The only reason why I read this book was by the recommendation of Shane Bitney Cone. If you do not know who this man is then I highly recommend you to checkout his epic documentary called Bridegroom. I’ve been in a reading slump for the last few months and having the mega monstrosity of IT by my nightstand makes it difficult for me to invest in another novel. When I saw the list of his recommendations, I doubted that the library had these books available lo and behold not only did were it available, no one has checked them out so I placed a request and it arrived in less than 3 days!!
I figured this book would be my best bet to read first considering that it deals with biographies. I was shocked not only that I read this book in less than 24 hours, what impressive me was this book was written for middle school and the context of having short and concise biographies made the whole reading experience memorable. Queer, There, and Everywhere tells 23 unique stories of historical figures that have left an impact in the world and yet for countless reasons have had their life story revised to cater an agenda. What I mean by that is we hold famous icons such as Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, and others on a pedestal that we forget to think they are human beings. Human beings with complex lives living in an era where they would be ostracized from society if they were not heterosexual. With this general sense of fear, their private life is difficult to research in the 21st century and we the general public assumed that they are straight and that homosexuality and other members of the LGBT was created in the last 200 years.
Was I shocked by any of these revelations Not really. I would say 40% of the individuals that were selected for this book I had no clue who they were to begin with, 60% I knew who they are and I have heard countless stories to suggest that they are not straight. Overall I was extremely impress about this book and I would highly recommend this book to be read for middle schoolers because when I came out to myself at the age of 11, I had no gay icons laying around on display ready to tell me everything is going to be alright. I had to research on my own, iPhones didn’t exist, the only social media site was MySpace, there was no It Gets Better Campaign, and half of the celebrities that have come out of the closet now in 2017 were definitely still in the closet in 2007. Luckily for me I was able to do this in the comfort of my own home where my mother could careless what I searched for on the Internet. I can guarantee you for millions of teenagers that luxury is rare and I believe by having this book available can provide comfort for kids who are trying to discover who they are and that they are not alone.
This book is informative and provides plenty of definitions for concepts such as what is asexual, bisexual, transgender, and others that it can help kids identify these feelings that is surging inside of themselves. Plus what I loved about Sarah Prager is giving the proper pronoun to these famous figures. The term heterosexual and homosexual was not invented until the 19th century so for a good chunk of this book, these icons either did not recognize themselves as gay instead dealt with how they felt as a human being and Sarah does her best to portray that and give credit where credit is due. If I was a teenager again I would rate this book 5 stars without blinking an eye but this time around this was a solid 4 stars. I wanted to give it 5 but my main argument is this is written for children. Some of the biographies were short and I understand that the author was trying to highlight the aspects of queer life in each biography but there was huge gaps in some of these stories that it followed a generic formula. In the end I believe the author could have gotten the extra mile and include more background info to illustrate that all these 23 individuals were complex but being a member of the LGBTQIAA did not stopped them for achieving greatness even when society has treated them as outcasts.
In the end this book pays homage to the countless sacrifices our ancestors have made in order to achieve a brighter future and even though so much has accomplished in the last century, there is still plenty of room for us to fight for. Especially with who is running this country and his VP choice (*Cough Cough Might Be President Cough Cough*) we will definitely be out in the streets fighting for our equal rights. I hope everyone who reads this book realize that you are special, there is nothing wrong with you, you are loved, and there is plenty of communities who welcomes you with open arms.