June is Pride Month, a time to champion the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a time to celebrate how far we’ve come in the fight for equality. Like having the right to marry or adopt children, to have protections in the workplace, and to be allowed to use a bathroom based on gender identity. 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 their voices and stories.
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 her stories of meeting the first openly trans mayor in Texas, to the manager of a queer nightclub in Indiana. It sheds light on often overlooked groups and the shifting climate for LGBTQ+ people in red states.
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.
Read the novel that should come with a tears warning. It tells the story of four men, all friends from college, starting out in NYC. They’re successful, ambitious, and entangled—but the story soon zeroes in on darker edges. Think: anxiety, sexual abuse, and self-harm. Above all, it’s a story about friendship and the lengths we go for love. There’s a reason that people love all 700 pages of this epic, which has been called “the great gay novel.”
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 speaks out about her friendship and romance with Whitney Houston. As Whitney’s star rose, Crawford writes that they were forced to hide their romantic relationship—but still remained close, until they were driven apart by Whitney’s then-husband Bobby Brown.
Gay, a pivotal voice in both LGBTQ+ and black communities, may re-define 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.
Muslim drag queen “Glamrou” Al-Kadhi knows how it feels to stand out in a crowd. They grew up in a strict Iraqi Muslim household, where ‘non-binary’ wasn’t part of anyone’s gender vocabulary. It’s about coming to terms with their gender identity and religion while learning to speak up and stay unique.
Carmen Maria Machado is queen of reinventing the narrative form. “In the Dream House” is a memoir 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.
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.
Stay put and let Dunham take you on a journey. This memoir centers on the transgender experience with nuance and lyrical prose. Over the course of the story, Dunham comes out as nonbinary and transmasculine. They also grapple with substance abuse, their sister – Lena's – rise to fame, and intimacy, all told through a clear, fresh voice.
PS: These are editorially selected, but if you purchase it, theSkimm may get something in return. Thanks.
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