Hi.

I hope this site inspires you. Stay black. Stay beautiful. You are loved.

A Black & Queer Booklist For The Year

A Black & Queer Booklist For The Year

Growing up as an avid reader one thing I was definitely missing on my shelf was the work of black LGBT authors. Even though there are many out there, their work is not often placed at the front of book stores, and adapted into feature films. Many of us will never hear about them if we do not actively search, so putting together this list felt necessary. We are in a new year, and I'm making it a priority to read as many Black LGBT authors as possible. This list has authors that I already love, and some that I have just discovered. Some I would consider classics (Baldwin and Lorde), and some are fledgling writers who will hopefully go down in literary history like their predecessors. I'll be adding more to it as the year goes on, and periodically posting book reviews. Hopefully you'll find something that peaks their interest.

FICTION

Pangaea: Unsettled Land by Jarrod D. King (2016)

b6ae8d0a-8625-46ef-8bd4-d8900a46aec3.png.jpg

Goodreads Description: Slade Maxwell is a noble and a senior in college who’s expected to graduate and be next in his family to work for the queen. His desperation to escape that path leaves him unprepared for class, but when his classmate, a chiseled warrior by the name of Douglassaire Hart, asks their professor about an ancient sword called the Djed Key, Slade pays close attention. The sword is a mythical relic that’s said to have brought magic to the world, and its secrets could be Slade’s ticket out. He joins up with Douglassaire, wondering what else he knows. And, should he open himself to the warrior, will his feelings be returned?

Slade’s best friend, Gisela Benitez, who is still reeling from her mother’s mysterious death, harbors a secret crush on Slade that draws her into his quest with Douglassaire. What the three of them find out leads them to a bloodthirsty magician, possession by spirits, and a vengeful queen who will stop at nothing to find the Djed Key for herself. What starts as a journey of self-discovery soon becomes a race against time. Will they be able to save their world or will the queen start a war that could bring her to ultimate power?

The Cosmopolitans by Sarah Schulman (2016)

download.jpg

*Note: Sarah Schulman is not a black author. But, the protagonist in this novel is a black gay man. She did a wonderful job writing this character, and I would definitely recommend this to everyone.

Goodreads Description: A modern retelling of Balzac's classic Cousin Bette by one of America's most prolific and significant writers. Earl, a black, gay actor working in a meatpacking plant, and Bette, a white secretary, have lived next door to each other in the same Greenwich Village apartment building for thirty years. Shamed and disowned by their families, both found refuge in New York and in their domestic routine. Everything changes when Hortense, a wealthy young actress from Ohio, comes to the city to "make it." Textured with the grit and gloss of midcentury Manhattan, The Cosmopolitans is a lush, inviting read. The truths it frames about the human need for love and recognition remain long after the book is closed.

Yabo by Alexis De Veaux (2014)

21442388.jpg

Goodreads Description: "See YABO... like a Mingus composition: Pentecostal, blues-inflected, full of wit and that deep literacy of the black diaspora. The present, the past, the uncertain future collapse upon themselves in this narrative of place/s. Our dead move with us: behind us, above us, confronting us--in Manhattan; Asheville (N.C.); Buffalo, NY; Jamaica; the hold of a funky slave ship; crossing and bending lines between genders, sexualities, longing and geographies. Time is a river endlessly coursing, shallow in many places, deep for long miles, and, finally, deadly as the hurricane that engulfs and destroys the slave vessel, 'Henrietta Marie.' YABO calls our ghosts back and holds us accountable for memory."--Cheryl Clarke

The Summer We Got Free by Mia McKenzie (2013)

new-cover-front-for-kindle.jpg

Goodreads Description: At one time a wild young girl and a brilliant artist, Ava Delaney changes dramatically after a violent event that rocks her entire family. Once loved and respected in their community and in their church, they are ostracized by their neighbors, led by their church leader, and a seventeen-year feud between the Delaneys and the church ensues. Ava and her family are displaced from the community even as they continue to live within it, trapped inside their creaky, shadowy old house.

