by Brandon J. Wolf
From one of the most vital and passionate LGBTQ+ activists comes a powerful memoir about self-discovery, community, love, and resilience in the face of adversity.
You never forget your first. First kiss. First love. First heartache. They all burrow their way into your subconscious, destined to reshape how you see the world forever.
Growing up in rural Oregon, Brandon Wolf grappled with the devastating loss of his supportive mother and with the embedded racism and homophobia of a community that made him feel like an unwelcome stranger. After the lack of connection and role models led him down a spiral of risky behavior, Wolf escaped to survive. In Orlando, he found what he'd been searching for: belonging--in a community that was a safe space with people he'd come to call his chosen family. They taught Wolf how to love, and be loved, unconditionally. Then, on June 12, 2016, in an exhilarating refuge where Wolf and hundreds of others had discovered a liberating new normal, they were suddenly challenged with fighting for a way out--in order to survive. Overnight, everything was ripped away by chaos, panic, and fear. But the unimaginable tragedy also gave Wolf a new power: purpose.
In this unforgettable coming-of-age memoir, Wolf shares his transformative journey from young outsider to galvanizing activist. Marshaling the compassion and strength of a community, Wolf explores how to get through the darkest times with healing, hope, and resistance. "With our backs against the wall," he writes, "we find a way out together."
"[A] blazing debut. In stirring prose, Wolf mounts a testament to the power of community and a howling cry for justice. This is unforgettable." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"An essential testament to the togetherness and resilience of the queer community." -- Electric Literature
About the Author:
Brandon J. Wolf is a survivor of the 2016 terror attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando and a nationally recognized public speaker and advocate for LGBTQ+ civil rights and gun-safety reform. Wolf has written opinion pieces for CNN.com, Oprah Daily, USA Today, Newsweek, and Out magazine. In 2019, he became the first survivor of the tragedy at Pulse to testify before Congress. Wolf has since delivered keynote addresses at the 2022 Netroots Nation conference, NYC Pride, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Florida State University, Howard Brown, and more. He joined Senator Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign in 2019 and became a top national surrogate, doing tours in Iowa, South Carolina, Michigan, Nevada, and Florida. Wolf is a frequent contributor on MSNBC's The ReidOut and American Voices with Alicia Menendez and serves as the press secretary for Equality Florida.