This June, as Pride organizers across the country tentatively welcome back in-person events, expand your mind and your reading list with these titles chronicling the struggles and celebrations of the LGBTQ community. From historic essays and memoirs, to romantic novels and tales of resistance, these nine books by and about queer folks will make great reads this Pride month.
Our Work Is Everywhere: An Illustrated Oral History of Queer and Trans Resistance by Syan Rose | Arsenal Pulp
“In their own words, queer and trans organizers, artists, healers, comrades, and leaders speak honestly and authentically about their own experiences with power, love, pain, and magic to create a textured and nuanced portrait of queer and trans realities in America, in this graphic non-fiction book.”
Punch Me up to the Gods: A Memoir by Brian Broome | HMH
“In his debut memoir, Brian Broome recounts his early years growing up in Ohio as a dark-skinned Black boy harboring crushes on other boys. Broome’s writing brims with swagger and sensitivity, bringing an exquisite and fresh voice to ongoing cultural conversations about Blackness in America.”
The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel | HMH
“From the author of Fun Home, a profoundly affecting graphic memoir of Bechdel’s lifelong love affair with exercise, set against a hilarious chronicle of fitness fads in our times.”
In Our Words: Queer Stories from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Writers By Victoria Villasenor, Anne Shade | Bold Strokes
“In Our Words is a thoughtfully curated collection of short stories at the intersection of racial and queer identity. Comprising both the renowned and emerging voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color authors, across multiple countries, and diverse in style, perspective, and theme, In Our Words reflects the complexity and diversity of human experience.”
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo | Tordotcom
Nghi Vo’s debut novel is the first retelling of The Great Gatsby since the classic entered the public domain. The reimagined story follows Jordan Baker, “Growing up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.”
As a Woman: What I Learned about Power, Sex, and the Patriarchy after I Transitioned by Paula Stone Williams | Simon and Schuster
“A moving and unforgettable memoir of a transgender pastor’s journey from despair to joy as she transitioned from male to female and learned about gender inequity, at home and in the workplace.”
Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor | Penguin Random House
“Named a Most Anticipated Book of the Year by TIME, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, O: The Oprah Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and Marie Claire, among others, Filthy Animals offers a group portrait of young adults enmeshed in desire and violence. A hotly charged, deeply satisfying new work of fiction from the author of Booker Prize finalist Real Life.
Queer X Design: 50 Years of Signs, Symbols, Banners, Logos, and Graphic Art of LGBTQ by Andy Campbell | Running Press
“Beginning with pre-liberation and the years before the Stonewall uprising, spanning across the 1970s and 1980s and through to the new millennium, Queer X Design celebrates the inventive and subversive designs that have powered the resilient and ever-evolving LGBTQ movement. It is the first-ever illustrated history of the iconic designs, symbols, and graphic art representing more than 5 decades of LGBTQ pride and activism.”
Like a Boy but Not a Boy: Navigating Life, Mental Health, and Parenthood Outside the Gender Binary by andrea bennett | Arsenal Press
“Inquisitive and expansive, Like a Boy but Not a Boy explores author andrea bennett’s experiences with gender expectations, being a non-binary parent, and the sometimes funny and sometimes difficult task of living in a body. The book’s fourteen essays also delve incisively into the interconnected themes of mental illness, mortality, creative work, class, and bike mechanics (apparently you can learn a lot about yourself through truing a wheel).”
Be sure to check out more of ASPIRE’s spring reading list recommendations, here!
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