Skip to:Content
Cover image for A queer history of the United States for young people
A queer history of the United States for young people
Physical Description:
xx, 316 pages : black and white illustrations ; 21 cm.
Introduction: Before we start, or, What is normal? -- Native peoples : different genders, different sexualities -- Thomas Morton : free love among the Puritans? -- Jemima Wilkinson : the surprising life of Publick Universal Friend -- Deborah Sampson : patriot, soldier, gender rebel -- Nineteenth-century romantic friendships : BFFs or friends with benefits? -- The mystery of Emily Dickinson : passionate attachments and independent women -- Julia Ward Howe, Samuel Gridley Howe, and Charles Sumner : complicated relationships and radical social change in very proper nineteenth-century Boston -- The amazing life of Albert D.J. Cashier : transgender war hero -- Charlotte Cushman : American idol, lover of women -- Walt Whitman : poet of the people -- Rebecca Primus and Addie Brown : a nineteenth-century love story -- The radical Victoria Woodhull : first woman to run for president -- Jane Addams : the mother of social work -- Julian Eltinge : the most famous cross-dresser in America -- Marie Equi : fighting for women, workers, peace, and justice for all -- Gladys Bentley : blues-singing bulldagger -- World War II : the war that started LGBTQ politics -- Harry Hay : how his society of fools started a revolution -- Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin : climbing the ladder of freedom and justice -- Pauli Murray : "You must remember that truth is our only sword" -- Bayard Rustin : a life of activism -- Carl Wittman : radical movements, political organizing, and country dance -- Rita Mae Brown : the lavender menace writes her way to freedom -- Gloria Anzaldua : a life between borders -- Sylvester and Anita Bryant : marching to two very different drummers -- Robert Hillsborough and Harvey Milk : struggle and violence, grief and rage -- Essex Hemphill : the power of blackness -- Kiyoshi Kuromiya : man of many movements -- Felix Gonzalez-Torres : art in the face of death -- Moving closer to liberation : the future is in sight : 1990-present -- Jamie Nabozny : gay teen hero -- Jack Baker and Michael McConnell : it started in a barber shop -- Sylvia Rivera : a life in the streets and a guiding star -- Coming out or staying in : new queer ways of living in the world today -- Young people today : the future of queer history.
Added Author:
Through engrossing narratives, letters, drawings, poems, and more, the book encourages young readers, of all identities, to feel pride at the accomplishments of the LGBTQ people who came before them and to use history as a guide to the future.The stories he shares include those of: Thomas Morton, who celebrated same-sex love in Boston's Puritan community in the 1620s; Albert D.J. Cashier, an Irish immigrant and Civil War hero, who was born in the body of a woman but lived as a man for over a half century; Gladys Bentley, an African American blues singer who challenged cross-dressing laws in 1920s Harlem; Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King Jr.'s close friend, civil rights organizer, and an openly gay man; Sylvia Rivera, who along with Marsha P. Johnson, founded the first transgender political group in the United States in 1970; Harvey Milk, a community organizer and the first openly gay politician to win an election in California; Jamie Nabozny, a teen who brought national attention to the issue of LGBTQ bullying by bringing his case to the Supreme Court in the 1990s. With over 60 illustrations and photos, a glossary, and a corresponding curriculum, A Queer History of the United States for Young People will be vital for teachers who want to introduce a new perspective to America's story. --


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 306.766 BRO 1 1
Book 306.766 BRO 1 1
Book 306.766 BRO 0 1
Book TEEN 306.766 BRO 1 1

On Order



Queer history didn't start with Stonewall. This book explores how LGBTQ people have always been a part of our national identity, contributing to the country and culture for over 400 years.

It is crucial for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth to know their history. But this history is not easy to find since it's rarely taught in schools or commemorated in other ways. A Queer History of the United States for Young People corrects this and demonstrates that LGBTQ people have long been vital to shaping our understanding of what America is today.

