Books, LGBT

Queer: A Graphic History – Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele


Activist-academic Meg John Barker and cartoonist Julia Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel. A kaleidoscope of characters from the diverse worlds of pop-culture, film, activism and academia guide us on a journey through the ideas, people and events that have shaped ‘queer theory’. From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged.

Although I’d seen that Queer was being published, I’d forgotten about it, so I was especially delighted when I happened across a tweet from Gosh! Comics, saying that they had lots of signed copies from its launch the previous day. I took myself up there after work to get one for myself (this was the first part of my back-to-school haul), read it all the way home, and quite a lot at work the next day, and on some of my train journeys (earning me some interesting looks from men in suits).

Queer is accessible and digestible, and explains tricky concepts simply and clearly. It’s funny, with all sorts of pop culture references, and some of the images properly made me laugh. It doesn’t hold back on the ways that queer people are excluded, including by each other, but lays out how to avoid such exclusions. It is an excellent guide for people new to queer theory, and those who have picked up bits and pieces, but I think it would be good for readers of any level. It’s an all-round good one and I will be recommending it left, right and centre!


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