To celebrate Pride, we're highlighting some LGBTQ+ reads that pushed boundaries, opened hearts, and changed minds.
Enter Randy Shilts’ “And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic.” It’s largely 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 community against the backstory of how the AIDS crises grew into an epidemic. The book went on to become an international bestseller and later, a critically adored movie.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America,” is one of the most celebrated plays in US history. It tells the story of AIDS in Reagan-era America and won a Tony for best play in '93. It later won a Tony for best revival and was made into an Emmy-winning HBO miniseries. Lights, camera, impressive.
Order a copy of Jennifer Finney Boylan’s “She’s Not There.” This memoir become the first bestseller by a transgender American. It tells the story of the author's transition from James to Jennifer, touching on her family life and role as a professor. Fitting, since you'll learn a lot.
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. It all takes center stage in Susan Quinn’s “Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady.” There, she documents the duo’s relationship over thirty years—from a friendship and professional advisor, to lovers, and more.
James Baldwin’s “Giovanni’s Room,” will be your travel guide. It’s 1950s Paris. Say bonjour to love triangles, and stay for questions on race, identity, belonging. Enough said.
Pick up Merle Miller’s memoir “On Being Different.” Published in 1971, this one stemmed from Miller’s viral NYTimes Magazine essay “What It Means To Be a Homosexual.” The essay set the world ablaze and was expanded into this book. Miller writes about his years in silence and in his marriage, and ultimately about coming out. Since then, it’s been considered one of the most vital pieces of work for the LGBTQ+ community in US history. An instant classic.
Janet Mock is a good place to start. She’s one of the most visible trans women in America and her book helped make her a household name. “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More,” documents her life as a multiracial trans person growing underprivileged in America.
Get into Edie Windsor’s “A Wild and Precious Life.” 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 the marriage to her partner—a decision that helped pave the way for the marriage equality decision in June 2015. The book covers everything from her childhood and her time as one of the first female programmers for IBM, to her love life and role as an activist.
Say hi to Philippe Besson's “Lie With Me.” Originally published in French, Molly Ringwald translated the book for English audiences this year. There’s a love affair between two teenage boys in 1984 France and it’s pretty much perfect. No peaches in this one though.
Jo Becker’s “Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality,” will be their new best friend. It’s the 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.
Andrew Tobias penned one for you. His memoir “The Best Little Boy in the World,” was first published under the pseudonym John Reid in 1993. It served as the ultimate meditation on what it’s like to grow up gay in America.
Bring them a copy of Jeanette Winterson’s “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.” This one follows a young girl in Northern England who leaves behind her life as a missionary for the girl she loves. After blowing up the bookshelves, it made its way to the small screen for BBC in the 90s.
PS: *These are editorially selected, but if you purchase, theSkimm may get something in return. Thanks.
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