QUEER HOW EVERYONE GETS OUT

The illustrated biographical sketches, instead of trying to compile a detailed story, present a well-researched, albeit somewhat segregated, catalog of 10 strange people that the author finds particularly inspiring. This wide selection provides a starting point for readers looking for meaningful connections to the past. As white, non-binary college student Criswell wanders around San Antonio, Texas, they unpack the complexity of Southern identity and begin to explore, draw, and discuss important icons with friends. Accompanying them on this journey, readers meet the creators of history, often overlooked by major U.S. sources — people who broaden Criswell’s understanding of the challenges faced by those who have fought for LGBTQ + justice around the world. This approach effectively connects modern life with these influential ones. Sometimes the transitions and interventions are a bit stiff, but what’s missing reflects the striking drawings and details of Criswell. The choice of subjects reflects a variety of perspectives, including Nancy Cárden, Ifti Nasim, We’wha and dr. Pauli Murray, and the biographies talk about how interspecific identities underpin the experience of injustice among subjects. Because it is a story of individual awakening and learning, framing the narrator’s reaction to their discoveries sometimes seems naive, and readers may want Criswell to reflect more on aspects of his identity. The solid volume and clear, consistent illustrations will appeal to many looking for a window into LGBTQ + history.

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