Queer Coming of Age Stories: Pride Month at the Boston Public Library

ANDREA LAWLOR, MACKENZI LEE, and CHARLES-RICE GONZALEZ, join moderator CAROLINE LINDEN for a Pride Month Author Panel at the main branch of the Boston Public Library.

ANDREA LAWLOR teaches writing, edits fiction for Fence, and has been awarded fellowships by Lambda Literary and Radar Labs. Their writing has appeared in various literary journals including Ploughshares, Mutha, the Millions, jubilat, the Brooklyn Rail, Faggot Dinosaur, and Encyclopedia, Vol. II. Their publications include a chapbook, Position Papers (Factory Hollow Press, 2016), and a novel, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl (Rescue Press, 2017).

MACKENZI LEE holds a B.A. in History and an M.F.A. from Simmons College in writing for Children and Young Adults. Her debut novel, This Monstrous Thing, won the PEN-New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award. Her second book, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue, was a New York Times Bestseller, an ABA Bestseller, earned five starred reviews, a #1 Indie Next Pick, and was awarded a 2018 Stonewall Book Award Honor and the New England Book Award.

CHARLES-RICE GONZALEZ, born in Puerto Rico and reared in the Bronx, is a writer, long-time LGBTQ activist, co-founder of BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance and an Assistant Professor at Hostos Community College. He received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College. His debut novel, Chulito (Magnus 2011), has received awards and recognitions from the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Book Critics Circle, and he co-edited the anthology From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction (Tincture 2011). He’s the chair of the board for The Bronx Council on the Arts and The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures.

Panel moderator CAROLINE LINDEN, author of All’s Fair in Love and Scandal, earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer code before turning to writing historical romance.


Author Talk Featuring Russ Lopez

Boston-based writer Russ Lopez will discuss his recently released history of the LGBTQ presence in Massachusetts, from the Pilgrims’ landing in Provincetown in 1620 through the defeat of the anti-trans referendum on the ballot in November, 2018. Mr. Lopez illustrates how LGBTQ people have been a distinctive element in the life of the Commonwealth since the 17th century, challenging gender, sexual, and social norms even in colonial days. Lopez sheds light on such interesting historical phenomena as the “Boston marriages” of the late 19th century and the legacy of “Banned in Boston” relating to things LGBTQ.

Mr. Lopez’s account reveals interesting but relatively unfamiliar facts of how LGBTQ people have participated in Massachusetts society for nearly 400 years. For example, Julia Ward Howe, author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic and a leading Boston socialite, hosted a luncheon for Irish author Oscar Wilde during his American tour in 1882. Criticized for audacity Howe took to the media to defend herself. Lopez also notes that while colonial sodomy laws were severe, no men were executed for sodomy in Massachusetts, in contrast to England and the other American colonies.

Mr. Lopez emphasizes Boston’s many firsts. The Tiffany Fair, Fantasia Fair, and the Trans Day of Remembrance had their origins in the Bay State. Most notably, Massachusetts was the first United States jurisdiction to legalize same-sex marriage starting in 2004. So many national LGBTQ leaders have spent time in the movement in Massachusetts that activists speak of a “Boston Mafia.”

Mr. Lopez showcases the colorful history of the LGBTQ community in a readable and engaging text. Hub of the Gay Universe is especially topical at the time of Stonewall 50.


Author Talk Featuring John Manuel Andriote

Public health advocate John Manuel Andriotte finds in LGBTQ history patterns of resiliency, mutual support, and community that suggest to him heroism, seldom acknowledged but enormously instructive. His book, Stonewall Strong, being released in paperback in the spring of 2019, canvasses past triumphs like the Stonewall Riots in 1969, the delisting of homosexuality as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, and the emergence of ACT UP in response to the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s. With redoubtable hope and creativity the community engineered increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage, culminating in the landmark Obergefell decision in 2015.

Mr. Andriote, who writes a blog for Psychology Today, interviews some of the leading LGBTQ intellectuals of the post-Stonewall era. From their personal stories he discerns capacities for transcending trauma that have helped ameliorate symptoms of minority stress. Among the subjects interviewed, the fiery activist and writer Larry Kramer comments that “Somewhere along the line I was able to work out that I love being gay, that it was the most important thing in my life.”

Harvard medical professor Kenneth Mayer, M.D. calls Stonewall Strong “a tour de force.” Dr. Mayer, who also is director of medical research at Boston’s Fenway Institute, says that in Stonewall Strong, Andriote “skillfully educates the reader how the lessons learned from addressing the [HIV-AIDS] epidemic have laid the foundations for a stronger, more resilient community.” He adds, “The book is well-written, compelling, and highly informative.”

Join Mr. Andriotte as he talks of the resiliency and renewal demonstrated time and again in the collective LGBTQ experience.


Russ Lopez Presents the History of LGBTQ Presence in MA

Boston-based writer Russ Lopez will discuss his recently released history of the LGBTQ presence in Massachusetts, from the Pilgrims’ landing in Provincetown in 1620 through the defeat of the anti-trans referendum on the ballot in November, 2018. Mr. Lopez illustrates how LGBTQ people have been a distinctive element in the life of the Commonwealth since the 17th century, challenging gender, sexual, and social norms even in colonial days. Lopez sheds light on such interesting historical phenomena as the “Boston marriages” of the late 19th century and the legacy of “Banned in Boston” relating to things LGBTQ.

Mr. Lopez’s account reveals interesting but relatively unfamiliar facts of how LGBTQ people have participated in Massachusetts society for nearly 400 years. For example, Julia Ward Howe, author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic and a leading Boston socialite, hosted a luncheon for Irish author Oscar Wilde during his American tour in 1882. Criticized for audacity Howe took to the media to defend herself. Lopez also notes that while colonial sodomy laws were severe, no men were executed for sodomy in Massachusetts, in contrast to England and the other American colonies.

Mr. Lopez emphasizes Boston’s many firsts. The Tiffany Fair, Fantasia Fair, and the Trans Day of Remembrance had their origins in the Bay State. Most notably, Massachusetts was the first United States jurisdiction to legalize same-sex marriage starting in 2004. So many national LGBTQ leaders have spent time in the movement in Massachusetts that activists speak of a “Boston Mafia.”

Mr. Lopez showcases the colorful history of the LGBTQ community in a readable and engaging text. Hub of the Gay Universe is especially topical at the time of Stonewall 50.


In Search of Stonewall, a Panel on LGBTQ Writing

In collaboration with the Boston Public Library and the Boston Pride Committee the Boston-based Gay and Lesbian Review will host a Stonewall 50-themed panel discussion during Boston Pride week. The Review began publishing as the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review in 1994, the year of Stonewall 25. It changed its name in 2000 as it went “worldwide.” The magazine marks its 25thanniversary amidst Stonewall 50 with a collection of its best all-time essays on the Stonewall Riots: In Search of Stonewall.

The panel will feature LGBTQ intellectuals who contributed to the anthology. In his preface Dr. Schneider notes that “because “Stonewall’ exists as a symbol of the LGBT movement quite apart from the historic event itself, the search is always on for the meaning of Stonewall …. [S]omething happened, and it happened quite rapidly and even magically after the riots, so in this sense the search for Stonewall can also be a desire to reconnect with the overpowering energy and excitement of the period.”

Participating in the Review panel discussion will be writers Amy Hoffman and Russ Lopez and historian Martha Stone. Dr. Schneider will moderate. Each will analyze the significance of Stonewall from his or her perspective.