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The Joy of Gay Sex, which was the first book I read by coauthor Edmund White.
I was 12 the first time I looked up the word "homosexuality" in a library card catalog, and I couldn’t have told you what I was hoping for other than a larger world than the one I knew.
All I could tell is that I was someone who didn’t fit into the life the world expected me to lead. In middle school and high school, the secret and even illicit books I didn’t dare let people see I was reading: Fire From Heaven and The Persian Boy by Mary Renault. The novels of Gordon Merrick, especially The Quirk and Perfect Freedom.
Tom Spanbauer’s The Man Who Fell In Love With the Moon, John Weir’s The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket, John Fox’s The Boys on the Rock, the stories of Sam D’Allesandro, and the work of Kevin Killian, David Wojnarowicz, Paul Monette, Essex Hemphill, and Richard Rodriguez.
I became friends with the incredible Mx Justin Vivian Bond, who introduced me to the trans lesbian playwright Kate Bornstein. I moved to New York and while still working for A Different Light, in their West Village store, discovered the works of Christopher Coe, Edmund White, Ethan Mordden, Robert Ferro, Andrew Grumley, and became friends with Dale Peck, who worked around the corner at a clothing boutique.
The next year, Girls, Visions, and Everything by Sarah Schulman.
The anthology This Bridge Called My Back introduced me to many new writers like Gloria Anzaldua, Cherrie Moraga, Barbara Smith, Audre Lorde, and for me, perhaps most importantly, Theresa Hak Yung Cha.We have a meeting I can’t guess at somewhere ahead of us both. I only know I have to be there with whatever I’m doing next. I had taken a job at A Different Light Books, the LGBT bookstore, and it was an amazing thing to have Dorothy Allison drop by your work.I started reading men again: James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, The Fire Next Time, The Evidence of Things Not Seen.I kept looking for and finding queer books and writers.I began reviewing, and wrote my first published reviews about Kate Rushin’s The Black Backups, and Mark Doty’s My Alexandria.Over the past year, more than a hundred people have worn my handcuffs. Three months before his third birthday, his Italian grandfather (on his mother’s side) set him on a proper bicycle, pushed him forward, and shouted, “Spingi, spingi, spingi! I suggest that a powerful antidote to the manufactured past now being created for us is the secret history of Indians in the twentieth century. But no matter where we go, I notice that he always knows the way home.Not long ago, in a self-defense class, I wore them myself. Geronimo really did have a Cadillac and used to drive it to church, where he’d sign autographs. I saw the smoke over the hills, knew the ferocity of the Santa Ana winds, and figured it wouldn’t be long before the fire would reach us. Like the other fishermen, I am waiting to have the day’s catch processed and flash-frozen for transport back to the Lower 48.The Revolution of Little Girls, and her story, “The Black Hand Girl,” remain intensely important texts to me.I graduated and left for San Francisco, and there I was reading Becky Birtha, Dorothy Allison, Kitty Tsui, and Pat Califia, for example, and I even met three of these women.