A unique first-hand account of a historical gay trans man's whole life, which reads like a celebratory coming-of-age novel.
Lou kept candid diaries from the age of 10. Through these extracts, we hear Lou's life in his own words: from 'playing boys' in his childhood in Wisconsin, to cruising San Francisco's gay bars for handsome 'youngmen'; from first hearing about gender non-conforming communities, to becoming a vital part of them as an activist, author, and archivist.
Lou navigated his identity with few role models and was perhaps the first publicly gay transgender man. Successfully campaigning to remove heterosexuality from the medical requirements for gender affirming surgery, Lou was pivotal in our modern understanding of gender and sexuality as distinct identities. After he was diagnosed with HIV in 1986, he remarked that he had been told by clinics that 'it was impossible for me to live as a gay man, but it looks like I'm gonna die like one.'
This selection shows Lou's joyous love of life, men, and sex.
* LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD WINNER *
* PUBLISHING TRIANGLE FINALIST *
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY SUSAN STRYKER
'Chatty and tender, casually poetic and voraciously sexual-Sullivan workshopped his identity and his relationships, committing to the page an interior monologue of self-discovery that paralleled the gay-liberation movement, the burgeoning transgender-rights movement, and the aids crisis... Given how many contemporary trans narratives are rooted in trauma, their choice to foreground trans pleasure and sensuality is celebratory, even radical' The New Yorker
Celebratory, even radical
Lou is an open-book mystery, a man who built bridges of access, a gentle soul with whom I share similar demons
This finely edited collection pulls out threads like gender self-determination, illicit queer sexual desire, and relationship woes that span his entire life. The volume reads like an open letter written for future queer trans people longing to understand their identities and experiences across time and space
This is a great book by a great person...If I am perhaps too glowing in my praise of Lou, that's probably because I can't physically imagine myself without him