Queer: A Graphic History ~ Meg John Barker

Queer: A Graphic History

Rating: 3/5

This Graphic History is exactly what it sounds, a graphic history on what queer is. I suppose if you don’t know much about the queer movement, these bite-sized chunks might appeal to you in gaining a better understanding of queer theory. This history explains lots of terminology and gives insight into many famous queer theorists and activists standpoints so you don’t have to go do your own research. I also felt Barker and Scheele do an excellent job of giving counterarguments to many of the arguments made for or against different parts of queer theory. It’s certainly a well-balanced approach to what it means to be queer. In the end, Barker and Scheele open the floor to making queer more inclusive and encouraging everyone to queer their lives. It’s certainly an optimistic standpoint.

I also thoroughly appreciate that they continued to come back to queer identities as needing to be inter-sectional, and continued to highlight times in which queer movements have not been inter-sectional. Barker draws attention particularly to times when those outside the binary have not been included, and to race and class as being areas where people are primarily excluded as well.

What I had a hard time with in reading this book was how short each section was. This truly is a snapshot and a jumping off point, but don’t expect too much detail. At the same time, it was a bunch of tiny snapshots over and over again that left my head reeling at times from trying to read too much in one go. This is definitely a book where you would need to pace yourself, whether or not you think you know much about queerness and the leading characters in queer history.

The graphics were not particularly helpful, as the book was definitely more of an academic approach to queer theory than it was a graphic novel. And while it covers a lot of the politics and academia around queer theory, it’s not as much a representation of the queer community.

Those last three points aside, I would still recommend this to anyone wanting to gain more insight into what queer means.

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