42 Important LGBT Books to Add to Your List

The LGBTQI community is one that has been historically marginalized and ignored. However, in recent decades there has been a growing movement to recognize and celebrate the diversity of the community.

This has led to an increase in books written by and about LGBTQI people. Here are 42 books that explore the lives and experiences of the LGBTQI community.

Whether you are looking nonfiction stories from history or contemporary accounts, there is something for everyone on this list.

This list is a great place to start exploring the rich world of LGBTQI literature!

LGBTQI Community Books

1. The Stonewall Reader

The Stonewall Reader

Written by: New York Public Library and edited by Jason Baumann

Published: 2019

Pages: 305

The Stonewall Reader is a compilation of firsthand accounts, essays, speeches, and other documents that chronicle the history of the LGBTQ rights movement.

The book begins with the story of the Stonewall Inn riot in 1969, which is widely considered to be the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

The following chapters explore the experiences of LGBTQ people of color, trans people, and other marginalized groups within the LGBTQ community. The book also includes a section on the impact of AIDS on the LGBTQ community.

Despite its focus on activism and protest, The Stonewall Reader also celebrates the joyful moments of LGBTQI life and love. Ultimately, it is an essential history of a movement that has changed the world.

2. Good as You: From Prejudice to Pride – 30 Years of Gay Britain

Good as You

Written by: Paul Flynn

Published: 2017

Pages: 368

Flynn chronicles the progress of the LGBT rights movement in Britain over the past three decades. Flynn begins by charting the rise of the gay liberation movement in the wake of the Stonewall riots of 1969.

He discusses the difficulties faced by gays and lesbians in the 1980s when AIDS forced them to confront prejudice and ignorance both within and outside their own community.

In the 1990s, Flynn argues, the Labour Party's commitment to ending discrimination against LGBT people helped create a more inclusive society. Finally, Flynn discusses the achievements of the gay rights movement in recent years, including the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2013.

Using interviews with other influential figures, this book is very useful for understanding gay rights in the U.K.

3. We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation

We Are Everywhere

Written by: Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown

Published: 2019

Pages: 368

This book traces the history of queer activism and liberation movements. The book begins with an overview of the Stonewall riots, which sparked a new era of LGBTQ+ organizing and activism.

The authors then chronicle the major milestones of the queer rights movement, from the AIDS crisis to the fight for marriage equality. Along the way, they highlight the stories of individual activists and communities who have defied oppression and fought for justice.

We Are Everywhere is an essential history of the queer liberation movement, which is sure to inspire readers to continue the fight for equality. The photographs and illustrations in this coffee table book are magnificent.

4. Female Husbands: A Trans History

Female Husbands

Written by: Jen Manion

Published: 2020

Pages: 350

Historian Jen Manion tells the stories of early modern women who dressed and lived like men to marry other women. These "female husbands" occupied a unique position in society, navigating the competing gender, marriage, and sexuality demands.

While their experiences varied, they all faced significant challenges securing legal recognition for their relationships. Female husbands could pass as men and live relatively everyday lives in some cases.

But more often, they were exposed as frauds and forced to endure public humiliation and legal punishment. In telling these stories, Manion offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of transgender people in the early modern period.

Her book is sure to be of interest to anyone interested in the history of the trans movement and their experiences in Victorian days.

5. The Argonauts

The Argonauts

Written by: Maggie Nelson

Published: 2015

Pages: 160

The focus of this book is on the relationship between Nelson and the artist Harry Dodge. This story is gender fluid and shows how people can love each other without restrictions or having to "be" a certain way.

It goes into how the author deals with her pregnancy and what it is like to be part of a LGBTQI family after birth.

Nelson does a beautiful job of connecting the personal, the historic regarding dealing with gender issues and oppression by the dominant paradigm while also showing the ability to choose from and not let others decide your fate for you.

It is an inspiring look into a relationship that almost defines definition or boundaries.

6. The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

Written by: Anne Lister and edited by Helena Whitbread

Published: 2012 (Original publish date: 1992)

Pages: 422

This book is truly unlike any other you'll find on this list, as it is a firsthand account of Anne Lister's life. The exciting part of it, even more than her story, is how her story is written during the turbulent times of her life.

Lister was known as a firebrand and a robust and independent person who would stand up to others when faced with oppression. She also kept diaries throughout her life to help her remember who she was and what she stood for during it.

Whitbread takes her journals, which Lister wrote in her own "cryptohand," so others who read them wouldn't immediately know her thoughts and lifestyle. It took Whitbread almost two years to decipher them.

7. No Priest but Love: The Journals, 1824-1826

No Priest but Love

Written by: Anne Lister and edited by Helena Whitbread

Published: 1993

Pages: 288

As you’ll notice, this book is written by the same author and edited by the editor as the previous one. That is because it is the continuation of Lister’s Secret Diaries for the next two years.