When a mysterious woman arrives unexpectedly for a visit, her presence stirs up the past and ghosts and other restless things begin to emerge. And something is reignited in Ava: the indifferent woman she has become begins to give way to the wild girl, and the passionate artist, she used to be. But not without a struggle that threatens her well-being and, ultimately, her life.

Mia McKenzie is a winner of the Astraea Foundation's Writers Fund Award and the Leeway Foundation's Transformation Award. She describes herself as "a black feminist and a freaking queer." Her work has been recommended by The Root, Colorlines, Feministing, Angry Asian Man, and Crunk Feminist Collective, among others. She is the creator of the blog BlackGirlDangerous.org.

 

Bereft by Craig Laurence Gidney (2013)

15814911.jpg

Goodreads Description: Rafael Fannen is a 13-year old boy who has won a minority scholarship to Our Lady of the Woods, an all male Catholic college preparatory school. He lives with his mother who is chronically ill with an undiagnosed illness and also suffers from mental illness, which no one will discuss. Winning the scholarship quickly turns into a nightmare, as Rafe has to deal with the racism of his fellow students and his teachers. Rafe has an ally in Tomas, another scholarship winner from his neighborhood, and they bond against the racism and classism of their fellow students. But that connection is soon sundered.

In addition to the culture shock, Rafe also has to deal with his burgeoning sexuality. Rafe is caught staring at Toby, an attractive and charismatic classmate, in the shower, Toby begins a relentless campaign of bullying against Rafe, including violent encounters. When someone tags the school campus with graffiti, Toby makes sure Rafe becomes the chief suspect. It becomes so bad that even Tomas distances himself from Rafe. The only person who seems sympathetic to him is the chaplain, Vicar Angus Connell. But it soon becomes apparent that the Vicar has designs on Rafe.

When Rafe decides to fight back and take control of his life, the lives of everyone around him will change. But none more than his own.

Bereft addresses the issues of bullying, sexuality, child abuse, mental illness and racism in a haunting and deeply compelling style.

Ascension: A Tangled Axon Novel by Jacqueline Koyanagi (2013)

71uK2r5rddL.jpg

Goodreads Description: Alana Quick is the best damned sky surgeon in Heliodor City, but repairing starship engines barely pays the bills. When the desperate crew of a cargo vessel stops by her shipyard looking for her spiritually advanced sister Nova, Alana stows away. Maybe her boldness will land her a long-term gig on the crew. But the Tangled Axon proves to be more than star-watching and plasma coils. The chief engineer thinks he's a wolf. The pilot fades in and out of existence. The captain is all blond hair, boots, and ego . . . and Alana can't keep her eyes off her. But there's little time for romance: Nova's in danger and someone will do anything--even destroying planets--to get their hands on her.

The Torturer's Wife by Thomas Glave (2009)

51JFTpKVdNL._SX342_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Goodreads Desciption: Nominated for the 2010 Stonewall Book Award, the oldest book award given for outstanding achievement in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Literature

A woman is haunted by the atrocities committed by her husband, and makes a heart-wrenching decision about atonement; secret fears and unspoken desires reveal the profound ambivalence at the heart of an interracial couple's relationship; a Jamaican man mourns his friend's death at the hands of anti-gay vigilantes; and two extraordinary young men escape the horrors of slavery when they leave their bodies behind on the Middle Passage.

Known for his courageous explorations into the heavily mined territories of race and sexuality, Thomas Glave offers a series of profound portraits of the traumas of war, the ravages of homophobia and racism, and the ultimate triumph of desire.

The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin (2009)

the-other-side-of-paradise-9780743292917_hr.jpg

Goodreads Description: Staceyann Chin has appeared on television and radio, including The Oprah Winfrey Show , CNN, and PBS, discussing issues of race and sexuality. But it is her extraordinary voice that launched her career as a performer, poet, and activist. Here, she shares her unforgettable story of triumph against all odds in this brave and fiercely candid memoir..

