Angst-ridden adolescents struggling with societal standards; protagonists exploring their gender and sexual identities; interviews with notorious LGBTQ+ community members; these books provide enticing insight into the colorful and unique LGBTQ+ experience and encourage us to celebrate our truest selves.
If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate Pride Month, pick up one, or all, of these LGBTQ+ books and binge read them immediately. From inspiring fiction and non-fiction storytelling to beautiful poetry works, this list of literature won’t disappoint.
Sarah Prager’s first book dives deep into the lives of 23 inspiring heroes who “fought, created and loved on their own terms.” These astounding true stories revieal a “rich queer heritage” that encompasses every culture, in every era. This book is for anyone who wants the “real story” on the queer rights movement.
Born in the late 1940s, Canary Conn is an American entertainer and author who is famed for publicly shared her experience as a self-described transsexual. Her memoir is one of the earliest notable testimonies of the LGBTQ+ journey and provides an intimate look and understanding of her life and identity struggles.
This is a powerful collection of “provocative commentary on highly charged topics.” Author Essex Hemphill is a poet and performer known for his political edge who openly addresses “race, identity, sexuality, HIV/AIDS and the family in his work, voicing issues central to the African American gay community.”
This young adult novel focuses on Simon Spier, “a closeted gay high-school aged boy who is forced to come out after a blackmailer discovers Simon’s e-mails written to another closeted classmate with whom he has fallen in love.” This coming-of-age story is a great book for younger LGBTQ+ people seeking a little extra courage.
Award-winning author Anne Carson creates an artful masterpiece with his book that’s both novel and poem. It’s “both an unconventional re-creation of an ancient Greek myth and a wholly original coming-of-age story set in the present.” Prepare for some deep interfamily turmoil, inspiring self-growth and a dash of entertaining mythology.
Written in 1936, Nightwood provides intriguing insight into “explicit homosexuality between women” in 1920s Paris. Prized for its “intense, gothic prose style,” this piece of lesbian literature stands above the rest for its ferociously inspiring language and spirit.
Published in 1925, this classic details “a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional woman in post-war.” The postmodernist novel explores the innermost thoughts and desires of several characters whose lives are intertwined. Throughout the book, “issues of societal expectations and social class are dominant themes,” including the topic of sexuality.
Puerto Rican queer and proud, Juliet Milagros Palante comes out to her family, but it doesn’t go as planned. With a mother who may never speak to her again and a deep desire to find her place in the world, Juliet makes a break from her home in the Bronx and heads to Portland to intern for her favorite activist, Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and LGBTQ+. Follow Juliet’s journey of self-discovery and personal power in this “twisted road to coming of age” story.
This famous work is a “trivial comedy for serious people” in which the characters maintain “fictitious personae to escape burdensome social obligations.” This text edition of one of Oscar Wilde’s greatest plays explores the many societal confines of sexual and gender identities in the 1800s.
Leaves of Grass is a moving poetry collection by famous American poet Walt Whitman. Originally published in 1855, this book shares Whitman’s “celebration of his philosophy of life and humanity,” while igniting a discussion of delight in “sensual pleasures during a time when such candid displays were considered immoral.”
“Secrets never stay secret for long.” As the subtitle suggests, this novel tells the story of two transgender teens at pivotal times in their lives, both on the brink of coming out and transitioning. Read along as these two courageous characters rise above the bullies, learn to stand their ground and help each other “find community and balance in the face of adversity and transphobia.”
A Stonewall Book Award-winning novel, “I’ll Give You The Sun”, is a young adult novel that follows a set of twins on their journey through, “sexuality, creativity, bravery, identity, guilt and grief.” The once-close, now distant siblings “have a sudden and mysterious falling out, and it’s up to the narrators and the strange people they meet along the way to bring them back together.” This fiction work of art will make you laugh and cry the entire read.