(Article originally posted on Up ‘Til Midnight; reblogged and edited in light of recent events)
If you logged into Twitter yesterday even for 1 minute or followed the news at all, you heard the tragic news about the mass shooting that happened in Orlando, Florida.
Hearing about the 49 people who were killed and the dozens more who were injured in this senseless act of violence deeply affected me and millions of others. I became emotionally invested in the tragedy and was moved to tears several times throughout the day as new information was revealed. The love and support people showed to the LGBTQ+ community also moved me and showed me a small ray of hope amidst the horror.
One thing we cannot forget about the incident in Orlando is that this atrocity was committed against the Queer Latinx community in a place of refuge. (Read the article, Why We Say Latinx, if you have any questions about the term.) As we continue our discussions surrounding the Orlando shooting, we cannot neglect to mention that Queer Latinxs and Queer people of color were targeted specifically. This distinction matters.
There are many ways to support the victims and their families. But as a reader, one small thing you can do is to read the stories of the community most gravely affected by this tragedy. Many people say they will keep their “thoughts and prayers” with the victims. Well, this is one way you can do that. Read Queer Latinx narratives to understand our struggles.
I read the stories of Queer Latinxs because these narratives resonate with me most personally. That’s why coming up with this list came so naturally. I encourage you to read at least one of these books in honor of Orlando.
This list is first and foremost dedicated to all the Latinxs who want to read stories that reflect their world, but may not know where to look or where to start. These stories have been written and will continue to be written because our stories and lives matter.
Most importantly, this list is also dedicated to:
- Edward Sotomayor Jr.
- Stanley Almodovar
- Juan Ramon Guerrero
- Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera
- Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz
- Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo
- Luis S. Vielma
And all the other innocent people who lost their lives on June 12, 2106 at the Pulse night club.
All book titles are linked to Goodreads and descriptions are taken from there as well.
Mundo Cruel – by Luis Negrón
“Luis Negrón’s debut collection reveals the intimate world of a small community in Puerto Rico joined together by its transgressive sexuality. The writing straddles the shifting line between pure, unadorned storytelling and satire, exploring the sometimes hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking nature of survival in a decidedly cruel world.”
Chulito – by Charles Rice Gonzalez
“Set against a vibrant South Bronx neighborhood and the queer youth culture of Manhattan’s piers, Chulito is a coming-out, coming-of-age love story of a sexy, tough, hip hop–loving, young Latino man and the colorful characters in his vibrant neighborhood.”
Life Is Wonderful, People Are Terrific – by Meliza Bañales
“From the forests, beaches, and Xicano community of Santa Cruz to the smokey punk bars, strip clubs, and Queer-girl culture of San Francisco, these are the stories of being young, drunk, punk and Xicana in Northern California in the 90’s. Missy Fuego is an eighteen-year-old Xicana, the first in her family to leave home and accept a scholarship at a prestigious yet hippie university tucked away in the Redwood forests of the Santa Cruz mountains in 1996.”
Juliet Takes A Breath – by Gabby Rivera
“Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.”
Mariposas: An Anthology of Modern Queer Latino Poetry – by Emanuel Xavier
“Just as blood courses through our queer Latino veins, so does a complex and sometimes contradictory history. The words captured in this volume of poetry perfectly capture a moment in time in which we all are in flux and yet still very much grounded in the moment.”
City of Night – by John Rechy
“Bold and inventive in his account of the urban underworld of male prostitution, Rechy is equally unflinching in his portrayal of one hustling “Youngman” and his restless search for self-knowledge. As the narrator careens from El Paso to Times Square, from Pershing Square to the French Quarter, we get an unforgettable look at a neon-lit life on the edge.”
Empanada: A Lesbiana Story en Probaditas – by Anel Flores
“The voices in Empanada’s kitchen will definitely not be shy! Each probadita is told from the bustling space of the kitchen and heavily spiced with hurt and yearning, lust, desire, passion and bliss. Each bite of Empanada will take you on a journey through the heart of Paloma, a young lesbiana learning to maneuver her loving heart through a culture of judgment.”
Farewell to the Sea – by Reinaldo Arenas
“In this brilliant, apocalyptic vision of Castro’s Cuba, we meet a young couple who leave the dreariness of Havana and spend six days at a small seaside retreat, where they hope to recapture the desire and carefree spirit that once united them. In a stunning juxtaposition of narrative voices, the wife recounts the grim reality of her marriage, the demands of motherhood, and her loss of freedom, innocence, and hope; while her husband, a disillusioned poet and disenchanted revolutionary, recalls his political struggles and laments the artistic and homosexual freedom that has been denied him.”
Kiss of the Spider Woman – by Manuel Puig
“Sometimes they talk all night long. In the still darkness of their cell, Molina re-weaves the glittering and fragile stories of the film he loves, and the cynical Valentin listens. Valentin believes in the just cause which makes all suffering bearable; Molina believes in the magic of love which makes all else endurable. Each has always been alone, and always – especially now – in danger of betrayal. But in cell 7 each surrenders to the other something of himself that he has never surrendered before.”
“A sweeping memoir, a raw and intimate chronicle of a young activist torn between conflicting personal longings and political goals. When We Were Outlaws offers a rare view of the life of a radical lesbian during the early cultural struggle for gay rights, Women’s Liberation, and the New Left of the 1970s.”
Thank you for reading. Enter you email below for frequent updates from RDB.