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We’ve Always Been Here, We’ve Always Been Queer: Selections to Celebrate Queer History This Pride Month

June is national Pride Month, and to celebrate this joyous occasion, here are six selections to honor the lives and work of queer activists and individuals who paved the way for LGBTQIA+ liberation.

Hidden From History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past
Edited by Martin Duberman, Martha Vicinus, & George Chauncey Jr.

This anthology presents groundbreaking scholarly studies unveiling the previously obscured history of the LGBTQ+ community. Renowned researchers such as John Boswell, Shari Benstock, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, Jeffrey Weeks, and John D’Emilio shed light on gay and lesbian life across diverse cultures and time periods—from Plato’s Athens to Castro’s Cuba. Discover a long-hidden history of pride.

How To Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed AIDS
By David France

How To Survive a Plague tells the story of grassroots activists, battling against all odds in a fight for life. Dismissed by authorities and society, they harnessed scientific research to transform HIV from a death sentence to a manageable condition. Despite facing stigma and hostility, they refused to surrender, educating themselves and demanding a place at the table. Their unwavering determination has saved 16 million lives worldwide.

Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex
By Alice Dreger

Illustrated with compelling case studies, this book delves into the remarkable encounters between intersex individuals—those born with ambiguous sexual anatomy—and the medical and scientific communities that grappled with their existence. Alice Dreger focuses on the late nineteenth century in France and Britain, a period marked by intense debate over sex roles. This book begs the question, how can we truly define sex?

The term “Hermaphrodite” according to the Intersex Society of North America is an outdated and stigmatizing label. Individuals in the intersex community often prefer to be referred to as intersex. This book was written by an advocate for the medical autonomy of intersex people but does frequently use this outdated term. Reader discretion is advised.

Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to RuPaul
By Les Feinberg

This groundbreaking text blends history, personal narrative, and gender studies to illuminate the enduring presence and influence of transgender individuals throughout history. Author Les Feinberg, a lifelong transgender activist, traces the origins of rigid gender constructs and draws inspiration from transgender figures across cultures and time periods, from the Two Spirits of the Americas to the gender-fluid Queen Nzinga of Angola. Revealing empowering narratives, Feinberg showcases the resilience and contributions of transgender warriors worldwide.

The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir
By RuPaul

From RuPaul, the iconic drag superstar and pop culture icon, comes his most candid and intimate memoir yet. In “The House of Hidden Meanings,” RuPaul shares his journey from a challenging upbringing to global fame, exploring themes of race, sexuality, and self-discovery. This deeply personal reflection offers insight into RuPaul’s life, relationships, and his journey in changing the world’s perspective on drag.

Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity

The Archives of Sexuality and Gender program offers an extensive collection of primary sources for the historical exploration of sex, sexuality, and gender. Spanning from the sixteenth century to the present, researchers can delve into topics such as evolving sexual norms, health and hygiene, sex education, gender roles, social movements, erotica, and more. This expanding archival program provides valuable research opportunities across diverse aspects of human history.

Photo from Series V. Photographs: Gay Pride Parades and Marches: New York

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