LGBTQ+ history is the history of the world. No shade—just facts.
To be Afro American, Afro Latino and Queer is a multi-dose of challenges and therefore the most fertile ground for reinvention and creation.
Pride began with a series of riots and demonstrations led by queer African American trailblazers such as Marsha P. Johnson (https://bit.ly/2QIZRFA) and Stormé DeLarverie in response to a police raid at The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village.
The year was 1969 and in the wee hours of the morning, on June 28, police raided the gay bar, The Stonewall Inn, in Manhattan. The police claimed they were raiding the bar for serving alcohol without a liquor license, but law enforcement was known for making trouble for the LGBTQ+ community.
2021, and as protests against the systemic criminalization and destruction of African American lives continue across this broken country, it’s important to remember LGBTQ+, that we owe the birth of the modern movement to the African, African American, and Brown trans and queer people who stood up for themselves and us all.
For those that live the LGBTQ+ 360 days a week, here are a few suggestions to make your 2021 Pride a bit more colorful and, hopefully, gather even more knowledge to step into the world, head held high representing the beauty and fierceness that is you.
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“The Deep,” by Rivers Solomon. A novelization inspired by and in collaboration with the Hugo-nominated song of the same name by the hip hop group clipping. develops mythology for the children of the pregnant African women thrown overboard from slave ships.
N.K. Jemisin’s most recent hit “The City We Became,” about the living avatars of New York City and its boroughs, includes multiple queer characters fighting hard to save the city they love.
Roxane Gay is a literary icon. Her debut collection, “Ayiti,” explores the Haitian diaspora through fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Her short story collection, “Difficult Women,” and nonfiction like “Bad Feminist” and “Hunger,” are pretty much mandatory reading at this point.
Akwaeke Emezi has a voice like no other writer today. “Freshwater” is the surreal story of a Nigerian woman living with fractured selves and was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award. “Pet” explores the realities of a society striving for peace to the point of willfully ignoring the monsters in their midst, all from the perspective of a young trans girl. And their upcoming novel, “The Death of Vivek Oji,” comes out later this year.
James Baldwin. One of the most influential writers to have ever lived. A deeply passionate and outspoken man. His observations on discrimination against gay and lesbian people as an openly African American gay man himself are still as relevant as they were when he was alive, and writing in the ’50s and ’60s.
From the semi-autobiographical “Go Tell It on the Mountain” to essay collections like “The Fire Next Time,” Baldwin is an incisive voice in both Black and queer American history. His other novels include “Another Country” and “Giovanni’s Room,” one of the best love stories that I’ve ever read. In “Giovanni’s Room,” set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin’s now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.
Samuel R. Delaney is another classic author of African American queer SFF. “Babel-17“ explores the power of language against the backdrop of an intergalactic war. “Dhalgren” takes place after a strange disaster begins affecting a Midwestern city, with the marginalized left behind to deal with the aftereffects. And “Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand” explores gender and sexuality in interstellar politics.
In Nicky Drayden’s “The Prey of Gods,” a cast of characters, both queer and not, live with the fallout of a technologically advanced society whose ancient connections to the gods have been reawakened. Her other books, “Escaping Exodus” and “Temper,” are similarly full of queer SFF excellence.
“Black. Queer. Southern. Women.: An Oral History by E. Patrick Johnson”
Drawn from the life narratives of more than 70 African American queer women who were born, raised, and continue to reside in the American South, this book powerfully reveals the way these women experience and express racial, sexual, gender, and class identities —all linked by a place where such identities have generally placed them on the margins of society.
“A Garden for Black Boys” by WJ Lofton
“A Garden for Black Boys” invites the reader into a world where tough questions are unpacked and answers are presented raw, extremely intimately, and containing a breath of their own. Each poem applauds the humanity of Black people, which is often overlooked in America. Inspired by tragedy, the continual shootings of unarmed African American women and men, the author labors out a rallying cry that not only wreaks grief but determined hope; a possibility to see a better tomorrow.
“Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches” by Audre Lorde
In this charged collection of 15 essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope.