Libraries and the books they serve are more than just bastions of knowledge and mutual aid, they’re sanctuaries, and, at times, the only shelter in a storm. Many Queer youth find solace in the quiet and safe atmosphere and reprieve from the world in the stories that flood the shelves.
As I touched on in a previous column, literature is the only medium in which—quality—Queer represenation cannot be regulated, coded, and pushed into the shadows.
Queer voices and the lives that encapsulate them will always be bounded atop the pages and in the memories of it’s readers. So with that in mind—and the fact that I fantasize about owning a Baudelaire style library—let’s review a few Queer characters and the literarure they exist in.
Fever King, written by Victoria Lee, serves readers an innovative take on magic systems, non-exploitive representation of refugee politics and socioeconomic conditions, Queer voices, a chaotic bisexual, tied together with an AU—alternate universe—Carolinas bow.
Amidst abolitionist tactics,or domestic teorrisim,aided by technopathy, antifacist Atlantenan and facist Carolinian street brawls, a 100 year old Socialist vying for power, class warfare, and an independent Texas. Fever King will leave it’s readers enthralled, humored, beam with happiness, and sob with only tears a book can bring.
Moira from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is one of my favorite Queer fictional characters.
A radical Queer woman dedicated to her own people’s liberation, womens liberation, and teaming with defiant strength, she in my opinion is—literally—perfection. Moira initially escaped the Queer round-ups, saving herslef a life in a radiated Kansas. When sent to a Gilead facility to indoctrinate and toruture women into submission as Handmaids. She succeeded in escape and for a brief moment freedom was at her fingertips.
But alas, freedom fluttered away as Soldiers deemed Angels struck down Quakers and Nun’s broke sacred vows, Moira’s strength buckled.
Moira’s character personifies the burdens and choices forced upon Queer women, she is the silenced victim destined for an unmarked grave at the hands of the patriarchy.
Gad Beck’s An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin is a snapshot of an intersectional wartime experience and genocide survival. Underground Life provides a framework for resistance networks, their tactics, methods of operation, etc, and how to weaponize Queer sexuality.
By literal fucking Nazis and their sympathizers, Gad was able to protect his fellow Jew with the favors and resources gathered using his Queerness. Sexuality was not just a weapon of the resistance, but a tool Gad used to comfort his comrades. Many of whom were just teenagers trying to surivive a genocide like himself Gad in a time of horror and uncertainilty.
An underground life is a treasure trove of laughs, sobs, and a testimony to Queer strength and resiliance.
So folks, I urge all of you to pick up a book, open a pdf, and immerse yourself in words from the Queer soul.