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The Gay Agenda: A Modern Queer History & Handbook

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  160 ratings  ·  38 reviews
A joyful celebration of the LGBTQ+ community’s dvelopment, history, and culture, packed with facts, trivia, timelines, and charts, and featuring 100 full-color illustrations.

Compiled and designed by queer power couple and illustrators extraordinaire, Ashley Molesso and Chessie Needham, founders of the popular Brooklyn stationery company Ash + Chess, The Gay Agenda is an in
ebook, 176 pages
Published April 28th 2020 by Morrow Gift
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  160 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtqiap, audiobook
"Remember that you are a person who loves or feels attraction to another person, you are a normal person with hopes and dreams." Ah yes, please violently slap me in the face with your aphobia in the last fifteen minutes of your book about the LGBTQ+ community. Not only do they say this, which is really, really aggressively aphobic and definitely could have been worded differently or just been cut out entirely, they also explain asexuality wrong TWICE and even though they mention aromantic (as in ...more
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is the perfect housewarming gift or coffee table book for LGBTQ+ friends. I know a lot about queer history and I am so happy to find a book that really dives deep in a fun and educational way. I thoroughly enjoyed this entire read and think it's important for LGBTQ+ kids to pick this up when they realize their school systems don't educate about famous queer history. I cannot recommend this book enough!
Samantha Ania
Sep 30, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqia
This is informative but brief. It's a great starting point for queer history, to cover the basics and get started. I also love the title. It seemed to really try to be nuanced and take intersectionality into account. Did not love the definition of bisexuality as "both genders" instead of "two or more genders." I wish it had done a better job with asexuality and gave more diversity in the individuals that they highlighted. I'm sure there's other pieces that aren't covered as well, this is nuanced ...more
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
I want to start this review off by saying that I think this book is a great starting resource for queer history in the US, defining terms for people who may not be familiar with them, and providing guidance for queer people who may be looking for information. Also, the art is fantastic--it's colorful and is a great style, and I really think it adds a lot to the book. But now we get to the bad parts.

I was enjoying the book for the most part, but the whole time in the back of my mind I was wonderi
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The history of LGBTQ+ people is one that is rich, but frankly, the masses are simply unaware of most of it. Sure, milestones like the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and the legalization of same-sex marriage in the US are known. There is some general knowledge of the AIDS crisis and terrible hate crimes like the murder of Matthew Shepard. That being said, there is a more intricate tapestry of progress that mostly goes unacknowledged. I think that is just the nature of oppression. The stories of t ...more
Jul 24, 2020 rated it liked it
it lost two stars for:
-an extremely outdated definition of bisexual (as "someone who is attracted to men and women", "both genders"—no mention of other genders). having been published in 2019, there's no excuse.
-a usa-centric history (which is fine, but nowhere do they state that the us is their focus).
-the writing, in my opinion, was weak.
-i would have loved to see recommended queer reading, resources, places for queer people and allies to get more information, bc this book brushes over a lot o
Feb 06, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, on-my-shelf
2.5 stars

At first glance this book is a good start off point for queer history (part 1) and terminology (part 2), albeit with it's flaws - the first being that it is lacking a reference/further reading at the end of the book; this is the type of book where one of those is quite essential, in my opinion. Like the word Handbook is in the title.
At first, i saw this as a school book: it gives you the basics, some info isn't exactly right, isn't there and sometimes is even plain wrong, but it's meant
Callie Gonsalves
on the one hand, I do think I learned a fair amount from this book about queer icons and history, so I'm glad I read it.
however, this book is so, so repetitive. there were several instances where the exact same sentence was repeated twice on ONE page. The authors admit that this book was allowed to be about "anything," and that comes across. I don't think either writer has a solid grasp on everything discussed in this book. they referred to LGBTQIA+ youth being kicked out of their homes for bein
Angélica ✸
Mar 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2021
3.5 stars

this is a beautiful graphic novel that could be a great starting resource for queer history and definitions of terms... however the history covered is u.s. centric and some of the definitions aren't *accurate* (e.g. bisexual and asexual). keep in mind that the book is only 176 pages with most of the pages being taken up by the illustrations, leaving little room for text. if an event, person, or organization you read about in this book sparks your interest you'll definitely need to do so
Joyfully Jay
May 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: elizabeth
A Joyfully Jay review.

