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Queer: A Graphic History
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Queer: A Graphic History

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  4,329 ratings  ·  804 reviews
Activist-academic Meg-John Barker and cartoonist Julia Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel.

From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture an
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 15th 2016 by Icon Books (first published September 8th 2016)
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Bethany Davis I hope the Wikipedia article on the author puts your mind to rest a bit, Meg-John Barker is a real expert.

I g…more
I hope the Wikipedia article on the author puts your mind to rest a bit, Meg-John Barker is a real expert.

I guess it's important to remember that people identifying as queer can have differing opinions? If it taught you like it taught me, I'm glad you liked it.


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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  4,329 ratings  ·  804 reviews

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May 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Maybe I should write a review that explains why this book is such utter garbage.

1. Queer theory is a plot (modification of Adrian Piper stating that post-structuralism is a plot). Queer is a meaningless word that is unresponsive to the realities faced by LGBT people, namely homophobia and transphobia. In using queer to mean anyone who is kewl and performative instead of using it to refer to people grouped together on the basis of shared oppression, you miss why LGBT people experience discriminat
Danika at The Lesbrary
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wasn't expecting this to be queer /theory/! This is also more of a highly illustrated book than a graphic novel/graphic history. So basically, this was more intellectual than I was expecting. But that was great! Although sometimes it got a little intimidating, I think overall it did a great job in introducing a very dense, complex, sometimes incomprehensible subject.

I took a Queer Theory class in university, so I was familiar with some of this, but it was a great refresher for those and intro
I appreciate the information this little book holds, but man it was boring. It was somewhat of a slog. It did a great job of educating, but it was not entertaining really. There was so much they could have done in a graphic novel format. They could have told a story, or even just make each page more of a graphic novel. Instead, we get a picture that goes with the lecture.

I learned quite a bit from this book and even new ways to think about and see things. My only critique and it's a big one, is
This book is missing an important word on the cover, THEORY. This isn't the graphic history of the queer community, but a short, illustrated introduction into queer theory. Anyone who has studied queer issues already knows the basics, and anyone wanting to know the basics needs more than the book offers. ...more
A fun foray back into academia for a night! I think I'm not really the intended audience for this book, which is a graphic introduction to queer theory (the term history in the subtitle is a bit of a misnomer-- it'd be better if the cover and title made it clear it's about queer theory specifically). I've read fair number of the primary texts they refer to by Foucault, Butler, etc, so I doubt myself a bit when I say I think the concepts are well and clearly explained and that this book is pretty ...more
Elizabeth A
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, graphix, 2017
Book blurb: From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged.

I was at a gathering recently where people were asked to introduce themselves, and identify which pronouns they prefer. Huh? There are times I feel so dang old. Sigh.

This non
Carol Flores
Feb 18, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, this should be called Queer: a graphic theory not 'history'.

I’m not sure how I feel about this book, because I felt like I read an extensive Wikipedia article; meaning, that all the information was quite short but the sources were helpful in case you want to know more about the theories.

I do want to give credit to the illustrator because it made it more bearable but I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who wants to know about queer activism or queer identity or even the fact th
Nicole Craswell
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars.

This is such a great overview of queer theory. This book at least touched on almost every concept I've studied in almost 2 years of university gender and queer studies and explains everything in a clear, concise way that makes some of the notoriously confusing concepts easy to understand. Seriously, I've never understood Foucault more clearly. Every idea is accompanies by pictures that both help with the explanations and also keep things interesting (let's be real, a lot of queer theor
unknown pokemon
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars

Fascinating, articulate and intelligent.
Rod Brown
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
I sought out this work because of the subtitle, "A Graphic History." I was hoping for a graphic novel and instead received a pretty dull PowerPoint presentation. Basically a droning lecture is typeset in big blocks of text that float over bland illustrations that exhibit little continuity or flow. The most amusing part of the book for me was the several minutes I spent afterward using Google Images to search for the various real people whose images appear in the book and counting how many times ...more
Oct 05, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: overrated
This book is full of oversimplifications, overt biases, and outright lies. Radical Feminists (called by an actual slur in this crap book) aren't "using" Butler's theories "to advance an agenda." They are practicing real feminism, which has nothing to do with Butler's neoliberal, PoMo, faux-academic garbage. There's a reason that Walmart carries this pile of shit in paper form. It's mainstream neoliberal propaganda. ...more
I was expecting a graphic novel about the history of "queer" the word or about notable queer figures in history. This was actually more of an illustrated introduction to academic queer theory. Even with the illustrations it was dense reading and there were parts I'm not entirely sure I understood. Perhaps this might be a little too dense for those who aren't familiar with feminist studies or reading other academic works but it might be a nice introduction for those who have. ...more
Alex Sarll
For some reason I'd expected this to be a sort of Alice in Sunderland if Sunderland were the chosen name of one of Alice's non-binary partners. Whereas really it's much more an illustrated introduction in the manner of those old beginner's guides (I say that like I read more than one, when in fact it was just Rius on Marx at an early age while bored at a family friend's). Still, it deals admirably with the difficulty of introducing and summarising theories whose very essence is to disputatiously ...more
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Clever, accessible and comprehensive introduction to queer theory. And the authors don't shy away from critique - they're quick to point out when they themselves fall into binaries, they notice lack of intersectionality, and list the issues of this developing academic field. A good read, even if you know your Foucault and Butler. I wanted to write that it puts things in place, but no. It sets them in unending, erratic motion, as queer theory should. ...more
2.5 stars

Well this was definitely not what I expected. Like a lot of people, I think I expected something about queer history, not about the history of queer theory. So I had to review my expectations for this. It definitely was informative, I was interested in learning about the origin of words I use a lot in my activism. The general history of queer theory was interesting but got easily confusing. Like, it was as if this book was both too simplified and too complicated. I understand that intro
Akemi G.
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to learn how I can relate to LGBTQ people so that I won't unwittingly offend them. Besides, I was confused with the terminology: Is intersectionality just fancier word for diversity? The word queer is sometimes used to mean gay people, sometimes as the umbrella word for all LGBT (and intersex, asexual, etc), but also the opposite of that--that is, people who don't (or won't) belong to LGBT circle, right?

