Y’all knew this was coming, right?
I’m not an ally, I’m an accomplice. In the roughest, toughest parts of my non-ambiguously Black nerd femme life, my gay, lesbian, trans, and non-binary fam have always jumped in the trenches with me, helped me shoot down my demons, and had my back while I crawled to safety. Ever since my days of being the only straight girl at the ball back in the 90s, I’ve done my best to return the supportive energy and get in alongside LGBTQIA+ people against the struggles society imposes on the community. Our liberations are all bound up together.
So, just in time for both Pride Month and Juneteenth, let’s all read something super gay, ultra-queer, and gender non-conforming this Pride Month. Specifically, let’s read something joyful, Black, and all of the above. Emphasis on “joy”, which doesn’t mean just happiness and good vibes–it means taking pleasure in all that you are.
I emphasize the joy part because in the LGBTQIA+ community, as in the Black community and all intersections thereof, there’s a tendency for even the most well-meaning ally to see their friends and acquaintances as entertainment. Even folks who really think that they are down for the cause sometimes see people who are “different” as givers of fun, rather than fully realized people who deserve to enjoy their own normality. There’s a difference between being tolerant and celebrating someone else’s human sovereignty, and I’m challenging us all to read joy in Pride month in order to do the latter.
Try reading something like Hari Ziyad’s Black Boy Out of Time, about growing up queer in a Black Hindu-Muslim multifaith family in Ohio. Or Junauda Petrus’ The Stars and the Blackness Between Them, an intercultural Black YA lesbian romance. If you want adventure, try The Taking Of Jake Livingston, a ghost story quest in which a neurodivergent gay Black kid saves the day and gets the guy. Or go classic with some Audre Lorde or James Baldwin.
If you need more suggestions, check out the list I made on Bookshop. What are you going to read for this challenge, beautiful people? Spill it in the comments!
(Friends, neighbors, fellow readers–hope you’re having a great day! As always, thanks for reading. Don’t forget that we have an affiliate relationship with Bookshop and if you click on a link you find here and buy something there, this blog gets a cute little kickback that helps us buy more books and add more bells and whistles to the site. Be joyful, be proud of all that you are, and go read something good!)