If you have been searching for some fine queer non-fiction coffee table books, the queer, bisexual, lesbian, and gay therapists at Chicago based IntraSpectrum Counseling have some quality reading recommendations for you.
If your quest is to read the stories and see the faces of gay males living in the United States, we would direct you to Gay in America. Photographer Scott Pasfield spent three years traveling across the country capturing pictures of gay men and recording their stories. Organized alphabetically by state, the book highlights single men, couples, and triads. By sharing the narratives and portraits of a diverse range of people, a more complex portrait of the gay experience emerges.
If you are more interested in women’s experiences and also have a passion for history, Women in Pants: Manly Maidens, Cowgirls, and Other Renegades by Catherine Smith and Cynthia Greig may be an excellent choice for you. With photographs of females in men’s garb from the 1850s to the 1920s, the book chronicles the legacy of women’s determination to be themselves despite dominant social norms that demand femininity. It also underscores that transgenderism has been a consistent and important facet of our culture. In addition to the vast compilation of beautiful, vintage photographs, the authors provide historical contexts and excerpts from contemporary news sources and magazines. Through this book, the readers get to meet many women, who have been excluded from more traditional history books, including female railroad workers, Civil War soldiers, and athletes. Overall, it is a refreshing collection of portraits.
Finally, if you have been hunting for a book that is more focused on the queer experiences and queer history of Chicago, you would find Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City’s Gay Community to be a compelling read. This coffee table book catalogues the many achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Chicagoans. Edited by Tracy Baim, co-founder of Windy City Times and member of the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, this book is divided into sections by decade, so readers can trace development of the queer community. The photographs throughout the book add depth by depicting the ways in which the movement gained increased visibility over time. It also details some of the key cultural landmarks for this community, including Gerber/Hart Library, Howard Brown Health Center, Women and Children First Bookstore, and Center on Halsted.
We hope you enjoy our list of books!