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Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States Hardcover – March 5, 2019
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"It's kind of like a trans Travels with Charley in Search of America, but without Steinbeck's lightly misogynist depictions of women and meandering, stream of consciousness. As Samantha Allen travels across the country's reddest states and perhaps the most unsafe for queer people, she unearths a humanity that the midwest and south are rarely afforded. Queer people exist everywhere, not just cities, and this book is a fierce testament to that."―Out Magazine
"Real Queer Americais a delight to read...an engrossing journey full of humor, vulnerability, insight, and joy. What results is a beautiful tapestry of, well, the real queer America... Real Queer Americais well-written and well-researched, and it's a blast to read, but perhaps its most essential question is that of how complicit 'blue state' LGBTQ people are in dismissing red states as scary places for queers. The whole world is scary, for queers and for everyone. Perhaps Real Queer Americawill inspire the reader to be more involved in fighting discrimination everywhere."―Rewire
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Beyond the important political work of this book, it is also just a pleasure to read, like sitting down for drinks with a witty friend after she gets back from a long road trip, full of stories. It's the kind of book one forgets one is reading.
I call this "public intellectual work" because Allen artfully weaves together complex concepts in gender and sexuality studies with concrete examples in a readable and relatable way. While this book will likely be most popular among LGBTQ readers and allies, I can readily imagine sending this book to an interested parent or relative who wants to learn more about gender transitioning, queerness, and related experiences... Would make a great holiday gift!
On par with Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, this is a book about rediscovering America. Coming to terms with a changing landscape and finding your place in it. Highly recommended.