What do you do when your love is illegal? There are still many places in the world where queer people have no government protection against harassment and physical harm. Most recently, Brunei has instituted a law that makes homosexuality punishable by death. The government of Chechnya has been hunting down its LGBTQ citizens. The Putin government in Russia passed an anti-gay propaganda law that prompted a spike in hate crimes in that country.
The Order of Nature is a gay love story that takes place in The Gambia, Africa. Its two protagonists, an American volunteer and a Gambian hotel bartender, meet by chance and pursue a relationship, facing mounting challenges and tragedies due to The Gambia’s culture of homophobia. The author, Josh Scheinert, spent a year teaching law at the University of The Gambia, which inspired the story. In his words:
I came to appreciate the real challenges LGBTQ people face in countries where laws criminalize who they are. During my time in The Gambia, I was in the closet. And even though my experience was wonderful, I knew that if there was ever a problem, I could easily return home, where home meant comfort and safety. For too many people, that luxury does not exist. I wrote The Order of Nature to provide readers a window into what it means to live a life that’s illegal.
The Order of Nature is available at Giovanni’s Room in Philadelphia, “The Oldest & Very Best LGBTQ & Feminist Bookstore in the Country.” Buy the book online here.
For our British readers, you can find the book at Gay’s the Word in London.
IN PERSON: Scheinert will be speaking on May 4 at the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
The OMG Book Club highlights new, must-read literature available at independent queer bookstores around the world.