Growing Up Queer in Australia (ed by Benjamin Law, Black Inc.)
Mapped across a spectrum of ages and eras, sexualities and ethnicities, Growing Up Queer in Australia captures the resilience and strength of queer people coming of age in Australia. Edited by Benjamin Law and joining the stable of other successful Black Inc. ‘Growing Up’ books, this collection covers a wide terrain of lived queer experiences, revealing equal parts trauma and toughness of people battling to truly find themselves. There is Rebecca Shaw’s quietly moving story of growing up in rural Queensland, where homophobia runs high and teen self-acceptance seems forever elusive. There is Tim McGuire’s powerful essay interrogating his HIV diagnosis, an experience he ties to larger anxieties about HIV and its absent presence in our culture. And there is Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen’s meditative piece exploring how her early encounters with an older queer couple later help anchor her as she navigates her own sexual self-discovery. As Oliver Reeson notes, ‘The gift of being queer is in … the great many possibilities for becoming and for telling stories,’ and Growing Up Queer truly confirms this. With its rich constellation of queer lives, the book’s many storytellers more often than not find hope and comfort in their own coming of age stories, now offered up to inspire the same in others.
Nathan Smith is a freelance writer