Queer Conversations is a part of the LGBT Resource Center's educational programming. Based in dialogue and knowledge sharing, Queer Conversations creates a space for LGBTQIA+ students to explore nuanced topics within the LGBT community such as queer sexual wellness, racism in the queer community, the intersections of faith and sexuality, and more.
Queer Conversations: Summer Book Club
Summer 2021: Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
The conversations aren't stopping for the summer! Join the LGBT Resource Center's first summer book club, featuring Gabby Rivera's novel Juliet Takes a Breath. Meet with fellow students and LGBT RC staff throughout the summer as we discuss Juliet Milagros Palante's own summer adventures exploring her lesbian and Puerto Rican identities, feminism, Portland hippies, family (chosen and blood), and of course love.
How to Participate
Queer Conversations is open to all students at the University of Utah. You do not need to be enrolled in Summer Semester courses to join. Students who participate will receive a free copy of the book, with their choice of reading the full-length hardback novel or the graphic novel adaptation.
We will meet 4 times over the summer, with each meeting set to talk about specific sections or themes in the novel (graphic novel readers will not follow these specific chapters) :
- Friday, June18th 3:30-5:00pm -- Introductory meeting; receive books, intro activities
- Friday, July 9th 3:30-5:00pm -- Preface - Chapter 8
- Thursday, July 22nd 3:30-5:00pm -- Chapters 9-17
- Friday, August 6th 3:30-5:00pm -- Chapter 18-Epilogue
Participants do not have to attend every meeting and there is no pressure to have read all chapters before meeting or to stick with the book club's pacing. In addition to the book club meetings, participants will be invited to an online chat through our Discord Virtual Lounge to be able to talk with others about the book, expand on conversations that happened in meetings, or touch on things we couldn't get to on your own time.
About The Book
Juliet Takes a Breath isn't your everyday coming-of-age story. Protagonist and narrator Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx for a summer internship in Portland, Oregon just after coming out to her family. Still figuring out where she fits within multiple communities (among women, Puerto Ricans, queers), Juliet hopes to find some answers in her favorite author and "celesbian" Harlowe Brisbane, the authority on all things feminism, women's bodies, and smashing the patriarchy. But as magical as hippy Portland seems, Juliet quickly begins to realize she's coming up with more questions than answers.
About the Author
Gabby Rivera's website describes her as a "Bronx-born, queer Puerto Rican author on a mission to create the wildest, most fun stories ever." As a writer, she focuses on queer Latinx joy. In addition to penning her critically acclaimed debut novel Juliet Takes a Breath, Rivera is also the first Latina to write for Marvel Comics with her comic series America and is also currently writing her own original comic series b.b. free. In 2020 she began her podcast joy revolution where she asks guests and listeners "how do you prioritize joy?".
Themes & Topics
Queer Conversations is a program designed to generate discussions about specific topics and nuances about and within LGBTQIA+ experiences. Reading Juliet Takes a Breath is one way to create space for learning and conversation about various topics as the book presents a variety of themes and ideas. The book club meetings may include conversations about any of the following:
- Puerto Rican history
- Racism in queer spaces
- Coming out
- Body image
- Polyamory and other relationship structures
- White privilege
- And plenty more!
The book also explicitly or implicitly addresses some of the following content: sexual harassment, racism, menstruation, drugs, and sex.