Chloe Davis's delightfully informative, succinct, helpful and playful dictionary of more than 800 LGBTQIA+ words and fabulous phrases is truly "sickening" (defined within as "astonishingly impressive"). The Queens' English is as much a glossary as it is a dazzling art book, boasting colorful and engaging art and illustrations on every page by Troy Lambert and contributors Cassandra Fountaine, Mark Uhre and Shanee Benjamin.
Davis does not merely define words and phrases--she offers "Usage Notes" that warn readers about terms that are considered derogatory, as well as slurs that have been reclaimed by the community. She also gives readers stories about the origins of the words. The reclaimed terms "bull dyke" and "bull dagger" can be traced back to the Black lesbian community in the 1920s Harlem Renaissance, where these terms were embraced by lesbian blues singers Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. The 1970s ballroom culture originated "work," "fierce," "shade" and "read." The dismissive signifier "Bye, Felicia" originated in the 1995 film Friday. The book also sprinkles longer pieces throughout, like "History Lessons" (covering gays in the military, HIV/AIDS, Stonewall, etc.) and "What's My Gay Type?" (find the correct label for your body type, from "bear" to "twink"). There's even an instructive sidebar on how to tuck (for men) or bind (for women) when dressing as the opposite sex.
With the breezy, fun and informative The Queens' English, no one need ever confuse "kai kai" (sex between two drag queens) and "kiki" (gathering for gossip and conversation). They can sashay away and pick up a copy of this sickening xtravaganza! --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant