Some of the best LGBTQ+ reading you can get stuck into.
This weekend is Pride weekend, and it has always heralded some of the most colourful days of the year. Along with countless other events, everything organised for Pride this year, including the gorgeous parade that snakes through the city, has had to be cancelled due to Covid-19.
For Pride especially this is a massive disappointment, as since 1974 it has been celebrated in Dublin, growing from a one day event to a 10 day festival. Not only does it celebrate LGBTQ+ pride in style but it’s also a total mecca for creatives with all it’s cultural festivities like music, comedy and art.
There will be a virtual parade this year including a main stage performance at the end with surprise guests. You can tune in live on Sunday at 2.00pm.
As festivities will be slightly more subdued this year we’ve put together a list of some of the best LGBTQ+ reading you can get stuck into. We don’t know about you, but we’ve been doing a lot of reading since lockdown started, so this is a great reason to keep going.
We previously shared a book list on educating yourself on white privilege in the wake of the black lives matter protests. We would like to do the same with Pride, as there is still stigma attached to the LGBTQ+ community, and the best way to remove this is through education.
A story set in London which follows queer teenagers, Bess Khan and Jack Sheppard as they escape their everyday lives before becoming embroiled in a web of corruption and deceit. Sheppard has dreams of being a prison- break artist and a thief and Khan a revolutionary mastermind, so it makes for an exciting read.
The novel, although dark and witty, has sweeping themes of gender, freedom and love and also won the New Yorker Book of the Year in 2018.
If you want to learn more about the queer community, or if you feel intimidated sometimes by not fully understanding pronouns or labels, this book is an excellent place to start. Unlike the other books on this list, this is a graphic novel, which makes it fun and easy to absorb the information.
As the title suggests, this is an easy guide to understanding the LGBT+ world and covers topics like sexuality, coming out, relationships and gender identity. It goes through these topics though illustrations, interviews and comics which also makes it ideal for anyone who wants to get to grips with these topics but not read anything too heavy. It’s perfect for adults and children alike.
2019 was the fiftieth anniversary of The Stonewall Uprising, which took place in June of 1969. Published last year, this anthology is a beautiful collection of accounts from this time. There is a variety of different forms here, from firsthand accounts, articles from LGBTQ magazines as well as diaries that chronicle the years before and after the Stonewall riots.
The uprising was a huge step in the gay libration movement in the United States and Pride each year celebrates and remembers those who were pivotal in this moment in history. A fascinating and insightful read, told through the archives of the New York Public Library.
Although this came out in 2007, it still has a lot of cultural currency at the moment, helped by film adaptation which came out in 2017. André Aciman’s novel is the ultimate summer romance between Oliver, 24 and Elio, 17.
It is set in 1980’s Italy and has the heady, dreamy vibe that can only come from something full of romance and Italian sunshine. The love story between Elio and Oliver is passionate and intense that will linger long after you have finished reading.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is not only a beautiful title for a novel, but it is also beautifully written. This would make sense given that Ocean Vuong is also a poet.
The novel is written as a letter from ‘Little Dog’ to his mother, who can’t read. The story that follows is revealing as it covers his life and family history, from their roots in Vietnam, to sexuality, masculinity, race and class.
The novel was first published in 2019 and was named as one of the top ten books of the year by the Washington Post.
Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States by Samantha Leigh Allen
A book which was described by Publishers Weekly as “the ultimate road-trip through rainbow-colored America” seems appropriate reading for this weekend. This is non-fiction book by Samantha Leigh Allen follows her through the summer of 2017 as she travels through particularly conservative communities in the US.
Whilst travelling through these areas which focus on Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Utah, she documents the LGBT communities which exist within these places, and gather’s their stories.
Philomena by Martin Sixsmith
A multi-layered story of secrets, Philomena is in essence a story of a woman who spent almost fifty years looking for her son, whilst he too was looking for her. The story begins when Philomena, a teenager who became pregnant in 1950’s Ireland, is forced to five up her child and he is adopted by an American family.
Later in life her son, who was renamed Michael, is a top lawyer, but is working within the homophobic sphere of the US Republican party and feels he must keep his sexuality a secret.
This is a heartbreaking story which touches on the many issues within the Catholic Church a well as the AID’s crisis and the gay community in the 1980’s. It was also made into a film in 2013 starring Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.
In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado
This memoirs covers the dark story of domestic abuse in a lesbian couple. Considered almost revolutionary when it was published last year as it turns on it’s head the stereotype that lesbian relationships are always a safe haven.
This novel is creative and unusually crafted, and follows the account of where this relationship went bad. From her religious upbringing, to coming out we get to see Mahcado unpick exactly how she ended up in a relationship with a violent yet charming woman. A must read.