Last month, we were sent Rainbow Revolutions: Power, Pride and Protest, a new book by Jamie Lawson and illustrated by Eve Lloyd Knight. A book about LGBTQ history, dating back as far as 1790. Although we’re the living result of LGBTQ History, we still don’t know it all, and we never want to stop learning either. This book helps me and my community do just that.
Unlike most moments in history that carved our children’s future – I use heroes like Emily Pankhurst and Martin Luther King Jr as example – and despite having a rich history, LGBTQ-specific history is so rarely spoken about and referenced. This is partly to do with ignorance and a lack of respect for our community, but it’s also because a lot of the time people are unaware of the contributions LGBTQ people had on history.
Did you know that Alan Turing – father of modern computing and all-time war hero – was Gay and later chemically castrated for being so? Also, in the 1940’s, when Nazi Germany was beaten and survivors of the Holocaust were rescued, people with LGBTQ identities were transferred from the concentration camps, where they were tortured and almost died, to a prison to continue a life-long sentence for being LGBTQ because it was illegal to be LGBTQ in Germany.
These are just a handful of stories featured in the Rainbow Revolutions, but there’s more. Here’s my review and why you NEED this book on your book shelf.
The Revolution of the Rainbow
Queer people have existed from the beginning of time, it’s inevitable. Being LGBTQ is not a choice, you’re born that way, therefore it is likely that gay people, for example, were around before people even knew what to call homosexuality!
Putting aside the obvious moments in history; people like Harvey Milk and Marsha P Johnson – who made waves for LGBTQ people – when was the last time you heard about a historic moment in history that coincidentally featured an LGBTQ person? You could argue that their sexuality is irrelevant, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
For centuries the achievements of LGBTQ people have been hidden, resulting in their lives being distorted or changed, or simply muted. This leads to ignorance, prejudice, and discrimination, because people have not seen the good that we can do or how much we, as a community, have contributed. By detailing an honest account of LGBTQ lives we can weed out the ignorance with knowledge and understanding.
Rainbow Revolutions is a gorgeous hard-back book with page after page of beautiful illustrations. Each story is in bitesize chunks and has it’s own accompanying artwork – making stories easy to absorb, no matter how heart wrenching. It’s a joy to see it sat next to T’s books featuring same sex families.
Over the past few weeks I’ve digested a couple of pages every few days so I can acknowledge what I’ve read. LGBTQ History is not “easy reading” and in some cases far from it, but I cannot express how proud I am to have this book and be able to read – in actual print – the history of my community. I wish I’d had it in my library when I was in school.
I received a copy of Rainbow Revolutions with no obligation to feature it on our blog, however we love it so much. All thoughts, opinions, imagery are my own.