The best 17 LGBT books

The LGBT community has fought tirelessly for equal rights and acceptance. To understand and support this important movement, we've put together a book list that covers the history, challenges, and triumphs of LGBT individuals.
These books offer diverse perspectives and personal stories that help shed light on the experiences of the LGBT community. Whether you are part of the community yourself or an ally, this collection is a great starting point for understanding and embracing diversity.

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1
LGBT Books: Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Sister Outsider

Audre Lorde
Essays and Speeches

What's Sister Outsider about?

"Sister Outsider" is a collection of essays and speeches by Audre Lorde, a black feminist writer and activist. In this book, Lorde explores the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality, and discusses the importance of embracing our differences and standing up against oppression. She challenges the status quo and offers a powerful critique of the systems that marginalize and silence certain groups of people. It is a thought-provoking and empowering read that encourages readers to embrace their own unique identities and advocate for social change.

Who should read Sister Outsider?

  • Individuals interested in exploring the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality
  • Readers seeking insight into the lived experiences of marginalized groups
  • Those looking to broaden their perspectives and challenge societal norms

2
LGBT Books: Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

Redefining Realness

Janet Mock
My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More

What's Redefining Realness about?

Redefining Realness is a memoir by Janet Mock that explores her journey as a transgender woman. She shares her experiences growing up in Hawaii, navigating her identity and the challenges she faced in her transition. Mock's powerful and honest storytelling challenges societal norms and redefines what it means to be authentic and true to oneself. It is a compelling and inspiring read that sheds light on the transgender experience.

Who should read Redefining Realness?

  • Anyone looking for a powerful memoir highlighting the experience of a transgender woman
  • Readers seeking a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the transgender community
  • Individuals interested in intersectionality and the complexities of identity

3
LGBT Books: We Wear the Mask by Brando Skyhorse

We Wear the Mask

Brando Skyhorse
15 Stories of Passing in America

What's We Wear the Mask about?

"We Wear the Mask" by Brando Skyhorse is a powerful memoir that delves into the author's complex family history and his own journey of self-discovery. Through a series of interconnected essays, Skyhorse explores themes of identity, race, and the masks we all wear to navigate the world. With raw honesty and lyrical prose, the book challenges societal expectations and offers a poignant reflection on the true self hidden behind the masks we present to others.

Who should read We Wear the Mask?

  • Individuals interested in exploring themes of identity and self-discovery
  • Readers who enjoy stories about family dynamics and secrets
  • Those who appreciate well-crafted and emotionally impactful narratives

4
LGBT Books: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends

Marieke Nijkamp

What's This Is Where It Ends about?

This gripping novel takes place over the course of 54 minutes at a high school in Alabama. Told from multiple perspectives, it delves into the lives of students and teachers as they become trapped in a terrifying school shooting. With raw emotion and intense storytelling, "This Is Where It Ends" explores the devastating impact of gun violence and the power of resilience in the face of tragedy.

Who should read This Is Where It Ends?

  • Readers who enjoy suspenseful and gripping novels
  • People interested in exploring themes of gun violence and its impact on communities
  • Those seeking to gain insight into the experiences of young adults facing a school shooting

5
LGBT Books: Zami by Audre Lorde

Zami

Audre Lorde
Essays and Speeches

What's Zami about?

Zami is a memoir by Audre Lorde that tells the story of her coming-of-age as a young black woman in 1940s and 1950s New York City. It explores themes of identity, love, and self-discovery as Lorde navigates her relationships with family, friends, and lovers. Through beautiful prose and vivid storytelling, Zami offers a unique perspective on race, gender, and sexuality.

Who should read Zami?

  • Individuals who are interested in exploring themes of identity, race, and sexuality
  • Readers who enjoy autobiographical works and personal narratives
  • People who appreciate poetic and introspective writing styles

What's How We Fight For Our Lives about?

