In honor of Pride month, Black LGBTQ leaders, activists, and writers shared some of their favorite books that discuss the Black queer experience.
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Later this month will mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This protest against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn became one of the most pivotal moments in the fight for LGBT equality in the United States. It’s an important part of American history, and this author wants to make sure that children know of its importance with his new book.
Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution is a picture book written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Jamey Christoph. It tells the history of the Stonewall Inn and how it became the sight of an uprising that would eventually lead to several gay rights groups being established as well as the first ever pride march.
Having previously written children’s books about Harvey Milk and gay rights activism, Sanders felt that it is important for young readers to learn about the beginning of the gay rights movement despite some people’s objections:
“I’m often asked why I write controversial books. I don’t consider what I write controversial. I consider it, as you said, history. To me, not teaching history would be controversial. The shelf of picture books that discuss LGBTQ+ history is small, but it’s growing. And it should grow. LGBTQ+ history is part of American history.”
As a gay artist, Christoph felt a personal connection to the source material, something that he hadn’t felt when drawing for other books:
“As a gay artist and as someone who had my own struggles coming to terms with my identity, and valuing these type of stories that show adversity but give hope, it was personal. I really gave it my all.”
Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution is available now.
Featured Image Via New York Magazine
Rafiki, a film by Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu that depicts lesbian love, has been recognized at the largest African film festival, Fespaco. The festival has awarded Samantha Mugatsia “best actress” for her portrayal of Kena Mwaura.
According to IMDb, the film tells the tale of Kena and Ziki, two girls who “long for something more. When love blossoms between them, the two girls will be forced to choose between happiness and safety.” It is inspired by the short story “Jambula Tree” by Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko.
IMAGE VIA HUMANMOVENT
The award is significant because the film is banned in Kenya, the country it was directed in—an extension of the laws against homosexuality in the country.
The laws, though “recent” as far as their imposition in 20th century by British colonial rule, seem to reflect public opinion of much of the country; 90 percent of respondents to a Pew survey conducted in Kenya in 2013 said that “society should not accept homosexuality.” The laws and public aversion to homosexuality fuel each other in a hateful cycle, since “family members and neighbors sometimes report suspected homosexuals to the police.”
IMAGE VIA PINKNEWS
The country’s High Court is set to either uphold or overturn its ruling against gay sex on May 24th, several months after it was originally supposed to decide in February.
In the midst of such conflicting public opinion, the film’s being recognized by Fespaco is an undeniable achievement, and hopefully foreshadows what’s to come for gay rights in Kenya!