November 23, 2014

‘A View from the Bottom: Asian American Masculinity and Sexual Representation’ by Nguyen Tan Hoang

Posted on October 29, 2014 by in Nonfiction, Reviews

There is much to be said about male effeminacy in today’s hyberbolized, over demanding, and preferentially specific sexual culture. Nguyen Tan Hoang’s A View from the Bottom: Asian American Masculinity and Sexual Representation not only reassesses male effeminacy and its racialization in the areas of race, gender, sexuality, and nationality, but the book also examines the role of the sexual bottom as a destabilizing agent in today’s homonormative and sexually politicized culture. (more…)

‘Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis’ by Alexis Coe

Posted on October 18, 2014 by in Features, Nonfiction

It’s a story as old as Tennessee’s Chickasaw Bluffs: two young lovers who plan to elope are torn apart by their disapproving families, and bloodshed ensues. What makes the title pair of Alexis Coe’s Alice + Freda Forever worth writing about is the confluence of their era and their sex. In 1892, 19-year-old Alice Mitchell slashed the throat of 17-year-old Freda Ward, whom she had planned to marry and support by posing as a man before Ward’s sister intercepted their plans and forced her to cut off contact. The murder trial drew swarms of national reporters to Memphis, where Mitchell’s lawyers built a successful insanity defense on the premise that her belief that two women could live together as spouses was itself delusional. (more…)

‘Mausoleum of Lovers: Journals 1976—1991′ by Hervé Guibert, Translation by Nathanaël

Posted on October 18, 2014 by in Nonfiction, Reviews

It’s tempting to over-intellectualize the work of French novelist and photographer Hervé Guibert. Guibert saw his heady friend, the theorist Michel Foucault, almost every day from 1977 to 1984. Then, much to the chagrin of others, Guibert fictionalized Foucault’s AIDS-related death in To the Friend Who Did Not Save May Life (1990). To the Friend is one of Guibert’s last novels and the novel which made him a literary cause célèbre in France. Guibert died of AIDS shortly after a suicide attempt in 1991. (more…)

‘Law and the Gay Rights Story: The Long Search for Equal Justice in a Divided Democracy’ by Walter Frank

Posted on September 29, 2014 by in Nonfiction, Reviews

For many American LGBTQs, June 26, 2013 was a day in which everything changed. On that date, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a stunning 5-4 decision, ruled in United States v. Windsor that restricting the federal interpretation of “marriage” and “spouse” to only heterosexual unions, as specified in Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), was unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment. Since that momentous ruling, the legal landscape for LGBTQs has undergone a tectonic shift, with district, state, and federal courts from around the country almost uniformly ruling in favor of gays and lesbians by upending state constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. (more…)

‘Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives’ by Nia King

Posted on September 22, 2014 by in Nonfiction

In my former review of Nia King’s work, I mentioned her media presence, via her website, tumblr, and her podcasts We Want the Airwaves: QPOC Artists on the Rise, in which she interviews queer and transgender artists of color. She successfully used indiegogo to raise enough money to transcribe interviews from her podcast and is now publishing them as a book, in order to share these artists’ stories, knowledge and oral histories. (more…)

‘Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out’ by Susan Kuklin

Posted on September 11, 2014 by in Nonfiction, Reviews

Beyond Magenta is a collection of the real-life stories of six young transgender people in America, interviewed and photographed by Susan Kuklin. Most of the teens live in New York, with the exception of Luke, who is from Wisconsin. Some of the six are still in their teens, while others are out of their teens by a couple of years, telling the story of their youth. (more…)

‘Willful Subjects’ by Sara Ahmed

Posted on August 25, 2014 by in Nonfiction, Reviews

Goldsmiths College professor and highly regarded race and cultural studies scholar Sara Ahmed offers an expanded study of the “feminist killjoy” in her new book, Willful Subjects. (more…)

’1960s Gay Pulp Fiction: The Misplaced Heritage’ Edited by Drewey Wayne Gunn and Jamie Harker

Posted on August 15, 2014 by in Nonfiction, Reviews

Gay pulp novels of the 1960s sell at steep prices these days. Their racy covers have great camp value, and since they were cheaply produced and meant to be easily disposed of, gay pulps are now collectors’ items. Gay pulps have even made inroads with academics, who have come to regard pulps as repositories of historical information. But it hasn’t always been so. (more…)

‘To look at the sea is to become what one is: An Etel Adnan Reader’ by Etel Adnan

Posted on August 12, 2014 by in Nonfiction, Poetry

Etel Adnan is practically an institution. With writing that has been set to music, turned into plays, and used in political protests, her gripping lyrical style coupled with deep philosophical prowess has made her a literary giant for decades. So when her retrospective collection, To look at the sea is to become what one is was announced to be released from Nightboat Books, I was thrilled to get my hands on a review copy. (more…)

‘Out in the Union: A Labor History of Queer America’ by Miriam Frank

Posted on August 3, 2014 by in Nonfiction, Reviews

Over the past five decades, the number of minorities and women joining labor unions has dramatically increased. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics can easily capture demographics on union members by race and gender, they cannot do the same for sexual orientation or gender identity. For generations, LGBTIQ employees often remained closeted or “stealth,” especially in occupations not traditionally welcoming to queer individuals. For this reason, the study of LGBTIQ people’s involvement in unions—or labor movements in general–is relatively new. Previous researchers have written a great deal about LGBTIQ activists forming coalitions with union activists to fight for common goals, but rarely has a book specifically addressed LGBTIQ workers and their involvement with unions. New York University professor Miriam Frank presents her surprising findings on this topic in her new book Out in the Union: A Labor History of Queer America. (more…)