Where Do We Stand Now? Two LGBTQ Perspectives

Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus
by Rachelle Lee Smith, Graeme Taylor, and Candace Gingrich
PM Press, 2014

Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion
Edited by Ryan Conrad
AK Press, 2014

As state after state approves gay marriage, it can be tempting to jump to the conclusion that the most pressing issues for LGBTQ people have been “solved.” Taken together, these two books offer an illuminating reality check. Speaking OUT, a photo essay that pairs photographic portraits with handwritten reflections from youth who identify as queer, offers a glimpse of the wide range of experiences that comprise life for queer youth today. Some teens express a sense of deep joy about the loving support they received from their entire community upon coming out (“the response was 100 percent supportive—100 percent!” exclaims contributor Graeme Taylor), attesting to the meaningful shifts that have taken place culturally within the last half-century. But others describe experiences of physical assault, rejection, and discrimination, attesting to the continued lived realities of homophobia and transphobia in the current era. Ryan Conrad’s anthology, meanwhile, offers a hard-edged political analysis of the many forms of oppression that mainstream efforts such as the marriage equality campaign will never solve.

Readers Respond: Letters to the Editor, Spring 2015

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Influenza Ode (From a Very Tall Building)

From here, the farthest highway
slammed with cars
arrives to the eye in segments
slicing through the baffling clouds,
shiny as the bite of a memory
of being yelled at, a call to the kitchen
for a late-night admonition,
while the dirty river to the harbor
dries like mustard upon the evening meat. The worser I feel, the childer I am. Beyond the window, I can see
how the moody wind manipulates,
the splat of the springtime
jumbled in some illegible smatter,
while the rooftops pretend to organize—
a scripture of rooftops,
dishes and antennae—and jumbled,
over-heated gardens snarl in disuse. From this far away the occasional bird
blackens in silhouette, little rabbi. From this far away a rabbinate of birds
swoops above the alleys below,
a gulp of swallows.

Spring 2015 Table of Contents

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