Tomás Prower’s Queer Magic explores the seemingly heteronormative history of the world’s religions and turns it on its head. It delves into overlooked or rewritten deities, historical figures, and religions with inclusive politics, resulting in a truly important work.
Queer Magic probes the world’s religions for evidence of queer figures, mythological or otherwise. Each chapter provides numerous insights into the historical existence of queer people in religious texts or traditions—as with Hindu deities who defy gender norms and the controversial tale of the only female pope. This book packs every page with carefully researched information.
There is a constant focus on queer empowerment, including advice on how to take this newfound knowledge and use it for personal fulfillment. At the end of every chapter, a range of diverse speakers who belong to the LGBTQ community comment on spirituality, life at the margins, and more. Prose is straightforward and accessible, and reading is quick and engaging.
Queer Magic falters only in its broad assumptions about certain cultures. For example, it assumes that West Africa has a certain attitude about homosexuality because of Catholicism’s influence there but does not provide broader evidence for this notion. Several such opinions are presented as uniform facts. In addition, despite presenting itself as a progressive book and denying the existence of an inherent gender binary, phrases like “the opposite sex” abound.
In a world where history is told by the victors, large swaths of the past are erased as times change and certain identities are deemed “unnatural.” Queer Magic asks us to unlearn what we’ve thought about the global past and instead substitutes an inclusive, more accurate world history, where queer identities are plenty.
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