A nonfiction book for kids about men who loved men, women who loved women, and people who lived outside gender boundaries in history was bound to be controversial. Not so much the primary sources, or the facts (all of which have been published for adults before), but the daring to share it with kids.
Daring to share Abraham Lincoln’s letters that reveal his love for Joshua Fry Speed, and the conflict both men felt about the women they would ultimately marry. Including the 1842 letter where Abraham wrote Joshua, “I now have no doubt that it is the peculiar misfortune of both you and me to dream dreams of Elysium [heaven] far exceeding all that anything earthly can realize. Far short of your dreams as you may be, no woman could do more to realize them that that same black-eyed Fanny.”
Daring to share the late 1500s/early 1600s love sonnets William Shakespeare wrote to another man, the mysterious Mr. W. H. Including Sonnet 144, where the Bard wrote, “Two loves I have of comfort and despair, Which like two spirits do suggest me still; The better angel is a man right fair, The worser spirit a woman color’d ill.”
Daring to share the 1911 love contract between Mohandas Gandhi and the man he loved, Hermann Kallenbach, where they pledged “more love and yet more love… such love as, they hope, the world has not seen” between them.
Daring to share the circa 1899 poem Jane Addams wrote about the “delivering love” of Mary Rozet Smith.
Daring to share the letters Eleanor Roosevelt wrote Lorena Hickok, including the 1933 letter where she wrote about wearing Lorena’s diamond and sapphire ring to remind herself, “she does love me, or I wouldn’t be wearing it.”
And daring to share so much more…
To put this book out in the world (and into schools, and libraries, and bookstores, and kids’ hands) requires a publisher that’s going to be behind both it and me 100%.
It has become clear that THE QUEER HISTORY PROJECT: NO WAY, THEY WERE GAY? didn’t have that support at Simon & Schuster, so I’ve taken it back.
Now, my book needs to find a new, brave, and excited-to-share-this-project-with-the-world publishing home.
So these true—and surprising—stories can reach young LGBTQ and Allied readers (and the adults who didn’t get to read this when they were kids!)
So it can change our view of history, our vision of ourselves, and our dreams of what’s possible.
So it can change lives.
Thanks for being with me on the journey.
The Queer History Project: No Way, They Were Gay?
Primary source materials reveal the true—and surprising—stories of men who loved men, women who loved women, and people who lived outside gender boundaries. (Ages 11 and up.)
Representation: Danielle Smith, Lupine Grove Creative
|Nine of the featured men who loved men, women who loved women, and people who lived outside gender boundaries in history. How many can you name? How many of their surprising – and true – stories do you know?|