Young Queer America
Real Stories and Faces of LGBTQ+ Youth
by Maxwell Poth
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Pub Date 02 May 2023 | Archive Date 01 May 2023
Get to know real queer kids from all over the country—these inspiring stories of LGBTQ+ youth, written in their own words, provide crucial snapshots of what it's really like to grow up trans or queer in America.
Photographer and activist Maxwell Poth has traveled all over the United States, inviting LGBTQ+ youth to share their stories as part of Project Contrast, a nonprofit that amplifies these voices and connects kids and families with the resources they need to survive and thrive.
This book collects the stories and portraits of seventy-three queer kids and teenagers from fifteen different states. In their own words, these young people share the challenges they've faced coming out or coming to terms with their own identities; they write about their families, their schoolmates, their teachers, and the queer community they've found throughout their journeys; and they offer messages of love and support to their LGBTQ+ peers. Featuring a foreword by trans actress and model Isis King, this book sends a powerful message to the many LGBTQ+ kids growing up in small towns who feel isolated: We see you, we love you, you are not alone.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 9 members
This is a fantastic collection of photos and stories from queer youth across America of varying states, ages, religious backgrounds, etc. I was a bit concerned going in that it would focus on the more stereotypical demographic of a queer person, but I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity.
The photographs were beautifully shot and showed off the comfort these kids had in their identities and joy at being able to show it off.
I loved the way the book was formatted, how we were presented with their stories first and then their photographs so the reader can't make any judgements based on how a person looks. I also really appreciated that content warnings were given at the start of each entry so the reader can decide if it's one they feel comfortable reading.
Thank you to NetGalley for making this available in exchange for an honest review!
This book, Young Queer America: Real Stories and Faces of LGBTQ+ Youth, which was put together by Maxwell Poth, is a beautiful collection of stories of youth coping and living with being in the LGBTQ+ community. Not only does it take enormous courage to share their stories, but I personally loved the photos of each of the youth. It’s one thing to read their stories but it’s another thing to put a face to each story. I have never seen a collection of stories include photos of each of the authors, but the photographs really helped me see how truly beautiful they each are.
Before reading this book, my only exposure to transgender teenagers was watching Jazz Jennings on TV. It was truly amazing reading about all of the youth in this book. Their stories were all unique, but there also were many similarities. Being a teenager in the queer community is not easy. Many were abused. Many were shunned. Many were misunderstood. However, all of them have overcome many challenges. All of them deserve to be proud of themselves.
One of the things I loved most about this book was that towards the end of each story, the youth wrote their “advice” to other teens in the LGBTQ+ community. One does not necessarily have to be in the community to learn that we all deserve dignity and respect AND that we are all beautiful AND that we all deserve to be loved.
I loved this book from the beginning and my wish is that somehow, when the time is right, this book is made into mandatory reading for kids in middle schools and high schools. This book has the potential to change and transform so many lives across the country and around the world.
Lastly, I want to say that my other wish is that there is another version of this book, but written by parents of youth in the LGBTQ+ community. The parents need to know that THEY, too, are not alone. Parents need to know that there are other parents out there struggling to help their children and youth come to terms with their identity and being their authentic selves.
I would give this book a 10 out of 5 stars if I could, but however, I have to give it 5 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to NetGalley and Chronicle Books (publisher) for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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