LGBTQ+ history is the history, of the world. No shade — just facts.
To be Afro-American, Afro-Latino and Queer is a double 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 writing 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.
Kacen Callender is a powerhouse of today’s queer fiction, writing books spanning from middle grade and YA to adult. Their newest book, Felix Ever After, is a story about a queer, black, trans teen looking for his own happily ever. Other books include Hurricane Child, This is Kind of an Epic Love Story, King, and the Dragonflies; all explore heartfelt stories of identity and belonging.
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 50’s and 60’s. (https://amzn.to/3wwrmBk)
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 is Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room.
Giovanni’s Room is 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.
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 seventy 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 intimate, 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 fifteen 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.
To learn more about Pride 2021 in Los Angeles check out,
Los Angeles LGBT Center https://lalgbtcenter.org