Category Archives: Books

LGBT themed book info

Gay, Latino and Macho: The struggle to be queer and out in a machismo culture Story

Gay, Latino and Macho: The struggle to be queer and out in a machismo culture
Story by Albert Serna Jr. and Adolfo Tigerino


Forced onto a school bus as the day came to an end on a Thursday in 2005, Josue was frightened and uncertain what the future held for him and his companions. Chaperons from the strict Latino Pentecostal church took away all methods of communication so they were virtually removed from society. Arriving at a ranch in the middle of nowhere under the cover of darkness, the teens were forced into separate rooms. Each day they were made to pray and denounce their sexuality. It was believed that the teens had demons controlling them. And, before he was allowed to be “cured,” the scared 17-year-old was held down against his will while several people screamed in attempts to speak with the alleged demons within.

They performed an exorcism to cure him of his homosexuality.


Twenty-six year-old student and drag performer Josue Velasquez. Photo by Adolfo Tigerino.

For Josue Velasquez, now 26, the idea of being gay and Latino did not sit well with his religious mother. She upheld a standard of masculinity called machismo that conflicted with the person Velasquez is. In the Latino culture there is a belief that men need to be hyper-masculine, domineering, controlling, and without the slightest hint of femininity. The culture of machismo is a conflict between the two identities; gay and Latino. The ideology requires such a high standard of masculinity that it is nearly impossible to reach. Critics of machismo such as journalist and feminist Germaine Greer have said, “The tragedy of machismo is that a man is never quite man enough.”

Being raised in a machismo culture impacted Velasquez’s his life, and his future. As a teen, he dreamed of becoming a fashion designer. His mother would crush those dreams one day when he showed her his prized drawings. He was a junior in high school and had spent most of the year preparing a portfolio. When he told her of his plans to attend fashion design school, she walked him out to the yard, threw his drawings in the barbecue, and made him light his portfolio on fire.

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Mobster Week Review: The Pharaoh’s Concubine by Z.A. Maxfield

I plan on getting this book.

Mobster Week Review: The Pharaoh’s Concubine by Z.A. Maxfield.

Free books: 100 legal sites to download literature

Free books: 100 legal sites to download literature

free Books download

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36 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Marvel Comics

36 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Marvel Comics

It’s really such a shame Michael Jackson never got a chance to play Spider-Man. (See #17!)

A great read: DJ: The Dog Who Rescued Me by David Toussaint

DJ: The Dog Who Rescued Me Hardcover – Oct 2013


According to Amazon: About the Author

DavidToussaint is the author of The Gay Couple’s Guide to Wedding Planning (RSVP Publishers, 2012),Toussaint! (Stay Thirsty Media, 2009), and Gay and Lesbian Weddings: Planning the Perfect Same-Sex Ceremony (Random House, 2004). A former writer and editor for Conde Nast Publications,Toussaint is also a professional playwright and actor. He is currently the Senior Editor for resides in Manhattan…with his dog.New York based photographer Piero Ribelli was born in Padenghe sul Garda, a small town in Northern Italy. Ribelli is the author of three books, most recently, 50 Main Street, The Face of America, (Cameron & Co., 2012), 50 stories of 50 people in 50 towns in each one of the 50 states, all found at the same address, 50 Main Street–an exploration of how much we all share as human beings and as Americans. His work has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world.  Visit Amazon’s David Toussaint Page


Harry Potter is back! Well, sort of.

Harry Potter is back! Well, sort of.

Potter scribe J.K. Rowling made millions of wishes come true on Tuesday morning when she penned a new short Harry Potter tale and posted it on the Pottermore website. Too bad that act of kindness crashed the site.

The seven-book Harry Potter series, which recounts the early life of a downtrodden boy who finds out he’s a wizard, has sold more than 400 million copies worldwide.


While it’s unclear how long the story was live before bringing down the Harry Potter-themed fantasy and game-playing site, we can intuit a bit from the story’s URL, which notes that it was posted on July 8 and is titled something like “Dumbledore’s Army Reunites.” Harry Potter fans will recall that Potter enlists fellow classmates in “Dumbledore’s Army” (DA) for wizard training when the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry temporarily stops training them in “Defense Against the Dark Arts.”

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Looking After Joey – David Pratt (Wilde City Press)

Hmmm I do love a good book, especially that makes me laugh.

Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews

LookingAfterJoey_100dpi_cvr-210x330Buy from Wilde City Press

By Guest Reviewer ‘Nathan Burgoine

I love to laugh. I think laughing is pretty much the best way we learn – especially when we laugh at ourselves. So when I had the chance to pick up Looking After Joey, the latest from David Pratt, I didn’t hesitate.

If you’ve never read Pratt before, then I should mention  I’ve learned to expect a genuinely enjoyable sense of revelation in his work.  Bob the Book was such a unique and witty ride and the moments of laugh-out-loud were balanced with surprising instances of introspection. My Movie – his collection of short fiction – had such range and breadth of tone that I parceled them out to myself like a Forrest Gump chocolate box, knowing that I’d enjoy whichever flavor I ended up getting.

All that to say I walked into Looking After Joey pretty aware there…

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National Library exhibition celebrates a decade of LGBT youth rights

I am pleased that the National Library has such an exhibition. LGBT youth & their rights tend to be overlooked to often.

