Untangling the Knot: Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships & Identity

Untangling the Knot: Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships & Identity

by Carter Sickels (Editor)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781932010756
Publisher: Ooligan Press
Publication date: 02/28/2015
Series: OpenBook Series
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 1,318,906
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.80(h) x 4.00(d)

About the Author

Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Evening Hour , a finalist for the 2013 Oregon Book Award, the Lambda Literary Debut Fiction Award, and the Publishing Triangle Debut Fiction Award. He is the recipient of the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, a project grant from RACC, and an NEA Fellowship to the Hambidge Center for the Arts. His short stories and literary essays have appeared in a broad range of periodicals and anthologies, from Appalachian Heritage to The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard. He’s been awarded fellowships or scholarships to Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the MacDowell Colony, and VCCA. He teaches in low-residency MFA programs at West Virginia Wesleyan University and Eastern Oregon University. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction • Carter Sickels
  2. We Are Not Like Everyone Else • Ben Anderson-Nathe

    Explores the complexities of family forms and the failure of marriage as a construct to address these forms.
  3. Holding Hands in Pocatello • Pamela Helberg

    Explains how marriage equality will not mean an end to internalized shame that results from external prejudice.
  4. Televised • Emanuel Xavier

    A call to remember the Stonewall Revolution and the impoverished in the LGBT community, a group largely ignored within the marriage equality movement.
  5. We Were a Pretty Picture • Ariel Gore

    Discusses the failure of marriage, family court, and other institutions to address global concerns within the queer community.
  6. Marriage Throws a Monkey Wrench • Jeanne Cordova

    Acknowledges the current power of marriage in our society, but questions the legitimacy of that power, and explores her concerns that winning or losing the centralized issue of the right to marry will nullify the progress of the LGBTQ movement.
  7. Changing My Mind • Francesca Royster

    Discusses the powerful effect that her parents' divorce had on her understanding of relationships and marriage, and how her acceptance of self and coming out led to a loving relationship and the adoption of her daughter.
  8. The Days of Emerald City • Casey Plett

    Explores the difficulties of navigating identity and established relationships while transitioning.
  9. Erasure • Trish Bendix

    Describes the refusal of her wife's relatives to acknowledge her as a part of their family.
  10. So Much More than Paperwork • Chelsea A. Rice

    Deals with the difficulty of proving her partnership in a state that has no marriage equality or domestic partnerships while she struggles with bladder cancer.
  11. Sakura, Ayame and a Cotton Judogi • Ryka Aoki

    Discusses how marriage equality will not heal the brokenness of those in the queer community who have been traumatized.
  12. The Boys Club • Tucker Garcia

    The story of a moment when the author is confronted with the lack of acceptance he faces due to his identity.
  13. Allegiance • Fabian Romero

    Explains their personal rejection of marriage in light of colonization, assimilation, exclusivity, and the more pressing social concerns of the LBTBQIA community.
  14. Six Point Win • Penny Guisinger

    Highlights the ways in which marriage laws, though critical, do little to address the issues faced by LGBT individuals living in communities that are not accepting, regardless of the legal status of relationships.
  15. Be De Pride • Minh Pham

    Candid writing about being part of the Vietnamese American community and gay.
  16. Wedding Bells • Joseph DeFelippis

    Addresses the reality that many LGBT families are threatened rather than serviced by marriage equality laws by detailing several nontraditional family structures that will not only fail to be recognized by marriage equality, but face eradication.
  17. We Have Cancer • Meg Stone

    The author reflects about the advancement of status and rights for those married under equality laws while working through the struggle as her partner fights cancer.
  18. A Diagram of My Family • BR Sanders

    Discusses the inability of the term "marriage" to encompass non-binary family structures.
  19. Shaping Bronx Queer Activism • Charles Rice-Gonzalez

    Explores the early momentum of the marriage equality movement, and how many members of the LGBTQ community felt it was one small issue that did little to address the major, core issues that they faced in day-to-day lives of LGBTQ individuals.
  20. On Marriage Equality • Jackson and Kristopher Schultz

    Discusses the paradox of needing the legal protection provided by domestic partnership or marriage and their personal rejection of the institution, as well as why they consider the LGBTQ community's focus on marriage misplaced.
  21. The Empire Builder • A.M. O'Malley

