There is strength in knowing about the struggles and the triumphs with Zaylore Stout

In this episode, we talk with Zaylore Stout (he/him) about the book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. Zaylore told us, “I was digging through the archives of the library, trying to see if there was anybody like me…and it’s like you have to piece these things together, on your own.”  Our discussion spring boards into Zaylore’s legal career, his coming out journey, and writing his own book: Our Gay History in 50 States which is an LGBTQI plus history book that highlights significant people places and queer facts on a state-by- state basis.

A big thank you to Archie A., Bill S., and Paul K. for being This Queer Book Saved My Life’s first Patreon supporters. Their sponsorship level directly supports transcription services that ensure the podcast is accessible to our deaf and hard of hearing audiences. Patreon supporters help keep us on the air and promote accessibility. They receive a variety of benefits, including shout outs in our episodes, social media mentions, access to live-streaming events, virtual lunch with me, or even better, bring me to work day where I can do a talk and Q&A around queer diversity, equity, and inclusion. You can subscribe at patreon.com/thisqueerbook.

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT     

J.P. Der Boghossian: Hey everyone. This is J.P. and before we get started I want to thank our promotional sponsor Quatrefoil Library for their work in spreading the word about this podcast.

Quatrefoil Library is a community center that cultivates the free exchange of ideas and makes accessible LGBTQ+ materials for education and inspiration. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, visit them at qlibrary.org

That’s q library.org

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On today’s episode.

Zaylore Stout, Esq.: I just grew up very anxious, and kind of a perfectionist, and if things work out as planned, it would stress me out to the nth degree.

J.P.: I’m talking with Zaylore Stout about the book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. It is a trailblazer in its own right. And our discussion spring boards into Zaylore’s legal career, writing, and his coming out journey.

Zaylore: I think it was when I was younger, when I was in high school, that I was digging through the archives of the library, trying to see if there was anybody like me. And it’s like you have to piece these things together, on your own.  

J.P.: My name is J.P. Der Boghossian and you’re listening to This Queer Book Saved My Life!

Let’s meet Zaylore Stout.

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J.P.: Zaylore’s pronouns are he, him, his. His favorite book growing up was The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

He grew up about a mile away from Disneyland in Orange County, California. His mom was a Trekkie. He says he went to a gazillion Star Trek conventions with his mom. And they even have signed plates from the original cast.

He even told me that his name, Zaylore, sounds it is intergalactic. 

When asked in elementary school what he wanted to be when he grew up: he said a chef or a Supreme Court Justice.

He chose the law. And went to Law School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His area of practice is in employment law where he represents plaintiffs and defendants in regards to discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and wage and hour issues.

These days he and his partner split their time between California and Minnesota. Some people have all the luck.

Zaylore is the author of Our Gay History in 50 States. The book tells the story of queer American history, state by state. We’ll dive into it later in the show.

And…we’re going to queer something up today on the show. The book we’re discussing – Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: And It’s All Small Stuff –is not queer, per se, in the sense that it wasn’t written by a queer author. But we’re all up for queering things, challenging binaries, and what not, and this book, written by Richard Carlson, is considered a classic of its genre. In reviews, many cite that the book, first published in anticipated the findings of research into positive psychology that came over the next decade.

And if in its own ways it helped Zaylore write Our Gay in 50 States, then I want to talk about it.

Here’s my conversation with Zaylore.

J.P.: So, tell me what is the book that saved your life?

Zaylore: So, it’s it’s funny. But I’d say the book that saved my life is don’t sweat the small stuff and it’s all small stuff. Um I just grew up very you know, anxious and kind of a perfectionist and um, you know. If things didn’t work out as Planned. Um, you know it would just stress me out to the M degree and I’m sure I’d have high blood pressure by now you know and all the health ailments that come along with that had I not like stumbled upon this book where it’s like you know the inbox is going to be full. When you die And so why stress out about having the inbox be empty every seat you know and it’s simple stuff like that. It sounds ridiculous. Um, but you know there was just so much unnecessary anxiety that I carried around in regards to you know. Trying to people please or do this or do that and you know have things plan On. It’s like it’s unnecessary to to live life that stressed and so you know it was a really easy book I could I could set it down and come back to it later and and just pick up where I left off, you can jump around in it. Um I Remember. You know, reading it and then in and then falling back into my my old ways and having to get the book back out and we acclimate myself with this new Mindset. So yeah, So that’s that’s the book for me.