‘¡OUT! The Transformistas of Havana’ Documents Performers in Cuba’s Gay Cabarets

A groundbreaking new book by Eric Politzer is currently in production and it provides a platform for the captivating performers at queer cabarets throughout Cuba.

Historically, cabarets on the island nation have served as spaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Cubans to gather and form community and support each other, which is especially necessary due to a lack of other queer-friendly spaces throughout the nation. Politzer intends for this project to be a celebration of the performers and their role within the spectrum of queer Cuban identity.

In order to better understand ¡OUT! The Transformistas of Havana, The Huffington Post chatted with Politzer about his time documenting these cabaret spaces, what he hopes to achieve with these photos and the cultural knowledge he hopes viewers will take away.


The Huffington Post: Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
Eric Politzer: During the nearly 20 years that I had worked in the LGBTQ community as a grassroots activist and social service provider, I regularly witnessed the critical contributions that traditionally marginalized groups were making in the fight for civil rights and the response to the AIDS crisis. I was fascinated to explore what roles some of these groups played in a socialist country that supposedly held negative social, cultural, religious and political attitudes toward LGBTQ folk.

What was the most surprising thing you learned while making the book? Did any of your assumptions get proven wrong?
I saw a short video that touched on the role that the gay cabarets in Cuba have served as the only places for gays and straights to congregate together openly in safety, comfort and mutual respect. This certainly proved to be true; however, I was surprised to see how strong the intergenerational bonds were at the cabarets. This included very nurturing mentoring between older and younger Transformistas, as well as large numbers of young gay men who adoringly attended the performances and showered tips and affection on the Transformistas.

I had assumed that the make-up, attire and production value at the cabarets would be very modest due to the country’s economic conditions. I was amazed at how resourceful the Transformistas were in being able to create often-extravagant fashion statements and dynamic stage performances.



Do you have a particularly favorite image or story from the book?
My favorite shoot for the book was a trip to a popular beach we took with two of the transgender Transformistas. We did car-to-car photos of them in a stunning lemon yellow Pontiac Bonneville as we drove through the streets of Havana and out onto the highway. At the beach they improvised and gave fierce modeling poses along side the Pontiac. Then they stripped down to minimal beach attire, and proceeded to frolic and play with joyful abandon. They wrestled, had water fights, raced each other along the beach, and waded into the ocean holding hands. Even though they had never been photographed in public — let alone at the beach — they exuded such a sense of ebullience and freedom that it left me in awe.

How is this community different from other queer communities you’ve worked with/documented?
There are a few major differences I see between the Cuban queer community and others I have worked with. First, there really is no queer commercial culture in Cuba to speak of other than the cabarets and the state-run disco. Second, I have not seen a community whose progress and legitimacy seems -– rightly or not -– to be identified to such a great extent with a single government official, in this case Mariela Castro, who is the director of the National Center for Sexual Education and daughter of President Raul Castro. Most impressively, though, is the fact that the Cuban government covers all the expenses involved with gender reassignment: this is clearly very empowering to the transgender community.

What do you hope people take away from your work?
I set out to explore the cabarets as social institutions and I ended up doing a book about the Transformistas as individuals. It is my hope that people appreciate the strength, resilience and dignity that the Transformistas show in the face of so many external challenges that are layered upon their internal struggles as being gender non-conforming. But most of all I hope that for all that may be distinctively Cuban about these Transformistas readers will recognize that the Transformistas’ journey towards self-acceptance, authenticity and meaningful participation in community is an experience shared by LGBTQ folk all over the world.

Check out the slideshow below for more images from the project. ¡OUT! The Transformistas of Havana is also currently engaged in a Kickstarter campaign in order to become fully funded. Head here for more information.

School review committee votes against censoring book ‘Two Boys Kissing’

School review committee votes against censoring book ‘Two Boys Kissing’

WARRENTON, Va. — A Virginia high school review committee has voted not to censor a contested book from the school’s library that depicts two boys kissing on its cover.

two-boys-kissingThe book, “Two Boys Kissing” by New York Times bestselling author David Levithan, has previously survived a school committee review, but was subjected to a public hearing this week after one parent’s persistent efforts to have the book removed from the Fauquier County High School library.

“Two Boys Kissing” tells the story of two 17-year-old boys participating in in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record. The boys become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and gay hookup sites — all while the kissing (former) couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.

Parent Jessica Wilson contest contested the book earlier this year to the school’s principal, but after a school committee voted in February to keep the book on the shelves, Wilson appealed the decision to to the district superintendent.

The superintendent assembled a second review committee to consider the matter, reports

Following a public hearing Wednesday, in which more than two dozen residents gave their opinions on whether the book should be censored, including on letter submitted by the author himself, the review committee voted not to remove the book from the school library.

“This book is not about sex,” said committee member Rev. Joie Clee Weiher when she gave her decision to retain the book. “Heated scenes of kissing are merely a hook, a draw for young people to read a book about relationships, respect and the deeper concerns of the human situation.”

Marie Miller, a teacher at FHS and the advisor for the school publication The Falconer said that she believes that those opposing the book were doing so not because of it’s lack of appropriateness for the students, but because it is a story about gay teens.

“If the focus of this book was on heterosexual teen relationships, it would not be the subject of a book challenge,” said Miller.

“Two Boys Kissing” was named to the 2013 National Book Award Longlist and is a 2014 Stonewall Honor Book.

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