Reading The Rainbow is an original regular feature at Musings From Neville’s Navel. I’m a queer bookworm who loves to geek out about books and LGBTQ+ topics, so why not talk about both subjects at once?! Basically, I review books with queer characters and/or themes, discuss the pros and cons of each, and tell you which stories are worth your time!
Author: Multiple contributors
Length: 46 pages
Published by: Lonely Planet
Date of publication: 2015
We selected twenty of the biggest, most welcoming, and jump-on-a-plane-worthy gay pride events around the world, and our global community of travel writers dished out their top tips to each city’s celebration, along with the best places to eat, drink, and sleep and the experiences not to be missed while there.
Packed with expert advice, invaluable information and full-color photography, Lonely Planet’s Guide to Pride will inspire wanderlust in the LGBT travelers who have long been part of the Lonely Planet community. Even if you miss Pride, the destinations and travel tips in this book will serve you year-round.
Previous Reading The Rainbow posts may be found here.
I finally got my very own phone, just a few weeks ago! As soon as I got it I
took a bunch of pictures of my cat checked iBooks to see what cool free ebooks were available. I found (and downloaded) almost all of the Sherlock Holmes short stories and novel, and I found some awesome-looking mini stories from Marvel Comics too!
And I found this book, Lonely Planet’s Guide to Pride: 20 Cities & Their Celebrations. Like all the other books I downloaded, it was free – although I don’t know if that will change? It might be free only during June, since this is LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
Anyway, I’ve decided to review it because A) I love learning about other cultures and B) I want to talk about LGBTQ+ nonfiction as well as fiction! ALSO. Before I get started, I just want to point out that I was not asked to review this guide, and this shouldn’t be considered a promo? Like, it’s just a plain old review. I don’t know… I felt like I should mention this because I haven’t reviewed any LGBTQ+ books – or books from any genre, really – that were directly tied to a certain company, and I don’t want anyone to misconstrue the intent of this review.
ANYWAY. Let’s get started! You can download the book here if you’re interested.
Lonely Planet’s Guide to Pride showcases the following twenty cities:
Amsterdam | Atlanta | Auckland | Berlin | Buenos Aires
Cape Town | Dublin | London | Madrid | Melbourne
New York City | Paris | Puerto Vallarta | Reykjavík
San Francisco | São Paulo | Sydney | Taipei | Toronto | Vancouver
The book follows the same format for each city: First, there’s a description of “the local LGBT scene” and the city’s Pride celebration. This is followed by some basic info about the Pride parade – when, where, estimated attendance, best places to watch the parade, and a link to the celebration’s official website.
The majority of the info for each city, however, comes next. There are four sections, titled “Where to Sleep,” “Where to Eat,” “Drinking & Nightlife,” and “Don’t Miss.” The last one describes places to visit, which may or may not be LGBTQ+ related. Each section discussed two different options, and listed relevant information such as phone numbers and websites. Each city’s entry is accompanied by four photos – usually two of the city itself and two of its Pride celebrations.
(I’ll have you know that I read ALL OF THE SECTIONS because I’m dutiful like that when it comes to reviews, even though Little Introverted Me was internally screaming at the thought of DRINKING & NIGHTLIFE. My idea of a great night would involve spending the evening in my hotel room, cuddling with my hypothetical girlfriend and reading whatever awesome and hella gay novel we’d picked up earlier that day at a bookstore. Never let it be said that I don’t know how to have fun.)
Each city is given a two-page spread, which means that Lonely Planet’s Guide to Pride is SUPER SHORT. Like REALLY SHORT. The forty-six-page length is… both a strength and a weakness, IMO? It’s a very quick read and fun to browse through, but at the same time I would’ve preferred more information, especially concerning places to visit. It’s a good start, I suppose – then branch out and do your own research in order to come up with more ideas for sightseeing.
Mostly, I came away from this book knowing a bunch of random facts:
1. Atlanta, GA is considered one of America’s gayest cities.
2. Amsterdam’s Pride parade is the only one held on boats.
3. Amsterdam also has a memorial called the Homomonument. (I LOLed for two seconds because OMG IF ANYONE EVER BUILDS A MEMORIAL TO ME, IT SHOULD BE NAMED THE HOMOMONUMENT. And then I got more serious because oh, it turns out that it commemorate queer victims of Nazi concentration camps.)
