LGBTQ+ Book Recommendations Based on your Self-Identity Stage
I Have SO Many Questions
Questioning your sexuality or gender can be difficult. Sometimes that difficulty may come from the attitudes of others, or it may come from your own uncertainty. Wherever you are in your exploration of your self-identity, let us recommend some books that might give you some insights or answer some questions.
1. Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman by Laura Kate Dale:
This candid memoir from freelance games journalist, Laura Kate Dale, is an absolute goldmine of unique insights on the topics of sexuality, gender, autism and how they intersect. Laura writes about her own experiences, covering everything from life before her transition and diagnosis, right through to the years of self-discovery that followed.
2. This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson:
This funny, light-hearted book is perfect if you’re curious about your sexuality, or even if you simply want to be a good ally to the LGBTQ+ community. It is quite literally a manual for anything that goes beyond heterosexuality and gender conventions, featuring useful tables and hilarious cartoons. To quote the author herself, this is for anyone who is “curious or questioning – someone who is in the process of asking the big questions.” It also works if you’re closeted, coming out or out and proud, as it caters to a variety of audiences, proving to be informative and uplifting at any stage of your journey. The only flaw of this book is that it doesn’t include specific material about asexual/aromantic or non-binary and gender queer people, so, if that’s what you’re looking for, you might want to look elsewhere. Pro tip: if you’re closeted and don’t live alone, we wouldn’t recommend getting a physical copy of the book, as the cover is rainbow and just...very gay!
The Closeted Sanctuary
Despite our advancements, living in a heteronormative society as an ‘other’ can range from being uncomfortable at best to downright dangerous. Whether you’re actively hiding your identity or unintentionally passing, know that you are not being judged if the only people you confide in are the literary companions that reside in your mind. For those of you who are struggling with leaving the safety of the closet to subject themselves to the harsh critical light of judgement cast by even the most considerate allies, we present to you a list of literary works with characters that will always accept you.
1. Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland:
As the author has previously noted in a blogpost on the book, “Unless you are very fortunate in your environment, being closeted at least at some point might be a fact of life.” Follow along with Kamai in this YA fantasy adventure as she comes to terms with her asexuality in the hyper-sexualised world of soul walkers who possess the ability to travel into the souls of others whilst they are asleep, and witness the complicated consequences this has in a society where you aren't free to hide even in your own mind.
2. It Gets Better edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller:
Deciding to come out of the closet takes nerves of steel and a psychological armour against the various challenges which will most likely occur as a result of the vast amount of society’s unchecked bigotry towards those within the LGBTQ+ community. Read the true accounts of other queer people overcoming the fear of judgement to live their lives full of pride.
Out and… Proud? Confused? All of the above?
While being openly LGBTQ+ can be a wonderful, freeing thing, it isn’t without its own set of questions and hurdles to overcome. Whether you’re waiting for family and friends to come to terms, hoping people respect your pronouns or just figuring out how to start this new chapter of your life, let us give you some recommendations that might answer some questions or assuage some worries. Most of all, we hope they remind you that you are never alone.
1. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel:
In this graphic novel memoir, Alison Bechdel recounts her childhood and young adult years – and all the family dysfunction that came with them. Not long after coming out to her family as a lesbian, she finds out her father’s deepest buried secret: that he is gay, too. Only a few weeks later, her father is dead, and Alison is left trying to understand herself, her father and all the history he left behind.
2. Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman:
This bestseller and probably also best-known gay film of the last three years tells the story of Elio, a sixteen-year-old trying to figure out his sexuality in a conservative town in Northern Italy. His life and what he thinks about love are turned upside down the moment he meets Oliver and begins the most magical summer of his life.