Book picks similar to
Ugly Differences: Queer Female Sexuality in the Underground by Yetta Howard


cultural-studies
feminist-and-queer-theory
gender-and-sexuality
sexuality

Handsome


Holly Lorka - 2020
    She had questions: Was she a monster? Would she ever be able to grow sideburns? And most importantly, where was her penis?The problem was, it was the 1970s, so there were no answers yet.Here, Lorka tells the story—by turns hilarious and poignant—of her romp through the first fifty years of her life searching for sex, love, acceptance, and answers to her questions. With a sharp wit, endearing innocence, and indelible sense of optimism, she struggles through the awkward years (spoiler: that’s all of them) and discovers that what she thought were mistakes are actually powerful tools to launch her into a magical—and ridiculous—life.Oh, and she discovers that she can buy a penis at the store, too.

Dude, Where's My Stethoscope?


5 Grays Publishing - 2013
    Donovan Gray answers that question in Dude, Where's My Stethoscope? - a laugh-out-loud funny, heartbreaking and sometimes poignant collection of true-life medical short stories. We follow Dr. Gray through medical school and two decades of unforgettable ER and family practice. Humorously written in an engaging mash-up of formal prose and informal medical slang with a nod to pop culture and ancient mythology, Dude is a powerful book that captures the essence of what it is to be an emergency room doctor.

Money for Something: Sex Work. Drugs. Life. Need.


Mia Walsch - 2020
    Look where we are. What else do we have to hide?'When nineteen-year-old Mia is fired from her job at an insurance company, she answers an ad in the newspaper. The ad says: 'Erotic Massage. Good Money. No Sex.'Mia takes to her new job with recklessness, aplomb and good humour. Over the next few years, as she works her way through Sydney's many parlours, she meets exquisite and complex women from every walk of life who choose sex work for myriad reasons. While juggling the demands of her new job, she battles her problematic drug use, and the mental illness that has shaped her life.But rather than needing saving from sex work, it is the work that sometimes helps to save Mia from herself.A raw and honest memoir about surviving, sex work, friendships, drugs and mental illness.

BITCHfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine


Lisa Jervis - 2006
    Magazine, Bitch was launched in the mid-nineties as a Xerox-and-staple zine covering the landscape of popular culture from a feminist perspective. Both unabashed in its love for the guilty pleasures of consumer culture and deeply thoughtful about the way the pop landscape reflects and impacts women's lives, Bitch grew to be a popular, full-scale magazine with a readership that stretched worldwide. Today it stands as a touchstone of hip, young feminist thought, looking with both wit and irreverence at the way pop culture informs feminism--and vice versa--and encouraging readers to think critically about the messages lurking behind our favorite television shows, movies, music, books, blogs, and the like. BITCHFest offers an assortment of the most provocative essays, reporting, rants, and raves from the magazine's first ten years, along with new pieces written especially for the collection. Smart, nuanced, cranky, outrageous, and clear-eyed, the anthology covers everything from a 1996 celebration of pre-scandal Martha Stewart to a more recent critical look at the "gayby boom"; from a time line of black women on sitcoms to an analysis of fat suits as the new blackface; from an attempt to fashion a feminist vulgarity to a reclamation of female virginity. It's a recent history of feminist pop-culture critique and an arrow toward feminism's future.

Females


Andrea Long Chu - 2019
    What one does with this desire is what we call gender." So begins Andrea Long Chu's investigation into gender and desire, females and bodies, radical dreams and philosophical pessimism, and feminism as a form of political suicide. Feminism, Chu argues, is an untenable claim, and "when you make an untenable claim, your desire is showing, like a shy tattoo peeking out from a sleeve." Written in a series of linked theses, this is a provocative and searching text from our most exciting new public intellectual, a self described "sad trans girl in Brooklyn." Chu wears her heart on her sleeve with wit, style, and a manic searching grace.

Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity


Robert Beachy - 2014
    From Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, a German activist described by some as the first openly gay man, to the world of Berlin’s vast homosexual subcultures, to a major sex scandal that enraptured the daily newspapers and shook the court of Emperor William II—and on through some of the very first sex reassignment surgeries—Robert Beachy uncovers the long-forgotten events and characters that continue to shape and influence the way we think of sexuality today. Chapter by chapter Beachy’s scholarship illuminates forgotten firsts, including the life and work of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, first to claim (in 1896) that same-sex desire is an immutable, biologically determined characteristic, and founder of the Institute for Sexual Science. Though raided and closed down by the Nazis in 1933, the institute served as, among other things, “a veritable incubator for the science of tran-sexuality,” scene of one of the world’s first sex reassignment surgeries. Fascinating, surprising, and informative—Gay Berlin is certain to be counted as a foundational cultural examination of human sexuality.

The Queer Art of Failure


J. Jack Halberstam - 2011
    Judith Halberstam proposes “low theory” as a mode of thinking and writing that operates at many different levels at once. Low theory is derived from eccentric archives. It runs the risk of not being taken seriously. It entails a willingness to fail and to lose one’s way, to pursue difficult questions about complicity, and to find counterintuitive forms of resistance. Tacking back and forth between high theory and low theory, high culture and low culture, Halberstam looks for the unexpected and subversive in popular culture, avant-garde performance, and queer art. She pays particular attention to animated children’s films, revealing narratives filled with unexpected encounters between the childish, the transformative, and the queer. Failure sometimes offers more creative, cooperative, and surprising ways of being in the world, even as it forces us to face the dark side of life, love, and libido.

Susie Bright's Sexwise: America's Favorite X-Rated Intellectual Does Dan Quayle, Catharine MacKinnon, Stephen King, Camille Paglia, Nicholson Baker, Madonna, and the Black Panthers


Susie Bright - 1995
    The X-rated intellectual and author of Susie Bright's Sexual Reality takes on Dan Quayle, Madonna, and the GOP in a collection of previously published essays, interviews, and reviews that also includes new writing by the sexpert.

God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships


Matthew Vines - 2014
    But when he realized he was gay, those hopes were called into question. The Bible, he’d been taught, condemned gay relationships. Feeling the tension between his understanding of the Bible and the reality of his same-sex orientation, Vines devoted years of intensive research into what the Bible says about homosexuality. With care and precision, Vines asked questions such as: • Do biblical teachings on the marriage covenant preclude same-sex marriage or not? • How should we apply the teachings of Jesus to the gay debate? • What does the story of Sodom and Gomorrah really say about human relationships? • Can celibacy be a calling when it is mandated, not chosen? • What did Paul have in mind when he warned against same-sex relations? Unique in its affirmation of both an orthodox faith and sexual diversity, God and the Gay Christian is likely to spark heated debate, sincere soul searching, even widespread cultural change. Not only is it a compelling interpretation of key biblical texts about same-sex relations, it is also the story of a young man navigating relationships with his family, his hometown church, and the Christian church at large as he expresses what it means to be a faithful gay Christian.

Pray the Gay Away: The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays


Bernadette C. Barton - 2012
    While some areas of the Unites States have made tremendous progress in securing rights for gay people, Bible Belt states lag behind. Not only do most Bible Belt gays lack domestic partner benefits, lesbians and gay men can still be fired from some places of employment in many regions of the Bible Belt for being a homosexual. In Pray the Gay Away, Bernadette Barton argues that conventions of small town life, rules which govern Southern manners, and the power wielded by Christian institutions serve as a foundation for both passive and active homophobia in the Bible Belt. She explores how conservative Christian ideology reproduces homophobic attitudes and shares how Bible Belt gays negotiate these attitudes in their daily lives. Drawing on the remarkable stories of Bible Belt gays, Barton brings to the fore their thoughts, experiences and hard-won insights to explore the front lines of our national culture war over marriage, family, hate crimes, and equal rights. Pray the Gay Away illuminates their lives as both foot soldiers and casualties in the battle for gay rights.

Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure


Eli Clare - 2017
    It saves lives, manipulates lives, and prioritizes some lives over others. It provides comfort, makes profits, justifies violence, and promises resolution to body-mind loss. Clare grapples with this knot of contradictions, maintaining that neither an anti-cure politics nor a pro-cure worldview can account for the messy, complex relationships we have with our body-minds.The stories he tells range widely, stretching from disability stereotypes to weight loss surgery, gender transition to skin lightening creams. At each turn, Clare weaves race, disability, sexuality, class, and gender together, insisting on the nonnegotiable value of body-mind difference. Into this mix, he adds environmental politics, thinking about ecosystem loss and restoration as a way of delving more deeply into cure.Ultimately Brilliant Imperfection reveals cure to be an ideology grounded in the twin notions of normal and natural, slippery and powerful, necessary and damaging all at the same time.

