LGBTQ Authors You Really Should be Reading
As it’s Pride Month, we thought it was only right we take a moment and celebrate wonderful LGBTQ authors and their books. After all, back in the day, if you wanted to read LGBTQ literature you had to scour the content, hoping desperately to find the slightest hint of queerness that had been encoded into the text through euphemism and ambiguity. Bear in mind, overt LGBTQ content used to put the author and publisher at risk of public harassment or even imprisonment, and in some countries, that tragically remains the case. In these modern times, authors can celebrate their LGBTQ content, and so should we all.
There are so many authors and books that fall under the beautiful LGBTQ + rainbow and this list feels lacking, partial, but it’s a start.
- Changers, Book One: Drew – Alison Glock-Cooper and T. Cooper. Ethan Miller is about to start high school in a brand-new town. He’s finally sporting a haircut he doesn’t hate, has grown two inches since middle school, and can’t wait to try out for the soccer team. At last, everything is looking up in life. Until the next morning. When Ethan awakens as a girl. Welcome to the world of Changers.
- The Argonauts – Maggie Nelson. An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family. A timely and genre-bending memoir that offers fresh and fierce reflections on motherhood, desire, identity and feminism. At the centre of The Argonauts is the love story between Maggie Nelson and the artist Harry Dodge, who is fluidly gendered. As Nelson undergoes the transformations of pregnancy, she explores the challenges and complexities of mothering and queer family making.
- Boy Meets Boy – David Levithan. This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance. When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.
- Maurice – E.M. Forster. Set in the elegant Edwardian world of Cambridge undergraduate life, this story by a master novelist introduces us to Maurice Hall when he is fourteen. We follow him through public school and Cambridge, and on into his father’s firm, Hill and Hall, Stock Brokers. In a highly structured society, Maurice is a conventional young man in almost every way, “stepping into the niche that England had prepared for him”: except that he is homosexual.
- If You Could be Mine – Sara Farizan. In Iran, it’s a crime punishable by death to be gay. Sex reassignment surgery, however, is considered a way to fix a “mistake.” Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. But when Nasrin’s parents announce that her arranged marriage will be in a matter of months, Sahar must decide the lengths she’ll go to for love.
- Luna: A Novel – Julie Anne Peters. In Peters’s critically acclaimed novel, she explores another neglected but important issue: the inspirational story of a transgendered teen. Luna confronts the mystery, the confusion and the struggles of gender identity in this profound, heartbreaking, yet ultimately heartening story. Through the eyes of his sixteen-year-old sister Regan, struggling with her own adolescence, we witness Liam resolve to stop hiding in his basement bedroom, and become Luna to the outside world. This groundbreaking novel paves the way towards understanding the demands put upon a transgender and challenges us all to embrace our identities.
- A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara. When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome–but that will define his life forever.
- The Sparsholt Affair – Alan Hollinghurst. In October 1940, the handsome young David Sparsholt arrives in Oxford. A keen athlete and oarsman, he at first seems unaware of the effect he has on others – particularly on the lonely and romantic Evert Dax, son of a celebrated novelist and destined to become a writer himself. While the Blitz rages in London, Oxford exists at a strange remove: an ephemeral, uncertain place, in which nightly blackouts conceal secret liaisons. Over the course of one momentous term, David and Evert forge an unlikely friendship that will colour their lives for decades to come.
- The Left Hand of Darkes – Ursula K. Le Guin. Genly Ai is an ethnologist observing the people of the planet Gethen, a world perpetually in winter. The people there are androgynous, normally neuter, but they can become male or female at the peak of their sexual cycle. They seem to Genly Ai alien, unsophisticated and confusing. But he is drawn into the complex politics of the planet and, during a long, tortuous journey across the ice with a politician who has fallen from favour and has been outcast, he loses his professional detachment and reaches a painful understanding of the true nature of Gethenians and, in a moving and memorable sequence, even finds love.
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.