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Book Review: A Very Queer Book Called Straight

Queerly Bookish: A Very Queer Book Called Straight

Straight: the Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality, by Hanne Blank, is the queerest book I have read in quite some time.
Straight describes the history of heterosexuality as a concept in Western thought and in American culture. While there have always been people with different-sex attractions, Blank explains that prior to the nineteenth century, people didn’t think of sexuality in terms of identity: there were only specific behaviors. During the nineteenth century scientific craze for creating taxonomies for everything, and the craze for using the nascent field of modern psychology as a basis for moral and legal judgments, the words “heterosexual” and “homosexual” were both invented.


Queerly Bookish is a column I write for Diffuse 5, a Boston-based collection of resources for the LBTQ community. The column presents book reviews and notes on the Boston literary scene, including events, publications, and more.