With essays, poems, and interviews from figures like Miss Major, Captive Genders reflects on the gains of the Stonewall riots while bringing attention to the historical and ongoing struggles faced by trans and queer incarcerated people. This collection is both an eye opener and a resource for readers to better understand the fights that must still be fought.
It’s the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Guided by Downtown staff members Amy D and Sherry Y, we’ve put our heads together and picked a few titles about this period of LGBTQ history (plus a couple of our personal favorites).
A memoir in which Bechdel reflects on the mystery that is her father and the relationship they shared. Upon his death, Bechdel takes it upon herself to figure out her father’s secret and what was really happening.
A powerful collection of photographs housed in the New York Public Library’s archive of the work of photojournalists Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies. This book is full of photos of the Stonewall riots and the activism around it. The photos and captions immerse the reader in this world in a way that history books can’t, and showcase the power and diversity of the activists. “Love and Resistance” is a powerful look at these moments as they happen.
Harry Hay was one of the founders of the Mattachine Society, one of the first activist groups fighting for LGBTQ acceptance. Radically Gay is a collection of Hay’s essays, speeches, pamphlets, and more, delving into gay society in other cultures. This book provides readers with a deeper dive into one of the early figures of the gay rights movement.
Rita Mae Brown is one of my personal idols. I first knew her as the writer of Rubyfruit Jungle, one of the biggest lesbian novels of the 1970s. Then I knew her as a cozy mystery writer, penning novels with her cat Sneaky Pie. Last week, I discovered she had written the screenplay for a slasher movie in the 80s. She is clearly a multi-faceted woman, and her memoir is like hearing stories from a dear friend.
If you want to be immersed in NYC’s East Village during the Stonewall era, this book is for you! Marc Stein creates a comprehensive picture of The Stonewall Riots, as well as the lead-up and the aftermath, using numerous first person sources and documents to back up his stories. While the amount of information can be overwhelming, Stein’s introduction and chapter summaries keep everything tied together.
This collection is perfect for those wanting to learn about the legacy of queer grassroots activism from the activists themselves. The works within this book aim to challenge the commercialization of queer identities by asking who gets left out in the fight for equality. At times snarky and somber, the writings within will leave us all with something to think about.