Sexuality and Relationships

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This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color
Moraga, Cherríe, and Gloria Anzaldúa, ed. This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Fourth edition. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Through personal essays, criticism, interviews, testimonials, poetry, and visual art, this collection expores, as coeditor Cherrie Moraga writes, 'the complex confluence of identities–race, class, gender, sexuality–systemic to women of color oppression and liberation." - back cover.
Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories
Morales, Jennifer. Meet Me Halfway: Milwaukee Stories. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2015. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
"When Johnquell, an African American teen, suffers a serious accident in the home of his white neighbor, Mrs. Czernicki, his community must find ways to bridge divisions between black and white, gay and straight, old and young. Set in one of the nation’s most highly segregated cities—Milwaukee, Wisconsin—Meet Me Halfway tells stories of connections in a community with a tumultuous and divided past. In nine stories told from diverse perspectives, Jennifer Morales captures a Rust Belt city’s struggle to establish a common ground and a collective vision of the future.

Morales gives life to multifaceted characters—white schoolteachers and senior citizens, Latino landlords, black and Puerto Rican teens, political activists, and Vietnam vets. As their lives unfold in these stories, we learn about Johnquell’s family—his grandparents’ involvement in the local Black Panther Party, his sister’s on-again, off-again friendship with a white classmate, and his aunt’s identity crisis as she finds herself falling in love with a woman. We also meet Johnquell’s mother, Gloria, and his school friend Taquan, who is struggling to chart his own future.

