This past June was Pride Month for the LGBTQ community across the world. Pride flags were raised and diverse voices cried out in celebration of love. It was also a time of remembrance of those that came before, the hatred they faced, and the perseverance they displayed in the face of adversity.
It’s July now–but Pride is eternal, and so is the need to learn and, thus, to understand.
Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America by Christopher Bram (PS153 .G38 B73 2012 — Gainesville Campus)
This multi-generational historical exploration weaves the stories of twentieth-century greats such as Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and James Baldwin with the next generation of gay writers such as Armistead Maupin, Edward Albee, and Tony Kushner. Setting these icons in context with the cultural events of their time is a brilliant achievement and one worthy of taking a second, even third, look.
“Don’t Be So Gay!”: Queers, Bullying, and Making Schools Safe by Donn Short (LB3013.34 .C3 S56 2013 — Gainesville Campus)
In a series of interviews with analysis, Donn Short explores the question of whether or not so-called “safe-schools” legislation actually results in making queer high school students more safe from the depredations of bullies. Short does an excellent job of displaying the differences between the actual day-to-day world of the “out” student and the policies designed to protect them. An insightful read.
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (PN6727 .B3757 Z46 2007 — Gainesville Graphic Novel Collection)
This highly-acclaimed “graphic memoir” highlights author Bechdel’s father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family’s Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual. The book explorers Bechdel’s yearning for a relationship with her father and her own adolescent foibles. Both tragic and comic, this graphic novel appears on many “best of” lists.
A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity Across the World by R. B. Parkinson (HQ76.25 .P376 2013 — Gainesville Campus)
A Little Gay History is a brief exploration of the British Museum’s collections of art and artifacts that seeks to illustrate that same-sex desire has been part and parcel of the human experience since time immemorial. Indeed, it is an integral part of human history. From the urns of Ancient Greece, to Elizabethan sonnets, to the modern novel, homosexuality is an undeniable facet of the human condition–as is its intolerance. This book is a small, but powerful gem with 80 pages of color photos that enhance it.
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community by Laura Erickson-Schroth (HQ77.9 .T714 2014 — Corinth Campus)
This revolutionary resource for the transgender community is based upon the classic work Our Bodies, Ourselves, a well-regarded reference work centered on the lives and bodies of women. Trans Bodies has chapters devoted to a variety of issues of interest to the transgendered person, not only covering health issues but also social issues as well. With each chapter written by transgender or genderqueer authors, it is truly a work sensitive to the needs of the community for which it is targeted.
Trans/Portraits: Voices from Transgender Communities by Jackson Wright Schultz (HQ77.9 .S55 2015 — Gainesville Campus)
Trans/Portraits is a unique work in that it collects the first-hand accounts of over thirty transgender Americans–ranging in age from 15 to 72–from a wide variety of socioeconomic, political, racial, religious, and sexual identities. It is less academic study and more oral history and, thus, illuminates the authentic humanity of its subjects far more than any pedantic or clinical examination could do.
Homosexuality and Civilization by Louis Crompton ( HQ 76.25 .C76 2003 — Corinth Campus)
This impressive academic monograph attempts to chronicle the history of homosexuality in Europe and parts of Asia from the time of Homer until the Age of Enlightenment. Crompton (emeritus professor of English at the University of Nebraska) uses a series of short vignettes to effectively impart the story and to demonstrate just how strange the European Judeo-Christian aversion to the practice is when placed in global context. This work will surely become a seminal work in the field.
Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America by Rachel Hope Cleves (HQ1034 .U5 C54 2014 — Gainesville Campus)
Based on diaries, letters, and poetry, among other original documents, the forty-year union of Charity Bryant and Sylvia Drake is brought to life in vivid detail. In the process, what is illuminated is the fact that early 19th century America was far more accommodating and diverse than is generally believed.
The Battle Over Marriage: Gay Rights Activism Through the Media by Leigh Moscowitz (HQ1034 .U5 M67 2013 — Corinth and Gainesville Campuses)
In this fascinating work, the author offers an analysis of the way prominent news networks and media outlets presented issues of interest to the LGBTQ community over the period of 2003 to 2012, as well as the way leaders in that community were able to use media to reform their public image. Along they way, she exposes the advantages, and pitfalls, to using modern media outlets to promote social change.
–Contributed by Shedrick Pittman-Hassett, Associate Dean of Libraries