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PEOPLE OF PRIDE by Chase Clemesha


25 Great LGBTQ Americans

by Chase Clemesha

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-6844-6216-2
Publisher: Capstone Editions

This amuse-bouche introduction to LGBTQ+ individuals will tantalize readers.

Some 25 racially diverse Americans’ lives are documented in biographical morsels, arranged apparently arbitrarily and with text that’s not substantial enough to do more than tease. Figures profiled include White humanitarian Jane Addams, African American civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, Puerto Rican performer Ricky Martin, and White filmmakers Lana and Lilly Wachowski. Each entry provides the subject’s year of birth (and of death, when applicable), a photo (in a digitally rendered frame reminiscent of 1990s clip art), and a few scant facts about each subject. George Takei, the Japanese American actor and activist, and Dr. Sara Josephine Baker, a White public health innovator, are lucky enough to merit two whole paragraphs; everyone else receives only one. Absent from all profiles are many common facts typically found in traditional biographies: Exact date of birth, place of birth, date of death, place of death, cause of death, etc., are all missing. Also peculiar is the absence from several profiles of the specific aspect of LGBTQ+ identity that warrants their inclusion. The backmatter includes a listing of 14 additional figures, summarized in two to three sentences each; such audience-relevant figures as African American author Jacqueline Woodson and Black/biracial actor Amandla Stenberg are relegated to this roundup. There are also a timeline that stops at 2015 (well before Trump administration politics started cutting into trans rights), a glossary, source notes, and three URLs for support networks.  (Editor's note: Since this review went to press, the book’s timeline has been updated to include the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court ruling to protect LGBTQ+ individuals from workplace discrimination.)

Well meaning but insubstantial.

(Collective biography. 8-12)