Book of the Week – Branded by the Pink Triangle

“Branded by the Pink Triangle” by Ken Setterington details the treatment and persecution of gay men by the Nazi regime during World War II. In concentration camps, a pink triangle was sewn into the prison uniforms of gay men, in the same way that the Star of David was used to identify Jewish individuals. This book includePinkTriangle_Setteringtons more than just an historic perspective on the brutal treatment of gay men by the Nazis; it also includes personal narratives from survivors. An extensive bibliography is also included which leads readers to other useful resources. “Branded by the Pink Triangle” was a 2014 Stonewall Book Award – Honor Book and is a significant contribution to this area of literature.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic check out these items from the GLBT Library:

 

Book of the Week – And the Band Played On

AndtheBandPlayedOnHow was AIDS introduced to the gay community? Why did it spread so quickly? Why did health officials and researchers seem so slow to respond as people died of this disease? The answers to these questions may seem straightforward, but And the Band Played On tells of the political battles, feuds between research groups, lack of knowledge, funding woes, and false starts that helped AIDS spread so rapidly across the United States and throughout the world.

Shilts’s work is occasionally heavy on statistics, but these numbers are essential to help the reader understand the spread and scope of the disease and the sheer number of lives effected. Overall, the book reads more like a novel than a textbook, making it easy to move through in spite of its size (650 pages). While the work focuses on the effect of AIDS on the gay community, it does not ignore the spread of AIDS through blood transfusions, shared needles, or heterosexual contact. Those who remember the AIDS crisis at its most frightening—when the body count skyrocketed but before there was any effective treatment—will remember such milestones as Rock Hudson announcing that he had AIDS or the disease being talked about in news-magazines such as TIME, and this book helps put those events in context historically.

Because this book was written in 1987, its contents may seem lacking, as it focuses on the beginning and height of the American AIDS crisis. AZT, the first truly effective treatment option for people with HIV, is introduced at the very end of the book, and the book makes no mention of more recent treatments or the crisis of AIDS in third-world nations. Therefore, this book should be understood as a historical snapshot rather than an all-encompassing look at the AIDS epidemic.

Occasionally graphic, often moving, and thoroughly sobering, this book is essential for anyone who seeks to understand the spread of AIDS and how it shaped public health policy, the gay community, and sexual politics.

If you’re interested in And the Band Played On, you’d also enjoy We Were Here (available on DVD at the GLBT library) and Bad Blood (on DVD but not in the GLBT library collection).

Written by: Jamie, GLBTSSS Office Supervisor

History in the Making

 

LGBT History Month 2012

As LGBT history month draws to a close, we are reminded of those who pioneered the way for the freedoms we enjoy today, and that there is still much progress to be made. Equality Forum compiles a list of notable LGBT historical figures each year, and what is most remarkable about most of these individuals is not that they organized millions of people behind a cause or changed policies and laws single-handedly; what is remarkable about these individuals is that they were willing to stand out–and speak out–during times where to be anything but hetero-normative was a sentence for a lifetime as a societal outcast.

Pierre SeelPierre Seel (1923-2005) was imprisoned and tortured in a concentration camp during World War II because he was gay. After escaping from conscripted service in the German army and surrendering to the Allies, his imprisonment was not compensated or acknowledged by the French government. Neither were any of the others deported for their sexual orientation. In 1982, after having closeted himself for 37 years, he wrote an article for a French gay magazine in response to a prominent bishop’s anti-gay remarks. His memoir, “I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual” was published in 1994. And in 2003, he was finally recognized as a victim of the Holocaust.

Christine JorgensenChristine Jorgensen (1926-1989) was one of the first people to use hormone therapy to supplement her gender reassignment therapy. She was catapulted to fame when the New York Daily News intercepted a letter to her parents about her transformation and ran a story titled “Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty.” She relocated to New York to speak out in support of transsexual and transgender people; Jorgensen moved into music and film, and toured the US speaking at colleges and universities about her story.

