March 3, 2016 at 6:35 pm EST | by Terri Schlichenmeyer
SPRING ARTS 2016: books
spring books, gay books 2016, gay news, Washington Blade

Toasting the women we love, fighting teen bullies and more in spring books.

Since you can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been, “Stand by Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation by Jim Downs (Basic Books, March 1) is a great look back at the efforts, activism, and advocacy for gay rights. Davis dug deep to find stories that aren’t usually told — tales of religion within the gay community and its efforts, how African Americans have figured in LGBT history, where violence has occurred and the behind-the-scenes politics of equality.

Gender identity has also been in the news a lot lately, and in “A Murder Over a Girl” by Ken Corbett (Henry Holt, March 1), you’ll read about 15-year-old Larry King, who’d recently begun identifying as Leticia, and her murder at the hands of a 14-year-old classmate at a junior high school in California. Corbett was at the ensuing trial and had access to interviews and records, making this book a true crime fan’s must read. You may also want to share this book with parents you know.

Spring may have you thinking thoughts of love, and “The Golden Condom” by Jeanne Safer, PhD (Picador, April 5) can help your thoughts wander. This book is about love lost and found, saved and destroyed, but not just love of the romantic kind. Safer, who is a psychotherapist, also looks at friendships, sibling rivalry and amour from afar.

If you’re a man, why would you want to perform in women’s clothing?  In “Why Drag?” by Magnus Hastings, introduction by Boy George (Chronicle Books, May 17), you’ll get an idea of the fun and the frustration, including pictures and thoughts from drag queens of TV and stage. Some are sassy, some are philosophical, all lead up to individually fascinating answers to “why?”

If sports are your thing, then “Fair Play” by Cyd Zeigler (Akashic Books, June 7) should be on your roster. Zeigler, an authority on sports and the LGBT community, looks at LGBT athletes, the issues they face, and the myths they have the power to dispel. You’ll read about three in-the-news gay athletes, and how gay and lesbian sports participants will one day change the current level of acceptance of LGBTQ players in the game.

Other releases of note include:

• Each of us was created for something great — we just need to figure out what it is and find the courage to do it. Gay-affirming pastor/author Rob Bells shows you how in “How to Be Here: a Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living.” It’s $14.99 and releases March 8.

• “The Spartacus International Gay Guide 2016” is an annual must-read if want to find gay hot spots abroad each year. This year’s edition ($24.99) is out March 15. Similarly, the “Damron’s Men’s Travel Guide’s” 51st edition is $22.95 and releases April 15.

• “Visions and Revisions” by novelist and critic Dale Peck is part memoir, part extended essay in what he calls the “second half” of the first wave of the AIDS epidemic. In focusing on the period between 1987-1996, Peck writes a “sweeping, collage-style portrait of a tumultuous era.” It’s $16 and will release on March 22.

• “Double Life: a Love Story from Broadway to Hollywood,” the name-dropping page turner from long-time partners Alan Shayne and Norman Sunshine is out in a new MP3 CD edition on April 5.

• “Manties in a Twist: the Subs Club Book III” by J.A. Rock is a tongue-in-cheek look at the gay kink scene finds the narrator lamenting the loss of his favorite dom of yore, Hal, while left to navigate life with the new “Subs Club,” a group that meets to rate “suck-ass” doms. If this is your scene, it’s a riot. It’s $17.99 and releases April 4.

• “True Homosexual Experiences: Boyd McDonald and Straight to Hell” is a memoir of the famed author (1925-1993) of the “Straight to Hell” series, a collection of readers’ “true homosexual experiences,” that in the pre-liberation era let gays know not only that they weren’t alone, but what their fellow gays were doing in the bedroom and beyond. It’s $25 and releases April 1.

• The title of “The Gender Creative Child: Pathways for Nurturing and Supporting Children Who Live Outside Gender Boxes” from Diane Ehrenhaft and Norman Spack speaks for itself. In this up-to-date comprehensive resource, Ehrenhaft explains the mix of biology, nurture and culture to explain why gender can be fluid rather than binary. It’s $15.95 and out April 5.

• LGBT lawyers share their experiences in “Out and About: the LGBT Experience in the Legal Profession,” a joint effort from the American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and the National LGBT Bar Association. It’s $49.95 and out April 7.

• Gay men write lovingly of their female idols in “The Women We Love: Gay Writers on the Fierce and Tender Females who Inspire Them.” Read Rufus Wainwright’s tribute to his sister, Martha; Kevin Sessums on a childhood maid; and Wayne Koestenbaum on Jackie Kennedy. It’s $18.95 and out April 7.

• As editor-in-chief of, Aryka Randall has become the authority on lesbian love, especially for women of color. In “She’s Just Not That Into You: the Fab Femme’s Guide to Queer Love and Dating,” she gives advice on queer dating, relationships, open commitments, living arrangements, sex, money, lust and more. It’s $14.29 and releases April 5.

• In “Queer Philologies: Sex, Language and Affect in Shakespeare’s Time,” Jeffrey Maesten studies the terms used for sexuality in the Bard’s era and analyzes the methods used to study sex and gender in literary and cultural history. This scholarly work is $59.95 and releases April 19.

• Robin Stevenson explores what Pride means to members of the community and the history of its development in “Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community.” It’s $24.95 and releases April 19.

• Not sure what kind of arrangement is best for you or what the true differences are? Explore your options in “Making it Legal: a Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions” by attorneys Frederick Hertz and Emily Doskow. It’s $29.95 and releases April 29.

• Want to veg out with some naughty comic book fun? “Big Loads Vol. 3: the Class Comics Stash” by Patrick Fillion and Robert Fraser features eye-popping art and situations you’ll recognize in comics like “The Bromance,” “Dead of Winter” and “Lost Love.” It’s $29.99 and releases May 1.

• Ma-Nee Chacaby shares her remarkable life story overcoming abuse, poverty and alcoholism in “A Two-Spirit Journey: the Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder.” It’s $27.95 and releases May 17.

• Frustrated by the notion that homosexuality and Christianity are incompatible, Rev. Elizabeth Edman shares in “Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How it Can Revitalize Christianity” that the faith, at its scriptural core, is “inherently queer” and how she feels queer believers are “gifts to the church.” It’s $25.95 and is out May 17.

• David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the truth: David wants to be a girl. “The Art of Being Normal” by Lisa Williamson is $17.99 and releases May 31.

• When her best friend Hannah comes out the day before junior year, Daisy is all set to let her ally flag fly. But she soon finds out it’s not so easy to change their school’s ban on same-sex dates at school dances with homecoming looming. “The Inside of Out” is a young-adult novel from Jenn Marie Thorne. It’s $17.99 and releases May 31.

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