June 2022:
Here to stay
(Can't Legislate us away)

It's been a difficult year for the LGBTQ2S+ community. We know you may feel downtrodden, exhausted, fearful for the future. We certainly do.This Pride Month, we want to remind you that queer and trans people are resilient. We are powerful. We bring you stories of LGBTQ2S+ people surviving, becoming, caring for one another, and finding joy.Each box comes with a "I Read Gay Banned Books" magnet and a "Be True to You" pin by Damian Alexander. Scroll down to read more!

Y'All Means All: The Emerging Voices Queering Appalachia

Ed. Z. Zane McNeill

Nonfiction, Essays, AcademicY'all Means All is a thought-provoking hoot and a holler of “we’re queer and we’re here to stay, cause we’re every bit a piece of the landscape as the rocks and the trees” echoing through the hills of Appalachia and into the boardrooms of every media outlet and opportunistic author seeking to define Appalachia from the outside for their own political agendas. Multidisciplinary and multi-genre, Y’all necessarily incorporates elements of critical theory, such as critical race theory and queer theory, while dealing with a multitude of methodologies, from quantitative analysis, to oral history and autoethnography.This collection provides examples of how modern Appalachians are defining themselves on their own terms. While providing blunt commentary on the region's past and present, the book’s soul is sustained by the resilience, ingenuity, and spirit exhibited by the authors; values which have historically characterized the Appalachian region and are continuing to define its culture to the present. If historically Appalachia has been treated as a “mirror” of the country, this book breaks that trend by allowing modern Appalachians to examine their own reflections and to share their insights in an honest, unfiltered manner with the world.Read more on the publisher's website

The Thirty Names of Night

by Zeyn Joukhadar

Fiction, NovelFive years after a suspicious fire killed his ornithologist mother, a closeted Syrian American trans boy sheds his birth name and searches for a new one. As his grandmother’s sole caretaker, he spends his days cooped up in their apartment, avoiding his neighborhood masjid, his estranged sister, and even his best friend (who also happens to be his longtime crush). The only time he feels truly free is when he slips out at night to paint murals in the neighborhood known as Little Syria, but he’s been struggling since his mother’s ghost began visiting him.One night, he finds the journal of a Syrian American artist named Laila Z, who mysteriously disappeared more than sixty years before. Her journal contains proof that both his mother and Laila Z encountered the same rare bird before their deaths. Even more surprising, Laila Z’s story reveals the histories of queer and transgender people within his own community that he never knew. Realizing that he isn’t and has never been alone, he has the courage to claim a new name: Nadir, an Arabic name meaning rare.As unprecedented numbers of birds are mysteriously drawn to the New York City skies, Nadir enlists the help of his family and friends to unravel what happened to Laila Z and the rare bird his mother died trying to save. Following his mother’s ghost, he uncovers the silences kept in the name of survival and discovers the family that was there all along.Read more on the publisher's website

Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice

By Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Nonfiction, Essays, MemoirLambda Literary Award-winning writer and longtime disability justice activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores the politics and realities of disability justice, a movement that centers the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people. Leah writes passionately and personally about creating spaces by and for sick and disabled queer people of color, and creative "collective access"—access not as a chore but as a collective responsibility and pleasure—in our communities and political movements. Bringing their survival skills and knowledge from years of cultural and activist work, Piepzna-Samarasinha explores everything from the economics of queer femme emotional labor, to suicide in queer and trans communities, to the nitty-gritty of touring as a sick and disabled queer artist of color.Care Work is a mapping of access as radical love, a celebration of the work that sick and disabled queer/people of color are doing to find each other and to build power and community, and a toolkit for everyone who wants to build radically resilient, sustainable communities of liberation where no one is left behind. Powerful and passionate, Care Work is a crucial and necessary call to arms.Read more on the publisher's website

The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School

By Sonora Reyes

Young Adult, ContemporarySixteen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way.After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and, most importantly, don’t fall in love. Granted, she’s never been great at any of those things, but that’s a problem for Future Yami.The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. So cute. Either way, Yami isn’t going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she’ll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do?Told in a captivating voice that is by turns hilarious, vulnerable, and searingly honest, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School explores the joys and heartaches of living your full truth out loud.Read more on the publisher's website

Until I Meet My Husband

By Ryousuke Nanasaki

Memoir, EssaysThis historic memoir by Japanese gay activist Ryousuke Nanasaki recounts his first experiences as a gay man while searching for his soulmate and eventual marriage—the first religiously recognized same-sex wedding in Japanese history.From school crushes to awkward dating sites to finding a community, this collection of stories recounts the author's firsts as a young gay man searching for love. Dating isn't ever easy, but that goes doubly so for Ryousuke, whose journey is full of unrequited love and many speed bumps. But perseverance and time heals all wounds, even those of the heart. This moving memoir by gay activist Ryousuke Nanasaki, following his historic life story, was originally released in Japan in a novel of collected essays and in a beautiful manga adaptation—now both available in English for the first time. (Note: this edition is the novel of collected essays, not the manga adaptation.)Read more on the publisher's website

Like a Boy but Not a Boy: Navigating Life, Mental Health, and Parenthood outside the Gender BInary

By andrea bennett

Memoir, EssaysNote: This book was originally for our December 2021: Family box. We belatedly learned only a few copies were available due to the global paper shortage; now that it is back in stock, we are making it available again for anyone who might have wanted it.Inquisitive and expansive, Like a Boy but Not a Boy explores author andrea bennett's experiences with gender expectations, being a non-binary parent, and the sometimes funny and sometimes difficult task of living in a body. The book's fourteen essays also delve incisively into the interconnected themes of mental illness, mortality, creative work, class, and bike mechanics (apparently you can learn a lot about yourself through trueing a wheel).With the same poignant spirit as Ivan Coyote's Tomboy Survival Guide, Like a Boy addresses the struggle to find acceptance, and to accept oneself; and how one can find one's place while learning to make space for others. The book also wonders what it means to be an atheist and search for faith that everything will be okay; what it means to learn how to love life even as you obsess over its brevity; and how to give birth, to bring new life, at what feels like the end of the world.Read more on the publisher's website

Damian Alexander

Featured Artist

Damian Alexander is a cartoonist & storyteller who grew up around Boston. Other Boys, published by First Second, is a graphic memoir about his childhood experiences with gender norms, having an unconventional family, and coming out. It received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist. Damian is currently working on the sequel, as well as a webcomic, Totally Crushed. He has also created illustrations for The Trevor Project, and you can stumble across his short comics & essays on Huffington Post, Narratively, and The Nib. He is a graduate of Simmons College MFA program in Writing for Children, a John Locher Memorial Award winner, and a Lambda Literary Fellow. When he’s not doodling or making comics he loves gazing into his Victorian dollhouse, watching animated movies, reading sad ghost stories, and trying to keep his plants alive. He lives in sunny California with his husband, Kevin, their far-too-fluffy cat, Alfalfa, and their much-too-energetic goldendoodle, Hogarth.

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