cover image I Have Always Been Me: A Memoir

I Have Always Been Me: A Memoir

Precious Brady-Davis. Topple, $24.95 (278p) ISBN 978-1-542-04430-1

Activist and former drag showgirl Brady-Davis strikes at the heart of what it means to be trans in America in her audacious debut. Long before she named herself Precious and was invited to celebrate Pride at President Obama’s White House as one of the country’s foremost trans community organizers, Brady-Davis was a child of fractured families, careening between Omaha’s foster care system in the 1980s and abusive family homes. Religion served as a grounding force, but also introduced her to new traumas, as countless Pentecostal role models demanded she renounce her queerness and “get right with God.” Instead, she redirected the energy she once reserved for mission work to social justice and a short but rowdy stint as a drag performer in Chicago, which eventually helped her manifest her trans identity. Fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race will particularly enjoy the tea spilt on series stars such as Jaremi Carey (“Out of spite, she’d go out... and perform the number I’d said I was going to do”). Though the narrative is occasionally hampered by a timeline that skips entire years of the author’s life, Brady-Davis’s sharp wit and blunt honesty—especially her openness about unlearning internalized bigotry—is arresting. This serves up unapologetic realness the whole way through. Agent: Melissa Edwards, Stonesong. (July)