A Novel That Inspires Political Action

“My Government Means to Kill Me”


Olivia Moody, Newspaper Editor

Being a part of the queer community, I know very well that everyone’s story is vastly different, so I strive to learn as many stories as possible. 

I picked up the novel, “My Government Means to Kill Me” by Rasheed Newson on a whim at the Ames Library with no background knowledge of the plot. 

The book follows Trey, a Black gay man, as he moves from his oppressive home in Indiana to New York City at the ripe age of 17. Being set in the 1980s and focusing on the queer community, Trey is quickly made aware of the AIDS crisis and the book explores how he grows into his sexuality and political action. 

While I would argue that I am pretty well educated on queer history, all self-researched obviously, this book provided me with a raw and emotional history of the AIDS crisis and the gay rights movement in NYC. 

With the recent legislation being proposed in Iowa, this book made me feel closer to those that risked their lives for my rights and made me feel slightly ashamed that I have not done more to keep those rights in place for generations to come. 

Books are the way that I discovered my sexuality and the way that I have educated myself on the vastly different, yet connected, queer community. This book was no different and I highly recommend the read, not only because it was extremely riveting, but also because of the reminder of how far we have come, yet how close our history is behind us. 

Even if you do not go to protests, or donate or sign petitions, I recommend that everyone read books featuring the queer experience in all of its forms to gain a more acute understanding of the queer community. 

To learn more about the legislation being introduced into the Iowa government visit this website, https://oneiowaaction.org/anti-lgbtq-bills-2023/