 

 

Tom Waddell's memoir, Gay OlympianTom Waddell (1937-1987) organized the Gay Games–an athletic event modeled on the Olympics that still takes place every 4 years, the most recent having been held in 2010. Waddell was part of the civil rights demonstrations in Alabama in the early 1960’s, and joined the army in 1966. He competed in the Olympics in 1968, after which he was a fellow at Stanford University. He came out to friends and family in the 1970’s, and inspired by a gay bowling league, he decided to create a unique sporting event where LGBT athletes could compete openly. Waddell lived to see the games become a great success, and died of AIDS-related complications in 1987.

Gloria AnzalduaGloria Anzaldua (1942-2004) “helped build a multicultural feminist movement and called for people of different races to move forward together.”  After teaching several courses in creative writing and Chicana studies & earning her master’s degree, she co-edited one of the most cited books in the history of feminist studies: This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. She refused to write in only one language, and her writings contain two variations of English & six of Spanish, and all manner of in-betweens. She died while working on her doctorate, and was posthumously awarded a PhD by the University of California, Santa Cruz for her scholarly contributions.

Although it is no longer a danger to speak out publicly in support of the LGBT community in most of Western society, many people still suffer harassment and exclusion in silence. October is also anti-bullying month. Bullying can be as simple as one child tormenting another, or an institutionalized hostility against hundreds of thousands of people. We have seen great steps taken in our society within our lifetimes, yet without continual individual effort, we cannot move forward. I am reminded of the children’s book “Horton Hears a Who,” where no-one can hear the voices of the tiny people living on a dandelion puff except an elephant with exceptional hearing. But when they combine their voices, they are able to make themselves heard by everyone in the larger world: “We are here!” So we need to remember: we may not think our voice counts or has any influence on our surroundings, but if we all speak up, we will be heard.

 

For more information on LGBT historical and modern figures, check out http://www.lgbthistorymonth.com!

New nonfiction at the GLBT Library

Last month was a bit like Christmas around here, with our latest batch of acquisitions arriving and several generous donations. First, we’ll take a look at some of our new nonfiction titles. As always, stop by for more, and stay tuned for our new fiction and DVDs!

Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience
by Katrina Karkazis
6.009 KARfi 2008

Examines the contemporary controversies over the medical management of intersexuality in the United States from the multiple perspectives of those most intimately involved. This work exposes the contentious disagreements – and all that those debates imply about gender and the changing landscape of intersex management.

 

Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism
by Scott Herring
3.250 HERan 2010

Expands the possibilities of queer studies beyond the city limits, investigating the lives of rural queers across the United States, from faeries in the Midwest to lesbian separatist communes on the coast of Northern California.

 

Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners: The Definitive Guide to LGBT Life
1.400 PETst 2011

Covers topics ranging from coming out to being out in the workplace; from dealing with the joy and complexity of same-sex weddings and commitment ceremonies (including how to propose and write meaningful vows) to handling the legal paperwork every couple needs.

 

Queer America: A People’s GLBT History of the United States
by Vicki L. Eaklor
2.640 EAKqu 2008

Focuses on 20th/21st- century U. S. history as it pertains to GLBT history. Major issues and events such as the Stonewall riot, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the military, same-sex marriage, gay rights, gay pride, organizations and alliances, AIDS, and legal battles and court cases are discussed. Also included are sidebars highlighting major debates, legal landmarks and key individuals.

 

Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality
by Gayle Salamon
6.008 SALas 2010

Considering questions of transgendered embodiment via phenomenology (Maurice Merleau-Ponty), psychoanalysis (Sigmund Freud and Paul Ferdinand Schilder), and queer theory, Salamon advances an alternative theory of normative and non-normative gender, proving the value and vitality of trans experience for thinking about embodiment.

 

Just One of the Guys?: Transgender Men and the Persistence of Gender Inequality
by Kristen Schilt
4.828 SCHju 2010

The fact that men and women continue to receive unequal treatment at work is a point of contention among politicians, the media, and scholars. Common explanations for this disparity range from biological differences between the sexes to the conscious and unconscious biases that guide hiring and promotion decisions. Just One of the Guys? sheds new light on this phenomenon by analyzing the unique experiences of transgender men–people designated female at birth whose gender identity is male–on the job.