Ray, Douglas, ed. The Queer South: LGBTQ Writers on the American South. Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014.
This anthology, dreamed up and edited by Douglas Ray, features poetry and prose that sings of and explores the queer experience of the American South. From hilarious to heartbreaking, anxious to angry, religious to reluctant, contemplative to celebratory, this anthology expands our ideas of what it means to be queer and what it means to represent the land south of the Mason-Dixon.
Thompson, Brock. The Un-Natural State. University of Arkansas Press, 2010.
The Un-Natural State is a one-of-a-kind study of gay and lesbian life in Arkansas in the twentieth century, a deft weaving together of Arkansas history, dozens of oral histories, and Brock Thompson’s own story. Thompson analyzes the meaning of rural drag shows, including a compelling description of a 1930s seasonal beauty pageant in Wilson, Arkansas, where white men in drag shared the stage with other white men in blackface, a suggestive mingling that went to the core of both racial transgression and sexual disobedience. These small town entertainments put on in churches and schools emerged decades later in gay bars across the state as a lucrative business practice and a larger means of community expression, while in the same period the state’s sodomy law was rewritten to condemn sexual acts between those of the same sex in language similar to what was once used to denounce interracial sex.
New York Public Library, Edmund White and Jason Baumann, eds. The Stonewall Reader Paperback. Penguin Random House, 2019.
June 28, 2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which is considered the most significant event in the gay liberation movement, and the catalyst for the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States. Drawing from the New York Public Library’s archives, The Stonewall Reader is a collection of first accounts, diaries, periodic literature, and articles from LGBTQ magazines and newspapers that documented both the years leading up to and the years following the riots. Most importantly the anthology spotlights both iconic activists who were pivotal in the movement, such as Sylvia Rivera, co-founder of Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (STAR), as well as forgotten figures like Ernestine Eckstein, one of the few out, African American, lesbian activists in the 1960s.
Evans, Rachel Held. Searching for Sunday. Nelson Books, 2015.
Like millions of her millennial peers, Rachel Held Evans didn’t want to go to church anymore. The hypocrisy, the politics, the gargantuan building budgets, the scandals—church culture seemed so far removed from Jesus. Yet, despite her cynicism and misgivings, something kept drawing her back to Church. And so she sets out on a journey to understand Church and to find her place in it. Centered around seven sacraments, Evans’s quest takes readers through a liturgical year with stories about baptism, communion, confirmation, confession, marriage, vocation, and death that are funny, heartbreaking, and sharply honest.
Cantorna, Amber. Unashamed: A Coming-Out Guide for LGBTQ Christians. Westminster John Knox Press, 2019.
In this handy guide, LGBTQ people of faith will find personal and practical advice for the coming-out process. Unashamed tackles such topics as internalized homophobia, re-establishing your worth as a child of God, finding an affirming faith community, and deciding when and how to come out. In her accessible and compassionate style, Cantorna equips LGBTQ Christians for the coming-out process, helps them create communities that will support and love them during the journey, and offers a bridge to re-establish their relationship with God.
Howard, John. Men Like That: A Southern Queer History. University of Chicago Press, 1999.
We don’t usually associate thriving queer culture with rural America, but John Howard’s unparalleled history of queer life in the South persuasively debunks the myth that same-sex desires can’t find expression outside the big city. In fact, this book shows that the nominally conservative institutions of small-town life—home, church, school, and workplace—were the very sites where queer sexuality flourished. As Howard recounts the life stories of the ordinary and the famous, often in their own words, he also locates the material traces of queer sexuality in the landscape: from the farmhouse to the church social, from sports facilities to roadside rest areas.
Decaro, Frank. Drag: Combing Through the Big Wigs of Show Business. Rizzoli, 2019.
Drag is a multimedia collection of interviews, commentaries and photos on drag history and culture, featuring contributions from some of the most influential drag artists of our time from around the globe, including Bianca del Rio, Miss Coco Peru, Hedda Lettuce, Lypsinka, and Varla Jean Merman. Illustrated with more than 100 photos, many never-before-seen images from performers’ personal collections, and a timeline of drag “herstory.”
Sontag, Susan. Notes on Camp. Penguin Modern, 2018. (Originally published 1964.)
‘The ultimate Camp statement: it’s good because it’s awful.’ These two classic essays were the first works of criticism to break down the boundaries between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, and made Susan Sontag a literary sensation.
Naidoo, Jamie Campbell. Rainbow Family Collections: Selecting and Using Children’s Books with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Content. Libraries Unlimited, 2012.
Research shows that an estimated 2 million children are being raised in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) families in the United States; that the number of same-sex couples adopting children is at an all-time high; and that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) couples raising children live in 96 percent of all counties in the United States. Today’s educators and youth librarians therefore need guidance in choosing, evaluating, and selecting high-quality children’s books with LGBTQ content. As one of the only highly praised resources on this important topic, this thoughtfully compiled book examines and suggests picture books and chapter books presenting LGBTQ content to children under the age of 12.
Harker, Jaime.The Lesbian South: Southern Feminists, the Women in Print Movement, and the Queer Literary Canon. The University of North Carolina Press, 2018.
In this book, Jaime Harker uncovers a largely forgotten literary renaissance in southern letters. Anchored by a constellation of southern women, the Women in Print movement grew from the queer union of women’s liberation, civil rights activism, gay liberation, and print culture. Broadly influential from the 1970s through the 1990s, the Women in Print movement created a network of writers, publishers, bookstores, and readers that fostered a remarkable array of literature. With the freedom that the Women in Print movement inspired, southern lesbian feminists remade southernness as a site of intersectional radicalism, transgressive sexuality, and liberatory space.