No one knew Staceyann’s mother was pregnant until a dangerously small baby was born on the floor of her grandmother’s house in Jamaica, on Christmas Day. Staceyann’s mother did not want her, and her father was not present. No one, except her grandmother, thought Staceyann would survive. It was her grandmother who nurtured and protected and provided for Staceyann and her older brother in the early years. But when the three were separated, Staceyann was thrust, alone, into an unfamiliar and dysfunctional home in Paradise, Jamaica. .

Told with grace, humor, and courage, Chin plumbs tender and unsettling memories as she writes about drifting from one home to the next, coming out as a lesbian, finding the man she believes to be her father, and ultimately, discovering her voice.

Dark Reflections by Samuel R. Delany (2007)

85868.jpg

Goodreads Description: Arnold Hawley, a gay, African–American poet, has lived in NYC for most of his life. Dark Reflections traces Hawley's life in three sections — in reverse order. Part one: Hawley, at 50 years old, wins the an award for his sixth book of poems. Part two explores Hawley's unhappy marriage, while the final section recalls his college days. Dark Reflections, moving back and forth in time, creates an extraordinary meditation on social attitudes, loneliness, and life's triumphs.

Blackbird by Larry Duplechan (1986, 2006)

685699 (1).jpg

Goodreads Description: First published by St. Martin’s in 1986, Blackbird is a funny, moving, gay coming-of-age novel about growing up black and gay in Southern California. The lead character, Johnnie Ray Rousseau, is a high school student upset at losing the lead role in the school staging of Romeo and Juliet; if that weren’t enough, his best friend has been beaten badly by his father, and his girlfriend is pressuring him to have sex for the first time. All the while, he’s intrigued by Marshall MacNeill, a fellow drama class member who’s surely the sexiest man to walk God’s green earth—at least according to Johnnie Ray. This novel of adolescent awakening is as fresh and heartfelt as it was when first published. Features an introduction by Michael Nava.

The House You Pass on the Way by Jacqueline Woodson (2003)

272333.jpg

Goodreads Description: Staggerlee is used to being alone. As the granddaughter of celebrities and the daughter of an interracial couple in an all-black town, she has become adept at isolating herself from curious neighbors. But then her cousin, Trout, comes to visit. Trout is exactly like Staggerlee wishes she could be: outspoken, sure of herself, beautiful. Finally, Staggerlee has a friend, someone she can share her deepest, most private thoughts with. Someone who will teach her how to be the strong girl she longs to be. But is Trout really the girl Staggerlee thinks she is?

Passion Marks by Lee Hayes (2002)

cvr9781593091491_9781593091491_hr.jpg

Goodreads Description: Victims of domestic abuse know that the violence they suffer at the hands of loved ones is not limited by gender, culture, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status. Now, first-time author Lee Hayes takes this hot-button issue to gripping new levels in a novel that transcends all barriers of sex, class, and race.

"From the outside it looked like the perfect world; exclusive neighborhood, fancy cars, and wealth. If only they knew..."

Everything that looks good isn't good for you. From the outside, Kevin Davis' world leaves nothing to be desired. It is a life of luxury, comfort and money, but never judge a book by its cover. His pretend world hides the verbal, physical and sexual abuse he endures at the hands of his perfect man.

Passion Marks finds Kevin entangled in a dark web of love, violence, depravity and torment at the hands of his lover, James Lancaster, the ambitious CEO of a rising Houston software firm. In order to free himself from the cycle of violence, Kevin must overcome his personal demons. In this psychological battle of wills, who will be the ultimate victor?

Building to an unforgettable climax, and peopled by a cast of richly drawn characters- including Kevin's best girlfriend, Danea, and the mercilessly driven James- this is a powerhouse story of tough love from a supremely talented new author.