J.P.: You said stumble across it. How did you? How did you come across? What was the story behind that?

Zaylore: Woo I’m trying to remember because I was a long time ago now I mean that would have been maybe you know None? so you know I was in college um I ran track So I was on the track team I mean there’s just I don’t know I don’t Remember. Might have been a friend that recommended it? Yeah I Wish I could remember but I do remember not the time First time I laid my hands on this book and read and I was like oh this is kind of yeah this makes sense This is kind of amazing and just try to integrate it.

J.P.: No worries.

Zaylore: But I do remember the time first time I laid my hands on this book and read it and I was like oh this is kind of yeah this makes sense This is kind of amazing and just try to integrate it. And mindset and the thought processes into my mind and my and my daily living.

J.P.: Yeah I’m curious. What was it in that because there’s um, really I mean there are there are quick chapters in there and what I like and I liked what you said about how you’re able to kind of dive into different sections of the book I’m curious as you were None reading it. What were those things that standing out for you that you’re like ooh. Yes, that’s me..

Zaylore: Like I don’t remember the details but I just remember there I just remember each chapter that there’re being you know, very, you know, practical attainable kinds of lessons that that came out of each one of them whether it relates to work or whether it relates to love or whether it relate to you know you know. Even being on time. How about that? um, being on time is a big one for me. Um, you know, growing up. Um, you know I it’s a single mom for for for a long period of time and we weren’t always on time to where we were needed where we needed to go or I was not always picked up on time. Um, you know because mom was working multiple jobs and so me as an adult. It’s important for me to make sure that I am on time and um and so for me on time means being fifteen minutes early so um you know it’s interesting when you have a partner that that is not his lived experience. Ah and there so that you figure out that there’s times where it’s important to be on time and then there’s times when it’s really not important to be on time. Um, and and so even those little things you know applying it to is this really one where I really have to be on time or is it one where I absolutely. Do have to be on time and sometimes time if have to leave my partner I just have to leave him making just eat catch up. Yes, his car. He has his uber um, but but that it’s that it’s that kind of practical stuff where it helps me be me able to navigate my life in a way to be able to really. You know, not allow my initial impulses to to control my mindset.

J.P.: I’m curious. What was the connection like when you started writing your own book. So actually tell us what was the book that you wrote.

Zaylore: So I wrote Our Gay History in 50 States which is an LGBTQI plus history book that highlights significant people places and queer facts on a state-by- state basis.

J.P.: And why did you decide? What was the inspiration for writing it.

Zaylore: Ah, so I was on a road trip.  of my many road trips back and forth from Minnesota to California and on one of the road trips. It was during the proposition eight time which for folks that aren’t from California that was the marriage equality. Um, you know proposition that was on. Um, that was available for voters to decide whether California was going to define marriages between a man or a woman between a man and a woman or you know for folks that love each other um and and as I was leaving California coming back to minnesota each time I crossed a different state line. And ask myself for what does what relevance does this they have to LGBT history what relevance is this. They have the LGBT history. Of course when I got to Utah very pissed off shaking my fist at the sky because the Mormon church puts so much money into um, you know that proposition that it not wasn’t for their involvement and their influence and their money. Um, you know proposition None wouldn’t have passed in California um, you know I got to what of course when I got to Wyoming I thought about Matthew Shepard and as I’m driving across country I mean when you do road trips I mean there’s lots of time to reflect and I was just thinking. Why do folks in these rural parts of the country these conservative parts of the country hate us so much.

