Best LGBTQ Books You Must Read

6 minute read

Walking through the aisles of a library and scrolling through different books, there are innumerable possibilities to find your place in the fictional world. The literary universe offers many the world they want to live in compared to the acceptance they struggle for in the real world, which spurns people for their uniqueness. A group more vibrant and exhilarating than the LGBTQ community has never existed, yet the world refuses to accept them for their individuality and vivaciousness. Books embrace people in their folds by working a charm of their own, and when it comes to LGBTQ literature, it has expanded over the years with many remarkable works by wonderful writers highlighting the pains and struggles of the queer community. Let’s explore the best LGBTQ books you must read to know about the queer community and find their place in the binary world.

Maurice by E.M. Forster

Courtesy: Goodreads

“I swear from the bottom of my heart I want to be healed. I want to be like other men, not this outcast whom nobody wants.”

Amongst the pioneering works in LGBTQ literature, E.M. Forster’s Maurice is set in the orthodox England of the early 20th century. It traces the life of Maurice Hall from his childhood to adulthood, and Maurice’s exploration of the twin selves. It is one of the classic LGBTQ books. The narrative focuses on an individual exploring his sexual identity in a suffocating society and how convention overshadows the personal freedom of an individual. Despite being hidden from mass reading for a long time, this book is now widely read as an attempt to thwart a restrictive atmosphere.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray
Courtesy: Macmillan Publishers

“Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.”

Written by one of the best playwrights of the world who later went on to become an iconic gay symbol, this book tells the story of a young man who decides to choose eternal youth over his soul. Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray resulted in a furore after its publication as many critics called the protagonist Dorian an “immoral” hero who remains forever young but his painting becomes decrepit with each of his nefarious deeds. A book still read worldwide, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a must-read amongst the different LGBTQ books for those who wish to understand a character who is considered misplaced in a world full of rules.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets the Universe
Courtesy: Goodreads

“Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.”

A coming of age book, this book deserves an eminent mention in our list of top LGBTQ books list. It narrates a wonderful story of two boys, Dante and Aristotle, trying to discover their identities and true selves as they explore the meaning and purposes of their lives. The book deals with an important aspect of silent ostracization that the people belonging to the LGBTQ community face and are often unprepared to fight against.

The Stonewall Reader by New York Public Library

The Stonewall Reader
Courtesy: Penguin Random House

“In that bar, we were going to smash that rainbow.”

Published in the memory of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riot, this anthology chronicles various tumultuous tales and accounts of the historical LGBTQ rights movement which took place in the US in the 1960s. A collection of first accounts, narratives and different voices, it records the endeavours of the forgotten figures who lead this nation-wide fight in 1969 for gay rights and LGBTQ liberation. It is one of the best LGBTQ books for those who want to read about this tumultuous revolution for LGBTQ rights in the US and how it went to became an imperative part of American history.

The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff

The Danish Girl
Courtesy: Goodreads

“I think Lili’s thoughts, I dream her dreams. She was always there.”

Having been recreated as a blockbuster featuring some of the most talented actors of the present era, The Danish Girl is a book based on the real-life story of Einar Wegener, a Danish artist who was also the first man to undergo the sex-change operation. This LGBTQ read tells the love story a man who realises that he is a woman and his wife who helps him throughout this path of transformation. The book revolves around the theme of gender identity and gives a wonderful insight into the various dimensions of gender.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple
Courtesy: Barnes & Noble

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”

The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this book is written by the beloved female writer Alice Walker who belonged to a marginalized community. It is one of the best LGBTQ books ever written and transgresses the boundaries of a simplified binary gender understanding and engages in analyzing the main characters from various perspectives. The rejection these characters face and the confusion that arises from belonging to a non-binary orientation is clearly presented in this novel. 

20 Must Read LGBTQ Books 

  1. The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.
  2. We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman
  3. Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir by Akwaeke Emezi
  4. Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
  5. The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood by Krys Malcolm Belc
  6. The Monster I Am Today: Leontyne Price and a Life in Verse by Kevin Simmonds
  7. The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel
  8. Afterparties: Stories by Anthony Veasna So
  9. Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green
  10. Stone Fruit by Lee Lai
  11. Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 by Sarah Schulman
  12. Future Feeling by Joss Lake
  13. Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih
  14. On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint by Maggie Nelson
  15. Love Is an Ex-country by Randa Jarrar
  16. High-Risk Homosexual: A Memoir by Edgar Gomez
  17. We Are Watching Eliza Bright by A.E. Osworth
  18. The Recent East by Thomas Grattan
  19. Hola Papi: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul Brammer
  20. Brokeback Mountain by E. Annie Proulx 

[BONUS] Top LGBTQ-Friendly Universities in the World


What LGBTQ book should I read?

Queer: A Graphic History
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Stand by Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation by Jim Downs
Born Both by Hida Viloria
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Is the Song of Achilles LGBT?

It is an excellent example of LGBTQ+ representation since it addresses and handles homosexual romance in the same manner that heterosexual romance is written about. This book is fantastic for so many more than just their sexuality.

What makes a book LGBTQ?

To begin, a novel must include a major character that is LGBTQ or deals with LGBTQ topics. Second, the difficulties must be visible and crucial to the story.

LGBTQ books are aimed at incorporating the travails of the queer community, repudiation of their existence in various parts of the world and the struggles they are engaged in creating a space for their existence. Education plays an integral part in making every individual and community they belong to, the realisation of their rights and equips them with the necessary knowledge to fight for equality. Leverage Edu experts are here to guide you in getting the best quality education to steer towards your dream career! Register for an e-meeting with us today!

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