As an activist mother in the thick of Milwaukee politics, Morales developed a keen ear and a tender heart for the kids who have inherited the city’s troubled racial legacy. With a critical eye on promises unfulfilled, Meet Me Halfway raises questions about the notion of a “postracial” society and, with humor and compassion, lifts up the day-to-day work needed to get there."
Love
Morrison, Toni. Love. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
A spellbinding symphony of passion and hatred, power and perversity, color and class that spans three generations of Black women in a fading beach town.“A marvelous work, which enlarges our conception not only of love but of racial politics.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review In life, Bill Cosey enjoyed the affections of many women, who would do almost anything to gain his favor. In death his hold on them may be even stronger. Wife, daughter, granddaughter, employee, mistress: As Morrison's protagonists stake their furious claim on Cosey's memory and estate, using everything from intrigue to outright violence, she creates a work that is shrewd, funny, erotic, and heartwrenching.
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The little death: A Henry Rios mystery
Nava, Michael. The little death: A Henry Rios mystery. Latino literature. 4th ed. Los Angeles, Calif: Alyson Books, 2003. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
"Henry Rios is introduced as a troubled San Francisco public defender battling alcoholism and burnout. While investigating the murder of an old friend, he traces clues back to the man’s own wealthy family. It is here that we first encounter Henry Rios’s struggle to maintain his faith in a legal system caught between justice and corruption, a theme that will continue throughout the series." - Amazon description.
The Argonauts
Nelson, Maggie. The Argonauts. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, offers a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making.
Things We Lost to the Water
Nguyen, Eric. Things We Lost to the Water. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle into life in America, she continues to send letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father. Over time, Huong realizes she will never see Cong again. While she copes with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh, grow up in their absent father's shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memory and imagination. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong takes up with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity–as individuals and as a family–tears them apart, until disaster strikes and they must find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them"–
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Fading Scars: My Queer Disability History
O'Toole, Corbett Joan. Fading Scars: My Queer Disability History. Fort Worth, TX: Autonomous Press, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
Uncovering stories about disability history and life, O’Toole shares her firsthand account of some of the most dramatic events in Disability History, and gives voice to those too often yet left out. From the 504 Sit-in and the founding of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, to the Disability Forum at the International Woman's Conference in Beijing; through dancing, sports, queer disability organizing and being a disabled parent, O’Toole explores her own and the disability community's power and privilege with humor, insight and honest observations.
Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men's Lives
Odets, Walt. Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men's Lives. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
From the dust jacket: "Even today, it's not easy to be gay in America. While many young men now come out more readily, even those from the most progressive backgrounds often struggle with the legacy of early-life stigma and a deficit of self-acceptance, both of which fuel self-doubt and, at worst, self-loathing. And this is to say nothing of the ongoing trauma wrought by HIV, which is all too often relegated to history. Drawing on his work as a clinical psychologist during and in the aftermath of the AIDS epidemic, Walt Odets reflects on what it means to survive and find a way to live in a new, uncompromising future, both for the men who endured the upheaval of those years and for the younger men who are now coming of age at a time when HIV is still deeply affecting gay communities, especially the most marginalized. Through moving, emotional stories--of friends and therapy patients, and of his own--Odets considers how experiences early in life launch men on trajectories to futures that are not authentically theirs. He reimagines how we might reframe gay life by considering everything from the misleading and constraining idea of "the homosexual," to the diversity and richness of gay relationships, to the historical role of stigma and shame and the significance of youth and aging. Crawling out from under the trauma destructive of early-life experience and the epidemic, and emerging into a century of shifting social values, provides an opportunity to explore possibilities rather than live with societally imposed limitations. Though it is drawn from decades of his private practice, activism, and personal experience, Odets's work achieves remarkable universality. At its core, Out of the Shadows is driven by his belief that it is time we act on the basis of who we are, and not who others are, or who they would want us to be. We--particularly the young--must construct our own paths through life. Out of the Shadows is a necessary, impassioned argument for how and why we all must take hold of our futures."
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Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be: Essays
Perkins, Nicole. Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be: Essays. First edition. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Pop culture is the Pandora's Box of our lives. Racism, wealth, poverty, beauty, inclusion, exclusion, and hope -- all of these intractable and unavoidable features course through the media we consume. Examining pop culture's impact on her life, Nichole Perkins takes readers on a rollicking trip through the last twenty years of music, media and the internet from the perspective of one southern Black woman. She explores her experience with mental illness and how the TV series Frasier served as a crutch, how her role as mistress led her to certain internet message boards that prepared her for current day social media, and what it means to figure out desire and sexuality and Prince in a world where marriage is the only acceptable goal for women. Combining her sharp wit, stellar pop culture sensibility, and trademark spirited storytelling, Nichole boldly tackles the damage done to women, especially Black women, by society's failure to confront the myths and misogyny at its heart, and her efforts to stop the various cycles that limit confidence within herself. By using her own life and loves as a unique vantage point, Nichole humorously and powerfully illuminates how to take the best pop culture has to offer and discard the harmful bits, offering a mirror into our own lives"-- Provided by publisher.
Detransition, Baby
Peters, Torrey. Detransition, Baby. New York: One World, 2021. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
"Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn't hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.Ames isn't happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames's boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she's pregnant with his baby—and that she's not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he's been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together?This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can't reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel." - Publisher description.
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Pariah
Rees, Dee. Pariah. United States: Universal Studios Home Entertainment, 2012. DVD @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
Alike is a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents and younger sister in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood. She has a flair for poetry, and is a good student at her local high school. Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity–sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward.
Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman's Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim
Rehman, Sabeeha. Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman's Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
Threading My Prayer Rug is a richly textured reflection on what it is to be a Muslim in America today. Beginning with a sweetly funny, moving account of the author's arranged marriage, the author undercuts stereotypes and offers the refreshing view of an American life through Muslim eyes.
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Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive
Serano, Julia. Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press, 2013. eBook @ Harvard Library [Harvard Key required]Abstract
Among LGBTQ activists, there is a long history of lesbians and gay men dismissing bisexuals, transgender people, and other gender and sexual minorities. In each case, exclusion is based on the premise that certain ways of being gendered or sexual are more legitimate, natural, or righteous than others. In Excluded, Julia Serano chronicles many of these instances of exclusion and argues that marginalizing others often stems from a handful of assumptions that are routinely made about gender and sexuality.
Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Second edition. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2007. eBook @ Harvard Library [Harvard Key required]Abstract
In the updated second edition of Whipping Girl, Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose supremely intelligent writing reflects her diverse background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist, shares her powerful experiences and observations—both pre- and post-transition—to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole.
The Prettiest Star
Sickels, Carter. The Prettiest Star. Spartanburg, S.C. Hub City Press, 2020. Book & eBook @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Small-town Appalachia doesn't have a lot going for it, but it's where Brian is from, where his family is, and where he's chosen to return to die. At eighteen, Brian, like so many other promising young gay men, arrived in New York City without much more than a love for the freedom and release from his past that it promised. But within six short years, AIDS would claim his lover, his friends, and his future. With nothing left in New York but memories of death, Brian decides to write his mother a letter asking to come back to the place, and family, he was once so desperate to escape. Set in 1986, a year after Rock Hudson's death shifted the public consciousness of the epidemic and brought the news of AIDS into living rooms and kitchens across America, The Prettiest Star is part Dog Years by Mark Doty and part Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. But it is also an urgent story now: it a novel about the politics and fragility of the body; it is a novel about sex and shame. And it is a novel that speaks to the question of what home and family means when we try to forge a life for ourselves in a world that can be harsh and unpredictable. It is written at the far reaches of love and understanding, and zeroes in on the moments where those two forces reach for each other, and sometimes touch."-- Provided by publisher
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Memorial
Washington, Bryan. Memorial. New York: Riverhead Books, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]

Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant. Benson is a Black day care teacher. They've been together for a few years, but now they're not sure why they're still a couple. There's the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other. When Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Houston for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he discovers the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together, but their time together ends up meaning more than they ever could have predicted. As both men change, will it make them stronger together, or fracture everything they've ever known? -- adapted from jacket

Outside the XY: A Bklyn Boihood Anthology
Willis, Morgan Mann, ed. Outside the XY: A Bklyn Boihood Anthology. Riverdale, NY: Riverdale Avenue Books, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
An anthology of more than 50 stories, memoirs, poems, ideas, essays and letters–all examining what it looks like, feels like, and is like to inhabit masculinity outside of cisgender manhood as people of color in the world.
A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir
Windsor, Edie. A Wild and Precious Life: A Memoir. First edition. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"A lively, intimate memoir from an icon of the gay rights movement, describing gay life in 1950s and 60s New York City and her longtime activism which opened the door for marriage equality. Edie Windsor became internationally famous when she sued the US government, seeking federal recognition for her marriage to Thea Spyer, her partner of more than four decades. The Supreme Court ruled in Edie's favor, a landmark victory that set the stage for full marriage equality in the US. Beloved by the LGBTQ community, Edie embraced her new role as an icon; she had already been living an extraordinary and groundbreaking life for decades. In this memoir, which she began before passing away in 2017 and completed by her co-writer, Edie recounts her childhood in Philadelphia, her realization that she was a lesbian, and her active social life in Greenwich Village's electrifying underground gay scene during the 1950s. Edie was also one of a select group of trailblazing women in computing, working her way up the ladder at IBM and achieving their highest technical ranking while developing software. In the early 1960s Edie met Thea, an expat from a Dutch Jewish family that fled the Nazis, and a widely respected clinical psychologist. Their partnership lasted forty-four years, until Thea died in 2009. Edie found love again, marrying Judith Kasen-Windsor in 2016. A Wild and Precious Life is remarkable portrait of an iconic woman, gay life in New York in the second half of the twentieth century, and the rise of LGBT activism"-- Provided by publisher.
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A Little Life
Yanagihara, Hanya. A Little Life. New York: Anchor Books, 2016. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
A Little Life follows four college classmates-broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century, Hanya Yanagihara's stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves.

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