In this unconventional memoir, Alexander, who grew up in the Deep South during the 1970s and ’80s, addresses wry and affecting missives to a conflicted younger self. Focusing on three years—1989, 1993, and 1996—the book follows the author through the homophobic heights of the AIDS epidemic, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the election of Bill Clinton, and the steady advancements in gay rights that followed. With humor and wit afforded by hindsight, Alexander relives his closeted college years, his experiments with his sexuality in graduate school, his first marriage to a woman, and his budding career as a college professor.
As he moves from tortured self-denial to hard-won self-acceptance, the author confronts the deeply uncomfortable ways he’s implicated in his own story, grappling with the fact that he not only rejected his erotic interests but convinced himself (and others) that his uncle had sexually abused him, a lie that explained his attraction to men. More than just a coming-out story, Dear Queer Self is both an intimate psychological exploration and a cultural examination, a meshing of inner and outer realities—and a personal reckoning with how we sometimes torture the truth to make a life. It’s also a love letter, an homage to a decade of rapid change, and a playlist of the sounds, sights, and feelings of a difficult, but ultimately transformative, time.
188 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
ISBN: 9781946724465 (pbk)