Book Reviews by Cole Young
These short stories are snippets of queer life from so many different places; some familiar though many are not. It is a good reminder to me, that I am not alone, that LGBTQ folk exist all over - they struggle, they create, they resist, they dream. Reading the stories, I feel connected even through words, to the author's imagination, based on their lived reality, which often in some sense is similar to my own story and in many ways so different.
I do like fantasy; stories of magic, of heroes, of gods, but I've grown bored of the overused storyline of cishet white man heroes, so to have queer people be the protagonists, with their sexuality or gender not hidden, but have it be a feature of their strength and power made the stories extra special and interesting to me. The diversity and richness of the worlds and characters created left me wanting full versions of these character's stories.
The Book of Sainted Aunts:
From the very first beginning prayer to our Sainted Aunts, I was immediately put into a reflective and humbled state. I am who I am, and who I am is a happy and confident queer, because of those that came before me; those who supported me and guided me. Their names and faces were brought to my mind when reading the book of Sainted Aunts. I know that I'm their legacy and through this book, I was reminded to thank my elders and mentors and show them the respect and gratitude they deserve while they are still here. As queers, we don't always have role models or saints to look to up in the traditional sense, but each of the saints are so real, so human and queer, I feel as they are my history and ancestry and I am their legacy. As a young activist, I particularly appreciated Saint Martha's letter - with the reminder to keep gentleness alight in my heart so I can always keep moving forward.
Absolutely stunning artistry in the photographs. I don't know much about mythology, particularly SEA mythology, but seeing the ways that LGBT people especially, trans women can and have been represented in a country's mythology and gods and goddesses is quite unique and powerful. Trans people are just as equal as cis people, as the Teduray community reminds the American anthropologist, but these visual representation and retellings share just how transformative we can be