Invisible Life by E. Lynn Harris (1994)

51cA7KS5xBL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Goodreads Description:  Invisible Life is the story of a young man's coming of age. Law school, girlfriends, and career choices were all part of Raymond Tyler's life, but there were other, more terrifying issues for him to confront. Being black was tough enough, but Raymond was becoming more and more conscious of sexual feelings that he knew weren't "right." He was completely committed to Sela, his longtime girlfriend, but his attraction to Kelvin, whom he had met during his last year in law school, had become more than just a friendship. No matter how much he tried to suppress them, his feelings were deeply sexual.

Fleeing to New York to escape both Sela and Kelvin, Raymond finds himself more confused than ever before. New relationships -- both male and female -- give him enormous pleasure but keep him from finding the inner peace and lasting love he so desperately desires. The horrible illness and death of a friend force Raymond, at last, to face the truth.

Other recommended work from this author:

  • Just As I Am (1995)

  • If This World Were Mine (1998)

Let the Dead Bury Their Dead by Randall Keenan (1993)

71FsSwaowcL.jpg

Goodreads Description: Set in North Carolina, these are stories about blacks and whites, young and old, rural and sophisticated, the real and fantastical. Named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, nominated for the 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award, and given the Lambda Award.

B-Boy Blues by James Earl Hardy (1994)

51VuIkviiTL._SX309_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Goodreads Description: Hardy's debut novel about the lives of black gay men in New York City is unabashedly and unapologetically written for the African-American male. Rough, sexy, humorous, and authentic, B-Boy Blues is a first-rate love story.

Vanishing Rooms by Melvin Dixon (1991)

5437485.jpg

Goodreads Description: Prior to Melvin Dixon’s death from AIDS in 1992 when he was on the verge of breaking out as an acclaimed novelist, his talent was compared to that of Toni Morrison and James Baldwin. In Vanishing Rooms, the author amply demonstrates his literary promise with a compelling love story of interracial sex and urban violence set in Manhattan’s West Village in the 1970s.

A Visitation of Spirits by Randall Keenan (1989)

51jLY8pFm7L._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Goodreads Description: Sixteen-year old Horace Cross is plagued by issues that hover in his impressionable spirit and take shape in his mind as loathsome demons, culminating in one night of horrible and tragic transformation. In the face of Horace's fate, his cousin Reverend James "Jimmy" Green questions the values of a community that nourishes a boy, places their hopes for salvation on him, only to deny him his destiny.

Told in a montage of voices and memories, A Visitation of the Spirits just how richly populated a family's present is with the spirits of the past and the future.

Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin (1953)

51eZsnTQAHL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Goodreads Description: Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin's first major work, a semi-autobiographical novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin's rendering of his protagonist's spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.

Other recommended works from the author:

  • Giovanni's Room (1956)

  • The Fire Next Time (1963)

  • If Beale Street Could Talk (1974)

NON-FICTION

Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men edited by Robyn Ochs and H. Sharif Williams (2015)

61mv8Qrl6+L.jpg

Goodreads Description: Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Voices is a collection of short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, reflective essays, critical essays and visual art produced by cisgender and transgender bisexual, pansexual, polysexual and fluid queer men from the United States, Canada, Chile, India, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The 70 contributors, ranging in age from early twenties to mid-seventies, explore the themes of: identity, challenging labels, liminality, institutions, angst, anger and critique, bodies and embodiment, religion and spirituality, traveling and relationships

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (2014)

cover-bad.jpg

Goodreads Description: Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman of color while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today. The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.

Other recommended work from this author:

  • Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

  • Difficult Women

Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M. Blow (2014)

20256590.jpg

Goodreads Description: A gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America's most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow mines the compelling poetry of the out-of-time African-American Louisiana town where he grew up -- a place where slavery's legacy felt astonishingly close, reverberating in the elders' stories and in the near-constant wash of violence.

Blow's attachment to his mother -- a fiercely driven woman with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, a job plucking poultry at a nearby factory, a soon-to-be-ex husband, and a love of newspapers and learning -- cannot protect him from secret abuse at the hands of an older cousin. It's damage that triggers years of anger and searing self-questioning.