Through engrossing narratives, letters, drawings, poems, and more, the book encourages young readers, of all identities, to feel pride at the accomplishments of the LGBTQ people who came before them and to use history as a guide to the future. The stories he shares include those of

* Indigenous tribes who embraced same-sex relationships and a multiplicity of gender identities.
* Emily Dickinson, brilliant nineteenth-century poet who wrote about her desire for women.
* Gladys Bentley, Harlem blues singer who challenged restrictive cross-dressing laws in the 1920s.
* Bayard Rustin, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s close friend, civil rights organizer, and an openly gay man.
* Sylvia Rivera, cofounder of STAR, the first transgender activist group in the US in 1970.
* Kiyoshi Kuromiya, civil rights and antiwar activist who fought for people living with AIDS.
* Jamie Nabozny, activist who took his LGBTQ school bullying case to the Supreme Court.
* Aidan DeStefano, teen who brought a federal court case for trans-inclusive bathroom policies.
* And many more!

With over 60 illustrations and photos, a glossary, and a corresponding curriculum, A Queer History of the United States for Young People will be vital for teachers who want to introduce a new perspective to America's story.

Author Notes

Michael Bronski is Professor of the Practice in Activism and Media in the Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University. Author of numerous books, he has been an activist and has written about LGBTQ issues for nearly five decades.
Richie Chevat writes fiction and nonfiction for adults and children. His adaptations for young readers include Our Choice by Al Gore and The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this adaptation of his 2011 book for adults, Bronski suggests that the Stonewall riots were precipitated by a great many LGBTQ Americans making their own strides toward liberty. Bronski opens with a discussion of the gender fluidity embraced by some indigenous North American tribes before providing brief biographies of queer individuals from history, along with discussion of changing views on sexuality throughout time. Some figures-Emily Dickinson, Jane Addams, Harvey Milk-will be familiar to readers. More obscure subjects include Jazz Age blues singer Gladys Bentley; 19th-century actor Charlotte Cushman; activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya; and Jose Sarria, the first openly gay candidate to run for public office in the U.S., in 1961. Chavet's adaptation includes chapters devoted to modern coming-out stories, profiles of contemporary activists, and a look into "the future of queer history." Readers seeking role models from the past will find an edifying resource and invitation for further exploration into untold stories. Ages 12-up. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Now here's an attention-getting title. Be they erstwhile researchers, concerned adults, or curious kids, readers will find a straightforward, documented, nonsensational celebration of the contributions of LGBTQ people in the U.S. over the past three centuries. Information is presented chronologically, beginning with pre-European Native American societies and progressing through current day. Each section profiles a few representative individuals, including well-known gay icons (Harvey Milk, Jamie Nabozny), more anonymous presences (women in the military, cross-dressing entertainers), and luminaries mentioned in traditional history texts (Jane Addams, Walt Whitman). No previous knowledge is assumed: definitions are provided, context is established, and quaint contemporary mores are explained, such as the commonplace practice of people of the same sex, even strangers, sharing beds during the nineteenth century, or the profusion of same-sex ""romantic friendships"" during periods when men and women were pretty much separated in public life due to strictly defined gender roles. Above all, there is continuous reassurance that the definition of ""normal"" has always been in flux, that numerous LGBTQ people have been important figures in American history, and that young LGBTQ people of today will make crucial contributions to future queer history.--Kathleen McBroom Copyright 2019 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up--This adaptation for teens of the author's 2012 Stonewall Award--winning A Queer History of the United States is doubly valuable; it serves well as a general read and fills a clear curricular need. Each carefully selected profile bolsters the case for queer leadership and activism as a driving force of progress. Captioned photos, helpful sidebars, and short chapters encourage browsing. Bronski is definitive about relationships being romantic or sexual only when there is evidence for that having been the case; he carefully avoids imposing current terminology or concepts on the featured individuals. Without diminishing the risk involved in challenging societal norms, the author shows how there were, even within other eras, cultural messages/spaces that allowed for what the status quo would now consider non-heterosexual behavior. Heartbreak, aging, and blind spots, in theory, are addressed as thoroughly as successes and legacies. There are a few flaws in the glossary: the use of "sex-reassignment" surgery (rather than gender confirmation) in relation to transgender individuals, and a definition of asexuality that equivocates about whether it is a sexual orientation or a temporary feeling. The explanatory tone and frequent definitions in this edition may feel awkward at times to the intended audience of older teens but could increase its usefulness for slightly younger readers. A good companion to Pénélope Bagieu's Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World and Sarah Prager's Queer, There and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World. VERDICT An overall successful adaptation of an important work, rich with content relevant to all disciplines and beyond.--Miriam DesHarnais, Towson University, MD

