LGBTQ Pride Month Memoirs: Alan Cumming, Portia De Rossi, and George Takei

3 Jun

For last year’s Pride Month, I looked at three of my favorite authors who are members of the LGBTQ community and who also focused much of their fiction on LGBTQ characters.  For this year though, I wanted to look at memoirs or biopics from some of my favorite actors who are proud to be part of the LGBTQ community including Alan Cumming, Portia de Rossi, and George Takei.  Their lives despite some difficult times are truly inspirational no matter what your orientation.

We hope you can join us for the Hoboken Public Library’s June LGBTQ Events including a panel discussion on June 4 at 6:30 PM, a Gems of In the Life screening on June 18 at 6:30 PM, and on June 25 at 6:30 PM, performances of works written by famous lesbian poets and musicians.  You can learn more on our website and RSVP on Eventbrite.  There will also be a display in honor of Pride Month in the library’s second floor display cases.

Alan Cumming’s Not My Father’s Son

not-my-fathers-son
I’ve always been a fan of Scottish actor Alan Cumming’s work. There is a charm that he brings to any of his performance that gives greater depth from everything from a cabaret MC to his latest role on the Good Wife.  Cumming has been out as a bisexual since the late nineties and since then has taken part in numerous fundraisers for various LGBTQ causes.  Despite all his success, his childhood was much darker time.  Not My Father’s Son looks at Cumming’s relationship with his father Alex, who was emotionally and physically abusive; as well as the history of his maternal grandfather who died mysteriously overseas.  Cumming unflinchingly recounts the abuse his father heaped on him, and although at times painful to read, one feels Cumming’s commitment to shine a light on an often hidden crime, as well as helping give hope to those who have gone or are going through similar situations.  The mystery of Cumming’s grandfather has a bittersweet conclusion, but the love he shares with his brother, mom, and husband shines through in even the darkest moments.  Not My Father’s Son is not a light read, but memoir fans will find it a page turner.  It is available as a print book from the Hoboken Public Library as well as an eBook from eBCCLS and eLibraryNJ.

Portia de Rossi’s Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain

unbearable-lightness
I thought Portia de Rossi was fantastically funny on the quirky TV Show Arrested Development so I was curious to read more about her life.  Looking at de Rossi, who started her career in the spot light as a young model, you wouldn’t imagine she was riddled with self-doubt and desperate to see herself as attractive, but her memoir, Unbearable Lightness, from 2010 chronicles how her need to stay thin for her acting roles and her fears of being outed as a lesbian keeping her from connecting to those around her, precipitated an eating disorder.  She chronicles how her obsession with food began and how she counted each calorie so exactingly.  She keeps her orientation and her anorexia a secret until her body begins to breakdown.  Love and acceptance of herself bring a transformation and an understanding about how to give herself what she needs in balance in both nutrition and her life. Unbearable Lightness will be especially inspiring to those who have or know someone who is struggling with an eating disorder.  Unbearable Lightness is available as a print book from the Hoboken Public Library as well as an eBook from eBCCLS.

George Takei’s To Be Takei

to-be-takei
If you are a Star Trek fan like I am, you will be sure to enjoy To Be Takei, which focuses primarily on George Takei as an actor/celebrity and as a LGBTQ activist.  But even non-Trekkies will appreciate this documentary, which also looks back to Takei’s childhood during which his family was placed in World War II Japanese American Internment Camps besides highlighting happier events in his life such as pivotal acting roles and meeting his husband.  I enjoyed the humorous and insightful remarks of his fellow Star Trek cast mates.  To Be Takei follows Takei to numerous speaking engagements as well as more personal moments such as when his husband is scattering the ashes of his mother at an overlook (which manages to be touching and funny at the same time).  Takei is inspirational in the rode he paved for other Japanese American actors and members of the LGBTQ community.  You can borrow the DVD from the Hoboken Public Library or watch To Be Takei on Hoopla.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

One Response to “LGBTQ Pride Month Memoirs: Alan Cumming, Portia De Rossi, and George Takei”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. LGBTQ Pride Month Selections that Show Families Can Come in Many Shapes: Romeo, Romeo; Chutney Popcorn; and Any Day Now | Hoboken Library Staff Picks - June 1, 2016

    […] in past Junes I’ve written about some amazing LGBT authors and biographies of some of my favorite LGB actors, for this year’s post I wanted to blog about some films that […]

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