A Queer History of the United States for Young People

A Queer History of the United States for Young People

Queer history didn’t start with Stonewall. This book explores how LGBTQ people have always been a part of our national identity, contributing to the country and culture for over 400 years.It is crucial for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth to know their history. But this history is not easy to find since it’s rarely taught in schools or comme...

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Title:A Queer History of the United States for Young People
Author:Michael Bronski
Rating:
Edition Language:English

A Queer History of the United States for Young People Reviews

  • Devann

    actual rating: 3.5

    I do have some issues with some of the language used in this book, but overall it is filled with a lot of good information. I did like how it talks about how the language we use to describe different orientations is always changing and tried to put things into their historical contexts, but still there were some things the author said in the modern day sections where I did not necessarily agree with the wording of it

    actual rating: 3.5

    I do have some issues with some of the language used in this book, but overall it is filled with a lot of good information. I did like how it talks about how the language we use to describe different orientations is always changing and tried to put things into their historical contexts, but still there were some things the author said in the modern day sections where I did not necessarily agree with the wording of it in some ways. Also I wasn't really expecting the ace spectrum to be discussed at all [as someone who is ace themselves I am very used to being disappointed in this regard], but was really put off by the mildly condescending definition that was used in the glossary in the back.

    I think as with most things that discuss LGBT issues or history you have to use this as a starting point and read other books on the topic to compare or even talk to real life people to get a better idea for the language and labels people actually use outside of an academic context. As I said before, there is a lot of good information here and it talked about many people I had not heard of before, as well as several I was already familiar with. I also liked how it started by talking about Native Americans instead of pretending like the history of the country only started when white people got here.

  • emma

    I'm quite disappointed with this one. It might be something I return to later, but I feel as though there's a lot of reaching going on here, in addition to some misrepresentation through diction.

    First, the early history is mostly spent on people's friendships. While I do believe some of these people were actually gay, I'm going to guess that some of this was due to a different take on masculinity. That, and Bronski didn't even assume they were gay. Some people presented were presented as good,

    I'm quite disappointed with this one. It might be something I return to later, but I feel as though there's a lot of reaching going on here, in addition to some misrepresentation through diction.

    First, the early history is mostly spent on people's friendships. While I do believe some of these people were actually gay, I'm going to guess that some of this was due to a different take on masculinity. That, and Bronski didn't even assume they were gay. Some people presented were presented as good, close friends. I'm sorry, but friendship isn't a sexuality, and girls dressing as boys to be in the army doesn't mean they were anything but girls seeking agency (the justification for this was that "queer" can mean "different" but when we're discussing LGBTQ history, I don't think ~alternative~ lifestyles are LGBTQ queer. I was kinda desperate for some proof that these girls were trans, or wanted to be, esp bc I've seen photos of such individuals, but this wasn't included.) There's little proof for them, and I don't think these sections will help people who question lgbtq+ validity to accept lgbtq people. In addition, more time could have been spent on Native American people, or on expanding early history to include the world, or at least the Americas, rather just the USA.

    Also, some wording seemed queer-phobic to me. For example, asexuality was defined as a temporary sexuality, not a sexuality. If it were temporary, it would be celibacy, or low sex drive, not a sexuality. Little details like this made me lose trust in the author. Such a big shame, as I think books like this are very necessary.

  • Rhode

    Haven’t read it, but saw a screenshot of the page saying asexuality is a temporary phase. 😳😳😳 So, it’s an untrustworthy book. Which is too bad because a great book on this topic is needed.

  • Tristan Frodelius

    The exclusion of asexuality as a full, substantive identity and historically present part of the queer community belies a lack of research and/or general knowledge of queer history. It is placed in scare quotes and the author claims that asexuality is "recent" (it is not). The author paints a picture that asexuality is a phase and not a true identity, saying that it is "similar to" other identities, ostensibly because the author does not believe it is one. Asexuality has existed through human hi

    The exclusion of asexuality as a full, substantive identity and historically present part of the queer community belies a lack of research and/or general knowledge of queer history. It is placed in scare quotes and the author claims that asexuality is "recent" (it is not). The author paints a picture that asexuality is a phase and not a true identity, saying that it is "similar to" other identities, ostensibly because the author does not believe it is one. Asexuality has existed through human history, as all sexualities have. And the terminology is many decades old. Asexual members of the community have been there the whole time, and this continued ignoring of their place in the community by this author is deeply unsettling. This is the fault I take issue with most strongly, but the book contains many other faults and slights against the queer community, listed in other reviews.

  • Cassidy Raab

    I didn’t read this book but apparently it has acephobia in it so the author can EAT SHIT

  • Louis

    Asexuality is not a "temporary feeling", you ignorant charlatan.

  • Lauren Kell

    This book literally put me in a reading slump and at this point I can't finish it. Just the thought of going back to it exhausts me. Nothing in the first 50 pages really stuck out to me as good and so much of it was a problem. Obviously, the biggest and most unsurmountable problem for me was the lack of and dismissal of asexuality and aromanticism. As an aroace woman, seeing asexuality and aromanticism included in a general queer history is obviously gonna be incredibly important to me and the f

    This book literally put me in a reading slump and at this point I can't finish it. Just the thought of going back to it exhausts me. Nothing in the first 50 pages really stuck out to me as good and so much of it was a problem. Obviously, the biggest and most unsurmountable problem for me was the lack of and dismissal of asexuality and aromanticism. As an aroace woman, seeing asexuality and aromanticism included in a general queer history is obviously gonna be incredibly important to me and the fact that they were completely left out and except for the one moment when they were dismissed as a phase, left a horrible taste in my mouth for this book and I just can't handle trying to go back to it. Literally the only inclusion of asexuality in the

    (aromanticism isn't mentioned even once) is an entry in the glossary at the back of the book which not only uses scare quotes around the word asexuality, but also claims that "asexuality is a temporary feeling." My very permanent asexuality is gonna become a very permanent boot in someone's ass for writing that bullshit.