And um, you know I I came to the realization that you know folks that come from those places in those areas that are LGBTQ um more often than not leave because their communities aren’t supportive of them. Their families may not be supportive of them their places of worship may not be supportive of them. You know the laws may not support them. So they leave and they migrate to places like a New York San Francisco or Chicago and la or Miami and and I thought well what what can we do? So that people can stay in their communities and feel safe and feel you know, connected and not not have to flee right? because if they don’t flee then there’s more people in those communities that will come to know LGBT folks and and you know be less likely to demonize us so you know ah fast forward I met Dennis and Judy Shepherd Matthew Shepard’s parents at national coming out day luncheon and  it was a none anniversary of Matthew’s passing um, and you know it was hard for a Judy to make it through her comments that day and um and I thought you know this this heterosexual cisgender couple is living the worst day of their life for None ears for me and my community and if they can do all of this right? I can do more. And so I thought about this road trip and I was like hey what about a book for you know LGBT history book like a road trip book I met with the publisher friend of mine. She said you have to write this book so within two weeks I met with her within two months I started writing the book and then two years later just in time for the none anniversary of stonewall rights our gay history and  states came out. And the focus on the goal was about those LGBT q plus kids in those rural states to let them know that um there have been champions from every corner of this country every state in this country that have made significant contributions and they can be the future history makers too.

J.P.: I love that. I’m curious…writing is hard as an aspiring writer. There’s a lot of stuff to be thinking about how did Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff help you with this writing process and particularly a project that was continental in its scope.

Zaylore: Right? And um, you know and it’s hard to because I’m an attorney and so and this is a book that you know is fact fact specific. You know you have to be people are going to be criticizing you if you’d get things wrong and so there was the. Stress of making sure that it’s perfect. Um, so I focused on you know, making sure that the entries were as perfect as possible, especially since there were so many entries I mean none of entries in this book. Um and less stressed about. You know because one of the things is that this book wasn’t going to be a comprehensive book. It wasn’t going to highlight everybody and anybody right? Um I didn’t want this to be a book of usual suspects I wanted this to have you know unsung you know champions of of equality that were just living their daily lives and sometimes that results in something a magnificent story right. Like ah the the none same sex couple to go to a prom was in Iowa or South Dakota. See I’m trying to remember but you know it it wasn’t in none of the places that you would expect um you know and so um, for me, it was then you know I switched my focus to making sure that the book was as diverse as a community that I know that we have and so my focus was then to make sure that I was doing the best to make sure that I was represent that that there was at least  entry that was representative of everybody within our community.

After the break, I’ll ask Zaylore if writing his book changed how we saw himself as a queer person and what Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’s role was in that.

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J.P.: When live at the intersection of being queer and Armenian, or queer and black, there are interesting privileges you get to experience, and some challenges you have to navigate, and some things that just don’t seem to fit together. What was that like then, for Zaylore? Here’s more of conversation with him, starting with how writing his book affected him.

J.P.: In writing it. How did it change how you thought about yourself as a queer person.

Zaylore: Um, it it well one of the things None of the realizations that I came came that came to me during the process of writing the book was the privilege that I had being black as opposed to the privilege. That that wasn’t necessarily there for me as being LGBT and and and especially as it relates to history. So I didn’t learn black history in schools because I didn’t teach black history in schools in the eighty s I still’t treat teach black history now right? You learn a little bit about slavery. You learn a little bit about civil rights movement.

And okay, and that’s about it right? So but the benefit even though I did not I was not raised in a black community because there wasn’t one in Orange County at the time I still was able to learn black history at home from my family right? My parents. You know my extended family and the difference between that situation and ah. Queer kid is that most queer kids aren’t raised in queer homes so where is it that they’re able to learn about their history and more often than not they don’t and so you know even as adults you kind of you know, stumble around and find others that are like you that are LGBT and then you kind of cobble together your chosen family and then. Some times. Perhaps you know if you um, you know, go to events or you know attend prides or or and meeting elders within the community. You’ll start learning about some of the history right? But there’s no no concerted effort for that to be able to happen and you kind of have to go out and seek it and kind of. Piece it together and so that was ah the other part about this book I wanted to I wanted there to be a resource if folks if if somebody comes out I want them to immediately think about my book and and giving my book to that person that comes out and be like here. This is the history of your community this is the community that you are joining. This is a community that has always been here. This is a community that has made amazing significant contributions to this country. So welcome and do your part to be able to contribute That’s what I want to have happen and so you know there’s folks that come out as kids right? You have folks kids coming out. You know. None six years old elementary school and you have seniors that you know live their life in the closet because they’re from a generation that did not allow for them to live their true and authentic lives and are barely coming out now here. This is still the community that you’re being welcomed into so that was my thought in regard to that and that’s part of what I learned about myself was the. Privilege of being black and raised in a black hole and being able to learn my head history as opposed to being LGBT and not learning that history.

