The Austin Chronicle

Summer of Pride Reading List

By Beth Sullivan, James Scott, Nick Yeager, and Sarah Marloff, August 7, 2019, 1:00pm, Qmmunity

Sure, when we think about Pride it’s all rainbows and glitter and celebratory parties, but it’s also a 50+ year movement, rich with history, queer tales, and stories to put Hollywood to shame.

Many historians, LGBTQ scholars, and queers have been writing about and documenting the LGBTQ rights movement since that first high heel was thrown – quite literally kicking off the movement – in June 1969.

It’s no wonder that this summer, in the rainbow haze of the Stonewall Riots’ 50th anniversary, that a slew of books from fiction to history have been released to capture that past half century. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but the Qmmunity team reviewed a handful of books that caught our eyes for our Summer of Pride Reading List. Read on for the ones that captured our hearts.

We Are Everywhere

Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown

From the queers who brought @lgbt_history into our instagram feeds, comes a gripping, historic, and beautiful book on “protest, power, and pride in the history of queer liberation.” Trust, it’ll make all the other coffee tables jealous. But Riemer and Brown’s We Are Everywhere isn’t just easy on the eyes – sure, the photographs of Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and those inspired by them will draw you in – it’s the well-researched story and the thoughtful use of a complicated language of a movement that’ll keep you reading. – Sarah Marloff

Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall

James Polchin

We all understand what makes a good crime story – thrill, intrigue, an edge of violence, and a dash of romance. People have long devoured these thrillers, including in the decades before Stonewall when hate crimes against queer men were covered in this way. Polchin’s book illuminates the dark side of true crime reporting. He has called his research “its own detective story,” as he decoded the language of old newspapers, medical and psychological writing, and early examples of gay rights activism. Full of specific, brutal tales, this is a captivating and troubling read. – Nick Yeager


Queer X Design

Andy Campbell

Andy Campbell’s Queer X Design is a road-map toward the heart of LGBTQ aesthetics and community. Our visual pasts, laid out with clear, insightful additions from Campbell, run in complex tracks toward a strange queer aesthetic present embodied by contrasting corporate hegemony and protest artistry. Take a moment, study what Campbell provides in his book, and go forth with renewed passion to make LGBTQ art your own way. – James Scott

Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens

Tanya Boteju,

In this endearing QPOC YA novel, Tanya Boteju covers the many anxieties of queer adolescence with wisdom, humor, and kindness. When central character Nima suddenly becomes immersed in the drag scene on the other side of her small town, her surroundings, and her cocoon, open up. I won’t tell you any more. As Sorceress Deidre, the first drag queen Nima meets, proclaims: “Darling, life is so drastically bereft of exquisite surprises – I wouldn’t dare steal this one from you.” – N.Y.


Real Queer America: LGBT Stories From Red States

Samantha Allen

Samantha Allen, a GLAAD Award-winning journalist and senior reporter for The Daily Beast, blends road trip reportage with personal essay to craft a decidedly queer portrait of the vibrant LGBTQ communities thriving – and enacting change – in red states across the country. This isn’t to say that Allen doesn’t acknowledge the dark realities queer and trans people endure in these locales (she does); however, by pushing back against the pervasive narrative that being LGBTQ in places like Utah or Tennessee is unbearable, Allen contends that queer communities are perhaps even stronger in such states because there’s still so much work to do in achieving equality. It was a reminder of why this reviewer loves living Real Queer deep in the heart of Texas. – B.S.

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