Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World

Queer people--"anyone outside society's gender and sexuality norms"--have always been a part of world history, whether we knew it or not. Presidents (and first ladies), Roman emperors/empresses, musicians, athletes, nuns and civil rights leaders have been gay, bisexual, panromantic, transgender and everywhere else along the gender and sexuality spectrum. Although some of these people were accepted in their time and place, many others were closeted or persecuted. Furthermore, "[f]ear of rejection, physical violence, execution, conversion therapy, and more still haunt millions of queer people's daily lives." Nonetheless, today in the United States (and other countries), "a mountain of rights and communities unparalleled at any point since the founding of this country" has been built. In Queer, There, and Everywhere, author and activist Sarah Prager celebrates the lives of 23 people over the past couple thousand years who made remarkable contributions to history.

Written with a pop culture sensibility that will appeal to teen readers, the collection is a fascinating look at history through a different lens than what most history books provide. In the chapter on Abe Lincoln (yes, the Great Emancipator makes an appearance!), Prager writes about Abe and his "intimate friend" Joshua Fry Speed: "They talked to each other all the time about being freaked out about the prospect of getting married" to women. But don't let her breezy style make you doubt Prager's seriousness as a researcher. She has dug deep into the history vaults for biographical information, and includes quotes from letters and interviews, as evidenced in her extensive bibliography and notes section. Each chapter is introduced with Zoë More O'Ferrall's friendly pen-and-ink portraits of the subject. Hurray for Sarah Prager's own splendid contribution to queer history! --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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