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There are so many fantastic LGBTQ+ storytellers ready to be added to your reading list. Whether you’re looking for something new or looking for a great gift, these stories about love, loss and life, each told from a wholly unique perspective, are not to be missed.
In celebration of Pride month, we rounded up our favorite books written by queer authors: From artistic photo books, like “Queer Love in Color,” in which former New York Times reporter Jamal Jordan captures queer couples across the country, to earnest memoirs like “Everybody (Else) is Perfect” in which former “Nylon” Editor-in-Chief Gabrielle Korn shares her story of navigating the fashion industry as a lesbian, to captivating novels like “Detransition, Baby” and “Filthy Animals,” whose two wildly different characters lead us through their lives.
‘Queer Love in Color’ by Jamal Jordan
With his camera in tow, former New York Times reporter Jamal Jordan followed queer POC couples and families around the world for more than a year to curate the beautiful collection of stories found in his debut book. Jordan set out to reveal what it means to live (and be in love) at the intersection of two marginalized communities.
‘Untamed’ by Glennon Doyle
In her bestselling memoir (and her most revealing yet), Doyle digs deep into her own discontent. She opens up about being fully there for her kids, navigating divorce and abandoning the institutional expectations that have burdened her life and made her less free. At its core, “Untamed” is a wake up call to be brave and doing so by quitting the nagging desire to constantly please others.
‘Everybody (Else) is Perfect’ by Gabrielle Korn
In her debut memoir, writer Gabrielle Korn presents a collection of intimate essays about navigating the internet and surviving social media’s impossible beauty standards as the Editor-in-Chief of a major national magazine. She takes the reader through candid moments of her life, from the doctor’s office to New York Fashion Week, illuminating the very real insecurities that can lurk behind a seemingly-perfect screen.
‘Detransition, Baby’: A Novel
Torrey Peters’ highly acclaimed novel tells the story of three women, transgender and cisgender, whose lives come together after an unexpected pregnancy. Through fearless writing, Peters steers the way through the most dangerous taboos about sex, love and relationships, all with his signature wit.
‘Hola Papi’ by John Paul Brammer
From the beloved LGBTQ writer behind the advice column “Hola Papi,” comes a heartwarming and hilarious collection of essays detailing Brammer’s journey growing up as a queer, mixed-race kid in rural Oklahoma to becoming what he likes to call the “Chicano Carrie Bradshaw” of his generation. And he has a point.
‘Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story’ by Jacob Tobia
LGBTQ+ rights activist, writer, producer and author Jacob Tobia does it all. But they didn’t always know what they were supposed to do with their life. In their first memoir, the trans writer shares personal stories of trauma and healing, going from a young kid figuring out gender while growing up in North Carolina to a confident trans activist who has learned the way of self-acceptance.
‘All My Mother’s Lovers’ by Ilana Masad
Intimacy has always eluded 27 year old Maggie, the protagonist in Ilana Masad’s debut novel. But when she falls in love with a woman named Lucia, she allows herself to become vulnerable in a way she never has before, a freedom that becomes threatened when her mom dies and she she finds five sealed envelopes in her will, each addressed to a mysterious man she’s never heard of before.
‘Filthy Animals’ by Brandon Taylor
Written by Brandon Taylor, a breakout literary star of 2020, “Filthy Animals” is a group portrait of young creatives making their way in the Midwest. At the center of their linked stories is a young man who treads into difficult emotional territory when he begins a series of fraught sexual encounters with two dancers in an open relationship.
‘When Brooklyn Was Queer: A History’ by Hugh Ryan
The LGBTQ+ history of Brooklyn had never been told before until Hugh Ryan’s “Brooklyn Was Queer,” which unearths the rich queer history within the New York borough. He traces back to the early days of Walt Whitman in the 1850s to queer women working the navy yard throughout World War II, in a groundbreaking exploration of how Brooklyn is still inextricably tied to its first queer residents.
‘Like a Love Story’ by Abdi Nazemian
Three teens are figuring out life in 1989 New York City: Reza, an Iranian-American boy who knows he’s gay but whose only portrayal of gay life is through the AIDS crisis, aspiring fashion designer Judy who worships her gay uncle Stephan, and Art, the only openly gay boy at school who rebels against his conservative parents by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs. Activism, art and self-expression are at the heart of this sprawling novel about friendship and love.
‘Darling Days: A Memoir’ by iO Tillett Wright
Wright, the host of popular podcast “The Ballad of Billy Balls,” delves into his early years among the punk-rock bedlam of 1980s New York City, where his mother Rhonna, still reeling from her boyfriend’s murder, tries to raise him among the drugs, poverty and mayhem of the lower Eastside. Making his way to Germany, England and back to New York, Wright works on coming to terms with his artistic but dysfunctional parents while exploring his gender identity and coming into his own as an artist and writer.
‘Rainbow Milk: A Novel’ by Paul Mendez
This thrilling coming-of-age narrative, written by a fresh new voice in literature, follows 19 year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities while growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness. After moving to London to seek a fresh start, he finds himself at a loss for community and turns to sex work and art to find himself.
‘Rebel Chef’ by Dominique Crenn and Emma Brockes
In “Rebel Chef,” acclaimed chef Dominique Crenn tells of her non-traditional coming of age in Versailles, France, where her curious and independent nature emboldened her to become a chef at age 21. She rose to success despite oftentimes being the only woman in the kitchen, eventually being awarded three Michelin Stars for her influential restaurant Atelier Crenn — all while speaking out on restaurant culture and sexism as an openly queer chef.