I read this great essay about family and ceremony on the LARB that mentioned this book, and I was intrigued by the excerpt so I picked it up.
This bookI read this great essay about family and ceremony on the LARB that mentioned this book, and I was intrigued by the excerpt so I picked it up.
This book was mostly examining the wedding itself, rather than marriage, and had some interesting analyses of the history and the potential of the ceremony. Weddings and: nationality, race, queer desire, pedophilia, etc. It seems more intended for an academic audience, and I skimmed most of when she was talking about movies and books I was unfamiliar with....more
As many Native and African American intellectuals have noted, depriving communities of their history is a form of violence. It's crazy to me that untiAs many Native and African American intellectuals have noted, depriving communities of their history is a form of violence. It's crazy to me that until partway through college, I didn't know a single thing about queer history. I came out of high school not even knowing what Stonewall was. And even then in college, I only learned about queer history because I sought it out myself, not because it was required learning for any class (besides maybe feminist theory?).
This completely decontextualized the homophobia around me. I had no sense of queer and trans rights improving in the country - all I was really exposed to was the debates going on in my HS classes about whether or not queerness/gay marriage could ever be OK (which was better than my church, at which queerness was so dangerous that it had to remain unspoken). Trans identities were only the butts of jokes. And not only did I not have queer adults in my life to look up to before I got to college (the bisexual character Karen on Will and Grace was actually the closest I got), but I had no evidence from history that queer individuals have ever made something of their lives, ever ended up having a meaningful impact on society or even just finding happiness and community.
But anyway, that backstory is given to explain why this book was such a meaningful read to me. Not only is it queer history, but it's queer history about the geographies I'm most intimately acquainted with. Plus, as I age, I'm becoming more and more interested in local history (along with quiet nights in, sensible shoes, etc).
Van Cleve notes in his introduction that it was hard to balance the stories of a diverse community:
"Because white gay men and, to a lesser extent, white lesbians have retained the largest portion of power and resources, they have produced and preserved many queer memories. I occasionally ignored well-documented organizations and individuals in favor of discussing less-known experiences."
While I appreciated his effort, I still grew a little tired reading about the local history of white gay men and lesbians. But I did like that he didn't glamorize the organizations he wrote about, and pointed out the transphobia, racism, biphobia, classism, and other problems that afflicted the more visible agencies....more
My feelings on this book are complicated, but mostly I'm happy that it's out there. This is the first time I've read anything on bisexuality that wasMy feelings on this book are complicated, but mostly I'm happy that it's out there. This is the first time I've read anything on bisexuality that was radically critical of dominant structures, and the first non-anthology piece I've read by a bi trans woman of color. She articulated a lot about manifestations of biphobia that I've observed but never put words to.
I needed this anti-assimilationist kick in the pants. I think most people in my life just see me as gay (or if they have no gaydar - straight), because I have a girlfriend, I label myself as gay sometimes (my bad), and I don't have the time/energy/lack of boundaries to give every person I meet a full rundown of my identity/desires. But this book reminded me of all the ways that monosexual labels don't fit me, and how maybe it'd be good to confuse people more often. It felt really refreshing and empowering to read something that doesn't apologize for being difficult or complicated, but rather, valorizes it.
But then, there were times where I was frustrated.
1. Bisexuality <-- this word, I'm still not sold on it. I'm fine with other people using it, but Eisner is saying that it should be the umbrella identity, with words like pansexual, queer, bi-curious, homoflexible, etc., falling underneath it, and as one of those umbrella-d identities, I would rather stand out in the rain. For me personally (and I get that this interpretation is not universal), bisexual connotes exclusive binaries that I don't see myself or my relationships fitting.
2. She makes a lot of claims, especially in the beginning, that the bi community has been more accepting and progressive on issues of gender and race than straight/gay/lesbian communities, but doesn't really back that up. I'm all for feminist methodologies in which personal experience is valid, but this felt a little unfounded.
3. Sometimes it felt like she was trying to win bisexuality the gold in the Oppression Olympics, especially in her discussions of gay/lesbian vs bisexual.
I would have liked to see the chapter on race expanded (but the discussion of racism against Mizrahi Jews was super interesting), and I'd be interested in her thoughts about bisexuality and capitalism, but she's laid great groundwork for future scholars.
P.S. I was watching The Hobbit the other night after reading a few chapters of this book, and I've decided Gollum/Smeagol is a bisexual presence....more
Yesterday, we got the first slush of the season in MN and rush hour traffic was really bad, so I just parked in a random neighborhood and read this boYesterday, we got the first slush of the season in MN and rush hour traffic was really bad, so I just parked in a random neighborhood and read this book to the end while freezing in my car. I can tell that this is one of those books that's left traces of itself in my brain tubes, and it'll pop up whenever I think about sex work, old school and new school butch/femmes, and queerness in relation to class and geography. Highly recommended (though trigger warning - lots about sex work and violence) (and Not Safe For Breakroom at Work warning - there are some *sexy* queer sex scenes that might make you blush a little too hard to be work appropriate)....more
I'm mostly familiar with Cristy C Road through her artwork, and I was happy to find that her writing is just as hard-hitting as her illustrations. SheI'm mostly familiar with Cristy C Road through her artwork, and I was happy to find that her writing is just as hard-hitting as her illustrations. She writes here about growing up queer in a Cuban Catholic household and finding solace in the music of Green Day.
