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‘War Diaries’ edited by Tisa Bryant and Ernest Hardy

‘War Diaries’ edited by Tisa Bryant and Ernest Hardy

Author: Sassafras Lowrey

August 17, 2011

What War Diaries (AIDS Project Los Angeles & the Global Forum on MSM and HIV), edited by Tisa Bryant and Ernest Hardy, lacks in polish it more than makes up for with an impacted and blunt beauty. This new anthology published by AIDS Project Los Angeles & the Global Forum on MSM and HIV offers refreshingly raw and poignant commentary on the AIDS epidemic and its particular and ongoing impact on black LGBTQ communities. Bringing together short stories, poetry and photography, War Diaries offers an in your face account of the impact of HIV/AIDS from infected and affected community members.

In talking about and describing “the war” editors Bryant and Hardy say,

We are beaten, raped, disowned and slaughtered by people we love and whom we thought loved us. We are beaten, raped, slaughtered and just plain old fucked with by people who don’t know us at all.  The fact that this is not news to us does not make it less painful for us. We are disproportionately poor, disproportionately sick. We are the scapegoats residing in the interstices of race/sexuality/gender/class/religion/revolution, simultaneously the all –purpose boogeyman and invisible.

Bryant and Hardy have done an exquisite job of cultivating a collection of stories that gets to the nuances of oppression, love and survival. The stories that comprise War Diaries are fresh and poignant. They are at once a call to action for those who have and continue to ignore the HIV/AIDS epidemic, memorial for those lost, and a commitment to continue fighting in their memory and for those who are still living.

I was particularly drawn to the profound honesty of each contributor as they spoke about their lives, and communities in ways that I seldom see in anthologies. War Diaries feels like a living, breathing text that unfolds organically with each page turn ricocheting from vivid descriptions of hate crime violence to tender tales of sex and punctuated by photographs and poetry. This is a special collection that fills a void in queer and HIV/AIDS literature alike by putting to page the stories that too often remain silenced even within our communities.

Edited by Tisa Bryant and Ernest Hardy
AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) and The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF)
Paperback/Digital Download, 9780984126804, 87pp.
August 2010
Sassafras Lowrey photo

About: Sassafras Lowrey

Sassafras Lowrey is straight-edge punk who grew up to become the 2013 winner of the Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award. Hir books—Lost Boi, A Little Queermas Carol, Roving Pack, Leather Ever After, and Kicked Out—have been honored by organizations ranging from the National Leather Association to the American Library Association. Hir nonfiction book Left Out: How Marriage Equality Abandoned Homeless LGBTQ Youth is forthcoming from The New Press, and TRICKS IN THE CITY: For Daring Doggos and the Humans that Love Them is forthcoming from Mango Publishing. Sassafras' fiction and nonfiction work has appeared in numerous anthologies, literary journals, and magazines and ze facilitates writing workshops at colleges, conferences, and homeless shelters across the country. Sassafras has recently relocated from Brooklyn to Portland with hir partner, and their menagerie of dogs and cats. Learn more at

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