J.P.: That really resonates with me I’m Armenian American Um, and there’s like well growing up like I didn’t meet any other Queer Armenian Um, and a few years ago I embarked, it was a four-year project, where I literally tried to track down any piece of writing by a queer Armenian or about queer Armenians right in some sort of positive sense. Um, and when I got done I was not done. I had this collection of books. Not huge maybe about  titles and I was like I got to share this right? So I put a library together the Queer Armenian Library. For folks I’m like if you’re going to Google just come to this one place, right? to find it. Um, because it it no one else should have to do that and so I really appreciate what you’re talking about um in terms of putting something together bringing visibility. Growing up in orange county like what was that journey that coming out journey for you?

Zaylore: Well I want to make sure I thank you for doing what you did as it relates to that because growing up in Southern California I have so so many queer Armenian friends and have learned so much about the Armenian community. Um, you know when when you know there was. Last year with with all the you know challenges that were happening in Armenia um, you know I reached out to friends to make sure that we were able to bring visibility as it relates to that and educate the LGBT community about Armenians and the Armenian experience and so I was able to you know, have one of my Facebook lives that I was doing all. From you know June of  to the end of last year we had at least actually I think we had None sessions on you know the Armenian experience and the queer Armenian experience. So thank you for that and and I think I forsaw that when you think think I saw it like yeah.

J.P.: What?! You are my new favorite guest!

Zaylore: And and I think I saw that on your signature line and I already shared it with a bunch of Armenian friends out here that hey did you know about this you know Ah yeah Armenian queer Armenian library and it’s in Minneapolis and you guys need to come and visit. so um so I just want to make sure I said thank you for that because. It’s important and he says essential and we can talk dog fine I can connect you with some of my Armenian queer Armenian folks out here in California because they’re there. Everybody needs to have access to their own history and their own visibility. So you’re doing your part and I think that’s spectacular.

J.P.: I love that. Thank you for that I love to make those connections.

Zaylore: All right back to the question.

J.P.: This is about you. It’s not about me. What was it like for you in orange county when you were growing up like what was your coming journey at coming out journey like.

Zaylore: Coming out journey. Yeah, ah so I didn’t formally come out until I was in college because after moving to Ventura and then being there during the Roney King riots and trial. The trial was in Simi Valley which is in Ventura County and I ended up being the victim of a hate crime on campus. A skinhead pun came on campus punched me on the face, yelled out the n-word, at the end of school where like hundreds of students around. So big ordeal. You know I was on, you know, speaking to school board and meet school board meetings and the NAACP was involved. It was like a big big thing. I was just you know I started a black student union I was like we just want to learn about black history. So it’s it’s strange that I have been involved in this fight for so long and um, but but yeah, so I didn’t come out as a member of LGBT community until I was in college.

Um, so so not as a young person but this was during a time that there was like this this like like gap time between you know when I was growing up because you know of my when my age we had we were just young enough that we missed the whole h I the aids. Aspect in pandemic like we were. We weren’t we weren’t out there having sex and all that kind of stuff and everything and there was a whole you know you know if you have sex you’re gonna die, you know if you don’t use a condom kind of thing and that was drum-beat-ed into us and everything like that. So so I so I don’t that’s not my experience I didn’t miss I didn’t lose people. That were part of my community during that time frame because I think we were all just kind of so young that it wasn’t something that was that was happening or that the education and information was out there in regards to engaging in safe safe sex practices and things like that. Um, but I remember growing up and never really seeing anybody that was Lg net. Um, in my community that was out and and definitely not any black queer man right? and so you know I didn’t meet anybody that you know met my demographics until I was until I was in college and I went to my first gay clubs and. And some of those friends that I have that I met then you know are this are part of my chosen family that I still have I’m friends with now I mean twenty thirty years later it’s crazy to think about it that way. But it’s been so long, but that’s important and you know because there’s. There’s an unspoken dialogue when you when you can connect with folks that are from your community right? like I bet you it’s the same for you when you speak to queer Armenians. There’s a unique experience in regards to that because there’s a queer element and then there’s the intersectional you know Armenian element of it that you kind of have to be Armenian to get it. Um, and so. I loved finally being able to make those connections and still have those friends that I have today that are part of that chosen family.