"How We Fight For Our Lives" is a memoir by Saeed Jones that explores his coming-of-age as a black gay man in the American South. Through lyrical prose, Jones reflects on his experiences with family, identity, and sexuality, and the ways in which he fought for acceptance and self-discovery. This powerful and intimate book delves into the complexities of race, queerness, and resilience.

Who should read How We Fight For Our Lives?

  • People seeking a deeply personal and powerful memoir
  • Individuals interested in exploring themes of identity, race, and sexuality
  • Readers who appreciate honest and raw storytelling that challenges societal norms

7
LGBT Books: Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg

Stone Butch Blues

Leslie Feinberg

What's Stone Butch Blues about?

Stone Butch Blues is a powerful and groundbreaking novel that tells the story of Jess Goldberg, a young butch lesbian coming of age in the 1960s and 70s. Set against the backdrop of the gay and feminist movements, the book explores themes of identity, gender, and the struggle for acceptance and belonging. It is a raw and honest portrayal of one person's journey to find their place in the world.

Who should read Stone Butch Blues?

  • LGBTQIA+ individuals seeking to explore and understand their own identities and experiences
  • Readers interested in gaining insight into the struggles faced by transgender individuals in society
  • Advocates and allies looking to educate themselves about the challenges and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community

8
LGBT Books: Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin

Giovanni's Room

James Baldwin

What's Giovanni's Room about?

Set in 1950s Paris, "Giovanni's Room" is a powerful novel that explores themes of identity, love, and societal expectations. The story follows an American man named David as he grapples with his feelings for both a man named Giovanni and a woman named Hella. Through beautiful prose and complex characters, James Baldwin delves into the complexities of human relationships and the struggle to find one's true self.

Who should read Giovanni's Room?

  • Readers who are interested in exploring themes of identity, sexuality, and societal expectations
  • People who enjoy character-driven stories with complex relationships and introspection
  • Those who appreciate lyrical and evocative writing that delves into the complexities of human emotions

9
LGBT Books: Anything Goes by John Barrowman

Anything Goes

John Barrowman

What's Anything Goes about?

A memoir by actor and entertainer John Barrowman, "Anything Goes" takes readers on a journey through his life and career in show business. Filled with humor, honesty, and behind-the-scenes stories, Barrowman shares his experiences on stage, screen, and beyond, proving that anything is possible when you follow your dreams.

Who should read Anything Goes?

  • Individuals seeking an inside look into the life and career of John Barrowman
  • Fans of John Barrowman who want to learn more about his experiences and perspectives
  • Readers interested in the entertainment industry and the challenges and opportunities it presents

10
LGBT Books: Coming Out Under Fire by Allan Bérubé

Coming Out Under Fire

Allan Bérubé
The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two

What's Coming Out Under Fire about?

Coming Out Under Fire is a groundbreaking book that explores the experiences of gay and lesbian soldiers during World War II. Drawing on interviews, letters, and government documents, Allan Bérubé sheds light on the challenges and discrimination faced by LGBTQ individuals in the military, as well as their resilience and contributions to the war effort. This compelling and important work uncovers a hidden history and offers a powerful testament to the bravery and determination of these unsung heroes.

Who should read Coming Out Under Fire?

  • People who are interested in LGBTQ+ history
  • Readers who want to examine the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals in the military
  • Those who want a deeper understanding of the challenges and discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ service members

11
LGBT Books: A Burning by Megha Majumdar

A Burning

Megha Majumdar

What's A Burning about?

A Burning is a gripping novel that delves into the lives of three characters in contemporary India, whose fates become intertwined after a terrorist attack. Through their interconnected stories, the book explores themes of power, corruption, and the pursuit of justice in a society rife with inequality and political unrest. It is a thought-provoking and timely examination of the complexities of life in modern-day India.

Who should read A Burning?

  • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking stories with multiple perspectives
  • People interested in exploring themes of justice, power, and social inequality
  • Book clubs looking for a fresh and impactful novel to discuss

12

What's A Psalm for the Wild-Built about?

