Initially, the choice of title, Boys, An Anthology (Thought Catalog), appears merely a cultural response to the way in which Lena Dunham has challenged society to rethink what it means to be a girl. Indeed, an earlier Thought Catalog book explicitly set out to offer alternative female narratives, to widen the discussion that Dunham began. In many ways, that was the intention of Zach Stafford and Nico Lang – “to bring together gay men to tell their stories,” especially those voices that remain marginalised even within the gay community. Nineteen stories from nineteen self-identifying men from around the world, with proceeds from the anthology benefitting the Lambda Literary Foundation. (more…)
When it comes to erotica, and especially erotica anthologies, there’s not a lot of wiggle room; people tend to like them or lump them all together. Since Wild Girls, Wild Nights has the potential to win new readers to the fold, consider this review both an evaluation for the seasoned fan and a welcome to the newbie alike. There’s much here for both of you. (more…)
Best Lesbian Romance 2013 (Cleis Press) is edited by Radclyffe—renowned author and founder/publisher of Bold Strokes Books. In her introduction, Radclyffe discusses how often the words “love” and “romance” are used as though there is no difference in meaning between the two words. She then goes on to discuss and show examples of each of the words. At the end of the introduction, Radclyffe gives her opinion: “Love and romance may defy simple definition, but every story in this collection speaks to the universal thread that binds lovers everywhere—possibility.” What follows are seventeen stories about love and romance. The first story in the collection is set in a small, dusty Spanish village. Ana has returned home to help her mother, who is suffering from old age dementia. Vika, who met and became lovers with Ana in America, has followed her to Ana’s village in Spain. What follows is the delicate rebuilding of their relationship and the rekindling of love. The next selection takes readers to Reno, Nevada. When Sandra and her husband separate, she leaves the small desert town where they lived and moves to Reno.There, Sandra has her first sexual encounter with a woman and discovers passion. The story “Sgt. Rae” explores the possibility of love and romance with two veterans, one disabled. The tenderness and caring in this story shows how love can flourish in very difficult circumstances. “The Loneliest Road” takes the reader back to a famous empty highway in Nevada, and the meeting of two very different women.
‘Who’s Yer Daddy? Gay Writers Celebrate Their Mentors and Forerunners’ edited by Jim Elledge and David Groff
Writing may be one of the loneliest professions, but as Velma said to Roxie, we simply cannot do it alone. That’s the premise of Jim Elledge and David Groff’s eclectic anthology, Who’s Yer Daddy? Gay Writers Celebrate Their Mentors and Forerunners (Terrace Books). The editors have collected essays from a diverse group of gay writers on the people who have inspired them, from literary heroes to those closer to home—including, in more than one case, an actual daddy. (more…)
I first saw Sister Spit perform in Portland, Oregon in the early 2000s. Michelle Tea and her gritty gang of dyke writers and poets were legends. Everyone had a story about the crew, who jacked off to what zine, who had gotten high with who before getting sober, or what punk houses had hosted the tour in years previous. There was a scratched Sister Spit CD that we all ripped copies of at the one punk house with a computer capable of doing the job. I remember sitting cross-legged in dirty work pants and a ratty t-shirt on the concrete floor of an underground venue the night of their show—it was magic, and proof that a bunch of dirty fuck-up queers like us had a chance of making it someday. A lot of time has passed for me since that first Sister Spit show, and the days when I listened to their CD recorded over the telephone at full volume on my Walkman, and yet the power of Sister Spit was as magical as ever when I began reading the new Sister Spit anthology: Sister Spit: Writing, Rants & Reminiscence from the Road (City Lights). (more…)
‘For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Still Not Enough: Coming of Age, Coming Out, and Coming Home’ edited by Keith Boykin
Despite the social and political progress made by gay men in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, some things—like bullying, bigotry, suicide (attempted and successful), and self-loathing—are constant reminders that there is a need for further change. (more…)
It is difficult to estimate the number of transgender people in the United States. People do not indicate whether they are transgender on a Census form; they will check a box either for their biological sex or intended sex. Some transpeople simply identify as straight men or women, especially if they have completed their transition, and want no further discussion of their previous life. Other transpeople still identify as queer in one way or another, and may always identify as transgender whether or not they choose to transition. For other transpeople, their racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, or professional identity will come before their gendered one. It is a matter of personal choice. For these reasons, while no one has determined the number of transpeople in the United States, if the American transpeople stood up to be counted, they would compose an extremely diverse group of people, impossible to categorize. (more…)
In the light of the recent revelation that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may have bullied a fellow student in high school, something said by character in “The Shift Sticks,” Josh Berk’s story in this collection, gains unexpected relevance. When teenager Bryan Forbes says, “It wasn’t that bad, was it?” to Tiffany Sanz, a girl he and a group of others bullied in elementary school, she replies: “It looks totally different from wherever you sit on the totem pole, my friend. And only people on the top, or at least not on the bottom, would ever, EVER say it wasn’t that bad. It was terrible. There were times, many times, I wished I was dead.” (more…)
Since the nineteenth century, New York City has provided inspiration, sanctuary, and community for millions of LGBTA Americans and immigrants in pursuit of dreams. Some came to visit, in search of culture, enlightenment, or love. Some came to make their mark as artists, writers, dancers, and actors. Others came to escape persecution in their home countries, and to start new lives as free people. They built gay neighborhoods in the Chelsea District and Park Slope, sometimes claiming entire apartment buildings or housing blocks in the name of the rainbow flag. Others live in straight neighborhoods, without apology, and blend into the fabric of life. As same-sex marriage is now legal in New York, and the Big Apple continues to see population increases, the LGBTA community of New York City will continue to grow.
Due to the great diversities of LGBTA communities and experiences in New York City, it is difficult to capture the personal stories of every LGBTA New Yorker in one volume. Even ten volumes would not do them justice. For this reason, Love, Christopher Street: Reflections of New York City editor Thomas Keith had a Herculean task ahead of him. In the preface, editor Keith admitted that he “declined, politely” at first when asked by Vantage Point Editorial Director Joseph Pittman to edit Love, Christopher Street. “Too little money. Too much time. All those diplomatic refusals from talented writers,” Keith sniffed. The editor of the fourth anthology in a series that includes Love, Bourbon Street (2007 Lambda Literary Award Winner), Love, Castro Street (edited by heavyweight champions Katherine V. Forrest and Jim Van Buskirk), and Love, West Hollywood (2010 Lambda Literary Award finalist), Love, Christopher Street had tough acts to follow. (more…)
Beyond Binary (Lethe Press) takes the reader on a journey through worlds where many things are uncertain and undefined, not least of which is what most of us look for first to orient ourselves in a fictional world. Is the protagonist male or female? Is s/he straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender? Am I reading a story told from the inside? About someone like me? By someone like me? We look for these things in the real world too, of course. Gender and sexuality give us a place where understanding can begin. (more…)