The best 12 Queer books

Welcome to our diverse collection of books exploring the queer experience. These titles celebrate the rich and varied stories, struggles, and triumphs of LGBTQ+ individuals. From personal memoirs to historical accounts and works of fiction, this book list offers a deeper understanding of queer identity and the ongoing fight for equality. Whether you identify as queer or are simply curious to learn more, these books will provide valuable insights and inspire empathy and acceptance.

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1
Queer Books: Gender Trouble by Judith Butler

Gender Trouble

Judith Butler
Feminism and the Subversion of Identity
2.9 (29 ratings)
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What's Gender Trouble about?

Gender Trouble (1990) is a touchstone work of theory in gender studies. Notably, it introduces the concept of gender performativity, which has had a profound impact on feminist and LGBTQ+ scholarship and activism, and shaped contemporary ideas around gender. 

Who should read Gender Trouble?

  • Students of gender theory 
  • Feminists and LGBTQ+ activists 
  • Those keen to inform themselves about gender fluidity and performativity

2
Queer 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

3
Queer 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

4
Queer 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

6
Queer 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

7
Queer 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

8
Queer 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

9

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

10
Queer 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

11
Queer 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

12
Queer Books: Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag

Illness as Metaphor

Susan Sontag

What's Illness as Metaphor about?

In "Illness as Metaphor," Susan Sontag examines the way society has historically stigmatized and romanticized certain illnesses, such as tuberculosis and cancer, by attaching metaphorical meanings to them. She argues that these metaphors not only perpetuate harmful stereotypes but also hinder our understanding and treatment of the diseases themselves. Sontag calls for a more rational and compassionate approach to illness, free from the burden of metaphorical interpretations.

Who should read Illness as Metaphor?

  • People struggling with chronic or serious illnesses
  • Individuals interested in the relationship between illness and society
  • Those seeking a deeper understanding of metaphors in the context of illness

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