In this thought-provoking and heartwarming novel, Becky Chambers introduces us to a world where robots have gained consciousness and left human society to live in the wilderness. When a tea monk named Sibling Dex meets a robot in the woods, they embark on a journey to discover the true meaning of life and find their place in the world. A beautiful exploration of humanity, nature, and the search for purpose.

Who should read A Psalm for the Wild-Built?

  • Fans of Becky Chambers' previous works
  • Science fiction enthusiasts looking for a thought-provoking read
  • Readers interested in exploring themes of self-discovery and connection with nature

13
LGBT Books: Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li

Portrait of a Thief

Grace D. Li

What's Portrait of a Thief about?

When a renowned art collector's prized possession is stolen, detective Alex Chen is called in to solve the case. As he delves into the world of high-stakes art theft, he uncovers a web of deception and betrayal. But as the investigation progresses, Alex begins to question whether the thief is really the villain or if there's more to the story than meets the eye. "Portrait of a Thief" is a gripping mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Who should read Portrait of a Thief?

  • Those who enjoy psychological thrillers
  • Readers who appreciate complex and morally ambiguous characters
  • People who are fans of suspenseful and twisty narratives

14
LGBT Books: Epistemology of the Closet by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

Epistemology of the Closet

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

What's Epistemology of the Closet about?

In "Epistemology of the Closet," Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick explores the ways in which the concept of the closet has shaped our understanding of sexuality and identity. Through a combination of literary analysis, historical research, and personal reflection, Sedgwick challenges traditional assumptions about sexual orientation and argues for a more nuanced and inclusive approach to understanding human experience. This groundbreaking book has had a profound impact on queer theory and continues to provoke important conversations about the complexities of identity.

Who should read Epistemology of the Closet?

  • Readers who want to deepen their understanding of sexuality and gender
  • Individuals interested in exploring the intersections of identity, culture, and power
  • Students and scholars in the fields of queer theory, cultural studies, and social sciences

15
LGBT Books: Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Her Body and Other Parties

Carmen Maria Machado
Stories

What's Her Body and Other Parties about?

A collection of short stories that blend elements of horror, science fiction, and fantasy to explore the complexities of women's lives and bodies. Machado's writing is both haunting and thought-provoking, delving into themes of desire, identity, and the power dynamics that shape our world. Each story is a unique and captivating exploration of the female experience.

Who should read Her Body and Other Parties?

  • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking and unconventional fiction
  • People interested in exploring themes of gender and sexuality
  • Those who appreciate imaginative storytelling and unique narrative structures

16
LGBT Books: Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx

Brokeback Mountain

Annie Proulx

What's Brokeback Mountain about?

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx is a poignant and heartbreaking tale of forbidden love. Set against the backdrop of the American West, it tells the story of two cowboys, Ennis and Jack, who form a deep emotional and physical bond while herding sheep on Brokeback Mountain. As they navigate their complex relationship over the years, the novel explores themes of love, identity, and the societal pressures that threaten to tear them apart.

Who should read Brokeback Mountain?

  • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking and emotionally charged storytelling
  • Those interested in exploring complex themes such as love, identity, and societal expectations
  • Individuals who appreciate literary works that challenge traditional gender and sexual norms

17
LGBT Books: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

A Single Man

Christopher Isherwood

What's A Single Man about?

A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood is a poignant novel that delves into the inner thoughts and emotions of a gay man named George Falconer. Set in 1960s Los Angeles, it follows George as he navigates through a day in his life after the sudden death of his partner. Through beautiful prose and introspective storytelling, the book explores themes of love, loss, and the search for meaning in a seemingly ordinary existence.

Who should read A Single Man?

  • Readers seeking a poignant exploration of loneliness, loss, and the search for connection
  • Those interested in character-driven narratives with deeply introspective protagonists
  • Individuals who appreciate elegant and evocative prose that captures the subtleties of human emotion

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