This book is a good intro. Definitely just an intro, but still quite informative. Be
Sim ✨(wholesimreads)
✔️ (adv.) a micro history

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5 stars

Super fascinating! Attempts to effectively address queerness in the most easily digested way through illustrations and ideologies. Really helps me understand sexuality/identity etc. in its entire complexity. Still so much to learn!
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it
An enlightening and informative read, and more scholarly and theoretical than I was expecting. For me, this was a good thing. Only downside for me was the reliance on pop cultural persons as references/examples - these will date the text quickly and be lost on some readers within a few years.
Bek MoonyReadsByStarlight
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is not just an LGBT+ history -- rather, it is a history of queerness. It is centered around queer theory, but also talks about queer culture and queer activism. It is very accessible and it makes me want to get back into reading more queer theory! A lot of conversations happening about the LGBT community would be a lot more easy to get through if people at least had this base knowledge (regardless of their perspective on it). It certainly does not cover everything in detail (how could you i ...more
May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOBIT). May this remind us to celebrate diversity!
Lizzie Huxley-Jones
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Here’s the thing: I’m queer in a number of ways. I’ve known I was attracted to multiple genders for a long time, but good old childhood shaming and being called “Lizzie the Lesbo” was enough for me to squash that side of me until I reached adulthood and eventually felt safe enough to think about it. I’ve known I was not a girl and not a boy either for my whole life, existing in the in-between and struggling with intermittent social and physical dysphoria. It was only in my late twenties that I s ...more
Stewart Tame
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Wow. That was not at all what I expected, though not in a bad way. Certainly it was more of an intellectual workout than I was prepared for. Queer is an introduction to Queer Theory in graphic novel form. Although I just read the book, I doubt my ability to give a coherent summary of just what QT is. There's one quote that comes close to my hazy understanding, but it will take some setting up. Throughout the book, there are portraits of various writers and researchers whose work has contributed ...more
Apr 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novels
l's review is all you need to know about how I feel, honestly. The older I get, the further away from college campuses where this sort of theory abounds, and the more I live my life as a woman, in a relationship with another woman, the less time I have for this sort of navel-gazing, identity-above-reality nonsense.

In a culture where saying something like "humans are a sexual dimorphic species" carries an increasing risk that you'll be labeled a TERF (and where same-sex attraction is "problematic
Sara-Jayne Poletti
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is basically an academic text crossed with a comic. It's so jam packed full of accessible/super informative explanations of queer theory and history. If you're looking for a cutesy little graphic history, this ain't it. If you're looking for a succinct and instructive rundown of the history of queer theory (from identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion), look no further. It may be short and filled with a ton of illustrations, but this is one book that will definite ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This brought me back to my Queer Theory class. I recognized nearly every single name mentioned, which made me pretty damn impressed with myself haha. Great little book to have on hand. Would have liked it to have an index — alas!
Jul 21, 2016 rated it liked it
This review was originally posted here on my blog, Magic & Musings. Check it out!

* Icon Books kindly sent me a copy of Queer for review, but my opinions below are just that: my opinions! *

'Activist-academic Megan-John Barker and cartoonist Julia Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel. A kaleidoscope of characters from the diverse worlds of pop culture, film, activism and academics guide us on a journey through the idea
The only reason I'm withholding a star is because I had to read this really quickly for class, so I didn't get to sit with all the content as long as I would've liked. But I'm definitely going to re-read and probably even buy this one, so I'll update my rating then!

For now, I'm really excited at the idea of taking theory outside of academia and exploring different mediums that change the way readers can engage with complex ideas. Of course a book like this can't get into precise detail about eve
Barker and Scheele's Queer: A Graphic History is a succinct account of the academic field of queer theory. They go a long way to cut down on intensive (and confusing) jargon, and they succeed in providing many humorous and telling illustrations that reflect on queer icons throughout history while staying true to the political and cultural critiques endemic to queer theory. It's a text I would love to teach in the future, purely for its accessible reading, but also for its capacity to engender cr ...more
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Listen. I loved this book. It's educational without being too esoteric. It stakes positions but isn't preachy. It's accessible and inclusive. It made me consider familiar topics from new perspectives, and gave voice to feelings I've had for years, not knowing there were entire concepts and fields of study based on them. I wish this book had been around when I was 14 years old and starting to understand myself as more than I had been told I could be. I honestly wish I could put this book into eve ...more
Sep 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
DNF around 75%.
This book is an insult to the reader and to the various intelligent, multifaceted and controversial figures it draws upon. Barker does not trust the reader to think critically and make their own interpretations. Instead, a wide variety of theorists (Beauvoir, Sartre, Freud, Foucault, Kinsey, Lorde, Rich, Camus, Butler, you name it) are reduced to a few choice, out-of-context quotes intended to spoon feed us a very specific interpretation of their legacies. The problem is not the
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Dr. Meg-John Barker is a writer, therapist, and activist-academic specialising in sex, gender and relationships. Their popular books include the (anti-)self-help relationship book Rewriting the Rules, The Secrets of Enduring Love (with Jacqui Gabb), Queer: A Graphic History (with Julia Scheele), and Enjoy Sex, How, When and If You Want To (with Justin Hancock). Meg-John is a senior lecturer in psy ...more

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