It focuses on the relationship between the author and Marianna Lawton. However, this is complicated since Lister is also attracted to another woman. She questions who she is, what love is, and how to stay true to herself while figuring out how to deal with Victorian society.

Still using her powerful voice and unwillingness to be controlled, you will see how she tries to balance love, and life in general, without having her upper-class life destroyed in the process.

8. Queer Intentions: A (Personal) Journey Through LGBTQ + Culture

Queer Intentions

Written by: Amelia Abraham

Published: 2019

Pages: 296

What does it mean to be queer in today's world? That is precisely what Amelia Abraham is trying to figure out, and she uses this book to do just that. The author travels to different parts of the world and sees how numerous cultures acknowledge queer relationships.

Some of the events include going to a massive drag convention in Los Angeles, Pride parade marches in numerous locales in Europe, and a transgender modeling agency.

Some of the others include a family in Stockholm who does not subscribe to the theory of gender, the underground LGBTQI party scene in the very repressive country of Turkey, and even the first same-sex marriage in England.

9. All the Things She Said: Everything I Know About Modern Lesbian and Bi Culture

All the Things She Said

Written by: Daisy Jones

Published: 2021

Pages: 240

Daisy Jones's All the Things She Said thoroughly explores modern lesbian and bi culture. Jones draws on her own experiences as a lesbian woman and interviews dozens of other lesbian and bi women to paint a vivid picture of what it means to be a lesbian or bi woman today.

One of the most striking aspects of the book is how it captures the diversity of lesbian women's experiences. Whether discussing sexuality, relationships, or simply everyday life, Jones shows that there is no one way to be a lesbian or bi woman.

In addition, she challenges many of the assumptions that heterosexual people often make about LGBTQI culture, debunking myths and stereotypes clearly and concisely.

Ultimately, All the Things She Said is an insightful and thought-provoking read on what gender and sexuality mean to a person.

10. We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim memoir

We Have Always Been Here

Written by: Samra Habib

Published: 2019

Pages: 220

Growing up in Pakistan, the author hid herself to be safe. After moving to Canada, she thought she'd have more freedom. However, that idea was quickly destroyed.

She found herself dealing with racism, sexism, and an arranged marriage. However, Habib realized that even though these were going to be challenging to overcome. She was tired of just accepting who she was supposed to be according to her religion and the two cultures.

Instead of just waiting, she starts to explore what love, life, being queer, and nonconforming to others meant to her and her life choice.

This book is an excellent primer for someone who has been held down by others, primarily through religious means and wants to see a pathway out of it.

11. Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family

Becoming Nicole

Written by: Amy Ellis Nutt

Published: 2015

Pages: 279

This is one of the most empowering books we've ever read regarding the reality of being trans. Kelly and Wayne Maines adopted two identical twin boys at a point in their lives. However, they started to notice slight differences between Jonas and Wyatt.

Jonas liked trucks and "boy" stuff, while Wyatt liked dolls and "girl" stuff from age. When Wyatt continued to state that they were a girl, it confused everyone in the family. However, even though they didn't understand it, Kelly and Wayne supported Wayne as they transitioned to being Nicole.

It is an incredibly empowering book where a tough Air Force veteran learns that being trans is something to take pride in, a mother who knew instinctively that Nicole needed a different way of being, and a brother who stood up for his sister.

And, of course, Nicole, who was able to fight for her way of life and how this family stayed together and grew.

12. And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic

And the Band Played On

Written by: Randy Shilts with an introduction by William Greider

Published: 2000 (Original publish date: 1987)

Pages: 630

It is probably one of the most influential books of all time regarding HIV and AIDS. This book is a massive tome dedicated to the history of how it occurred and was dealt with in society. This includes how the federal government seemed unconcerned about the people it was killing.

It also looks at how the pharmaceutical industry made sure that profits came before saving lives. If there wasn’t money to be made, they couldn’t have cared less about the people affected by it.

The book explores many more aspects of how this epidemic was ignored. This includes how people used it for publicity instead of saving lives and helping people who had been marginalized all their lives.

13. Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir

Borrowed Time

Written by: Paul Monette

Published: 1988

Pages: 342

This book chronicles Monette's and his partner Roger Horowitz's experiences as gay men living with AIDS in the 1980s and early 1990s. This book focuses primarily on Horowitz's battle with the disease and eventual death and what Monette goes through with him.

Borrowed Time is considered an essential work in the AIDS memoir genre, and it has been praised for its honesty, humor, and emotion.

In addition to personal anecdotes, the book includes information about the medical and social aspects of AIDS at the time. This includes how the medical community often seemed disinterested, as did the government.

