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Queer 13: Lesbian and Gay Writers Recall Seventh Grade written by Clifford Chase


Queer 13: Lesbian and Gay Writers Recall Seventh Grade written by Clifford Chase


Gym class, group showers, zits, band practice, drama club, birth of pubic hair, pranks, secrets, spin-the-bottle, voice changes, bullies, sissies, friendship, enemyship -- what's not to love about turning 13? For a gay child, it may be traumatic, but it also carries a richness of observed detail of small but important moments, turning points of sorts. Adolescence is a watermark for pain and change; the anthology Queer 13 contains 25 remembrances of the era of sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, charged with the sparks that only the very young can give off.

Hank Stuever

"When casting about for survival tales of the seventh grade, Clifford Chase, who edited this book of essays, found that most gay writers had suppressed it, like time they'd spent in a cultural junior-high version of Dachau: utter oppression, grueling days, anxious and terrifying nights. They'd simply blocked it out. Seventh grade wasn't too fun for anyone, but it seems to be a particular watershed event for these wordy gays and lesbians, who have risen to the assignment and reconjured that particular year with pubescent horror: the longing, the armpit hair, the confusion, the shame, the teasing -- it's all here. Thankfully, as the sage Judy Blume always assured us, it's only seventh grade, and most everyone survives it. Even gay kids. Seen from these 25 collected pieces -- many of them quite clever memoirs; some of them merely more overwrought gunk from the para-memoirist craze -- seventh grade is quite a hurdle, but also a magic place."

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Title: Queer 13: Lesbian and Gay Writers Recall Seventh Grade

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