Archives for category: LGBTQ

“What do you want to lie about?” asked Kiese Laymon; “Write that,” Sari Botton said.

Me: Marriage Proposal Follies for Longreads.

girlfriend-proposal Katie Kosma

Illustration by Katie Kosma. So perfect. I’m obsessed with it.

 

June is Pride month. As a kind of meditation, I read books by queer authors or stories about queer people. Some have been in my TBR stacks for ages, some newly published for the season.

Here’s what I read:

O’Keeffe: The Life of an American Legend (1993) an obsessive biography about the artist by Jeffrey Hogrefe.

Myriam Gurba’s Mean (2017) is described as part memoir, part ghost story, part true crime. And it is all art.

This cover, tho. Myriam Gurba, Mean (2017)

 

Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair that Shaped a First Lady (2016), an epistolary-based biography about Eleanor Roosevelt and reporter Lorena Hickok, and their found love letters by Susan Quinn.

My partner and I read David Sedaris’ new collection of essays, Calypso (2018), together, like total lesbians. I held the book; she made slight nods when it was time to turn the page.

For fun, I read When Katie Met Cassidy (2018), a novel love story, swooning around modern day NYC by Camille Perri.

And I’ve just started Against Memoir: Complaints, Confessions, and Criticisms (2018) by Michelle Tea, whose perfect punk pitch of love and fight promises to help get me through July 4th this year.

Seeing this list–all together here–suddenly feels remarkable. These books represent such a spectrum of age, class, gender, and queerness; where they call home, spreading from North Carolina to LA, Brooklyn to New Mexico; their work exhibiting a variety of fineness. But also. For as fantastically diverse as they are in some respects, they are predominantly white authors writing about white characters or about white subjects.

My books are not usually so white. This is something I’m super intentional about. I read non-fiction (pretty much non-stop) because I’m interested in people and history. I deeply appreciate all of these books–adore that these stories are being shared–but it’s also true that there are so, so, so, so many stories yet to be supported into books.

The Feminist Press is hosting their Louise Meriwether First Book Prize for a debut work by a woman or non-binary author of color. Today is the last day to submit a manuscript. If you’re waiting for a sign, an omen, a flapping flag of some sort, may this be it.

 …if you’re female, or female-presenting, or if you’re queer, or a person of color, we have made a lot of inroads in a lot of different fields, businesses, but we are in no way where we should be—where we deserve to be.”

-Lola Flash

 

Lola Flash’s retrospective at Pen + Brush, 1986 to Present, honors creative activism at its finest.

As a queer black woman, Flash, at age 59, has used the medium of photography and photographic processes to confront the dual injustice of invisibility and stereotypical portrayals of gender, sexuality, race, and age for over three decades. Her portraits, many of which were taken with a 4×5 camera, serve to capture those in her communities who are often overlooked. Beginning in 1986, Flash documented her involvement with the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) demonstrations and also employed cross-color film processing to reverse the printed photograph’s colors—further illuminating how one person’s blue-sky can be another’s fire-red horizon.

Now on view, Flash’s “Cross-Color” series presents a new world to behold, where black is white and what’s usually identifiable is obscured, exhibited alongside five portrait series, in which Flash invites viewers to see her world, her communities of individuals, in all their unique specificity. The “[sur]passing” series explores the spectrum of race; “surmise” captures fluid presentations of gender; SALT challenges ageism; LEGENDS spotlights leaders of the LGBTQ+ movement; and Incarceration, a singular self-portrait, is the inaugural piece in a series about the mass imprisonment of people of color. Together, this historic retrospective of seventy-one photographs spans a life of advocacy that Flash explains can be united by a simple message: “Look at us,” she implores, “How can you not love us?”

“A lifetime of creative activism needs honoring,” author Juno Roche, writes in the catalog accompanying the photography exhibition, and “needs acknowledgement and celebration.” Pen + Brush, the expansive gallery and organization that has been dedicated to championing women in the arts for over a century, is doing just this by kicking off 2018, another year of resistance, with the Lola Flash Retrospective, now on view through March 17, 2018.

Read our conversation at The Rail.

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