She seems a lot more self-aware than I was as an adolescent, but some of it still felt very familiar. I don't really know anything about Green Day, but I do know what it's like to feel like a musician gets you when no one else does. Thank god for music, right?...more
3.5 stars. Some of the essays here were fantastic, but mostly I felt like they were written for a different crowd. As you can guess from the title, th3.5 stars. Some of the essays here were fantastic, but mostly I felt like they were written for a different crowd. As you can guess from the title, the essays here talk about butch and femme - being one or both or bouncing between the two. But there wasn't much about being neither, which is something I've been aching to read about. Not the fault of the book, but an explanation for why it wasn't a personal 5-star read.
Still, a lot of good writing, and I appreciated the diversity of voices, even if one or two of them pissed me off for being a little trans- or andro-phobic (ugh, just looked up androphobic, and it means fear of men. but what I mean here is dislike of androgyny, which I felt in Victoria Brownworth's essay). Plus, it's a very Canadian collection, and I like to think I'm very Canadian at heart.
And again, I want a poster of this book cover....more
3.5 stars. Perhaps it would have been a better experience if I hadn't wolfed down the book in two or three sittings, because at times the stories star3.5 stars. Perhaps it would have been a better experience if I hadn't wolfed down the book in two or three sittings, because at times the stories started feeling redundant. But all the pieces were heartfelt, many were beautifully written, and there are diverse voices in here, though a little more diversity is always a desirable improvement.
The comics were great, especially the ones by Lucy Knisley and Michael DiMotta. And I loved Diane DiMassa's piece for its grit and refusal to sugar coat adulthood. And there were plenty of lines in the essays that I would have highlighted if it weren't a library book.
One thing that I can't fault the book for but that distracted me nonetheless: the grandfather paradox. I kept worrying that the writers were divulging too much to their younger selves before remembering that time travel is still NOT POSSIBLE (and this book is probably more about reaching current teens/storytelling rather than an expression of what the authors actually wish they could have known back then). But just in case, if I had to send a letter, I think it would be really brief and vague. Like, "hey x - made it to 24. there is plenty of happiness for you here, and it's worth it." But even that feels like too much info. I think I watched too much TV growing up....more
Again, there are passages in here that cut to the bone. By the end, I was a bit tired of her tone, but not enough to even remotely consider putting thAgain, there are passages in here that cut to the bone. By the end, I was a bit tired of her tone, but not enough to even remotely consider putting the book down.
A few bookmarked parts that I thought illustrate the power and humor of her writing:
"And I wasn't looking to improve the conditions of my life. I wanted to change my life out of all recognition" (p. 133).
"I would rather go on reading myself as a fiction than as a fact" (p. 154).
"'Whenever I am troubled,' said the librarian, 'I think about the Dewey decimal system.'" (p. 127).
And that title. It chokes me up just thinking about it....more
Friends - do me a favor and check to see if this book is in your public library system. If not, most libraries have a form to fill out for "suggestedFriends - do me a favor and check to see if this book is in your public library system. If not, most libraries have a form to fill out for "suggested additions" to the collection. Request that this book is put on the shelves, because it's one of those books that will be life-changing for someone who needs it.
This anthology is made up of essays written mostly by homeless or formerly homeless queer and trans youth. Many of the essays give advice on how to survive the streets, and I love that a book for this demographic finally exists. Plus, I totally want to gift this to those white wealthy cis gays and lesbians at the head of the "movement" that are so focused on marriage and DADT - I would hope that this book would make them reconsider their priorities.
My only complaint is about the placement of the final essay. It's written by an academic who has never been homeless, and as far as I can tell, doesn't identify as queer or trans. It was disappointing to have a collection that centered the voices of marginalized youth wrapped up by a privileged outsider in the end - it changed the tone and made me question who the book was for. But whatever, the editor still seems awesome, and it was a minor sour note to an overall fantastic anthology....more
The introduction to this book is totally fascinating. Stockton looks at "growing sideways" as it relates to children queered by sexuality, race, moneyThe introduction to this book is totally fascinating. Stockton looks at "growing sideways" as it relates to children queered by sexuality, race, money, innocence, and criminality. It made me rethink how I conceptualize childhood, as well as how I remember my own childhood. That's how powerful the introduction is.
However, the book doesn't flesh out or answer these questions in a satisfying way. Stockton has a English Lit background, and I guess I was more interested in a sociological exploration than a literary analysis. I ended up skimming the last few chapters, because I hadn't seen the movies or read the books she was referencing. ...more
Some of the essays were really stellar, but I ended up skimming a lot of them due redundancy, questionable sincerity (I'm looking at you straight poliSome of the essays were really stellar, but I ended up skimming a lot of them due redundancy, questionable sincerity (I'm looking at you straight politicians), or dull writing styles. Maybe they were more engaging as videos? But then again I'm not really the targeted demographic, so maybe I'm not the best judge.
Despite my lukewarm feelings on the length and selection choices, I wholeheartedly recommend this book for any library or school collection. I think the message (that things get better or that you get stronger) has healing potential for many kids, and helps non-queer/trans kids better understand their peers. Plus, just the presence of this book in a collection makes a statement.
I missed two bus stops because of this book. The writing is simple and the stories are everyday, but I found the messages/questions totally riveting aI missed two bus stops because of this book. The writing is simple and the stories are everyday, but I found the messages/questions totally riveting and resonant. I'll definitely be checking out more of Ivan's work, and am putting this on my list of books to reread. ...more
I used this in my analysis of the local public library's collection of sex ed material for youth. It was written in 1996 so the second half on resourcI used this in my analysis of the local public library's collection of sex ed material for youth. It was written in 1996 so the second half on resources is completely obsolete. The first half had some points that were helpful in my analysis, but it was also obviously outdated.
Someone should really write a new edition! It seems like it could still be a helpful resource if it would get with the times....more