Since February is LGBT+ History month, some people might be looking for some media about/inclusive to the LGBT+ community. Included in this list are some of my favourite books, both fiction and non-fiction, with LGBT+ characters, themes or storylines.
Be sure to check the trigger warnings before reading these books:
- Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney:
“I didn’t feel with her, like I did with many other people, that while I was talking, she was just preparing the next thing she wanted to say.”
I got this book for Christmas after falling in love with Sally Rooney’s other book, Normal People. Conversations with Friends centers around a student studying in an Irish university. We see her go from dating her best friend, Bobby, to getting involved with an older man, Nick. The book presents her sexuality in a way that is subtle and comforting. Whilst being a noticeable theme in the book, that is not her entire storyline. Once I started this book, I could not put it down.
2. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson:
“It all seemed to hinge around the fact that I loved the wrong sort of people.”
This book is semi-autobiographical, briefing us about Jeanette Winterson’s childhood. It follows her story growing up and realising that she is a lesbian. Jeanette grows up in a very religious home, and we see how different people in her life react to finding out about her sexuality. It’s a great story to help see into her experiences with her sexuality and the church.
3. Sex Ed: A Guide for Adults by Ruby Rare:
“It’s all OK!”
If, like me, your sexual education in school was pretty minimal and heteronormative, then this book will help you learn about sex in an all-inclusive, safe and comfortable way. Ruby Rare explains lots of different elements of sex, relationships and identity in a way that I haven’t seen before. She’s humorous, realistic and informative, and the book is a great source of information.
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid:
“I’m bisexual. Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box.”
This book follows the story of Evelyn Hugo, famous Hollywood celebrity, through her life and all her different marriages, as well as uncovering the secrets of her career. We see as she recounts the different people she met throughout her life, but we quickly see how her one true love is not what the newspapers and magazines would have guessed – it was female friend and co-star, Celie St. James. It’s beautifully written and incredibly emotive – definitely one of my favourites this year so far!
- All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson:
“This book is an exploration of two of my identities – black and queer – and how I became aware of their intersections within myself and in society.”
As a non-fiction memoir-manifesto, the work offers Johnson the platform to discuss their life as a black and queer person. They discuss their family, childhood, friendships and different things they experience growing into adulthood. The book is powerful and informative, as well as being an award-winner.
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker:
“Who am I to tell her who to love? My job is just to love her good and true myself.”
The Color Purple follows the main character, Celie, from childhood to adulthood. She is a black woman growing up in Georgia in the 1930’s, and we are shown everything she faces throughout her life. We also see her fall in love with the glamorous Shug Avery, and we follow their relationship throughout the book.
“When our gender is assigned at birth, we are also assigned responsibilities to grow and maneuver through life based on the simple checking off of these boxes. Male. Female. Black. White. Straight. Gay. Kids who don’t fit the perfect boxes are often left asking themselves what the truth is:
Am I a girl?
Am I a boy?
Am I both?
Am I neither?”
-from All Boys Aren’t Blue