Queer Activist Summer Reading List
As we approach our annual OutWrite LGBT Book Festival this summer, now is a great time to start thinking about your summer reading list. Here are some amazing books for LGBT activists to dive into this summer. Most of these I have already read, and a few are on my personal list to tackle this summer.
Don’t Tell Me to Wait
I’m very excited that Kerry Eleveld is coming to DC June 9th to talk about this new book: Don’t Tell Me to Wait: How the Fight for Gay Rights Changed America and Transformed Obamas Presidency. I would love this book, if only for the fact that that so may friends and fellow activists are highlighted in the book including Dan Choi, Paul Yandura, Chris Geidner, Bil Browning, Robyn McGehee, and many others. But I think more importantly for you, this book is an important insiders look about how change actually happends in Washington, looking at both the ‘inside’ players and those of us on the outside.
What Belongs to You
“What Belongs to You is a beautiful novel that broaches a subject often kept in the shadows: the world of hustling — gay men paying for sex. Greenwell tells the story of an American teacher working in modern-day Bulgaria, and Mitko, the young hustler he becomes enamored with. The teacher first meets Mitko in a public restroom, and returns there again and again, paying for sex. As the teacher confronts his own feelings about their arrangement, he tries to unravel Mitko’s tangled life story while revealing more of his own.”
Get this book now: What Belongs to You: A Novel
Love Unites Us
I am very proud to share with you that this amazing new book:Love Unites Us: Winning the Freedom to Marry in America will be the featured book at this year’s OutWrite LGBT Book Festival. It is so important to take time to look back and see how far we have come as a movement. “The June 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is a sweeping victory for the freedom to marry, but it was one step in a long process. Love Unites Us is the history of activists’ passion and persistence in the struggle for marriage rights for same-sex couples in the United States, told in the words of those who waged the battle.”
Get this book now:Love Unites Us: Winning the Freedom to Marry in America
Lady Dane Edidi
For a brief time last year the country focused attention on the Baltimore Protests in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Of course, to really understand what happened you have to know the history of Baltimore. Who better to give us a glimpse into this world than transgender performance artist Lady Dane Edidi, who began her studies at the Baltimore School for the Arts.
Lady Dane’s collection: Baltimore: a Love Letter (A Book of Poetry and other Writings) is a wonderful collection, but it is the powerful title poem is my favorite, exactly because it shows you Baltimore through Lady Dane’s eyes. I first heard Lady Dane Edidi read this poem at the 2015 Capturing Fire Festival, and I highly recommend it.
Queer Brown Voices
“In the last three decades of the twentieth century, LGBT Latinas/os faced several forms of discrimination. The greater Latino community did not often accept sexual minorities, and the mainstream LGBT movement expected everyone, regardless of their ethnic and racial background, to adhere to a specific set of priorities so as to accommodate a “unified” agenda. To disrupt the cycle of sexism, racism, and homophobia that they experienced, LGBT Latinas/os organized themselves on local, state, and national levels, forming communities in which they could fight for equal rights while simultaneously staying true to both their ethnic and sexual identities. Yet histories of LGBT activism in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s often reduce the role that Latinas/os played, resulting in misinformation, or ignore their work entirely, erasing them from history.”
Queer Brown Voices: Personal Narratives of Latina/o LGBT Activism is the first book published to counter this trend, documenting the efforts of some of these LGBT Latina/o activists.
Get this book now Queer Brown Voices: Personal Narratives of Latina/o LGBT Activism
Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around
“As an organizer, writer, publisher, scholar-activist, and elected official, Barbara Smith has played key roles in multiple social justice movements, including Civil Rights, feminism, lesbian and gay liberation, anti-racism, and Black feminism. Her four decades of grassroots activism forged collaborations that introduced the idea that oppression must be fought on a variety of fronts simultaneously, including gender, race, class, and sexuality. By combining hard-to-find historical documents with new unpublished interviews with fellow activists, this book uncovers the deep roots of today’s “identity politics” and “intersectionality” and serves as an essential primer for practicing solidarity and resistance.”
Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger
Kelly Cogswell was at the DC Center last summer discussing this book and I’m so glad I got a chance to meet her. The Lesbian Avengers played such an important role in our movement yet there is not as much historical information out there about them as one might like.
“When Kelly Cogswell plunged into New York’s East Village in 1992, she had just come out. An ex–Southern Baptist born in Kentucky, she was camping in an Avenue B loft, scribbling poems, and playing in an underground band, trying to figure out her next move. A couple of months later she was consumed by the Lesbian Avengers, instigating direct action campaigns, battling cops on Fifth Avenue, mobilizing 20,000 dykes for a march on Washington, D.C., and eating fire—literally—in front of the White House.”
At once streetwise and wistful, Eating Fire is a witty and urgent coming-of-age memoir spanning two decades, from the Culture War of the early 1990s to the War on Terror.
Get this book now: Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger