Pride Reads: More Trans and Non-Binary BIPOC Authors

Have you already blown through the last list of poetry by trans and non-binary Black, Indigenous, and People of Color that was posted on Shelf Talk? Well, you are in look, because we’re back with even more amazing reads by trans BIPOC voices. This time, the list includes writing in both poetry and novel formats, and some of them are even available as E-Books on OverDrive – all you need is your Library card, an internet connection, and a compatible device and you’ll be able to access them without ever leaving your home.

Holy Wild by Gwen Benaway
Holy Wild, released in 2018, is the third collection of poetry from Gwen Benaway, who identifies as a trans woman of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. She is also currently a PhD candidate in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Toronto. This poetry collection draws extensively on her own encounters with transphobia and how this has intersected with her experience as an Indigenous person in Canada, and ties these intensely individual, personal experiences into the macro historical, social, and political legacies of colonial violence they are ultimately derived from. The poems are also multilingual, utilizing both English and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe), which definitely adds to both their dynamism and portrayal of her experience. Continue reading “Pride Reads: More Trans and Non-Binary BIPOC Authors”

Pride Reads: BIPOC Trans/Non-Binary Poets

Pride month is a great time to be delving deeper into poetry, and in particular the kind of poetry that shares aspects of LGBTQIA+ experience. More specifically, voices that are often pushed to the margins of the queer community – the voices of trans and non-binary Black, Indigenous, People of Color – are especially important to seek out during this time. The books listed in this post are written by trans and non-binary BIPOC and whose writing is born directly out of those experiences.

Why Dust Shall Never Settle Upon This Soul by Ryka Aoki
This is the first collection of poetry published by trans and Japanese American poet Ryka Aoki. The poems contained here are certainly working intentionally with her heritage and identity, but she has also been careful to make sure that her works appeal to a broader audience, as well. In an essay for Publisher’s Weekly, Aoki once wrote, “If a trans musician can make the audience cry by playing Chopin, how else, but as a human, can she be regarded? And if a book written by a queer trans Asian American can make you think of your own beaches, your own sunsets, or the dear departed grandmother you loved so much…. then what more powerful statement of our common humanity can there be?” This sentiment certainly shines through in her writing here. Continue reading “Pride Reads: BIPOC Trans/Non-Binary Poets”

Documentaries for Pride

Even though Pride events and in-person festivities are cancelled this year, it is still possible to celebrate LGBTQ resilience from the comfort of your home – and the Library can help with that! Aside from going out to protests and engaging with written content by queer authors, there are also lots of video resources available to you with your library card. Your barcode and PIN number will give you access to lots of documentaries, movies, and other online video content through platforms such as Kanopy. Here are three great queer history documentaries of varying lengths to get you started:

After Stonewall. A 90-minute documentary from filmmakers Dan Hunt, Janet Baus, and John Scagliotti, After Stonewall details the LGBTQ rights movement beginning in the early 1970s until the end of the 20th century. It is the sequel to Before Stonewall, which focuses on the fight for LGBTQ rights prior to the movement’s watershed moment with the riots of 1969. After is particularly poignant in its treatment of the ordeals that LGBTQ people went through during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and how this political crisis impacted the type of activism that the movement turned towards at the end of the century. Continue reading “Documentaries for Pride”

Pride Reads: Black Women Writers

This Pride month, as the world is rising up in solidarity with American cities protesting against racism, white supremacy, and police brutality, it is sobering to think about the many Black, queer lives that have been lost to these oppressive systems. As queer people, it is also a great time to remember that we celebrate Pride each year to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969, which were led by Black trans women in protest against police brutality. Although Black femmes have always been vocal leaders in our queer community, they are also most likely to face discrimination, harassment, and violence, and to have their voices silenced by others among us. Every Pride month, we should remember that Pride was not established to be a party, but a protest – and a protest against systemic racial oppression, at that. To help you do so, here are three books by Black queer women for you to read as Seattle’s queer community grieves and resists alongside our Black community this June. Continue reading “Pride Reads: Black Women Writers”

Pride Month: Queer Cinema by Queer Directors

“There have never been lesbians or gay men in Hollywood. Only homosexuals.” With this final despairing statement, gay film historian and activist Vito Russo ends The Celluloid Closet, his landmark study of representations of LGBTQ people in film.

When Russo first published The Celluloid Closet in 1981, he could not imagine that over a decade later LGBTQ directors would make movies that depicted the complex and varied experiences of LGBTQ people with respect and pride, and that Hollywood would begin to finance and distribute these films. Nor could he foresee that 35 years later, Barry Jenkins, a Black gay director, would win the Best Picture Academy Award for Moonlight, a sensitive, nuanced, and beautifully filmed story of a young gay Black man’s coming of age.

Sadly, Russo died of AIDS-related complications in 1990 and did not live long enough to see the blossoming queer cinema that began to emerge shortly thereafter. In 2013, GLAAD created the Vito Russo Test in his honor. Mainstream Hollywood filmmakers still have a way to go in terms of positive portrayals of LGBTQIA characters, but queer filmmakers around the world have been producing excellent films that pass the Vito Russo Test and then some for decades. Here are a few of my favorites: Continue reading “Pride Month: Queer Cinema by Queer Directors”