they can heal. Writing LGBTQ+ literature gave meaning back to my life. Maybe, if I work hard, I can give just a little something back, too.

Thank you so much for reading and participating in this wonderful event! If you’re interested, here’s a link to my sadly and shamefully relevant article for last year’s Hop about transgender bathroom issues in my workplace 311111

WinnerhvgA.V. Sanders’ Rafflecopter GIVEAWAY May 17-24th:

  • Free ebook copy of Percolation, Poetry, and Passion and Wet, Hot, Australian Christmas, by A.V. Sanders
  • 2 Limited Edition FREE2LUV® empowerment wristbands
  • FREE2LUV® 100% cotton t-shirt


This giveaway is over. Thank you to all who entered and participated! This giveaway is for everyone — don’t worry if you already have my titles, you can still win the FREE2LUV® swag, and I’ll pass the ebooks on to another winner to enjoy! Please visit the rest of the 60+ Hop stops, and good luck in the GIVEAWAY!  xo, A.V. ❤



FREE2LUV® is a global movement dedicated to redefining love through arts and entertainment. We support youth to freely express themselves and stand up to bullying. As a nonprofit organization, we spread awareness and create cool merchandise to help end bullying and support equal rights. FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS BULLY® is a national community program whose mission is to utilize music and art to promote kindness, build self-esteem and stand up to bullying.4-image



Free2Luv’s “Love Wins” Essay Contest – Published and $1,000 Prize

NMW_MEMETalk about an amazing team-up! Free2Luv®, Lambda Literary, New Millennium Writings. and actress Thea Gill are coming together to host an amazing essay competition to celebrate the historic SCOTUS ruling!

New Millennium Writings (NMW), is an award-winning literary journal founded in 1996, and Free2Luv® is a Seattle-based youth empowerment nonprofit. By co-hosting this special “Love Wins” essay competition, they are asking entrants what the recent SCOTUS decision means to them and their community.

The winner will receive $1,000 and publication in the NMW anthology and on their website. Deadline to enter is August 31st.

Over the past 20 years, New Millennium Writings has published more than 1,500 new and emerging writers and awarded over $200,000. In this competition, in addition to Free2Luv®, NMW is also partnering with Lambda Literary. Each nonprofit will receive $1,000 to further their missions to support and empower the LGBTQ community.

The “Love Wins” essay award winner will be chosen by Guest Judge and Free2Luv Celebrity Ambassador Thea Gill, actress, singer, and LGBTQ activist, best known for her starring role as Lindsay Peterson in the landmark Showtime television series Queer as Folk. ❤ Ms. Gill will choose the top winner from selected finalists, and the award will be announced on October 11th — National Coming Out Day.

“We are excited to team up with New Millennium Writings to offer an essay competition that celebrates all love. In light of the recent landmark SCOTUS decision, we are thrilled to read everyone’s interpretation of being Free2Luv. We are passionate about creating an environment where all youth can express themselves freely and authentically,” — Free2Luv Co-Founder and President, Tonya Sandis

Entries into the “Love Wins” essay competition must be 4,500 words or less. Entries may be submitted at www.newmillenniumwritings.org, or mailed to the address listed on the website. The entry fee is $20, and all entrants will receive a copy of NMW‘s high-quality anthology. More information about the “Love Wins” essay competition can be found at www.newmillenniumwritings.orgwww.Free2Luv.org, and www.lambdaliterary.org

Good luck, everyone! Please help share this great competition for a great cause! ❤ 11231686_405172616345411_5553368775748762401_n

HAHABT Winner!

I want to thank everyone who participated in the Hop Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia! What a great event for the LGBT literary community! I am incredibly proud and honored to be a part of it.

I am happy to announce that I have a winner for my FREE2LUV prize pack! And the winner is…

HAHABTWinnerSherry was kind enough to say a few words about the hop and winning my giveaway.

   The Hop Against Homophobia is a wonderful way to educate people and hopefully help them understand everyone should be treated equal and deserves the same rights and respect. I live for the day everyone is treated the same. It should  never matter who you love. I’m totally excited about winning. It was a big surprise, and I love the t-shirts. — Sherry S.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, Sherry! Thank you for spreading the LUV and hopping with us! I hope you enjoy your shirt, wristbands, and temporary tattoos from FREE2LUV!Jesse

I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you FREE2LUV’s #MillionSignMission. Here’s what they have to say about it:

Join the #MillionSignMission, take a stand with Free2Luv®, let the world know ‘FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS BULLY’® AND be automatically entered to WIN a super cool bullying prevention swag pack along with being featured on our website.

