Too Queer: Essays from a Radical Life

Victoria A. Brownworth, Author
Victoria A. Brownworth, Author Firebrand Books $13.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-56341-074-1
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Hardcover - 261 pages - 978-1-56341-075-8
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Brownworth, a lesbian journalist, has put together a collection of essays rooted in her belief ""in the power and importance of radicalism--not simply as a theoretical construct, but as a working principle to live by."" In a mixture of personal experiences and political analysis, Brownworth exposes a vast array of American social evils--from homelessness to the Oklahoma bombings--and offers a radical queer reading of each. The results are varied. Her strongest arguments effectively rebut writers like Bruce Bawer (A Place at the Table) and Andrew Sullivan (Virtually Normal) whose integrationist politics, Brownworth argues, are ultimately self-loathing and potentially disastrous to the queer community. She also examines the complexities of abortion, carefully outlining why she feels both pro-choice and pro-life. Issues of race, class and gender are constantly brought to the forefront in arenas they are often left out of. Unfortunately, these are the highlights of an otherwise unsatisfying collection. Her insistence that American lesbians and gays are ""at war"" in a homophobic society takes on a nihilistic edge which would send almost anyone running back into the closet. The preface, in particular (written, we are told repeatedly, on the eve of Independence Day), is at once too sentimental and too apocalyptic in its effort to connect the Civil War; the violence which marked 1995 (the assassination of Yitzak Rabin, the O.J. Simpson trial, war in Bosnia, etc.); and homophobia. (July)
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