by Jane Fleishman ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 1, 2020
An indelible collection of wise voices resonating with experience, pride, resilience, and revolution.
LGBTQ community elders reflect on the decades since the Stonewall uprising.
After conducting an expansive statistical research project on the sexual satisfaction of LGBTQ elders, veteran sex educator Fleishman acknowledges this demographic’s “invisibility,” and she channels her findings into a book of profiles of LGBTQ seniors whose memories and experiences form a moving tapestry of American gay history. Perhaps the most outspoken interviewee is transgender rights advocate Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, one of the few remaining survivors of the uprising and a major influence who has served as a “mother and grandmother figure to countless trans and nonbinary people around the world.” Among the couples interviewed are Bob Isadore and his partner, David Velasco Bermudez, who was inside the establishment that night in 1969 to mourn Judy Garland’s death; and late-stage activist lesbians Edie Daly and Jackie Mirkin, who met in their 60s and married in 2008. Many other contributors—diversified by age, race, and locale—share their opinions on ageism, sex, and their methods of staying true to the integrity of a liberation movement they helped foster. Mandy Carter, a veteran justice organizer, shares her coming-of-age experience as a black lesbian; at 70, she appreciates “the importance of being humble, dreaming big, and taking risks.” Activist Hardy Haberman reflects on a 1964 Life Magazine article about homosexuality that sparked an interest in kink and leather subcultures and the misconceptions about sexual violence involved in those cultures. As Fleishman convincingly demonstrates, these significant voices embody the legacy of a movement for equality, anti-discrimination, and sexual freedom; they also encourage younger community members to take an active role in the preservation of those hard-earned liberties. Though this inspirational volume represents just a small sampling of the community’s movers and shakers, it deserves prominent placement on LGBTQ history bookshelves. Kate Bornstein and Barbara Carrellas provide the foreword.An indelible collection of wise voices resonating with experience, pride, resilience, and revolution.
Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020
Page Count: 264
Publisher: Skinner House
Review Posted Online: June 5, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020
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by Alok Vaid-Menon ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 2, 2020
A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.
Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.
The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)
Pub Date: June 2, 2020
Page Count: 64
Publisher: Penguin Workshop
Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020
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A wide-ranging collection of testaments to what moves the heart.
Black Americans declare their love.
This anthology brings together dozens of love letters by prominent Black Americans. The entries, interspersed with illustrations, address an eclectic mix of topics arranged under five categories: Care, Awe, Loss, Ambivalence, and Transformation. In their introduction, editors Brown and Johnson note the book’s inspiration in the witnessing of violence directed at Black America. Reckonings with outrage and grief, they explain, remain an urgent task and a precondition of creating and sustaining loving bonds. The editors seek to create “a site for our people to come together on the deepest, strongest emotion we share” and thus open “the possibility for shared deliverance” and “carve out a space for healing, together.” This aim is powerfully realized in many of the letters, which offer often poignant portrayals of where redemptive love has and might yet be found. Among the most memorable are Joy Reid’s “A Love Letter to My Hair,” a sensitive articulation of a hard-won sense of self-love; Morgan Jerkins’ “Dear Egypt,” an exploration of a lifelong passion for an ancient world; and VJ Jenkins’ “Pops and Dad,” an affirmation that it “is beautiful to be Black, to be a man, and to be gay.” Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts’ “Home: A Reckoning” is particularly thoughtful and incisive in its examination of a profound attachment, “in the best and worst ways,” to Louisville, Kentucky. Most of the pieces pair personal recollections with incisive cultural commentary. The cumulative effect of these letters is to set forth a panorama of opportunities for maintaining the ties that matter most, especially in the face of a cultural milieu that continues to produce virulent forms of love’s opposite. Other contributors include Nadia Owusu, Jamila Woods, Ben Crump, Eric Michael Dyson, Kwame Dawes, Jenna Wortham, and Imani Perry.A wide-ranging collection of testaments to what moves the heart.
Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023
Page Count: 240
Publisher: Get Lifted Books/Zando
Review Posted Online: June 29, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023
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