[Edit: Originally published July 8, 2017]
Queer, There, and Everyone is a really wonderful book. It’s well researched, informative, and best of all it’s accessible. As I’ve discovered seeking out books for my thesis, when it comes to queer texts they aren’t always the easiest to get your hands on or even read when it comes to more theoretical texts. There are a lot of queer texts that are mainly geared at adults. Queer, There, and Everywhere, provides good summaries of the amazing lives of twenty-three incredible people in language that you don’t need to be a college student to understand. As a voracious reader myself, I breezed through it in a couple hours.
Several of the people included in this book were people whose memoirs I’d already read, including Lili Elbe’s Man into Woman (though what I read was the renamed Kindle version Lili: A Portrait of the First Sex Change) and Josef Kohout’s The Men with the Pink Triangle. Queer, There, and Everywhere does a really great job of summarizing the stories in these books. Of course Lili and Josef’s sections were not only summaries of their memoirs, in fact, it wasn’t until this book that I learned Josef’s name, because his name is not included in The Men with the Pink Triangle. He chose to remain anonymous when the book was first published.
Queer, There, and Everywhere is also one of those books that makes a great stepping stone for further research. The bibliography in the back is organized by section and so if there’s a particular person you find yourself wanting to look into further, it’s very easy to find other books or resources to pursue. I know I intend to invest in some of the books used as references for the sections on Renée Richards and Sylvia Rivera. The bibliographies of queer texts are your best friend when it comes to finding further readings, especially if you’re like me who’s really bad at googling things.
The people in this book range from the year 203 (Elagabalus) to today (George Takei). It’s not meant to be a comprehensive history by any means, there’s entirely too much rich and complex history for that. But our history has been one that gets overshadowed and ignored so often that this book feels really great.
There are a couple of deaths, Elagabalus’ and Harvey Milk’s that are, for this level of book, pretty graphically described. Those two both left me feeling distressed and I actually had to put the book down for a bit after the Harvey Milk section. It may have been the fact that both of these people were murdered that made their deaths hit particularly hard.
You can find it here.
Related Reviews: Christopher and his Kind