Throughout history the personal stories of LGBTQIA+ people have been either ignored or told secondhand, but as readers we can address this by seeking out memoirs, biographies, and historical works that center LGBTQIA+ voices. Writer and activist Hida Viloria’s trailblazing memoir Born Both: an Intersex Life explores the author’s intersex identity and activism. Janet Mock’s Surpassing Certainty is a solid follow-up to her previous memoir Redefining Realness, further cementing Mock as an essential modern transgender voice. Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars, by transgender author Kai Cheng Thom, is an unforgettable fictionalized memoir that speaks vital truths. Inspired by his identity as a gay Chinese American man, When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen is an honest and witty poetry collection that received the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize.
How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, edited by professor and author Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, amplifies the voices of black women who saw a void in the predominately white feminist movement and worked to address intersecting issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality by forming the Combahee River Collective. Though it was last active almost 40 years ago, the Collective’s pivotal mission continues to influence and inspire contemporary race and social justice movements. Kevin J. Mumford investigates the lives and struggles of black gay men over the course of four decades, giving recognition to individuals who have been overlooked in Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men from the March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis. Sharing its name with an exhibit at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art in New York City, Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community edited by John Chaich features numerous illuminating interviews with queer textile artists.
LGBTQIA+ fiction can serve as a powerful catalyst for understanding and social change, and there’s never been a better time for readers to experience a diverse range of fictional works by LGBTQIA+ authors.
Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers edited by Cat Fitzpatrick and Casey Plett is a groundbreaking anthology featuring 25 transgender authors that moves these genres into new and thrilling directions. Small Beauty by Jia Qing Wilson-Yang won the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction for its sensitive portrayal of the grief experienced by a mixed race transgender woman. The Lambda for Gay Fiction went to Rabih Alameddine’s The Angel of History, an unforgettable story about a gay Arab poet haunted by visions and inner demons after losing his lover and friends during the height of the AIDS crisis. No Good Reason by Cari Hunter is the first of a thrilling mystery series featuring a lesbian detective, while The Prey of the Gods by Nicky Drayden is a genre-bending science fiction story that features queer characters and appeared on numerous best-of lists.
One of my favorite LGBTQIA+ novels so far this year is The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara, a vivid and poignant portrayal of the underground New York City ballroom scene of the 1980s. You can find this and other noteworthy novels, like Martha K. Davis’ award-winning Scissors, Paper, Stone, on the librarian-curated Seattle Picks: LGBTQIA Fiction list in the catalog.
Have fun completing your Book Bingo sheets, and keep reading with pride!
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~ Posted by Eric G.