(Photo by Jeremy Williams)
ORLANDO | Brandon Wolf, LGBTQ+ rights activist and Pulse survivor, held a book release event at College Park Gallery Aug. 7 signing copies of his new memoir, “A Place For Us.”
Before sitting down to add personalized messages to each book for those who attended the sold-out event, Wolf spoke to the crowd about the process of getting “A Place For Us” published.
“The very first question the publisher asked me was ‘Is this a book about Pulse?’,” Wolf said to the crowd, adding that a publisher’s only concern is will the book sell. “I said ‘It’s only kind of a book about Pulse.’ Pulse is only one chapter in the book, because I firmly believe you can’t understand why Pulse the event mattered to people if you don’t understand why Pulse the space mattered.”
Wolf’s memoir, which was released July 1, has appeared on Amazon’s Best Sellers list in several of website’s categories, something that has left Wolf overwhelmed.
“When you put your first book into the world there’s a part of you that worries that no one will ever read it, and as a Black, queer person there’s a sense of imposter syndrome that my story might not resonate with people,” Wolf said, speaking with Watermark at the event. “Watching people purchase it, post about it online, share what part of the story resonated most deeply with them. Watching young queer people talk about how they see themselves in this story, perhaps for the first time, it means the world because that’s why I wrote this book.”
Speaking on the crowd that showed up to his Orlando event, Wolf says it is a testament to this community, which he adds is who this book is really about.
“It’s a story not just about me but of our entire community,” he says. “This is the same group of people who have been there for me since the hours after Pulse, when I wasn’t sure what the next day would bring. This is the very same group of people that has held me up for seven years, and to see them show up like this to celebrate our story means a lot to me.”
While speaking to the crowd, Wolf addressed the very real possibility that “A Place For Us” may never make it to the bookshelf of a Florida public school, making reference to the state’s “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law.
“A book like this, stories like these, our story is so important in this moment because it is under assault,” Wolf said.
After telling the crowd that his favorite part of the book is the chapter titled “Forgiveness,” he expanded on why that chapter meant so much.
“I talk a lot in the book about forgiveness as an act of grace, as an offer to shed what has been in order to leave space for what can be,” he says. “I also talk about it as not a moment to absolve people for the things they’ve done or the hurt they caused, instead extending a promise to them that maybe we can make something more beautiful tomorrow.”
Wolf has been involved with many organizations, including March For Our Lives, Everytown, Giffords and The Dru Project. He was also the first survivor of the Pulse Nightclub to testify in front of Congress and currently serves as press secretary for Equality Florida.
“A Place For Us” is out now and available wherever books are sold.
(Photos by Jeremy Williams)