Did you know…

* 1 out of everyMSMF2L 3 children experience some form of bullying

* Over 160,000 students stay home from school everyday due to bullying

* 9 out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment at school and online?

~> CLICK HERE TO PRINT OUT YOUR OWN SIGN and then HERE TO SEE THE PICTURES they’ve already received. It’s very inspiring!

I hope you also feel inspired, too! You can show your support right now by joining the over 60K who have pledged to be stronger and braver than bullying and #TAKETHEPLEDGE online! Because shouldn’t we ALL be…


Hop Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia Giveaway!

AnnWelcome to participant #83’s Hop Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia awareness and giveaway! The giveaway winner has been chosen. Thank you for participating!

May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphoia, and Biphobia. As individuals, there are opportunities to make an immediate difference. The chance to promote tolerance can present itself when–and with people–you may least expect.

One personal example involved a very good friends of mine at that time. We were leaving the women’s restroom at our workplace, and she confided in me that she didn’t like that one of our coworkers, a trans woman, used “our bathroom”. My friend went on to say that she was going to tell our HR department that she thought our trans coworker should have to use the private, single stall, unisex restroom that was located in the different part of the building.

I was shocked.

I was shocked because I did not think my friend had these sorts of views and feelings. I thought that she was tolerant and accepting. I had been in the women’s restroom with our trans coworker many times without a second thought, so why was my friend having difficulty?

Sign at the San Diego Airport - photo: @CTinkX
Sign at the San Diego Airport photo: @CTinkX

My first instinct was anger. I wanted to yell at my friend and tell her how much she had disappointed and disgusted me. But, thankfully, I took a step back, and recognized the opportunity I had: she had not yet spoken to our HR department, and was voicing her concern–to me.

So, I asked her: what was it that bothered her about our coworker using the bathroom? What was she afraid of? She did not really have an answer, she just said it made her feel “uncomfortable”.

We talked further, discussing how uncomfortable our coworker might feel being told that she could not use the women’s or the men’s restroom, and that she would be the only employee at our facility forced to use the unisex stall. Eventually, my friend agreed this would send a negative message she hadn’t intended.

Rainbow Watercolor Heart - Olga Shvartsur
Rainbow Watercolor Heart – Olga Shvartsur

Our trans coworker continued to use the women’s restroom without her ever knowing this discussion had taken place.

The moral of my story is: speak up! If you know something is wrong, small or big, find your voice and say something. You may feel a strong urge to argue, but I’ve found it amazing how well common courtesy, good logic and reason can breakdown even illogical, emotional walls.

You don’t have to be gay, bisexual or transgender to speak up for innate human dignity. Life is hard enough: the more we can help one another, mitigate pain and spread love and tolerance, the better off we’ll all be.

Thank you for stopping by and participating in this wonderful event! Be sure to visit THIS LINK to see over 115 other awesome blog hop events and giveaways!

Now…let’s win some sweet Free2Luv swag! Click the button below to enter!


The winner will be contacted on or before May 26th, and later announced on my website. Good luck, and please spread the LUV! Giveaway over — Congratulations, winner Sherry S.!

Learn more about the great organization whose swag I’m proud to have featured in my giveaway:

Free2Luv is an award-winning nonprofit organization dedicated to rockin’ individuality, spreading kindness and standing up to bullying through arts and entertainment. Our mission is to take the bullied to brave, heal hurts and build dreams, so no child is left feeling alone, unwanted or hopeless.”


Hop Against Homophobia starts May 17, 2015

I am participating in the Hop Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia on May 17-24th, and hosting a giveaway to celebrate this great awareness event!

Stop back here, starting Sunday, and enter to win:

~ Free2Luv’s “ROCK LUV: NOT HATE” t-shirt, in your size

~ Extra Wide, Limited Edition White “Free2Luv” wristband

~ Black “Rock Luv Not Hate” wristband

~ bonus temporary “Free2Luv” tattoos

Free2Luv is a fantastic organization donating the black wristband and temporary tattoos to my giveaway to show their support! Check them out and their million sign mission and pledge!

Free2Luv is an award-winning nonprofit organization dedicated to rockin’ individuality, spreading kindness and standing up to bullying through arts and entertainment. Our mission is to take the bullied to brave, heal hurts and build dreams, so no child is left feeling alone, unwanted or hopeless.”