We celebrate LGBTQIA Pride Heritage Month in June! We are recommending recent critically acclaimed titles from the Social Science, Philosophy & Religion department collection which share the voices and history of this community.
With great humor and fearless self-disclosure, essayist Perry charts a path through the past 20 years as she searched for signs of gayness in the 2000s. Perry stretches her story back to her eighth-grade year, with all of the horror and embarrassment a 14-year-old suffers while forming an identity - only she was seeking role models in then-not-quite-gay-enough popular media. As she documents her media touchstones through the Aughts and the 2010s, Perry averages 3-4 pop culture references a page, and that's in addition to each chapter's deconstruction of pop songs, tv shows, or the entire Disney Channel. It's a queer millennial coming of age story told through media criticism with footnotes—a very entertaining read, indeed.
In this powerful memoir, Broome recounts growing up Black and gay in a Rust Belt town during the late 1970s and early 80s. Structured around the poem "We Real Cool"—Gwendolyn Brooks’s ode to black youth- Broome laments that "whatever it was I already knew by ten years old that I didn’t have it." Throughout, Broome recounts a lifetime of failing to conform to the ideal image of manhood and the pressure of '"being a man" to the exclusion of all other things.' Broome’s narrative cleverly centers around a present-day bus ride, where observations of fellow passengers and passing neighborhoods takes his memories back to episodes from his past. These episodes include a childhood marked by poverty, abuse, and racism and a young adulthood fueled by drug addiction. But despite the pain in these stories, Broome’s writing is ultimately hopeful, showing how he gradually confronts his internalized toxic masculinity. A New York Times Editor's Pick and the 2021 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction, Punch Me Up to the Gods is a wonderfully written reflection of Broome’s place as a Black gay man in America.
Author Paula Stone Williams details her emotional journey to her authentic self. Williams grew up as the son of an evangelical preacher and achieved success as the CEO of a national church-planting ministry and as a respected pastoral counselor. At the age of sixty, a married father of three, Williams made the decision to transition from male to female. Although she knew that the news of her transition would shock her entire conservative evangelical community, Williams was not prepared for just how quickly her ministry cut ties with her, and how thousands of relationships she had built over the decades evaporated overnight.
Williams recounts the emotional and psychological effects of her transition on her family, and the time and space needed for them to adjust. She makes cogent observations on gender inequality, how traits such as confidence and assertiveness are perceived differently between genders, and how her years of experience were suddenly not acknowledged or respected. After basically starting over from scratch, Williams has become a pastor of a progressive Christian congregation, and a respected speaker on gender equity and LGBTQ+ advocacy.
Author Liz Brown, great-grandniece of the mining magnate and philanthropist William Andrews Clark Jr., leads us down a page-turning rabbit-hole of the intrigue and opulence of the 1920s Hollywood aristocracy. After stumbling on a portrait of a mysterious man with a smoldering stare, Brown soon uncovers details of the Clark family story that had since become the stuff of old-family secrets. The picture was of Harrison Post—secret lover of Clark, who was at the time one of the richest men in Hollywood and founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Gossip of their relationship spread through Los Angeles high-society, but when Clark died in 1934 and left a considerable fortune to Post, rumors turned into scandal.