QUEER AS ALL GET OUT

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Rather than attempting a comprehensive history, the illustrated biographical sketches provide a well-researched, if slightly disjointed, catalog of 10 queer people the author finds especially inspirational. This broad selection offers a starting place for readers seeking meaningful connections with the past. As White, nonbinary college student Criswell wanders around San Antonio, Texas, they unpack the complexities of Southern identity and begin to research, draw, and discuss significant icons with friends. Accompanying them on this journey, readers meet history-makers who are often overlooked by mainstream U.S. sources—people who broaden Criswell’s understanding of the difficulties facing those who have fought for LGBTQ+ justice around the world. This approach effectively anchors contemporary life to these influencers. At times the transitions and interjections are a bit stiff, but what is lacking in flow is countered by Criswell’s crisp drawings and eye for details. The choice of subjects reflects diverse perspectives—Nancy Cárdenas, Ifti Nasim, We’wha, and Dr. Pauli Murray, among others—and the biographies address how intersectional identities ground the subjects’ experiences of injustice. As this is a narrative of individual awakening and learning, the framing of the narrator’s reactions to their discoveries sometimes feels naïve, and readers may wish Criswell included more reflection on aspects of their own identity. The tight scope and clear, sequential illustrations will appeal to many who are seeking a window into LGBTQ+ histories.

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