The story of Christine Jorgensen, America's first prominent transsexual, famously narrated trans embodiment in the postwar era. Her celebrity, however, has obscured other mid-century trans narratives--ones lived by African Americans such as Lucy Hicks Anderson and James McHarris. Their erasure from trans history masks the profound ways race has figured prominently in the construction and representation of transgender subjects. In Black on Both Sides, C. Riley Snorton identifies multiple intersections between blackness and transness from the mid-nineteenth century to present-day anti-black and anti-trans legislation and violence. Drawing on a deep and varied archive of materials--early sexological texts, fugitive slave narratives, Afro-modernist literature, sensationalist journalism, Hollywood films--Snorton attends to how slavery and the production of racialized gender provided the foundations for an understanding of gender as mutable. In tracing the twinned genealogies of blackness and transness, Snorton follows multiple trajectories, from the medical experiments conducted on enslaved black women by J. Marion Sims, the "father of American gynecology," to the negation of blackness that makes transnormativity possible. Revealing instances of personal sovereignty among blacks living in the antebellum North that were mapped in terms of "cross dressing" and canonical black literary works that express black men's access to the "female within," Black on Both Sides concludes with a reading of the fate of Phillip DeVine, who was murdered alongside Brandon Teena in 1993, a fact omitted from the film Boys Don't Cry out of narrative convenience. Reconstructing these theoretical and historical trajectories furthers our imaginative capacities to conceive more livable black and trans worlds.
Award-winning author and powerhouse talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene withAn Untamed State and theNew York Times bestselling essay collectionBad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns withDifficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection. The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister's marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls' fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.
A National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" Honoree Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for a Debut Novel Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize ANew York Times Notable Book One of the most highly praised novels of the year, the debut from an astonishing young writer,Freshwater tells the story of Ada, an unusual child who is a source of deep concern to her southern Nigerian family. Young Ada is troubled, prone to violent fits. Born "with one foot on the other side," she begins to develop separate selves within her as she grows into adulthood. And when she travels to America for college, a traumatic event on campus crystallizes the selves into something powerful and potentially dangerous, making Ada fade into the background of her own mind as these alters--now protective, now hedonistic--move into control. Written with stylistic brilliance and based in the author's realities,Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace.
Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons and violence, a young man find himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin's now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.
The follow-up to the groundbreaking Black Queer Studies, the edited collection No Tea, No Shade brings together nineteen essays from the next generation of scholars, activists, and community leaders doing work on black gender and sexuality. Building on the foundations laid by the earlier volume, this collection's contributors speak new truths about the black queer experience while exemplifying the codification of black queer studies as a rigorous and important field of study. Topics include "raw" sex, pornography, the carceral state, gentrification, gender nonconformity, social media, the relationship between black feminist studies and black trans studies, the black queer experience throughout the black diaspora, and queer music, film, dance, and theater. The contributors both disprove naysayers who believed black queer studies to be a passing trend and respond to critiques of the field's early U.S. bias. Deferring to the past while pointing to the future, No Tea, No Shade pushes black queer studies in new and exciting directions. Contributors. Jafari S. Allen, Marlon M. Bailey, Zachary Shane Kalish Blair, La Marr Jurelle Bruce, Cathy J. Cohen, Jennifer DeClue, Treva Ellison, Lyndon K. Gill, Kai M. Green, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Kwame Holmes, E. Patrick Johnson, Shaka McGlotten, Amber Jamilla Musser, Alison Reed, Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, Tanya Saunders, C. Riley Snorton, Kaila Story, Omise'eke Natasha Tinsley, Julia Roxanne Wallace, Kortney Ziegler
"ZAMI is a fast-moving chronicle. From the author's vivid childhood memories in Harlem to her coming of age in the late 1950s, the nature of Audre Lorde's work is cyclical. It especially relates the linkage of women who have shaped her . . . Lorde brings into play her craft of lush description and characterization. It keeps unfolding page after page."--Off Our Backs