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Celebrate Pride with these 20 LGBTQIA+ books

LGBTQIA+ books

While the Pride festivals and parades are on pause for another year due to Covid-19, the celebration of LGBTQIA+ culture is not. Just because the celebrations may look a little different doesn’t mean you have to stop the festivities.

From attending a virtual Pride parade to watching the newest season of Queer Eye on Netflix, or even getting dressed up to serve lewks on Insta, let’s focus on activities that embrace community, reflect on queer history and learn more about queer culture – now and always.

Everyone’s story deserves to be told and read. And IMHO one way to celebrate and show up for the LGBTQIA+ community is by gaining better insight and sharing their voices. So, let’s queer up your reading list. From thrillers to memoirs and everything in between, these are some of the best LGBTQIA+ books to read during Pride Month and beyond…

1. In at the Deep End – Kate Davis

Named one of the best LGBTQIA+ books by Oprah Magazine in 2019 and recommended by Ruby Rose herself. This hilarious laugh-out-loud novel follows Julia, a Londoner looking for love and pleasure in all the wrong places…and people (aka men).

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2. Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin

The novel follows an American man living in Paris in the 1950s focusing on his feelings and relationships with men, particularly an Italian bartender named Giovanni. A powerful yet heartbreaking classic published in 1956 has stood the test of time, and while so much has changed since, this story still resonates with the queer community decades later.

3. Honey Girl – Morgan Rogers

Not only is Honey Girl one of the most buzzworthy books of 2021 so far, it’s also a great read that combines real LBGTQIA+ issues with rom-com appeal. Honey Girl explores themes of familial acceptance, adulthood, and marriage, all in the form of a modern lesbian love story born in Vegas. 

4. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza – Gloria Anzaldua

This Spanglish semi-autobiographical book by Gloria E. Anzaldúa uses poetry and prose to describe her life as a lesbian Chicana. It examines issues like gender, identity, race, and colonialism that LGBTQIA+ Latinx communities face. Truly iconic, this book was at one point considered banned literature.

5. Highway Bodies – Alison Evans

The sophomore novel by Australian author Alison Evans, the novel Highway Bodies tells the tale of three groups of queer teens in Melbourne watching the world around them fall to hoards of zombies. With intense themes of trust, love and sacrifice, this thriller will keep you hooked. Crossing fingers for a sequel.

6. Don’t Call Us Dead – Danez Smith

A heads up, this raw collection of poetry from Danez Smith is painful, beautiful, heartbreaking and breathtaking. The poems bring together themes of race, sexuality, HIV, police violence, life, death and many others. Specifically speaking to the experiences of being Black and gay in America and paying tribute to individuals and groups who will not be silenced any longer.

 

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7. Over the Top – Jonathan Van Ness

Yas queen, not only can you watch 6 seasons of Queer Eye on Netflix, but you can also read the beloved hair guru’s new memoir. This book is all about JVN’s raw journey to self-love. He reflects on his past growing up with hardships like childhood trauma, depression, drug use, and being diagnosed HIV-positive. In his words, it is “a gorgeous story of transforming pain into positivity.” So what are you waiting for hunty? Get reading. You can also get the audiobook, which Jonathan narrates, to make it even more gorgeous.

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8. How We Fight for Our Lives – Saeed Jones

A blend of poetry and prose, Jones’ memoir shares the story of a young, Black, gay man born in the conservative Southern US. An examination of queerness, vulnerability and power. All to show what we do for one another and to one another as we fight to become our true selves.

9. The Travelers – Regina Porter

This debut steers readers through nonlinear stories of several families and characters sharing a more inclusive and representative reality. The historical novel examines race, class, gender and everything in between. A true stand-out – the raw dialogue and humor will keep you turning the page.

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10. Juliet Takes a Breath – Gabby Rivera

An exuberant and brilliant debut novel about Juliet – a young queer Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx who spends the summer interning in Portland, Oregon. This coming of age story tackles important life experiences for young LGBTQIA+ POC but relatable to all with hilarious and captivating language.

11. Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story – Jacob Tobia

Tobia’s Sissy is a heart-wrenching yet comedic memoir on what it’s like having a non-binary experience. One read through this book and it’s a guarantee you won’t look at gender the same way ever again.

 

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12. The Color Purple – Alice Walker

Made into a movie, this National Book and Pultizer Prize-winner is a true masterpiece. Not only is it an LGBTQIA+ classic that follows two sisters living very different lives, but it’s also a must-read novel in every way possible.

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13. Let’s Talk About Love – Claire Kann

Asexual protagonists are difficult to find in pop culture, but this novel beautifully explores the struggles of its asexual lead character Alice, who is also Black and biromantic. Let’s Talk About Love is a funny, diverse, and refreshing take on a YA novel, and we desperately need to see more of this kind of literature out there.

14. Naturally Tan – Tan France

Another Fab 5 member and fashion icon Tan France writes this funny and touching memoir on his experiences growing up gay in a traditional Muslim family and being one of the few people of color in Doncaster, England. This coming of age tale shares his journey coming out at 34 and becoming the first openly gay South Asian man on TV.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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15. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson

Part novel and part semi-autobiographical Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit was published in 1985 won a Whitbread Award and was later adapted as a BBC television drama. The book follows Jeanette who is adopted by evangelists and a look at her path to being herself while fighting those around her.

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16. A Boy at the Edge of the World – David Kingston Yeh

This dramedy follows Daniel, a gay hockey player who leaves his small hometown for university in Toronto. A story about growing up and experimenting with freedom and excitement. A perfect summer read full of adventure, delightfully fun, and thought-provoking all wrapped into one great read.

17. We Are Everywhere – Matthew Riemer & Leighton Brown

Hey history buffs, this one’s for you. We are Everywhere is a photographic history that explores the Queer Liberation Movement through lenses of protest, power and pride. This LGBTQIA+ book has meticulous research from the archives and allows the reader to truly see queer history unlike ever before.

 

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18. Queerstories – Edited by Maeve Marsden

This is an exciting and contemporary collection of stories and reflections from some of Australia’s top LGBTQIA+ writers. From hilarious anecdotes to heartwarming stories of acceptance and awkward self-discovery this book reinvents conventional ideas of being queer as coming out and getting married. These are queer stories, fully unsanitized.

19. Yes, You Are Trans Enough – Mia Violet

Violet is a powerhouse blogger and voice in the transgender community. Her book is a deeply personal and witty account of the ins and outs of transitioning all while exploring some of the most pressing questions. An essential LGBTQIA+ book and compelling read that faces transgender issues and gender diversity issues head-on.

 

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20. Golden Boy – Abigail Tarttelin

Golden Boy is a powerful read, and one of those books that sits with you for a long while after you put it down. Be prepared for a tsunami of emotions as you read through Max’s story and explore the world of being born intersex. This book also explores dark themes like sexual assault, and it’s a definite page-turner that will leave you both moved, and changed.

 

Contiki, part of the TTC family, is a member of the IGLTA – the world’s leading network of LGBTQ+ welcoming tourism businesses.

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