Pride and Joy: LGBTQ Artists, Icons and Everyday Heroes
by Kathleen Archambeau
Mango Publishing Group. 322 pages, $16.95
Since his inauguration, Donald Trump has surrounded himself with shady figures fixated on pushing “religious freedom” as a means of suppressing LGBT rights. Over the summer Trump announced a ban on trans people entering the military. Coming against this backdrop, Pride and Joy is a refreshing reprieve. Kathleen Archambeau’s study profiles thirty individuals who represent the full spectrum of the LGBT rainbow. Each subject comes across as a complex person and not just a checked box. The profiles range from famous people like playwright Tony Kushner to lesser-known but still inspiring people like Sidney Grant, the founder of Ballroom Basix, an arts education program in New York City. In these compact profiles, Archambeau discusses how the subjects’ sexual identity shaped their life experience, and how in turn this experience informed their art or activism. The book would be especially appropriate for teenage readers in search of gay role models. For those of us who are weary or alarmed over the state of the nation, it can serve as a reminder of where the LGBT community has been and how far we’ve come.