"Bingo Love"--A Graphic Novel About Forbidden Love

 From the cover of  Bingo Love . 

From the cover of Bingo Love

Bingo Love is a tale of love between two young Black girls during a dangerous time--the 1960s. 

Fun, daring and real, Bingo Love is a beautiful, original story, written and created by Tee Franklin, a Black, disabled Queer woman, and illustrated by Jenn St-Onge, Joy San.

From the editor:

When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage. From TEE FRANKLIN (NAILBITER’s “THE OUTFIT,” Love is Love) and JENN ST-ONGE (Jem & The Misfits), BINGO LOVE is a touching story of love, family, and resiliency that spans over 60 years.
 From  Bingo Love

From Bingo Love

Hazel and Mari meet for the first time at their grandparents church Bingo game. Hazel was immediately smitten and the two instantly became best friends. But one kiss at the wrong place, at the wrong time would for the two apart. For nearly 50 years, the two women their truth, their love, until a chance meeting reunited them again. 

This story is powerful in ways beyond imagination. Although queer love is generally more accepted by society, teens are still subjected to ridicule, bullying and being disowned by family for not being straight. This tale shows gay teens that they are not alone.

Bingo Love isn't the typical comic book story. It took me on an emotional roller-coaster--through humor and heartbreak. Friendship and fear.. Helplessness and hope. I just wanted to hug these two girls and bring them home with me. Franklin made sure to humanize all of the characters with this very realistic story of queer love during a tumultuous time--when Black folk had to be extra careful not to draw too much attention to themselves--where having a family was everything.

While a fictional story, it's a story familiar to many older, gay men and women. It's a story that says, Love is love. And nothing will stop it. It's a story that shows gay women and men that a happy ending is very much possible for them, too.