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The Sex is Not Frivolous

Rasheed Newson's debut novel follows a Black gay teenager during the early days of the AIDS crisis Photo by Alexander Gray via Unsplash I have long been fascinated by books the early of the AIDS crisis. Paul Monette's Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir from 1988 remains a cherished work; last year's Let the Record Show by Sarah Schulman and It Was Vulgar and It Was Beautiful by Jack Lowery provided crucial insights into the world-changing work of ACT UP; this year's Love Your Asian Body by Eric C. Wat showed how the Asian American community in Los Angeles mobilized against AIDS. But for as plentiful as these books are, the vast majority live in the world of nonfiction—Rebecca Makkai's excellent The Great Believers from 2018 is a recent fiction example, notably set not in New York City, but in Chicago. Before that, prominent titles include the later books in Armistead Maupin's Tales of The City published in the mid-and-late- ‘80s and Rat Bohemia , also by Sarah Schulman, in 1995. Fiction is just as important to understanding our history as nonfiction, but it's the latter that continually takes up the most space, both figuratively and literally, on our bookshelves. With his crackling debut, My Government Means to Kill Me , Rasheed Newson seeks to change that by offering the queer canon a new hero, one we've seen countless times yet rarely at the heart of the story. Trey is Black and queer, effeminate and fearless, unafraid […]

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