Kirkus Review

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager's Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activismin particular, contemporary issuesruns on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. xi
Introduction Before We Start, or, What Is Normal?p. 1
Section I America-New Beginnings, New Identities: 1500-1860
Chapter 1 Native Peoples: Different Genders, Different Sexualitiesp. 14
Chapter 2 Thomas Morton: Free Love Among the Puritans?p. 21
Chapter 3 Jemima Wilkinson: The Surprising Life of Publick Universal Friendp. 28
Chapter 4 Deborah Sampson: Patriot, Soldier, Gender Rebelp. 33
Chapter 5 Nineteenth-Century Romantic Friendships: BFFs or Friends with Benefits?p. 39
Chapter 6 The Mystery of Emily Dickinson: Passionate Attachments and Independent Womenp. 47
Chapter 7 Julia Ward Howe, Samuel Gridley Howe, and Charles Sumner: Complicated Relationships and Radical Social Change in Very Proper Nineteenth-Century Bostonp. 54
Section II American Freedom Begins to Bloom-Change and the Civil War: 1860-1875
Chapter 8 The Amazing Life of Albert D. J. Cashier: Transgender War Herop. 62
Chapter 9 Charlotte Cushman: American Idol, Lover of Womenp. 68
Chapter 10 Walt Whitman: Poet of the Peoplep. 75
Chapter 11 Rebecca Primus and Addie Brown: A Nineteenth-Century Love Storyp. 83
Section III New Americans-Boldly Challenging Society: 1875-1900
Chapter 12 The Radical Victoria Woodhull: First Woman to Run for Presidentp. 92
Chapter 13 Jane Addams: The Mother of Social Workp. 97
Chapter 14 Julian Eltinge: The Most Famous Cross-Dresser in Americap. 106
Section IV A New Century of Freedom-Radical Visions, Revolutionary Actions: 1900-1960
Chapter 15 Marie Equi: Fighting for Women, Workers, Peace, and Justice for Allp. 112
Chapter 16 Gladys Bentley: Blues-Singing Bulldaggerp. 119
Chapter 17 World War II: The War That Started LGBTQ Politicsp. 129
Chapter 18 Harry Hay: How His Society of Fools Started a Revolutionp. 138
Chapter 19 Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin: Climbing the Ladder of Freedom and Justicep. 146
Section V Revolutionary Changes-The Seeds of Protest Begin to Bloom: 1960-1977
Chapter 20 Pauli Murray: "You must remember that truth is our only sword"p. 156
Chapter 21 Bayard Rustin: A Life of Activismp. 164
Chapter 22 Carl Wittman: Radical Movements, Political Organizing, and Country Dancep. 172
Chapter 23 Rita Mae Brown: The Lavender Menace Writes Her Way to Freedomp. 178
Chapter 24 Gloria Anzaldúa: A Life Between Bordersp. 184
Section VI Backlash-Years of Struggle and Resistance: 1977-1990
Chapter 25 Sylvester and Anita Bryant: Marching to Two Very Different Drummersp. 194
Chapter 26 Robert Hillsborough and Harvey Milk: Struggle and Violence, Grief and Ragep. 206
Chapter 27 Essex Hemphill: The Power of Blacknessp. 213
Chapter 28 Kiyoshi Kuromiya: Man of Many Movementsp. 220
Chapter 29 Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Art in the Face of Deathp. 227
Section VII Moving Closer to Liberation-The Future Is in Sight: 1990-Present
Chapter 30 Jamie Nabozny: Gay Teen Herop. 234
Chapter 31 Jack Baker and Michael McConnell: It Starred in a Barber Shopp. 240
Chapter 32 Sylvia Rivera: A Life in the Streets and a Guiding Starp. 248
Chapter 33 Coming Out or Staying In: New Queer Ways of Living in the Worldp. 257
Chapter 34 Young People Today: The Future of Queer Historyp. 269
Glossaryp. 277
Bibliographyp. 285
Photo Creditsp. 295
Indexp. 298
Go to:Top of Page