J.P.: After you came out how did you learn about the history of the community? Was it your own personal research? Were there like elders in the community that you were developing relationships with?

Zaylore: Yeah, it took a while I mean it was really just kind of there wasn’t any particular concerted effort in regards to it I mean um I think it was. It’s when I was younger when I was in high school that I was digging through the the archives at the library trying to see if there was anybody like me and stumbling upon. You know I was a poet then so stumbing upon Langston Hughes and and reading his poetry and being like you know, reading reading Courtney Cullen and be like wait a minute right? and it’s like but but you know you have to piece those things together on your own. Um because nobody in my family was doing was saying that oh you know? um. You know and Angela Davis wouldn’t have been out as a member of the LGBT community at the time but you know you know all the folks you know they weren’t they weren’t saying oh they had rus in everybody knew who he was an essential element and part of the civil rights movement you know Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s right hand man you know, but you they’ll lift up this aspect and element of his life experience and story but never mention the fact that he was that he was a member of the LGBT community and so I really from a historical perspective I would really only hear about it and learn about it through. Just randomly being out and about and and in the LGBT spaces and hearing people reference folks like Harvey Milk and stuff like it I can’t even tell you when I learned about them but it was definitely way way later than it probably should have been um you know Stonewall Riots didn’t really didn’t hear about that much until much much later.

So um, so that’s the sad part about it is that there’s so many LGBT folks going through their daily lives whether you come out I mean part of it is you know focusing on survival and how do you navigate this world where you know the the laws are aren’t supportive of you and. Are you gonna be able to get fired from work if you’re out who do you do you know? does do you let your neighbor know that you have a boyfriend otherwise they may tell the landlord and you can get kicked out because there’s no laws on the books that protect you I mean there’s there’s more of a focus in regards to the daily survival aspect and element of it than um, being able to. Sit back and and just you know, leisurely read about history and know that um you know that there aren’t challenges that you’re facing on a daily basis today.

J.P.: As you were coming out or after you came out how did Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff speak to your life as ah as an out LGBTQ person?

Zaylore: These are good questions and one so I’ve never thought that before so what I would say is I was I would say I’ve always been me. Like um, just being myself and stuff and you know if you if it if if it led on that I was gay then that’s what it was um, you know people would ask I would I wouldn’t say no um but it wasn’t like you were I was just coming out just to come out. Um. You know, but but it’s it’s hard. It’s what thinking about the book in that perspective you know, um, sometimes you have to sweat some of that stuff. You know if it means whether you’re going to be able to retain your job because even though you know there have been laws on the books around the country for a long time especially in different states like California minnesota. You know Minnesota was a Minneapolis was the none city to have an anti-LGBTQ discrimination for sexual orientation and gender identity ordinance from employment perspective Minneapolis was out of all the cities across the country Minneapolis was the first so we have lots of amazing firsts there in Minnesota.

Um, even though there are laws on the books you know doesn’t mean that people don’t discriminate against folks in regard to these areas and that’s part of why I love what it is that I do because I’m able to hold some of those employers to task if they’re you know violating the rights of members of our community. Um, so. So That’s been.. The hard part is really navigating. You know there are times you need to sweat things and other times when when not sometimes you’re just going to live your life and and if people are going to treat you differently or discriminate against you especially in the workplace then know that you’re going to be able to push forward and advocate for your rights and and be able to be vindicated. So. So That’s kind of provided some strength from that perspective knowing the you know the my having my and that was even before I would I was an attorney just still knowing what the laws were on the books and knowing that you can that you have that protection provides additional strength for you to just be able to be out and be yourself and work and know that that. You have not only a sword but you have that shield as well to be able to protect. You.

J.P.: Absolutely tell me more about your work in this space of working with LGBTQ folks with any employment issues that may come up.

Zaylore: Yeah, um, there’s not a huge number of LGBT Attorneys I mean there’s definitely more as as time goes on especially folks that are able to be out because that’s the other thing you know.