    Beyond the aroace problem, this book used really exclusionist language, which, again, is super frustrating to see in a book about queer history. They continually used the phrase "men and women" rather than just saying "people," even after they finally acknowledged nonbinary identities. The short definitions of the main identities in the LGBT acronym included in the introduction were very lacking and simplistic. There was a throwaway line at the end of the bisexual section kind of acknowledging pansexuality without acknowledging the nuance of why individuals choose to use one term over the other. Intersexuality isn't really mentioned at all. Nonbinary identities are glossed over at best.

    From the little that I was able to stomach reading, I just could not ever recommend this to anyone, let alone young people who are starting to figure out their identities and have questions about what options there are available to them. The language was too simplistic and infantalizing - news flash! young people aren't dumb and are in fact capable of understanding a lot of nuance, especially in regards to identity and talking down to them is not going to gain you any readers. The dismissal of so many different queer identities and their roles in American history was infuriating and again does such a major disservice to readers. I was so excited when I first heard about this book but it ended up being just an absolutely abysmal book that I am genuinely gutted to have read.

  • Kazia

    This book is such a ball of YIKES I'm DNFing it 50 pages in, with a quick skip to the backmatter as well. I know some other reviews have mentioned some of these concerns from the ARC but just to reiterate/add to them from the finished copy: the author incorrectly and inconsistently defines asexuality (ignoring aromanticism and any other nuances along the ace/aro spectrums) and bisexuality (ignoring biromaniticism). The author talks more than once about the gender binary being an outdated and Eur

    This book is such a ball of YIKES I'm DNFing it 50 pages in, with a quick skip to the backmatter as well. I know some other reviews have mentioned some of these concerns from the ARC but just to reiterate/add to them from the finished copy: the author incorrectly and inconsistently defines asexuality (ignoring aromanticism and any other nuances along the ace/aro spectrums) and bisexuality (ignoring biromaniticism). The author talks more than once about the gender binary being an outdated and European concept but constantly reinforces the idea of binary sexes and genders. The author regularly erases pansexuality, combining it with bisexuality and leaving it out of the glossary entirely.

    p. 3: “Today most people, in conversation, and in the media, use thew rods ‘gay,’ ‘lesbian,’ ‘bisexual,’ ‘transgender,’ and maybe even ‘queer’ to describe women and men who are attracted to members of their own sex”

    p. 6: “The word ‘bisexual’ is used to describe a person who is sexually and romantically attracted to both genders.”

    p. 7: “Today the word ‘bisexual’ is commonly used, often interchangeably with the term ‘pansexual,’ which means means a person who has attracted not to two genders but to all genders and sexes.”

    p. 8: “Gender is the whole range of behaviors that get associated with being a ‘man’ or being a ‘woman.’”

    p.10: “Now that we have explored all the terms and words for LGBTQ people, we are going to throw those words out.” [<-- he literally only talked about what those specific letters stand for, ignoring asexuality, pansexuality, intersex folks, agender folks, and more]

    p. 277 [glossary]: “‘Asexuality’ is a relatively recent term used by those who, for some period in their lives, do not experience sexual desire. Some individuals adopt this as a sexual orientation—similar to heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality—but for many others, asexuality is a temporary feeling.”

    p. 278 [glossary]: “Women and men who are sexually and romantically attracted to both, or various, genders often call themselves ‘bisexual.’”

    p. 282 [glossary]: “the intersexed”

    This book is a hot mess, and it's embarrassingly sloppy. This is SUCH a disappointment and missed opportunity.

  • Kathleen

    Updated to add that these issues are still in the finished copy.

    Keeping in mind that I read this as a physical arc and not as a finished edition, I had many issues with this title. It's fairly good for what it is, but there are some really big red flags on this text. I don't know if it's from the original author, the adapter, or for some other reason, but:

    p. 3: transgender is in a list of words for "women and men who are attracted to members of their own sex"

    p

    Updated to add that these issues are still in the finished copy.

    Keeping in mind that I read this as a physical arc and not as a finished edition, I had many issues with this title. It's fairly good for what it is, but there are some really big red flags on this text. I don't know if it's from the original author, the adapter, or for some other reason, but:

    p. 3: transgender is in a list of words for "women and men who are attracted to members of their own sex"

    p. 10: "now that we have explored all the terms and words from LGBTQ people" but leaves out people who are intersex or asexual

    p. 58: "intersexed" (also on page 282)

    p. 191: "knew she was a gay."

    And, my personal pet peeve, the first glossary entry is for asexuals/asexuality (which is not once mentioned in the text), and it's done in an insulting and inaccurate way.

    Hopefully, this will all get fixed before the final printing.

  • Lauren (LaurenHannah.net)

    Yikes, this book is a big nope.

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