The Read Out (List): is an annual list of curated reading suggestions that take the reader on a queer literary journey which, at its end, should move one further along in their understanding of the intersectional experiences of the various identities within the spectrum of our LGBTQ+ community.
Throughout the year we’ll find moments to make space for conversation and reflection—sometimes with authors, sometimes with thought leaders, sometimes just with friends. Semi-book club; for sure reading clutch; sometimes discussion group; always open to read…out.
Read Out 2022: Lesbians Are Here!
The first non-heterosexual couple I recall knowing were two humans, who at my young age of six, appeared to be cis-women–although I think in today’s world and with the evolution of language one may identify as non-binary. Before this couple I honestly don’t have any solid memories of queer people…I am thankful for, what I knew to be a lesbian couple, for their example of what seemed a loving couple, that had been in a long-term relationship, and were raising two young sons.
Lesbians have always been there–for me any way. As I’ve grown into myself and my understanding of identity I can recall lesbians along the way who set examples deconstructed norms and helped me challenge constructs of the binary to which I didn’t even realize I was so deeply indoctrinated. And while lesbians have always been there for me, from the beginning, for our queer community during some of our most challenging times–it seems they have somehow faded into the background, become a forgotten story, or simply not seen.
A recent Gallup poll revealed that more Americans than ever identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender! Specifically the poll also indicates a significantly higher percentage of Gen-Z lesbians (1.4 percent) than millennials (0.8 percent) or Gen-Xers (0.7 percent). However, “the number of lesbian bars has decreased in the past few decades to just 21, according to the Lesbian Bar Project, a collective launched by filmmakers Erica Rose and Elina Street to raise awareness and help the remaining bars survive the COVID-19 pandemic. That number is a drop from the more than 200 lesbian bars in the late 1980s, according to a 2019 report from Greggor Mattson, an associate sociology professor at Oberlin College.
And maybe while lesbian bars are on the verge of possible extinction and there is a seeming trend of upward identification as lesbian, it is critical that we maintain their voices and experiences in the queer collective story.
With this second list we explore the intricate space of lesbian identities in queer life while learning to better appreciate the intersectional identities of the LGBTQ+ movement.
Densil Porteous (he/they)
The Read Out (List) 2022: Lesbians Are Here!
- The Price Of Salt (1952) – Patricia Highsmith
- Cassandra at the Wedding (1962) – Dorothy Baker
- Rubyfruit Jungle (1973) – Rita Mae Brown
- Loving Her (1974) – Ann Allen Shockley
- The Color Purple (1982) – Alice Walker
- Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit (1985) – Jeanette Winterson
- Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe (1987) – Fannie Flagg
- The Gilda Stories (1991) – Jewelle Gomez
- Stone Butch Blues (1993) – Leslie Feinberg
- The Heart Does Not Bend (2002) – Makeda Silvera
- Sing You Home (2011) – Jodi Picoult
- Her Body And Other Parties (2018) – Carmen Maria Machado
- If you plan to purchase these books, you’re encouraged to shop local, shop LGBTQ+, and BIPOC if and when you can; we also encourage you to consider shopping via Amazon Smile where a percentage of your purchase will support the selected charity of your choice—hopefully you’ll make that Stonewall Columbus!
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