Now available!

Finalist, 2016 Lambda Literary Award, LGBT Nonfiction

2016 ALA

Over the Rainbow Book Selection




paperback, $18

Also available in digital formats @ $9.99

Release date: Sept. 10, 2015

What Color Is

Your Hoodie?

Essays on Black Gay Identity

by Jarrett Neal

In thirteen candid and provocative essays, author Jarrett Neal reports on the status of black gay men in the new millennium, examining classism among black gay men, racism within the gay community, representations of the black male body within gay pornography, and patriarchal threats to the survival of both black men and gay men. What Color Is Your Hoodie? employs the author’s own quest for visibility—through bodybuilding, creative writing, and teaching, among other pursuits—as the genesis for an insightful and critical dialogue that ultimately symbolizes the entire black gay community’s struggle for recognition and survival.


“Truthful, blunt, and thoughtprovoking. This unusual book is a good read that may actually change minds.”

—Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm Sez



About the author

Jarrett Neal earned a BA in English from Northwestern University and an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in Chelsea Station, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Requited Journal, The Good Men Project, and other publications, including the Lambda Literary Award-nominated anthologies For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Still Not Enough and Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call. He lives in Oak Park, IL.


Praise for What Color Is Your Hoodie?


“A gifted writer. Neal wants to promote dialogue, for gay people to listen to each other, to share stories and memorialize our victories and injustices. Homophobia, misogyny, and racism are all intertwined, so if we want to combat them, we must truly embrace diversity, which can only be accomplished if, as Neal strongly urges, all LGBTQ people learn to work together.”

—Brian Bromberger, Bay Area Reporter

“There’s much to love and think about in What Color is Your Hoodie? from an academic perspective as well as the street view. And one is as valid as the other, because if we can’t grasp both, we really can’t get a handle on either.”

—Jerry Wheeler, Out in Print


“A unique insightfulness about often-unexamined experiences. Neal's strong embrace of the personal as political and of popular media as culturally critical also drives him to explore queer racism and black homophobia, class conflict, and the effects of marginalization on self-esteem and self-expression. Moments of the collection shine as either memoir or sociological treatise.”

Publishers Weekly

“The topics addressed are universal, but Neal takes us on his own journey. His prose grabs you on the first page and you know that he is writing from his heart.”

—Amos Lassen, Reviews by Amos Lassen

“Jarrett Neal’s thoughtful and entertaining essays hold a peculiar beauty for those black folks in the know, those not in the know, and in many ways don’t want to know. What Color Is Your Hoodie? is Baldwinesque in its bareheaded honesty, and this fact alone is worth the price of the ticket.”

—Steven G. Fullwood, Co-Editor, Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call

“Truthful, blunt, and thoughtprovoking. This unusual book is a good read that may actually change minds.”

—Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm Sez

“A collection of insightful and provocative personal essays. Neal’s refreshing take on being black and gay is deserving of a vast readership.

—Gregg Shapiro, Chicago Pride

“These fearless essays reveal Neal’s humor and honesty while revealing the perilous realities of racial and sexual cultures in the US.”
—Nicholas Hayes, Your Impossible Voice

Finalist, 2016 Lambda Literary Award, LGBT Nonfiction

Click camera to download author photo

Click camera to download high res cover image