World history has been made by countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals—and you’ve never heard of many of them. That’s why Sarah Prager is getting real about LGBTQ history and equality. Her new book, Queer, There, and Everywhere uncovers a rich queer heritage that encompasses every culture, in every era. From high-profile figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden and a bisexual blues singer who didn’t make it into your history books, these astonishing true stories will open your eyes to the important and extraordinary queer culture that is often overlooked. Queer, There, and Everywhere celebrates the idea that love is love, love has always been love, and love will always be love!
Love Is Love
When my wife, Liz, and I moved to Maryland shortly after our wedding, we knew it was one of four states in the 2012 election cycle voting on whether we, as two women, should have the same rights as other married human beings. This issue had never won at the ballot before, so our chances didn’t look good.
We joined the fight, and Liz and I began making phone calls to voters asking them to vote for our marriage. It was embarrassing and humbling and terrifying. Not only is it supremely awkward to talk to strangers about your personal relationship, but it had somehow become their business, their decision. Much worse than the phone calls were the election day early voting lines, where we ended up after deciding to staff the polls. The biggest shock was what people said to my face. I would ask them to please read over this information about Question 6, which they were about to vote on; they told me I shouldn’t exist.
To see if they would listen to a straight person, I called my mom and had her tell homophobic voters that Liz being a part of our family didn’t hurt anyone. Crying in public as a twentysomething adult and holding out my phone to these people who hated everything I was, I realized no one was going to change their mind. After hours of volunteering, I drove home sobbing in the cold, dark November night.
On that day, as I had many days before, I looked to history for hope. I didn’t look to the last few years of my lifetime where we’d lost this issue in state after state, but at the really big picture—at all of the centuries that showed that, as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice.
No one can deny we have a long way to go for LGBTQ equality. But I take heart when I look at any issue—trans rights, anti-discrimination laws, queer visibility—and see that, if you compare the situation to 100 years ago, we’re better off now. Progress is happening, and faster than the daily slog makes it seem.
LGBTQ people have lived through much worse than a vote on marriage equality and we have always come back as a community stronger than ever. So when Maryland approved marriage equality on November 6, 2012, 52 percent to 48 percent, it was just icing on the wedding cake. No matter what happened, I knew we’d prevail in the long run. Luckily for me, the long run wasn’t so long.
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