Getting to Ellen: A Memoir about Love, Honesty and Gender Change


Ellen Krug - 2013
    As a man named "Ed," she had everything anyone could ever want: a soul mate's love, two beautiful daughters, a house in the best neighborhood, a successful trial lawyer's career - a "Grand Plan" life so picture-perfect it inspired a beautiful pastel drawing,But there was a problem: "Ed" was a woman born into a male body. Finding inner peace meant Ed would have to become Ellen. It also meant losing that picture-perfect life.How could anyone make that choice, pay that kind of price? Then again, how could anyone not? Through what became a "gender journey," Ellen Krug discovered her true self and the honesty it takes to make life-changing decisions."Getting to Ellen" is much more than one person's story about some things lost and others gained. It's a glimpse into the life choices that all of us make --whether or not we're transgender.

The Deviant's War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America


Eric Cervini - 2020
    Defense Department in Hawaii, received a summons to report immediately to Washington, D.C. The Pentagon had reason to believe he was a homosexual, and after a series of humiliating interviews, Kameny, like countless gay men and women before him, was promptly dismissed from his government job. Unlike many others, though, Kameny fought back.Eric Cervini's The Deviant's War is the story of what followed. This book is an assiduously researched history of an early champion of gay liberation, one who fought for the right to follow his passion and serve his country in the wake of Joseph McCarthy's Lavender Scare. We follow Kameny as he explores the underground gay scenes of Boston and Washington, D.C., where he formulates his arguments against the U.S. Government's classification of gay men and women as "sexual perverts." At a time when staying in the closet remained the default, he exposed the hypocrisies of the American establishment, accelerated a broader revolution in sexual morals, and invented what we now know as Gay Pride.Based on firsthand accounts, recently declassified FBI records, and forty thousand personal documents, The Deviant's War unfolds over the course of the 1960s, as the Mattachine Society of Washington, the group Kameny founded, became the first organization to protest the systematic persecution of gay federal employees. It traces the forgotten ties that bound gay rights to the Black Freedom Movement, the New Left, lesbian activism, and trans resistance. Above all, it is a story of America (and Washington) at a cultural and sexual crossroads; of public battles with Congress; of FBI informants; murder; betrayal; sex; love; and ultimately victory.

The Stonewall Reader


New York Public Library - 2019
    Drawing from the New York Public Library's archives, The Stonewall Reader is a collection of first accounts, diaries, periodic literature, and articles from LGBTQ magazines and newspapers that documented both the years leading up to and the years following the riots. Most importantly the anthology spotlights both iconic activists who were pivotal in the movement, such as Sylvia Rivera, co-founder of Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (STAR), as well as forgotten figures like Ernestine Eckstein, one of the few out, African American, lesbian activists in the 1960s. The anthology focuses on the events of 1969, the five years before, and the five years after. Jason Baumann, the NYPL coordinator of humanities and LGBTQ collections, has edited and introduced the volume to coincide with the NYPL exhibition he has curated on the Stonewall uprising and gay liberation movement of 1969.

Girlhood


Melissa Febos - 2021
    A wise and brilliant guide to transforming the self and our society.In her powerful new book, critically acclaimed author Melissa Febos examines the narratives women are told about what it means to be female and what it takes to free oneself from them.When her body began to change at eleven years old, Febos understood immediately that her meaning to other people had changed with it. By her teens, she defined herself based on these perceptions and by the romantic relationships she threw herself into headlong. Over time, Febos increasingly questioned the stories she’d been told about herself and the habits and defenses she’d developed over years of trying to meet others’ expectations. The values she and so many other women had learned in girlhood did not prioritize their personal safety, happiness, or freedom, and she set out to reframe those values and beliefs.Blending investigative reporting, memoir, and scholarship, Febos charts how she and others like her have reimagined relationships and made room for the anger, grief, power, and pleasure women have long been taught to deny.Written with Febos’ characteristic precision, lyricism, and insight, Girlhood is a philosophical treatise, an anthem for women, and a searing study of the transitions into and away from girlhood, toward a chosen self.