The legal profession is a very conservative profession. Um, most judges most um, you know law firm owners and managing partners are cisgender straight white men and that’s not necessarily the demographic. That’s you know, open arms to folks that are different. Um, whether that be women right? There’s still not as many women in the in the profession and as you go up. Um, you know into the higher ranks within the profession. The number of women is lower same thing with minorities as well as you know members of the LGBTQ Plus Community. So um, it’s. Using you know my my knowledge and my skill set to be able to advocate for members of the community I think has been kind of amazing because then you know word gets out there you an attorney and then you know you know if there’s an issue, an employment law issue. My name’s first when that comes up so I get those recommendations and I’ve had and I’ve been able to you know I Think. Ah, proudly be able to you know vindicate you know a lot of employees rights like have ah a friend’s Boyfriend. He thought. Yeah once he found out that he was HIV positive Um, he you know he ended up informing his employer and employer fired him and there was documentation that the reason why they fired him was because he he was HIV positive. And um I was like Nope this is this is. We’re not gonna this is not something that we’re going to tolerate and you know I you know I sued them in regard to that and I was able to get a good a good resolution for the client as it relates to that and they know that that’s not something that they can do um.

You know I know that there’s an auto dealership for a client that I represented where you know she you know had her hair short and all that kind of stuff and Auto Dealership is a very male- dominatated male-focused you know, um sometimes very sexist kind of work environment to be in especially if you are. Um, either working as a technician or working you know with technicians and so um, she was a manager in the tech Area. You know management kind of asked her some really weird fishy questions during the interview process. Um, and you know she did great. She got hired. She did great work for for an extended period of time and. Um, ah somebody came on site she was talking to them. You know, somebody asked who that was and they said oh that’s my my my Ex Ex-wife’s you know, best friend and once management found out about that they fired her right? So these types of things still happen and still go on in places where there’s laws on the books against this type of conduct and so you know I love taking on those cases to be able to you know, not only call those employers to task but you know also provide some remedies for for folks who’ve been aggrieved. Um. But like I said I Also represent employers So on the employer side I’m on the proactive basis I’m there doing the trainings I’m you know they they call me and I provide them with advice and guidance in regards to things to do and not do you know? and but there’s lots of things that still happen in the workplace. There’s still racism in the workplace. There’s still you know discrimination against gender Pregnancy discrimination is still a big thing I’m still representing. Um, you know defending and prosecuting clients in regards to those cases all the time as Well. So employment law. Unfortunately,, there’s always going to be work for Me. It’s always going to be a busy area. Sadly, you know.

J.P.: Ah, yeah, sadly, but also I’m glad that there are folks like you. Um, that are there and and know the the law inside and now and are are there to support community members when they’re going through that. It’s really important. Um.

J.P.: So tell me what is next in life for Zaylore Stout.

Zaylore: Yeah, um, so I’m actually already started writing my next book our black history our black history in states. There was always going to be a series of books here. Um, you know our gay history in states has done amazingly still sell None of copies still doing a lot of.

You know, corporate speaking. Um you know securing sponsors for the book. So there’s a bunch of companies that have sponsored the book for their given states. So that means they purchased a certain number of books and they get donated to LGBT nonprofits in their state and it’s a tax writeoff for them. So it’s a win-win especially with the you know Don’t Say Gay stuff going on in Florida and in other states. Um, this is I think a tangible way for um, for you know, companies and corporations and the and and the business and corporate world to be able to like speak up. Step forward and give back. Um, and so so that’s a lot of great work that I’ve been doing from that perspective. But. Our black history in  states is already in the works. Um, you know we’re gonna have a crowdfunding campaign coming up soon. Juneteenth Twenty Twenty two where you can get your preorder of the book out but the book is planned and slated to be out for for purchase by. Black history month  so with our gay history in  states I hired an army of queer youth to help me do the research for that one and so I’ve hired a army of of of ah black kids from across the country to help do the research the initial research in regard to this because I love that it’s a community effort. Um I love that that young people are involved in the process because you know they should really know about their history because there is strength in knowing about the struggles and the successes and the challenges and the and the triumphs that we’ve all gone through because it can provide some context in regards to where it is that we are today you know I think about Florida and the don’t say gay bill.

