June is Pride Month, a time to champion the LGBTQ+ community and celebrate how far we’ve come in the fight for equality. This month also marks a moment to remember how far we still have to go. So we've pulled together a list of LGBTQ+ reads to share some voices and stories. We’ve got memoirs, novels, essay collections, and more. Check ‘em out…
This post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated.
This one’s about what happens when your friends become your fam. When Ames (who detransitioned) finds out his boss is pregnant with his baby, he proposes raising the child with his ex — a trans woman in NYC who desperately wants to be a mother. The trio becomes an unconventional family in this comedic and thoroughly modern novel. (Amazon, Bookshop)
We all have friendships that have shaped our lives. Not all of those friends have also shaped the American music landscape. In this memoir, Robyn Crawford finally speaks out about her close friendship and secret romance with Whitney Houston. She writes: “We were friends. We were lovers. We were everything to each other.” Don’t miss it. (Amazon, Bookshop)
This book will make you miss it even more. Atherton Lin’s stylish debut explores the history and cultural resonance of gay bars. In it, he embarks on a transatlantic tour of dive bars and nightclubs and drops personal stories and history lessons along the way. It’s a wistful exploration of queer life, history, liberation, and identity. (Amazon, Bookshop)
We dairy you to read this. The author of “The Pisces” is back. Her latest follows a 24-year-old in LA who has an unhealthy obsession with her body and food — until she becomes infatuated with a young "irrefutably fat" woman who works at her favorite frozen yogurt store. Cue a deeply original story of lust, fantasy, and body acceptance. (Amazon, Bookshop)
Pick up a copy of this memoir. In it, a former Mormon missionary turned award-winning trans journalist catalogues her cross-country road trip to show off the networks of allies and LGBTQ+ networks in “flyover country.” Her journey is filled with stories of things like meeting the first openly trans mayor in Texas and the manager of a queer nightclub in Indiana. It sheds light on often overlooked groups and the shifting climate for LGBTQ+ communities in red states. (Amazon, Bookshop)
This one’s considered one of the most important works of reporting during the AIDS crisis. Shilts threads narratives from the heroes of the science, health, and gay communities against the backstory of how the AIDS crisis grew into an epidemic. The book went on to become an international bestseller and later a critically adored movie. (Amazon, Bookshop)
From the author of “Red, White & Royal Blue” we’re getting a new love story about a cynical 23-year-old who falls for a woman she saw on the NYC subway. The only catch? The woman’s a time traveler from the ‘70s who’s stuck on the Q train. It turns into a sweet romance filled with super-relatable millennial references. And it’s one you’ll finish in a single sitting. (Amazon, Bookshop)
Published posthumously, this memoir is all about Edie’s life as a leader in the LGBTQ+ community. She was thrust into the spotlight when the SCOTUS recognized her marriage to her partner — a decision that helped pave the way for the 2015 ruling that made same-sex marriage legal. The book covers everything from her childhood and her time rising through the ranks at IBM to her love life and role as an activist. (Amazon, Bookshop)
JVN hears you, honey. “The Queer Eye” star’s memoir covers his journey from misunderstood Midwestern kid to everyone’s favorite hype guy. Whether you’re his biggest fan or new to his brand of self-love, he demonstrates all the ways that being yourself isn’t a bad thing. He also writes about some of the darker times in his life. And opens up about being HIV positive, past sexual abuse and drug addiction, trauma, and more. Pssst: Van Ness narrates his audiobook so if you’re looking for a book to listen to, the Audible version is a great option. (Amazon, Bookshop)
Gay, a pivotal voice in the LGBTQ+ community, may redefine how you view taking care. In this memoir, she writes movingly about food and bodies, and how her psychological relationship with hunger has shaped her adult life. (Amazon, Bookshop)
Meet Lorena Hickok. Maybe you know about her — maybe you don’t. She was a reporter and a VIP to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. And together, their relationship made the history books. Quinn documents the duo’s relationship over 30 years — from a friendship to a professional relationship to a romantic one, and more. (Amazon, Bookshop)
Muslim drag queen “Glamrou” Al-Kadhi knows how it feels to stand out in a crowd. Subtitled “A Journey from Shame to Pride and Everything in Between,” this one chronicles Al-Kadhi’s coming to terms — with their gender identity, religion, and their strict childhood — while learning to speak up and stay unique. Warning: you’ll definitely feel all the feels while reading. (Amazon, Bookshop)
This one’s an investigative, behind-the-curtain look at five vital years in the fight for marriage equality. Starting with California’s ban on same-sex marriages, this book covers scenes from inside the Oval to behind the judge’s chambers. It’s a go-to for any political or judicial junkie. (Amazon, Bookshop)
Carmen Maria Machado's memoir is about an abusive same-sex relationship between two women — a story that’s rarely told. Since there’s little precedent for it, Machado uses multiple narrative traditions (think: romance, horror, stoner comedy, self-help), which also mirrors the unstable, always shifting reality of living with an abuser. (Amazon, Bookshop)
This collection of essays will make you spit out your drink. Irby brings an absurdity to the everyday with a sharp voice and no-BS humor. She lets you in on life with her wife, bad friend dates, trying to make it as a writer in Hollywood, and more. (Amazon, Bookshop)
This deeply personal memoir centers on the transgender experience with nuance and lyrical prose. Dunham grapples with their identity, their childhood, “bodily claustrophobia,” their sister Lena's rise to fame, and intimacy — all told through a clear, fresh voice. (Amazon, Bookshop)
Say hi to Audre Lorde. She’s a self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” and is famous for her activism and lyrical prose. You might also know her work from her famous quotes like “Your silence will not protect you” and “Women are powerful and dangerous.” In this collection of essays, Lorde explores sexism, racism, homophobia, and class. Though it was written in 1984, it still holds up today. (Amazon, Bookshop)
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Skimm'd by: Lindsay Schneider, Avery Carpenter Forrey, Emmy Favilla
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