I am a gay educator, and I am trying to solve a problem. After several years of teaching, I have noticed that students still only read books about straight people in school. Many people incorrectly think that “the classics,” the best books to teach in school, only include straight people.
I created the Queer Male Canon Project to fix this problem. This website is for everyone, but especially students and teachers. By reading great books that include queer men, we all gain understanding and empathy.
Growing up in a conservative part of the United States was difficult. It was difficult being gay, but it was equally difficult being an introvert. I had a natural interest and talent for reading, writing, and drawing. Nevertheless, I tried to suppress those interests because the community and the school culture encouraged me to participate in extroverted activities. If you were not in some way contributing to the success of the football team, you did not matter. As a result, I participated in the marching band, even though I had little interest in or talent for music. I was miserable. I secretly wanted to write stories and create visual art. Nobody else seemed to share my interests.
I really enjoyed reading books and watching movies because they were an escape to a different world. However, the books I read in school and that topped the bestseller lists did not often include queer men. I yearned to read about men that were feeling what I was feeling.
Sadly, despite gains in LGBTQ rights, education has not changed enough. I rarely, if ever, see discussions of LGBTQ issues in classes. I can imagine that queer students yearn for representation, as I did as a student. Moreover, straight students deserve to understand the challenges that LGBTQ people face. Schools are the perfect places to talk about social justice for people of color, women, people with disabilities, and queer people.
As a gay cisgender man, I will do my best to describe “the classics” that include queer men. I recognize that I lack the perspective to select “the classics” that include transgender men. Please contact me with book suggestions about transgender men.
I hope that you enjoy my drawings and my opinions.
Contact me with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.