But then I also think about you know the orange juice boycott with Anita Bryant and you know there were some stumbles in regards to that there was legislation that passed in California during that time the the briggs initiative but guess what on the at the end we we came out victorious right? And so I think you know there’s always lessons in history that we have as it relates to that and so you know again having providing access to that knowledge I think is helpful and so especially with everything that’s going on with the rolling back of of voting rights and things of that nature and the teaching of lg e t history I’m sorry black history. You know, being equated to. Critical race theory which it clearly is not I mean I didn’t even learn critical race theory in law school because it’s not you know a class that’s taught everywhere. Um, so it’s it’s it’s it’s important you know that these are resources that are available and ah you know the state of Illinois picked up. And approve for rgay history in  states to be used as a textbook for teaching LGBT history there. There’s None states now that teach ah, there’s thank you. There’s None states that that require the teach of lgbg history in schools now. Let me see if I can make sure I remember them California New Jersey Illinois

J.P.: That’s great congratulations!

Zaylore: Thank you! Oregon um, Colorado and I think Nevada is a newest one. Um, and so hopefully with once our black history and  states come out comes out. There will be. There’ll be other states that’ll pick this up as a textbook for teach teaching black history in their states.

J.P.: Fantastic. Where can people go to to make sure they’re getting updates when the book is going to come out?

Zaylore: So there’s ah black fifty states dot com so that’s black50states.com. That’s where you can go for our website sign up for you know updates that’s also our our contact on social media. on Facebook on Twitter on Instagram um, and it’s gay  states gay none statess dot com for our gay history in  states again all across the platforms. You can catch me on Linkedin. Um. Interesting thing I guess the other part that I want to make sure that I reference is that for folks that are choosing to purchase rgay history in  states. It’s available at all your local realty retailers and online venues the difference between purchasing it directly through us as opposed to them is that if you purchased it through them. You know the money may go towards sending more rockets into space.

As opposed if you purchase it through us a percentage of your books proceeds will go to Lgb nonprofits that are working in the state of your choice with your kids and so you know it’s a way to be able to give back by by getting it directly through us. So I Recommend getting it from us and then you’re helping your local algb Nonprofit. You can just pick which one. And put in the promo code and there you go. They get some. They get some of the proceeds from the buck.

J.P.: I love that. I love that. Listeners listen up.

Zaylore: [laughs]

J.P.: Thanks everyone for listening to This Queer Book Saved My Life! Our new episodes drop every Tuesday. For all the updates follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Transcripts of this episode are available on our website. Please don’t forget to support our sponsors Bookshop.org, Alley Cat Antiques, and Quatrefoil Library. And most importantly, keep writing, and keep reading.

J.P.: I want to thank Zaylore again for his time to be on the podcast. As a reminder, you can go to gay50states.com to order your copy of Our Gay History in 50 States. That’s gay 5 – 0 states.com.

My conversation with Zaylore reminded me of the book Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele. It is an exploration of what it means to be queer, what is queer, what is queering something mean? And like a graphic novel, it takes us on this kaleidoscopic journey that includes James Bond, Judith Butler, and the Wizard of Oz.

Zaylore pointed out how we as queer folx need to piece things together. We don’t grow up in households that will give us our history.

And that immediately reminded me of Queer: A Graphic History. I work as a Chief Diversity Officer and so many people come to me trying to piecing together what does Queer mean? Why do you identify as Queer? Why did you call it This Queer Book Saved My Life, instead of this LGBTQ book saved my life? Or why is it the Queer Armenian Library and not the LGBTQ Armenian Library?


The answers lie in the pages of Queer: A Graphic History. Each page of the book is devoted to one piece of the queer history, or queer thought, or queer identity. And beyond the tasty visuals, the book brings home how queer is a doing, it’s a verb. How might a book be written queerly? What effects does a Queer book have? What does it achieve? We’re not looking at Queer books on this podcast because they are queer, per se, we’re looking at how queer books make LGBTQ lives possible. How they enrich those lives. How they can make a space dominated by cisgender and heterosexual norms more queer.

Queer rejects the status quo. It reclaims marginalized communities. It creates new alliances.

So, let’s go queer stuff up.

[theme music]

J.P.: Thanks everyone for listening to This Queer Book Saved My Life! Our new episodes drop every Tuesday. For all the updates follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Transcripts of this episode are available on our website. Please don’t forget to support our sponsors Bookshop.org, Alley Cat Antiques, and Quatrefoil Library. And most importantly, keep writing, and keep reading.