Bi Bookshelf: Bowie Made Me Gay / The Book of Pride
The Book Of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed The World
Author: Mason Funk.
Meet dozens and dozens of awesome queers telling their stories! This book is a great collection of interviews with people who made the world a little bit better each in their own way, collected through the OutWords project Mason started in 2016.
There’s a great interview with Gigi Raven Wilbur, bisexual radio show presenter and co-founder of Bi Visibility Day – who is introduced as being “intersex and BDSM educator” – and who talks about being a sex educator on radio, being kicked out of bars for being bi and much more. We meet other bis too like Lani Ka’ahumanu who was co-editor of 1991’s “Bi Any Other Name” anthology of bi experience, which was hugely important back then when the internet was so much more niche a way of connecting and feeling less isolated.
I particularly enjoyed Troy Perry’s tale of creating the Metropolitan Community Church as a place for LGBT Christians.
There’s the story of Dean Hamer, best known as the researcher behind that 1993 paper that said homosexuality was genetic and caused by chromosome xq28 – inspiration of the “xq28: thanks mom, love the genes” teeshirts back in the 90s. And Jewel Thais Williams, who in 1973 opened one of the USA’s first black discos and gay bars – because she “wanted a job that was recession proof”. She went on to serve on AIDS Project Los Angeles and many more health projects in the 1990s and since.
But I didn’t realise before buying that this would be all about the USA. Changing the world surely goes beyond the borders of one country?
David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 years of LGBT Music
Author: Darryl W Bullock.
This is a lovely book – an a very thorough exploration of LGBT people in popular music across the decades, mostly across the US and UK.
I’ve got to be honest and say that with lot of the artists and records prior to the 1980s I had simply no idea who these performers were – but it made you want to google or youtube them to find out a bit more about what they did. The richness of the stories told of more recent artists like Pete Townshend or the Scissor Sisters where I had some idea about the people involved and their careers promises that the research is thorough in regard to artists you know nothing about.
Crucially for a BCN reader, this is a good text at noting whether people were gay or bi and acknowledging some of the nuances in that. There are some artists where on limited evidence and no self-labelling I’m not sure I reach the same conclusions as the writer – where do we categorise someone who had relationships with people of several genders but it might have been about pressure to be heterosexual whilst young? The uncertainty of labelling where people didn’t own a clear and modern term themselves is made plain.