If you don’t already know, May 17th is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia, commonly referred to as IDAHOBIT. This day is used to celebrate LGBTQIA+ people all over the world and raise awareness to fight the discrimination they deal with on a regular basis. We’ve created this recommended reading list to highlight the usually unheard voices from these communities.
BY ANNE BALAY
Long-haul trucking is linked to almost every industry in America, yet somehow the working-class drivers behind big rigs remain largely hidden from public view. Gritty, inspiring, and often devastating oral histories of gay, transsexual, and minority truck drivers allow award-winning author Anne Balay to shed new light on the harsh realities of truckers’ lives behind the wheel. A licensed commercial truck driver herself, Balay discovers that, for people routinely subjected to prejudice, hatred, and violence in their hometowns and in the job market, trucking can provide an opportunity for safety, welcome isolation, and a chance to be themselves–even as the low-wage work is fraught with tightening regulations, constant surveillance, danger, and exploitation. The narratives of minority and queer truckers underscore the working-class struggle to earn a living while preserving one’s safety, dignity, and selfhood.
BY WILTON BARNHARDT
Some of North Carolina’s finest fiction and nonfiction writers come together in Every True Pleasure, including David Sedaris, Kelly Link, Allan Gurganus, Randall Kenan, and more. Within the volume—featuring writers who identify as gay, trans, bisexual, and straight—are stories and essays that view the full spectrum of contemporary life though an LGBTQ lens. These writers, all native or connected to North Carolina, show the multifaceted challenges and joys of LGBTQ life, including young love and gay panic, the minefield of religion, military service, having children with a surrogate, family rejection, finding one’s true gender, finding sex, and finding love. One of the only anthologies of its kind, Every True Pleasure speaks with insight and compassion about living LGBTQ in North Carolina and beyond.
BY JAIME HARKER
In this book, Jaime Harker uncovers a largely forgotten literary renaissance in southern letters. Anchored by a constellation of southern women, the Women in Print movement grew from the queer union of women’s liberation, civil rights activism, gay liberation, and print culture. Broadly influential from the 1970s through the 1990s, the Women in Print movement created a network of writers, publishers, bookstores, and readers that fostered a remarkable array of literature.
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. Using methods of oral history and performance ethnography, E. Patrick Johnson’s work vividly enriches the historical record of racialized sexual minorities in the South and brings to light the realities of the region’s thriving black lesbian communities.
LIVING QUEER HISTORY: REMEMBRANCE AND BELONGING IN A SOUTHERN CITY (available December 2021)
BY GREGORY SAMANTHA ROSENTHAL
Living Queer History tells the story of an LGBTQ community in Roanoke, Virginia, a small city on the edge of Appalachia. Interweaving historical analysis, theory, and memoir, Gregory Samantha Rosenthal tells the story of their own journey—coming out and transitioning as a transgender woman—in the midst of working on a community-based history project that documented a multigenerational southern LGBTQ community. Based on over forty interviews with LGBTQ elders, Living Queer History explores how queer people today think about the past and how history lives on in the present.