I had planned to post a list of books you might be interested in checking out for Pride month, but I have been at a loss for words after the recent mass shooting. The tragedy that occurred in Orlando has weighed on my mind and I felt that I could not post my typical kind of humorous chatter. I will again, of course. It is a part of who I am. But the LGBTQ community is a part of who I am as well. I'm not going to address the shooting in this blog. If you are curious about my thoughts on that topic, I have already commented on it in my author's blog: www.typefingertapdancer.wordpress.com. I will use this space to talk about books that I hope you will consider reading if you are interested in learning, sharing, feeling connected to the LGBTQ community, etc.
I could list off all of the books that we have that in some way address the issues and politics of this piece of identity. I'm not sure that that would mean much. Instead, I am going to list 5 books that I think are well done and that have mattered to me.
1. Two or Three Things I Know For Sure by Dorothy Allison
This is a slim memoir by the author best known for her novel, Bastard Out of Carolina. It intersperses photographs with gritty, concise descriptions of growing up in a rural community and experiencing poverty. Her work does a fantastic job of showing the intersections of socio-economics with sexual orientation, etc. The memoir carries the heavy resonance of truth, passion, and pain.
2. Trash by Dorothy Allison
This is a collection of short stories by the same author, presenting many of the same issues. At the time when I first read this, I rarely cried during a book, and yet this one touched me. Allison takes a complex look at childhood abuse, poverty, sexuality, etc. This is not fiction that exploits or sensationalizes hot-button issues. We do not read to be shocked. We read her to understand, to empathize, to experience an author who is masterful and brutal. Here is work that matters.
3. Fun Home by Allison Bechdel
Here is a graphic memoir that explores Bechdel's coming of age against the backdrop of a funeral home. Her parents' marriage is problematic, her emerging sexuality is problematic. Nothing is simple. I adore all of her literary allusions and what can be conveyed in the visuals alone.
4. Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
Dense and academic, this book is the classic choice of queer theory scholars and figured heavily into much of my academic work when I was completing my M.A. in English. Amidst a number of fascinating points, there is Butler's contention that we have created a false binary in the sexes. Butler contends that biological sex (not just gender) is a spectrum, with intersexed people proving how illogical we are in our belief that male and female are separate, distinct entities.
5. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Set in Detroit, this novel explores a Greek family growing up American. The main character is intersexed and must explore how gender is expressed, how it is tied to the body, and how it is not. Here is another fantastic example of intersectional identities. Thought-provoking, dense, and well-written. This is a Pulitzer Prize winner.