978-0-688-15811-8 / 9780688158118

Queer 13: Lesbian And Gay Writers Recall Seventh Grade


Publisher:William Morrow



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About the book:

It's probably a healthy sign that the autobiographical essays collected in Queer 13 display not only relief and anger, but nostalgia. Most of the contributors, including well-known writers like Wayne Kostenbaum (The Queen's Throat) and Rebecca Brown (The Terrible Girls), have overcome the stigma they felt in junior high. When they look back now at their sufferings, they're also able to recall moments of pure, unthreatened pleasure--although, having found the courage they once lacked, they tend to criticize their younger selves for having pandered to repressive parents or playground tyrants. It may be inevitable that these stories have a shared aura of sadness, since the universal experience of junior high seems to be bleak and crushing, but there are other commonalities that emerge: the "gay" childhood friend, for instance, who gets mercilessly dropped, or the casual cruelties of physical education. Some of the most affecting pieces are by writers who were battling other differences in addition to their sexuality, such as Rebecca Zinoric's "Becky's Pagination," about the indignities of being given special education because she was legally blind, and Marcus Mabry's lovely "Mud Pies and Medusa," about growing up black and gay. --Regina Marler

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