As the Page Turns
Summer may be on the wane, but that does not mean that your summer reading list has been completed. Beach time continues on into September and October here in Rehoboth, and your beach bag should include some special reading while the waves are still crashing nearby.
There are three major book sources worth their weight in pages in Rehoboth Beach. For this discussion, e-books are not considered, since scrolling down isn’t the same as turning a page.
One source of books across from the Rehoboth Beach Fire Department provides plenty of perusal opportunities for books one can borrow. Or you may purchase your reading selections at a retail source across the street and closer to the bandstand.
But many readers have likely missed out on the third major source of books in Rehoboth and these are primarily books on the spectrum of LGBTQ issues. This hidden library treasure trove is found on the second floor of the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center. While certainly not an exhaustive collection, titles and subjects are sure to pique interest and enthusiasm for further reading on the beach—or even the sun room.
Titles include Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence, by Rosemary Curb and Nancy Manahan; Family Values: Two Moms and Their Son, by Phyllis Burke; Nancy Clue and the Hardly Boys—A Ghost in the Closet, by Mabel Mavey; The Man in the Red Velvet Dress—Inside the World of Cross-Dressing, by J.J. Allen. If these titles do not pique your interest, then perhaps the range of gay/lesbian romance novels and/or erotica will.
Several titles emerge from the shelves as immediate possibilities for reading while clutching a cocktail. Party Crasher: A Gay Republican Challenges Politics as Usual, by Richard Tafel, presents a contemporary living paradox. Being gay and Republican are not mutually exclusive. Tafel “humaniz[es] the struggle he and others have undertaken in their effort to have their party deal fairly with gays and gay issues.”
In a chapter on “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” Tafel shares stories of gay Republicans and how they survive in the political field. One amusing story centers on a cab ride to an airport in which Tafel was mistaken for being arch-conservative pro-life advocate Ralph Reed. Irony at its best!
The next title worth your attention is Lesbian Passion: Loving Ourselves and Each Other, by JoAnn Loulan. Author of Lesbian Sex, Loulan writes in her dedication, “As we enter another era, the fight for our rights seems unending. We must band together in our clan—our clan of women who feel passion for women, of women who feel passion for human rights.”
In her chapter “Fanning the Flames: How Couples Can Keep Their Sex Lives Exciting,” Loulan admits, “Many of us are embarrassed about the fact that sex has become routine.” (Oh, my, how hetero and homo find common ground!) This book represents an honest and often frank discussion of lesbian sexuality. Issues of AIDS and incest are part of the range of subjects examined. In the chapter on lesbian dating, the first sentence reads, “There are two possible outcomes of a lesbian date: either the two women never date again, or they get married.”
A signed book in the CAMP Rehoboth collection is Out in All Directions: The Almanac of Gay and Lesbian America, by Lynn Witt, Sherry Thomas, and Eric Marcus. A true historical anthology, with characters and stories of the past, this book provides riveting reading. There are tales of cowboys in the 1800s who bunked together for more than much-needed rest. Anyone want to watch Brokeback Mountain? This book is full of pictures of bygone days and gays, offering the diversion of tales from other times—when being gay could mean losing one’s job, marriage, or even one’s life. Hmmmm, how times have changed—or have they?
One insightful portion of this tome is the Reverse Questionnaire, with questions like when and where did you decide you were heterosexual? Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Studies show that 95 percent of child molesters are heterosexual, so would you expose your children to them? Six hundred nineteen pages later, the reader has been inspired and educated about all manner of the gay and lesbian world, past and present.
The last book is this library’s most recent addition, Raising the Transgender Child, by Dr. Michele Angello and Alisa Bowman. Dr. Angello is both passionate and compassionate in her work. While it is clear that the primary audience is parents of children and youth facing transgender issues and decisions, the book lends itself also as a primer for understanding transgender issues for any age. This comprehensive work educates the newcomer to the world of transitioning. It is recommended reading for anyone attempting to understand what it means to be transgender.
No library cards are required at CAMP Rehoboth, only honest persons who return books so others may benefit as much as they have. So much to read, so little time! ▼
David Garrett is a straight advocate for equality and inclusion. He is also the proud father of an adult transdaughter.