Queer activist George Johnson debuts as an author with his life-affirming novel where he uses his journalistic skills to investigate his own life and identity in the hopes young, queer, black kids will find strength and comfort.
Speaking exclusively to The Root, a black news and opinion site, George Johnson explained how important his experiences can be to other black queer folk:
“The ultimate goal of this, in addition to making sure black queer kid literature is out there, is that I wanted to tell a different black story. A story of a black family that may not have always got it right, but they did the best they could with the knowledge that they had.”
Many stories of LGBTQ people are steeped in tragedy and exclusion, however Johnson wanted to offer his own more positive experiences. He acknowledges the traumatic moments during his life as a black queer man, but also he shows how loving and supportive many people can be- including his own family.
Visibility is a big concern of Johnson’s and his book acts as an honest older brother who has some words of wisdom and passionate support for his younger queer black siblings.
“What do black queer kids need? They need people around them to understand that even though they have an additional oppression, even though they identify differently, they’re still connected to blackness,” he told The Root.
Johnson’s book is like a blueprint for LGBTQ kids themselves, in particular for black families to step up and support the queer kids in their communities, and be a positive and affirming presence in their lives.
“That’s what queer kids need—not only love and support at home but also at the barber shop, but also at the church. Any other place where they should have just as much access and right to be in as any other black kid.”