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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

LGBT Pride Month Literary Redux

On this day, June 23, 1912, scientist Alan Turing was born. Turing is known chiefly for his achievements in code-breaking during the Second World War. Early on in the war, he engineered improvements on a Polish machine known as “bombe," which enabled it to unravel the ciphers generated by a German technology called “Enigma." Bombe cracked as many as 84,000 codes a month. As German coding technology morphed, Turing kept up and made a breakthrough in decoding German “Tunny” messages; this led to the first systematic method of cracking them. This method, known as “Turingery," inspired code-deciphering algorithms run on the newly invented large computer system known as Colossus.

Dr. Turing was personally responsible for interpreting the Enigma codes sent to U-Boats. This allowed ships crossing the Atlantic to stay out of torpedo range. Experts estimate that Dr. Alan Turing and his team of code-breakers shortened the war in Europe by as many as two to four years.

However, despite his incredible contribution to the Allied war effort, in 1952, Dr. Turing was prosecuted for the crime of gross indecency for admitting to having a sexual relationship with a man. In lieu of going to prison, Turing accepted the punishment of experimental chemical castration. This meant he was to be injected with female sex hormones to reduce sex drive.

This was not the only consequence of his conviction. He was stripped of his government security clearance and was no longer allowed to work for UK communications. He was denied entry to the United States due to this conviction and was considered a security risk when traveling to other European countries. On June 8, 1954, Alan Turing was found dead in his house. His death, caused by cyanide poisoning, was ruled as suicide, but most now believe his death was accidental.

In 2009, in response to a petition with over 30,000 signatures, the British Prime Minister publicly apologized for the mistreatment of Turing. At last, more than 60 years after his conviction and after much controversy, an official pardon signed by Queen Elizabeth II was announced in August of 2014.

As indicated by this short biography, homophobia ran deep in many places, and still does in many others. We should always remain thankful and not take our liberties for granted, but let’s especially appreciate and celebrate how much progress has been made for LGBTQQI folks this month. Happy Pride Month, y’all!

Here are the LGBTQQI non-fiction recommendations you always knew (or never knew) you wanted. Enjoy.

*Note: All books listed are for adults unless otherwise indicated


Me Talk Pretty One Day
David Sedaris
Running With Scissors
Augusten Burroughs



The Last Time I Wore a Dress
Daphne Scholinsk

Butch Queens Up in Pumps:
Gender, Performance and
Ballroom Culture in Detroit

Marlon M. Bailey
Persistence: All Ways
Butch and Femme

Ivan E. Coyote

It Gets Better: Coming
Out, Overcoming
Bullying, and Creating
a Life Worth Living

Dan Savage
(Young Adult)
Changing Ones:
Third and Fourth Genders
in Native North America

Will Roscoe



Dangerous Liaisons:
Blacks, Gays, and the
Struggle for Equality

Eric Brandt
Homosexuality and Civilization
Louis Crompton

Genders & Sexualities
in Modern Thailand

Peter A. Jackson
Dual Attraction:
Understanding Bisexuality

Martin S. Weinberg

Whipping Girl:
A Transsexual Woman
on Sexism and the
of Femininity

Julia Serano

Gay Berlin:
Birthplace of a
Modern Identity

Robert Beachy

A Queer History
of the United States

Michael Bronski

Surpassing the Love
of Men: Romantic Friendship
and Love Between Women
from the Renaissance to
     the Present
Lillian Faderman
Bisexuality in the
Ancient World

Eva Cantarella

Transgender Warriors:
Making History from
Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman

Leslie Feinberg

I Left It On the
Mountain: A Memoir

Kevin Sessums
Minnie Bruce Pratt

Rapture Practice:
A True Story About Growing
Up Gay in an Evangelical Family

Aaron Hartzler
(Young Adult)

Some Assembly Required:
The Not-So-Secret Life
of a Transgender Teen

Arin Andrews
(Young Adult)

Intersex (For
Lack of a Better Word
Thea Hillman

The Harvey Milk Story

Kari Krakow


Leaves of Grass
Walt Whitman

Body Alchemy:
Transsexual Portraits

Loren Cameron
Playing It Queer:
Popular Music, Identity,
and Queer World-Making

Jodie Taylor

The Invisibles:
Vintage Portraits
of Love and Pride

Sebastien Lifshitz
For more information or additional recommendations, contact us.

Hodges, Andrew (1983). Alan Turing : the enigma. London: Burnett Books.
Copeland, Jack (18 June 2012). "Alan Turing: The codebreaker who saved 'millions of lives'". BBC News Technology. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
Spencer, Clare (11 September 2009). "Profile: Alan Turing". BBC News. Update 13 February 2015

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