4. I’m sorry to keep harping on about the Netherlands but did you know it was the first country with marriage equality, way back in 2001?! I didn’t. [Makes plans to move to Amsterdam]
5. São Paulo’s Pride parade is the largest in the world, with some five MILLION participants! [Distressed introvert noises]
6. Puerto Vallarta is often called the San Francisco of Mexico. AAAAH I SPEAK SPANISH (well, mostly) SO CLEARLY I NEED TO GO THERE ASAP AND BE SO FREAKING GAY.
7. In 2009 Iceland elected the world’s first openly gay – well, lesbian, actually – Prime Minister. Who would’ve guessed that Reykjavík, of all places, is fabulously gay and extremely accepting?!
8. If I ever get the chance to visit San Francisco again I should
eat all the dumplings in Chinatown yum yum yum visit the Mission district because that’s where all the queer women are. Apparently.
9. Cape Town, Auckland, Sydney, and Melbourne all hold their Pride celebrations in February or March, which surprised me until I realized… DUH, that’s summer for them!
10. New York City has a museum entirely dedicated to LGBTQ+ art!
Personally, I would’ve liked to read about some cities not located in either Europe or North America. Australia, New Zealand, and South America were decently represented, but Africa and Asia received one entry apiece, and there was absolutely nothing about the Middle East!
Perhaps my biggest critique of Lonely Planet’s Guide to Pride, however, has nothing to do with location… and everything to do with PEOPLE. The guide’s introduction claims that,
“In the spirit of Pride, we’ve endeavored to make this guide as inclusive as possible, even if many cities’ lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered [sic] scenes aren’t as visible as their gay male counterparts.”
Wow, really, guys? Because it looks to me like you didn’t try very hard.
About eighty percent of the recommendations were geared towards gay dudes, and the remaining twenty percent was for lesbians. I did not see ANYTHING about/for bisexual and transgender folks. (Let alone anyone whose identity is contained within the “Q+” of “LGBTQ+.”)
I am well aware that it may be harder to find places for the B and T part of the acronym because there simply aren’t as many of them, but… you could have at least TRIED, Lonely Planet. You could’ve included SOMETHING for them, rather than mention them once, briefly, in the introduction and then never mention them again.
I’m tired of how “LGBTQ+” so frequently becomes “GAY GUYS GAY GUYS GAY GUYS HEY GUESS WHAT? MORE GAY GUYS.” If you’re going to write a book for the “LG” parts of our acronym, then SAY SO. I downloaded this ebook because I thought it would be a fun, inclusive guide, and it… wasn’t?
It may have been fun, but it definitely wasn’t inclusive.
I would recommend this book to…
- Those who love traveling
- People who are planning a vacation
- “Armchair travelers” who love reading about different countries and cultures
…gay guys who think the acryonym is actually GGGGGG?
LE SIGH. I was SO FLIPPING EXCITED to read Lonely Planet’s Guide to Pride: 20 Cities & Their Celebrations, and now I feel a little deceived. It’s presented as this AWESOME GUIDE FOR ALL QUEER PEOPLE EVER, and it… wasn’t.
It’s important to talk about the entire LGBTQ+ acronym – or at least make an effort to do so – and I did not see any such attempt in this book. Sure, I enjoyed reading about what makes each city’s Pride celebrations unique, and I learned a bunch of new factoids. It was fun to “armchair travel” for the hour or so that it took me to read Lonely Planet’s Guide to Pride, but I am INCREDIBLY disappointed by the guide’s hyperfocus on gay guys to the detriment of everyone else.
I looked forward to read this book because it wasn’t labeled as a “guide to gay Pride,” just as a “guide to Pride.” For a book that bills itself as being about ALL of Pride, this guide certainly wasn’t. Blehhhh. I was SO EXCITED, peoples! I wanted to read this book and then tell you all about how awesome it was, but instead I can’t truthfully say that I would STRONGLY recommend this book to anyone. Lonely Planet’s Guide to Pride earns, at best, a very weak recommendation from me.