I love everything about this book, from the meticulous research, to the beautiful cover, to the stunning revelations it holds. Martin and Ozma have compiled a thoughtful, hilarious, sexy collection of Lou Sullivan’s personal diaries. Do you not know about Lou Sullivan yet? A trans icon if there ever was one, he paved the way for gay trans men, who had previously been barred from medical transition. This collection covers myriad topics: Sullivan’s Midwestern childhood, his lifelong activism, his penchant for men wearing jewelry. I went to town underlining this book. Every few pages, I would put it down so I could look out the nearest window and sigh wistfully. It’s a beautiful thing, being seen. Thank you, Martin and Ozma, for the gift of this book. Recommended By Kyan F., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
2020 Lambda Literary Award Winner
"Celebratory, even radical" The New Yorker
We Both Laughed In Pleasure: The Selected Diaries of Lou Sullivan narrates the inner life of a gay man moving through the shifting social, political, and medical mores of the second half of the 20th century. Sullivan kept comprehensive journals from age 11 until his AIDS-related death at 39. Sensual, lascivious, challenging, quotidian and poetic, the diaries complicate and disrupt normative trans narratives. Entries from twenty-four diaries reveal Sullivan's self-articulation and the complexity of a fascinating and courageous figure.
"It feels like a gift to be able to read such a complete and evocative record of a life spent in pursuit of joy" The Nation
"Here is your chance to meet Lou Sullivan in his own words, as he experienced himself in the process of becoming. Zach Ozma and Ellis Martin have done a beautiful job curating passages that preserve all the voyeuristic pleasure of reading someone's diary...The Lou who emerges is contemplative and bold, despairing and determined, promiscuous and romantic, and powerfully aroused by men wearing jewelry. Bring him home with you." Julian Carter
"This finely edited collection pulls out threads like gender self-determination, illicit queer sexual desire, and relationship woes that span his entire life. The volume reads like an open letter written for future queer trans people longing to understand their identities and experiences across time and space." Chris Vargas
About the Author
Louis G. Sullivan (b. Milwaukee, 1951; d. San Francisco, 1991) was a writer, activist, typesetter, trans historian and ground breaking queer activist. Sullivan began writing his life in diaries as an adolescent and continued until his death from AIDS complications. The first publicly gay trans man to medically transition, Lou meticulously journaled his experiences (romantic, lascivious, challenging, quotidian, poetic, political). Sullivan left 8.4 cubic feet of archival material from his life and studies to the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco, of which he was a founding member.
Ellis Martin works with digital derivatives in the interstice of art and archive. He holds a BA in Visual and Critical Studies from Mills College. His short films have screened at San Francisco Transgender Film Festival and Trans Stellar Film Festival.
Zach Ozma is a poet, potter, and social practice artist. In 2015, Ozma received a BFA in Community Arts from California College of the Arts in Oakland. He lives and works in Philadelphia and is the author of BLACK DOG DRINKING FROM AN OUTDOOR POOL.