    The author's story about her train ride from the Midwest to a new life with her girlfriend in Oregon underscores the means by which members of the LGBTQ community have long created families of their own absent societal expectations or legalities.
  22. Unequal Wedding • Regina Sewell

    Addresses the difference between marriage equality and genuine, cultural equality, and states that marriage laws will not and do not mean an end to prejudice.
  23. In a Small Town • Everett Maroon

    Addresses many issues, including LGBTQ youth homelessness and health care for the transgendered.
  24. Beyond Having • Sailor Holladay

    Explains that marriage may not only be undesirable, but also beyond the reach of many LGBTQ individuals. The piece explores other domestic arrangements that may be more fulfilling and less exclusionary.
  25. When Outlaws Marry • Judith Barrington

    Discusses her own marriage and her ambiguous feelings about the institution, as well as her fears that younger generations will fail to remember the cost of achieving marriage equality.
  26. Turbo • Mel Wells

    Deals with the strain of growing up in a highly religious community that voiced condemnation of homosexuality and the search for true identity and an accepting community.


What People are Saying About This

Ryan K. Sallans


"There is no denying the debate surrounding marriage equality and what it means for LGBTQ families is complex and layered with varying interpretations. Untangling the Knot shares with readers diverse voices and views of how marriage both helps and hinders the LGBTQ civil rights movement."
– Ryan K. Sallans, author of Second Son: Transitioning Toward My Destiny, Life and Love

Amy Hoffman


"Untangling the Knot is a valuable contribution not only to discussions of same-sex marriage but also to debates about priorities for the LGBTQ movement and indeed for all movements for social change. The collection is a joy to read and fruitful to contemplate."
- Amy Hoffman, author of Lies About My Family and editor in chief of Women’s Review of Books

Andrew Solomon

"This book's mix of viewpoints demonstrates the complexity of the defining struggle of gay rights in our time, showing that gay marriage is not the monolith that political expedience often makes it seem. These writers speak with passion about love, law, loss, generational differences, and identity. This is an urgent and timely book. "

—Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity and The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

From the Publisher

"There is no denying the debate surrounding marriage equality and what it means for LGBTQ families is complex and layered with varying interpretations. Untangling the Knot shares with readers diverse voices and views of how marriage both helps and hinders the LGBTQ civil rights movement."

—Ryan K. Sallans, author of Second Son: Transitioning Toward My Destiny, Life and Love

" Untangling the Knot is a valuable contribution not only to discussions of same-sex marriage but also to debates about priorities for the LGBTQ movement and indeed for all movements for social change. The collection is a joy to read and fruitful to contemplate."

—Amy Hoffman, author of Lies About My Family and editor in chief of Women’s Review of Books

Abigail Garner

"Moving and heartfelt, Untangling the Knot is a validating reality check for every queer activist who has been pushed to the margins for challenging the tidy and normalized sound bites about marriage. Talented storytellers with remarkably diverse identities and perspectives are reclaiming the pressing issues that have been masked by mainstream marriage fever."

—Abigail Garner, author of Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is

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Untangling the Knot: Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships & Identity 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even just reading the introduction, I may have started crying a little. I think everyone remembers the day gay marriage passed in Oregon and now throughout the US. Most importantly, this book serves as a reminder that we still have so much further to go (and not just in terms of the way we treat gender and sexuality). Most of the essays or short stories center on marriage, which makes these stories almost a representation of a specific place in time. And yet they also expand on different themes that are immediately applicable to any reader (personal identity, law, family, homelessness, activism, even immigration). The stories are all stand-alone (although you can’t always tell what it will be about based on the titles or the organization of the overall work), yet range from the academic to the deeply emotional. I found so much depth and meaning in this book and avidly recommend it to anyone and everyone. You will learn from it. And probably cry. Well, definitely cry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Untangling the Knot is a collection of LGBTQ essays that presents an array of supporting and dissenting stances on the struggle for marriage equality from writers within queer communities. From political to personal, this collection illustrates the consequences of non-dominant groups conforming to the dominant institution of marriage: who is affected, whose goals are supported and who is further marginalized in the process.