I loved getting to know the 23 people in the book better through the research process. These are my absolute favorite ways of learning about them that I think you’ll love to.
Listening to The History Chicks’ podcast on Frida Kahlo was a writing breakthrough for me. They used the voice I was going for and Frida’s chapter was the first one I completed in the style of the book. Thank you, Beckett and Susan!
This podcast about Bayard Rustin from State of the Re:Union was also amazing.
I have watched this video of Sylvia Rivera a million times. This is the speech that is quoted in her chapter.
Two chapters overlap in this clip! Greta Garbo (remember Mercedes de Acosta?) plays Kristina Vasa (aka Christina of Sweden) in the 1933 film Queen Christina:
Listen to Ma Rainey’s “Prove It On Me Blues:”
Footage of Jose Sarria performing at the Black Cat:
A few of my personal favorites to read:
- Empty Without You: The Intimate Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok (Streitmatter, 1998)
- The Empress Is A Man: Stories from the Life of Jose Sarria (Gorman, 1998)
- Out at Home: The True Story of Glenn Burke, Baseball’s First Openly Gay Player (Burke and Sherman, 1995)
- Loving Garbo: The Story of Greta, Cecil Beaton, and Mercedes de Acosta (Vickers, 1994)
- Man Into Woman (Hoyer, 1933)
George Takei wrote and starred in a Broadway musical about the experience of Japanese-Americans in internment camps. Check out Allegiance.
You can visit many of the places in the book IRL!
- Eleanor Roosevelt’s cottage in New York where she lived with Nan and Marion is open for official tours with the National Park Service.
- Frida Kahlo’s house she shared with Diego in Mexico City is now a beautiful museum about her.
- Abraham Lincoln’s homes in Kentucky and Illinois are educational historic sites now.
- Bletchley Park, where Alan Turing worked cracking codes during World War II, is now a museum in England.
- Uppsala Castle, where Christina of Sweden abdicated the throne, is open for tours in Uppsala, Sweden.
- Ma Rainey’s home in Columbus, GA is a free museum about her and the blues.
Of course, tons of public spaces are part of queer history – the National Mall where Bayard Rustin led the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, for example.
Some documentaries I recommend:
- No Secret Anymore (2004) – Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon
- To Be Takei (2014) – George Takei
- Brother Outsider (2003) – Bayard Rustin
Feature films (adaptions, not necessarily exactly historically accurate)
- The Imitation Game (2014, Benedict Cumberbatch) – Alan Turing
- Milk (2008, Sean Penn) – Harvey Milk
- The Danish Girl (2015, Eddie Redmayne) – Lili Elbe
- Bessie (2015, Queen Latifah) – Ma Rainey
- Frida (2002, Salma Hayek) – Frida Kahlo
- The Girl King (2015) – Christina of Sweden
I highly recommend the ABC miniseries When We Rise! Jose Sarria is one of the featured activists, and Del and Phyllis also make an appearance.
I got to know these 23 people over several years before an intensive year of researching and writing the book. Here’s where my travels took me.
Share these people’s stories with the young people in your life. If they’re below the recommended age for Queer, There, and Everywhere (12-13 and up), check out these picture books.
- When You Look Out the Window (2017) – Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon
- The Harvey Milk Story (2002) – Harvey Milk
- Eleanor (1999) – Eleanor Roosevelt
- This Day in June (2014) – Pride
- Frida (2002) – Frida Kahlo
- Counting with/Contando con Frida (2014) – Frida Kahlo
- I Am Abraham Lincoln (2014) – Abraham Lincoln