A Letter From George M. Johnson, Author of All Boys Aren’t BlueBy George M. Johnson
From the time I could remember who I was, I always knew that I was different. I didn’t always have the language to know what “different” meant, but as I got older and wiser and more educated, I was able to name “that thing” that always sat inside me. As an effeminate young boy, I struggled with my sexuality and my identity. Not sure who I was or why I didn’t have the same feelings towards girls as all of my peers had when growing up.
My life has been a journey through my Blackness and my Queerness. Learning that, although many think these two things exist separately, they are very much inherent to one another. There is no Blackness that exists with queerness, and vice versa. My identities are what make me whole and I carry them with me in every room and space I enter—something I take pride in despite a society that continues to tell me who I am is not okay.
For me, Pride month means many things. As someone who is Black and queer, I at times see my story being told while also being hidden. The history of Black queer people has often been removed from my ancestors. Many of my icons only had their stories told in bits and pieces, absent their queer identity. Pride month is about my past, my present, and my future.
It is a month about telling the truth about the stories and narratives that have often been told by people who are not us. It is about taking pride in the Stonewall Uprising and remember those heroic Black and Brown queer and trans people who fought those 5 nights against police and societal discrimination, leading to the fight for LGBTQ rights across the world.
With the release of my book, All Boys Aren’t Blue, I finally got to tell my Black queer story. A story that isn’t just mine, but the story of so many Black queer children, young adults, and adults who have waited to be heard. Waited to be read in the pages.
My book is about the journey. My journey of discovering who I was and what it made me become. I learned throughout my adolescence that my identity would forever be changing. That it was fluid and beautiful and perfect. Pride month for me embodies my acceptance of who I am and my ability to showcase that beauty in all of its glory.
My book, All Boys Aren’t Blue, now adds itself to the beauty that is the canon that is Black Queer storytelling. The canon that is Black Storytelling. Most important, the canon that is every story yet to be told about the Black queer experience.
George M. Johnson
All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson
In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.
Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren't Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson's emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.