Punk Love Foucault: A Memoir

Gabe Riggs
Village Books (2017)
ISBN 9780692918326
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (1/18)

“Punk Love Foucault: A Memoir” by Gabe Riggs is an emotionally charged, extraordinary read, written with passion, anger and honesty. I could not put the book down as I was so caught up in the author’s inner turmoil and trying to live in a society that didn’t know how to accept him; given that society tends to accept a person on their gender if they fit within their standards.

Many books address technical terms for those who they believe have sexual identity issues but few are written about living as transgender that includes rejection from family, friends, and trying to figure out who they are in a world that doesn’t accept being different. 

I found it interesting, but not surprising that transgender individuals as compared to the general population, live in poverty, are homeless, and often fired from their jobs once they disclose they are transgendered.

The only time Gabe found peace was when he was alone. Not only was he taken advantage of by others, but he was also beaten and sexually abused, and had a history of running away. His familial background found a mother who was emotionally absent and verbally abusive. She was not able to show any affection or relate to any of Gabe’s feelings.

The memoir starts with Gabe being taken to college by Harriet and Bob Jensen, two overt Christians who took in a “homeless queer boy.” Their parting words to Gabe were, “You can call us or not. It is entirely up to you.”

During the course of going to college, being homeless and jobless Gabe learned to be punk. Not bathing, dumpster diving, living in filth and taking his anger out on others, innocent or not, seemed to be his way of life at that point. As his anger and feelings of being lost grew, he and his friends became thugs.

The author does an excellent job of expressing how he felt on entitlements, judging others without any justification and punishment of others based on their own inner feelings. I will say that this part of the reading is harsh and hard to read, but when you don’t love yourself, I can see how this would happen. Raw emotion is hard to accept especially for readers who are not used to it.

“Punk Love Foucalt: A Memoir” by Gabe Riggs is written by an exceptionally bright and passionate author who has seen and experienced the worst of the worst, yet he has survived only to help others in the LGBTQ community find their voice and live as who they truly are. Highly recommended reading.

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