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With Twin Cities Pride in late June, now is a great time to catch up with several recent LGBTQ releases, starting with one that puts the "P" in pride:

The ABCs of Queer History — A companion volume to "The ABCs of Black History," writer Dr. Seema Yasmin and illustrator Lucy Kirk's book (intended for readers 5 and up) is a playful but surprisingly informative look at key events and people. Politicians Harvey Milk and Barbara Jordan and writers Audre Lorde and James Baldwin are a few trailblazers covered in the alphabetical guide, which is less a learn-your-ABCs book than a here-are-some-people-to-read-more-about intro.

The Act of Disappearing — One sign LGBTQ culture is mainstream is when gay characters casually appear in books that wouldn't be shelved in the "LGBTQ" section of a bookstore or library. Nathan Gower's absorbing debut novel is one of those. Straight novelist Julia meets a mysterious artist who gives her an assignment: Go to Kentucky and find out the identity of the Kentucky woman in a 1960s photograph, a woman who appears to be jumping off a bridge with a baby in her arms. Julia uncovers lots of secrets, some of which help her figure out her next steps and many of which have to do with a character who had to keep their identity hidden six decades ago.

The Other Olympians — With debate about trans athletes raging in college sports, Michael Waters' book is a bracing reminder that none of this is new. Waters looks at the lead-up to the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. Partly, it's the story of the world looking the other way as Adolf Hitler prepared to put on an international celebration of fascism. But Waters is mostly interested in two athletes who, during training for the Olympics, announced that, although they had been competing in women's sports, they identified as men. Sprinter Zdenek Koubek and javelin/discus competitor Mark Weston are little remembered now but Waters shows that, along with a surprising number of '30s athletes, they were at the forefront of a battle still being fought.

Pretty — Voice is the key to KB Brookins' memoir, with poems. The voice is angry, hilarious and proud as Brookins chronicles their Fort Worth, Texas, childhood, beginning with a "false girlhood" and ending, after a medical transition, with them secure in their identify as non-binary and trans/masculine. "Pretty" is less than 200 pages, but it covers a lot of ground: childhood sexual abuse and racism, rebelling against the family's fundamentalist church and grappling with identity, even as a child who defined their personality this way: "naked Barbies, burps loud enough to laugh at and a bedazzled CD player with gospel mixes made by my piano-playing mother." It's a passionate book that demands better for Brookins' Black, LGBTQ peers but also insists that, while we are "a long way from queer and trans people feeling fully safe in any place in the U.S.A, it isn't out of reach."

The Sons of El Rey
The Sons of El Rey

The Sons of El Rey — From its tantalizing first paragraph ("A friend once told me the dead tell the best lies. I will try to be honest even though I never learned how.") to its moving conclusion, Alex Espinoza's novel is packed with surprises. It starts with juxtaposing luchadores, the flamboyant Mexican and Mexican American wrestlers who wear capes, and a young gay man who works in a gym while wrestling with his own identity. Although, given that HBO's "We Are Here" also recently explored gayness in the world of wrestling, maybe Espinoza's tough, romantic epic has caught a trend?