3.25 stars

Despite the name, The Gay Agenda feels more a trivia book than a history. Written by “power couple” Ashley Molesso and Chess Needham, it touches lightly upon a variety of topics ranging from Sappho to the AIDS crisis, introducing readers to a handful of pioneers, both well known and not — such as Oscar Wilde, Harvey Milk, and Ellen, as well as We’wha, the Zuni Two-Spirit, author James Baldwin, and Kathy Kozachenko. Unfortunately, this book has good intentions and
Nov 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a beautifully illustrated book and quick read, but I have to acknowledge that it's very America-centered and misses some parts.
I did learn new things and loved the way it was designed.
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, 2021-reads, graphic
This is a fine book, but I think that the "power couple" that decided of all the things they could write they would choose something that has been done already and better (see Queer: A Graphic History), the book was not for me. I think a much more compelling book would have been focusing on their story, they're hardly present in the pages, and given they are not historians or otherwise in a sector that would particularly qualify them to write this handbook (they own a stationary company speciali ...more
Lisa Frank
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a great read for an ally! Having many friends in the LGBTQ+ community I felt like I knew enough but being a true ally means continuously learning. This book was a great way to get information on the history of this community in a very fun and easy to read way. I loved how everything was broken up into small pages or sections. This made it very easy to pick up and put down at random times throughout the day and I didn’t feel like I was lost or missing information. The art in this bo ...more
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Overall a good introduction to queer history, but it was disappointing to see the wrong definition of bisexuality. It would have been nice to at least acknowledge that many bisexual people do not see bisexuality as still tied to the gender binary.
Brad Krautwurst
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was provided an e-ARC of this book through the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a very quick summary of many, many things that happened in LGBTQ+ history along with a lot of absolutely adorable illustrations. It is quick read, especially if you're generally familiar with a lot of that history. My favorite part about the book was the illustrations, although I will say there were definitely some, uh, interesting graphic design choices that made it sometimes difficult to re
Daniel Myers

The drawings are nice, but there are serious flaws in this.

In terms of content, the scope is basically only inclusive of the US and UK, the language used in some parts is dismissive of some identities in the LGBT+ community (such as using the term "both genders"), POC LGBT+ history is somewhat pushed to the side, each of the items featured in the book are given as discrete units with no connection to each other, and the text is so tiny that it's hard to read.

Overall, it's a bit disappointi
There were a few issues with this mainly its hyper-focus on the US and iffy descriptions of asexuality and bisexuality. However, the ever-changing vocabulary of queerness could be attributed to this. This is definitely the best non-fiction book on queerness that I have found in regards to the respect it holds to the community (though the errors it makes, it must be held accountable for) so I believe we should all support books like this so that publishers know that our history and our lives will ...more
Annabelle Patton
Aug 31, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The artwork was nice but it didnt feel like anything new or exciting about LGBTQ history. The fact that besides recognizing the existence of the two spirit identity from the Zuni tribe, it takes a very long time to talk about any people of color in terms of the queer community. The bisexuality definition was outdated and frankly, it felt almost tokenizing the history that was highlighted. Look elsewhere for queer history.
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rich history, beautiful artwork. Makes for a terrific coffee table book or a closer read.
Feb 15, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are someone who is just starting out on the journey to learn more about LGBTQ+ history or who wants a pretty center piece for your coffee table then this is the book for you. This is a beautifully and artistically designed book intended to be a snap shot look at American LGBTQ+ history, primarily since the 1900s to the present day. It has quick informational blurbs about notable people, organizations, laws, movies, protests, and other important moments from the past 100 years.

Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun overview of LGBTQ+ history, terms, and other topics. The Illustrations are simple but pleasing, and really added to the experience.

I'll be honest, I didn't finish this book because the Kindle version is POORLY formatted and extremely hard to read. The font is too small, some of the font is overlayed on illustrations, entire sections are missing the spaces between words... It's impossible to zoom in... A wildly unpleasant reading experience. I gave up reading and just flipped thro
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully illustrated guide to queer history.

I was sent this book by Harper360YA but all opinions are my own!

I fell in love with the premise and look of this book at first glance! The illustrations are so vibrant and colourful and really work well with the subject matter. I loved the cartoon style to the influential people and events that are written about inside. From the first openly gay men to the prejudice and injustice and the subsequent riots. This book is a very informative h
Captain Comic Book
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Let me preface this by saying I feel like this book was aimed at a much younger audience than I am. I found a lot of things in the book to be very simplified and some facts even rub me the wrong way a little. For example, those who identify as queer have no obligation to try to explain their being to someone who said something offensive to them. I understand the concept of teaching instead of getting angry, but that puts the burden of "defending" their existence on said queer person. Aside from ...more
Cristina Sherer
I personally think this functions best as a refresher for folks who are already familiar with queer history, rather than as a jumping off point. It lacks any sense of nuance and depth and is poorly edited (or at least inconsistently so, since the language throughout the book is often contradictory). I also think it does a poor job of sticking to its promise of highlighting people of color. Even when they are present, their descriptions are often written in a different tone than those of their wh ...more
Steven Middaugh
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: info-book
Interesting book, with some good information on almost all things LGBTQ+. The book’s authors admitted this book is not entirely exhaustive nor completely comprehensive. There are things that are left out in history like the Anita Bryant fiasco. Not that everybody would really want to know about it. But still.... Anyway, there are others yours truly didn’t know, which is a plus information-wise. Yet, it could’ve been more exhaustive on the history. Maybe in another book. Still, if you want a roug ...more
Apr 05, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a brief but colorful summary of lgbtq+ history, focusing primarily on people, events and movements in the last 200 years. There was so much new information to me that it seemed every three pages I was distractedly setting the book aside to learn more about a particular topic. Though the additional delving down the rabbit hole was welcome and fascinating, it probably took me twice as long to finish the book than it otherwise might have! Unfortunately, I feel compelled to deduct points for ...more
Kara Nevle
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great, fun read. I would probably recommend this as more of a starting place than something truly informative. This is actually something that the authors acknowledge in the preface themselves. There are parts that tend to only focus on the positive aspects of certain organizations and movements. And I wish that they had talked a bit more about asexual vs aphorisms since they really did their best with every other identity.

Fun read overall though. Would recommend as a gift to anyone th
May 20, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was good. Had a lot of history that I learned & great graphics. Another reviewer mentioned this but was more cis-gay male centric with other identities on the LGBTQI+ spectrum featured less. Still it is a fun text and nice to have visibility of historically active queer folks.

If you decide to pick up this book I would recommend getting a hard back. The font used is a bit funky compaired to Times New Roman and Hevalica so was kind of hard to read on a computer/ereader.
Jun 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I won this in a contest. Thank you to Harper Collins for the book.
I found this book very interesting and loved the format. I don't know much about the Gay Agenda, but this book covered the most important aspects of media and life regarding gay life. I am going to pass it on to my cousin and her wife and I think they will really enjoy it.
I loved the comic book/art/colors format of the book -it was very eye catching and an interesting way to read about some of the topics.
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned so much from this little book. I listened to the audio version. It was quick and packed with so much information. I wasn't able to view the illustrations or extras but will look into getting the book from the library in the future.

This book gives you a history of the Gay Agenda from pre 1900's to today. Did you know that the mafia ran gay bars? I knew about Stonewall but there is a lot of information that I did not know. There are a lot of topics that I must look into more.

It even in
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