Top Three - LGBTQ History and Perspectives
The Top Three Series is meant to offer readers an introduction to certain topics or themes that range from serious to silly to topical and everything in between. Each series will include a place to visit, a book to read, and an additional piece of content. Feel free to add materials and ideas in the comments, so this continues to be a living resource.
This is my first Top Three Series and the idea came to me in a moment of feeling helpless. As I am writing it is less than 24 hours after the New York Times published a piece about the Trump Administration’s memo that floats the idea of narrowly defining gender as biological and unchangeable, which would roll back protections and progress made on behalf of transgender and gender non-conforming Americans. In trying to both find an outlet for my anger while also serving as an informational resource, the idea of a blog series came to me.
As a cisgender person (someone who identifies with the sex and gender I was assigned at birth), I am not here to purport expertise. However, I do know that I was not born fully educated on these matters. I hope that, if you’re feeling confused or uneducated within this discourse, you can read through the list, pick a topic, and start Googling!
1. The Stonewall Inn/The Stonewall Uprising
Anti-gay legislation in the 1950s and 1960s routinely led to police harassment and raids of bars and institutions in New York and other cities. The June 1969 early morning raid of the The Stonewall Inn was met with unpredcedented resistance and sparked days of protests, specifically led by trans women of color. The protests galvanized LGBTQ communities across the county and led to more demonstrations and the creation of organizations that still exist today. The kernel of what is today known as Pride or Pride Parades started in the aftermath of Stonewall.
In 2016, President Obama deemed the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding area a National Monument, the first of its kind dedicated to the LGBTQ community. Although it has changed hands multiple times, the Inn is back to being a bar and proudly displays its history on the walls. As pictured in the header, there is also a park across the street with statues supposedly representing the gay community, although they have been met with some criticism.
2. She’s Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan
The hinge of Jennifer Finney Boylan’s memoir She’s Not There is her transition, but it encompasses so much more. An exploration of secrets, shame, relationships, and courage, this book is offer one of the most raw and in-depth views of the emotional side of transition that I have ever read. While I find Boylan’s prose style to be a tad verbose, her perspective and story is a must-read. Imagine her book as a beautifully written conversation with a new friend and I guarantee she will inevitably answer a bulk of the questions you have about what it means to be trans and what that means to those who love them.
3. So Many White Guys Podcast Interview #29 with Buck Angel
Comedian and Black Girl Magic incarnate Phoebe Robinson decided that she was sick of being the token black woman, so on her podcast she is flipping the script and featuring a bunch of women, people of color, LGBTQ folks and just one white man per season. On Season 3, Episode #29, Robinson interviewed trans activist Buck Angel about his life in porn, transitioning, and so much more. This interview between two such big and engaging personalities will not doubt teach you something, but it will also make you smile.
Hopefully you’re finishing this article with some new ideas and new resources to go find. Maybe you feel like I left out an important book, person, or place. If so, let me know below in the comments. And, most importantly, find someone else in your life and talk to them about this stuff.