Finally, Blow escapes to a nearby state university, where he joins a black fraternity after a passage of brutal hazing, and then enters a world of racial and sexual privilege that feels like everything he's ever needed and wanted, until he's called upon, himself, to become the one perpetuating the shocking abuse.

A powerfully redemptive memoir that both fits the tradition of African-American storytelling from the South, and gives it an indelible new slant.

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock (2014)

3DRRbook-300dpi-dropshadow.png

Goodreads Description: In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the People.com editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.

Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person—no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on—and maybe even change—the world.

This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.

Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master’s degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself.

Other recommended works by the author:

  • Surpassing Certainty (2017)

How to Get Your Life for Good by Darryl Stephens (2015)

51R5dKKapXL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Goodreads Description: Darryl Stephens is probably best known for his portrayals of other people, like Noah-the hopeless romantic on "Noah's Arc," or Lenny-the jaded pragmatist on "DTLA." You've also seen him on "Private Practice," "2 Broke Girls," and on the big screen in "Boy Culture" and "Beyond the Lights." Here, he steps out from behind the scripted characters to open up like never before about his experience as a black gay man in Hollywood. He shares personal stories about being closeted on set, dating in the age of hookup apps, visiting a black church, and feeling daunted by the notion of being a role model. He's straightforward and unapologetic in his pursuit of authenticity and encourages the reader to be as well. But mostly, he just wants you to get your life.

For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough: Coming of Age, Coming Out, and Coming Home by Keith Boykin (2012)

512ZeAjbplL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Goodreads Description: In 1974, playwright Ntozake Shange published For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf. The book would go on to inspire legions of women for decades and would later become the subject and title of a hugely popular movie in the fall of 2010. While the film was selling out movie theaters, young black gay men were literally committing suicide in the silence of their own communities.

When a young Rutgers University student named Tyler Clementi took his own life after a roommate secretly videotaped him in an intimate setting with another young man, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry to inspire young people facing harassment. Their message, It Gets Better, turned into a popular movement, inspiring thousands of user-created videos on the Internet. Savage's project targeted people of all races, backgrounds and colors, but Boykin has created something special "for colored boys."

The new book, For Colored Boys, addresses longstanding issues of sexual abuse, suicide, HIV/AIDS, racism, and homophobia in the African American and Latino communities, and more specifically among young gay men of color. The book tells stories of real people coming of age, coming out, dealing with religion and spirituality, seeking love and relationships, finding their own identity in or out of the LGBT community, and creating their own sense of political empowerment. For Colored Boys is designed to educate and inspire those seeking to overcome their own obstacles in their own lives.

Black Like Us: A Century of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual African American Fiction by Devon W. Carbado (2002)

51f4j3pzy4L._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Goodreads Description: Black Like Us chronicles 100 years of the African American lesbian, gay, and bisexual literary tradition. Beginning with the turn-of-the-century writings of Angelina Welde Grimke and Alice Dunbar Nelson, it charts the evolution of black lesbian and gay fiction into the Harlem Renaissance of Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen and the later postwar era, in which works by Audre Lorde and James Baldwin signal the emerging sexual liberation movements. The 40 authors featured also include Alice Walker, E. Lynn Harris, Audre Lorde, April Sinclair, Jewelle Gomez, Thomas Glave, and Jacqueline Woodson.

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde (1984)

51tVnfJ0gvL.jpg

Goodreads Description: A collection of fifteen essays written between 1976 and 1984 gives clear voice to Audre Lorde's literary and philosophical personae. These essays explore and illuminate the roots of Lorde's intellectual development and her deep-seated and longstanding concerns about ways of increasing empowerment among minority women writers and the absolute necessity to explicate the concept of difference—difference according to sex, race, and economic status. The title Sister Outsider finds its source in her poetry collection The Black Unicorn (1978). These poems and the essays in Sister Outsider stress Lorde's oft-stated theme of continuity, particularly of the geographical and intellectual link between Dahomey, Africa, and her emerging self.

