Jonathan Van Ness’ new book hopes readers will ‘love this story’

Jonathan Van Ness is always curious – their podcast and the Netflix series “Getting Curious” surely reveal it. From now on, book lovers will also be curious.

In their second book, “Love That Story: Observations From a Gorgeously Queer Life” (HarperOne, 241 pp., available now), Van Ness takes readers on a journey through 11 educational chapters involving queer history, body shame and impostor syndrome.

Fans of Van Ness’ 2019 memoir ‘Over the Top’ can expect fewer heartbreaking stories (but a major warning if you’ve lost a pet recently) and more empowering resilience and the rewards that come with it. of expanding your mind.

“Saying you’re an HIV-positive survivor of sexual abuse and addiction is a pretty big band-aid to rip off,” ‘Queer Eye’ star Van Ness said on a Zoom call. “Once I got ripped off on that one, I was like, ‘Oh, nothing’s gonna be this intense anymore, probably knock on wood. “”

Consider this book an insight into their brains and why they think the way they do.

“I want to write what I learned, what motivated me,” says Van Ness, energetic and hotheaded. “I want to give insight into where I am, and why I’m like that, and what I’ve learned to make me think that way.”

The book mixes the personal with the historical: the history of marijuana prohibition in the United States; white fragility; the HIV social safety net; and the eerie backstory behind Van Ness’ hometown of Quincy, Illinois. They discovered where queer people used to congregate, from the 1830s until today, and the important local figures involved. Discovering all of this reminded Van Ness of how transgender, non-binary, and queer people have been erased throughout history.

“You are made to believe that you are the first,” they say. “You are made to believe that there is no one else around you.”

This thought process comes through in another chapter titled “TERF Wars,” which takes direct aim at trans-exclusionary radical feminism. People who share these views, like author JK Rowling, believe that the existence of transgender women is a threat to all women.

“I think for JK Rowling’s trans and non-binary fans who have felt triggered by her transphobia, the pain has been compounded because so many of us have turned to her storytelling to escape the pain that has been brought upon us. inflicted,” writes Van Ness in their book.

Van Ness – who uses the pronouns he, she and they – says this view comes “from a place of pain” and “from a place of fear”.

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