Top 10: New Words in Our Pride Glossary

June 23, 2017

It’s Pride weekend this weekend in Toronto: and naturally, we’re preparing by reading some fantastic LGBTQ+ books. We’ve come across some great words and phrases on the way: here are ten for you to include in your own Pride lexicon.

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Welcome to All Lit Up’s Top 10 – a literary list of ten things we’re thinking about right now. 

It’s Pride weekend this weekend in Toronto: and naturally, we’re preparing by reading some fantastic LGBTQ+ books. We’ve come across some great words and phrases on the way: here are ten for you to include in your own Pride lexicon.

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10. “Future tops”
From Assdeep in Wonder by Christopher Gudgeon, Anvil Press

Poet and writer Christopher Gudgeon calls poem “Future tops of America” (read it here) “the most overtly political piece I’ve ever written” – we love this brave piece and how it honours fallen members of the LGBTQ community while hoping for a better way forward, with “Future tops” shorthand for queer folks unburdened by modern homophobia.


9. “Unicorn trap”
From Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote, Arsenal Pulp Press

Celebrated writer Ivan Coyote’s latest book is a clever pastiche of heartfelt memoir, illustrations, and tongue-in-cheek how-tos. For example, the book promises to teach you to build your own unicorn trap (of particular interest to nonbinary folks like Kiwi poet Rachel O’Neill, who said “I’m 33 and no one told me how to catch a unicorn when I was growing up.”)




8. “Hakawati”
From The Clothesline Swing by Ahmad Danny Ramadan, Nightwood Editions

Himself a Syrian refugee, author Ahmad Danny Ramadan traces a tale of love and loss following the post-aughts Arab Spring and its storyteller, Hakawati, shadowed by the past of his difficult journey, his lover, and literal Death, looking greedily on.


7. “Kyn”
From The Way of Thorn and Thunder Series by Daniel Heath Justice, Kegedonce Press

Daniel Heath Justice’s Indigenous fantasy trilogy has been compared to The Lord of the Rings, and with good reason: this story of the magical, three-gendered Kyn under threat after the “Melding” with the world of men is a gripping one of political and spiritual struggle.


6. “Hanlan’s Point”
From Heyday by Marnie Woodrow, Tightrope Books

This one might hit LGBTQ Torontonians close to home: Hanlan’s Point, the longtime Island safehaven for queer folks to hang out free of prejudice is still closed to the public after a particularly rainy 2017 spring. Author Marnie Woodrow canonizes the Island and its ferry crossing in her novel Heyday (and wrote a little more about it for us, here). 



5. “YOLT”

From You Only Live Twice by Chase Joynt and Mike Hoolboom, Coach House Books

This term is a bit of a cheater (it’s really just the acronym of this book’s title), but we can’t help but include it. When YOLT launched last year, it was and is a fantastic celebration of authors Joynt and Hoolboom’s “second lives” – Joynt after his transition to male and Hoolboom after surviving near-fatal complications from the AIDS virus.


4. “Castro”
From Flight Instructions for the Commitment Impaired by Nicola Harwood, Caitlin Press

Nicola Harwood’s memoir of her and her partner’s fostering of a “wonderful eleven-year-old African American boy with gender identity issues" (as listed in the ad that brought Antwan into their lives). Backdropped by San Francisco’s gay district of Castro, as well as Antwan’s old digs in Oakland, this book shows a lesbian couple’s journey raising a troubled-but-irrepressibly sweet “system” child, and what they end up learning about notions of race, family, gender, and commitment along the way.


3. “Hrah”
From The Company of Crows by Karen Molson, Linda Leith Publishing

A story about a queer, nearly-blind teenage girl growing up in an Ontario trailer park, 13-year-old Veronica Reid gains her sight through a crow, Hrah. Through the crow’s eyes, Veronica begins to deconstruct not only crow behaviour but human behaviour, too, as well as her budding romance with fellow trailer park resident Charlotte.




2. “Love cake”
From Love Cake by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Mawenzi House

Love Cake is the poet’s triumphant documentation of how queer peoples of colour love and resist violence, and reclaim their bodies and sexuality in the context of the wider, dangerous world around them. Love cake is also a traditional Sri Lankan dessert made with pumpkin and cardamom that we want to make ASAP.


1. “Frances Gumm”
From Come Back by Sky Gilbert, ECW Press

Frances Gumm is Judy Garland’s real name, and in Come Back, Sky Gilbert imagines her a 138-year-old feminist PhD candidate, writing her dissertation on a deceased gay Canadian playwright, Dash King. Also, it’s 2050, because why not? A master playwright, Gilbert writes this book as a dialogue between Frances and her PhD advisor, a conversation that snakes into and out of queer theory, the past and future, and post-structuralism.




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Happy Pride, everybody! For more Top 10, click here.


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