Other recommended work from this author:

  • Coal (1976)

  • Uses of the Erotic: the erotic as power. (1981)

POETRY

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (2014)

51-Pl9BJ7IL.jpg

Goodreads Description: Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Ceremonies : Prose and Poetry by Essex Hemphill (1992)

519oHKC8fIL._SX341_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Goodreads Description: Ceremonies offers provocative commentary on highly charged topics such as Robert Mapplethorpe's photographs of African-American men, feminism among men, and AIDS in the black community.

PRE-ORDER

No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America by Darnell L. Moore

512aIT1u26L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Goodreads Description: From a leading journalist and activist comes a brave, beautifully wrought survival story of navigating childhood during the height of the AIDS and crack epidemics, searching for intimacy and love as a young gay man, and ultimately finding a calling fighting for justice and liberation in the Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ movements.

When Darnell L. Moore was fourteen years old, three boys from his neighborhood tried to set him on fire as he was walking home from school. Darnell was tall and awkward and constantly bullied for being gay. That afternoon, one of the boys doused him with gasoline and tried lighting a match. It was too windy, and luckily Darnell's aunt arrived in time to grab Darnell and pull him to safety. It was not the last time he would face death.

What happens to the black boys who come of age in neglected, poor, heavily policed, and economically desperate cities that the War on Drugs and mass incarceration have created? How do they learn to live, love, and grow up? Darnell was raised in Camden, NJ, the son of two teenagers on welfare struggling to make ends meet. He explored his sexuality during the height of the AIDS epidemic, when being gay was a death sentence. He was beaten down and ignored by white and black America, by his school, and even his church, the supposed place of sanctuary. He made it out, but as he quickly learned, escaping Camden, escaping poverty, and coming out do not guarantee you freedom.

It wasn't until Darnell was pushed into the spotlight at a Newark rally after the murder of a young queer woman that he found his voice and his calling. He became a leading organizer with Black Lives Matter, a movement that recognized him and insisted that his life mattered.

In recovering the beauty, joy, and love in his own life, No Ashes in the Fire gives voice to the rich, varied experiences of all those who survive on the edges of the margins. In the process, he offers a path toward liberation.

I Can't Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I've Put My Faith in Beyoncé by Michael Arceneaux

i-cant-date-jesus-9781501178856_hr.jpg

Goodreads Description: In the style of New York Times bestsellers You Can’t Touch My Hair, Bad Feminist, and I’m Judging You, a timely collection of alternately hysterical and soul‑searching essays about what it is like to grow up as a creative, sensitive black man in a world that constantly tries to deride and diminish your humanity.

It hasn’t been easy being Michael Arceneaux.

Equality for LGBT people has come a long way and all, but voices of persons of color within the community are still often silenced, and being black in America is…well, have you watched the news?

With the characteristic wit and candor that have made him one of today’s boldest writers on social issues, I Can’t Date Jesus is Michael Arceneaux’s impassioned, forthright, and refreshing look at minority life in today’s America. Leaving no bigoted or ignorant stone unturned, he describes his journey in learning to embrace his identity when the world told him to do the opposite.

He eloquently writes about coming out to his mother; growing up in Houston, Texas; that time his father asked if he was “funny” while shaking his hand; his obstacles in embracing intimacy; and the persistent challenges of young people who feel marginalized and denied the chance to pursue their dreams.

Perfect for fans of David Sedaris and Phoebe Robinson, this piercingly honest, incisive, and timely collection of essays, I Can’t Date Jesus tells us—without apologies—what it’s like to be outspoken and brave in a divisive world.

 

 

Where's The Gay #BlackLove?

Where's The Gay #BlackLove?

Cartoons & 'The Gay Agenda'

Cartoons & 'The Gay Agenda'