For as long as there’s been air, there’s been Queer; in acknowledgment, Prager offers 23 short biographies of individuals who changed their world and ours.
From the teenage Roman emperor Elagabalus, who identified as female and loved both men and women in the third century C.E., to gay social-media activist, playwright, and actor George Takei, Prager profiles historical (only three are still alive) personages who challenged the heteronormative pressures of their times to differing degrees. A president who had a boyfriend as a young man (Abraham Lincoln) and a president’s wife who loved women and created the role of the modern first lady (Eleanor Roosevelt), along with artists, scientists, sports figures, musicians, activists, and queens (both royal and drag), are presented in their historical contexts and carefully referred to as they referred to themselves. From the introductory essay to the glossary, Prager carefully endnotes everything and provides further reading and watching online as well as an extensive bibliography. All is presented in a breezy, conversational tone that will engage teens and make them laugh while they learn whether they’re queer themselves or queer allies.
Should be placed in the hands of every LGBTQ teen so they’ll know that not only are they not alone, but they have a rich and diverse history--as well as the straight ones, who should know that history too. (Nonfiction. 12-18)