Monette's frank discussion of his illness helped destigmatize AIDS and promote understanding and compassion for those affected.

14. Gender: Your Guide: A Gender-Friendly Primer on What to Know, What to Say, and What to Do in the New Gender Culture

Gender: Your Guide

Written by: Lee Airton

Published: 2018

Pages: 240

In a rapidly evolving social landscape, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest changes in language and culture. For many people, the topic of gender is incredibly confusing.

With shifting norms and an ever-growing number of gender identities, how can we ensure that we are respectful and inclusive of everyone? Lee Airton's book, Gender: Your Guide, offers a much-needed primer on all things gender.

Airton provides readers with the tools they need to navigate the new gender culture by covering topics such as pronouns, bathrooms, and coming out.

Airton dispels common myths and misconceptions about gender in clear and concise language, offering a more nuanced understanding of this complex and often sensitive topic.

15. The Gay Metropolis: The Landmark History of Gay Life in America since World War II

The Gay Metropolis

Written by: Charles Kaiser

Published: 1998

Pages: 416

The book chronicles the history of the gay rights movement in the United States from the end of World War II until it was published in 1996.

Kaiser draws on a wealth of primary sources to tell the story of how gays and lesbians fought for and won acceptance in American society. These include people such as Philp Johnson, Leonard Bernstein, Judy Garland, and others.

The book is organized chronologically, tracing the development of the gay rights movement from its earliest days to its present-day incarnation. Along the way, Kaiser highlights the key individuals and events that have shaped the course of the movement.

In doing so, he provides readers with a comprehensive account of one of the most significant social movements of our time.

16. The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS

The Wisdom of Whores

Written by: Elizabeth Pisani

Published: 2008

Pages: 400

In this powerful book, writer and epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani seeks to dispel some of the myths surrounding the global AIDS epidemic.

Pisani spent years working on the front lines of the fight against AIDS, and her book offers a unique insider's perspective on the successes and failures of various prevention strategies.

One common theme that emerges from Pisani's stories is the importance of listening to sex workers. Sex workers are often marginalized by society, but they can be a valuable source of information about the reality of sexual behavior.

In many cases, sex workers can provide insights that government officials and health workers would never think of on their own.

As Pisani shows, there are so many ways that we have ignored the most influential people in society because governments, and the public in general, don't see them as valuable or worthwhile.

17. Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371 (Graphic Medicine)

Written by: M.K. Czerwiec

Published: 2017

Pages: 224

In her graphic novel Taking Turns, M.K. Czerwiec tells the stories of the nurses and patients who inhabit HIV/AIDS care unit 371.

The book is a collection of vignettes that paint a picture of life in the unit. These include the everyday mundane to the struggles and joys of being a part of such a close-knit community.

 Czerwiec captures the essence of what it means to be a nurse and the strength and resilience of those living with HIV/AIDS.

It is an essential work of graphic medicine that gives voice to an often-marginalized population. It is a must-read for anyone interested in healthcare or graphic novels.

18. The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle

The Gay Revolution

Written by: Lillian Faderman

Published: 2016

Pages: 816

The Gay Revolution is a comprehensive and sweeping account of the struggle for gay rights in America. Lillian Faderman traced the origins of the modern gay rights movement to the aftermath of World War II, when gays and lesbians began to challenge the prevailing view that homosexuality was a mental illness.

Faderman chronicles the significant milestones of the movement, from the Stonewall Uprising of 1969 to the overturning of sodomy laws and the rise of the AIDS crisis. She also profiles many of the movement's leading figures, including Harvey Milk, Frank Kameny, and Sylvia Rivera.

Throughout, Faderman argues that the fight for gay rights is ultimately a fight for freedom and equality for all Americans.

The Gay Revolution is an essential history of decades of struggle to change how LGBTQ people have been held back by society for decades.

19. Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America

Charity and Sylvia

Written by: Rachel Hope Cleves

Published: 2014

Pages: 267

This book is a fascinating historical account of one of the first recorded same-sex marriages in the United States. The book tells the story of Charity Bryant and Sylvia Drake, two women who lived together for over 40 years and moved in to live with each other in 1809.

While the state of Vermont did not legally recognize their marriage, it was well known in their community and accepted by their friends and families.

 Charity and Sylvia were both active in their local Methodist church, and their relationship provides valuable insight into the lives of early American lesbians.

The book is thoroughly researched and deftly written, making it essential for anyone interested in LGBTQ history.

20. Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993

Let the Record Show

Written by: Sarah Schulman

Published: 2021

Pages: 736

In Let the Record Show, Sarah Schulman offers a detailed and nuanced history of ACT UP New York, one of the most influential AIDS activist organizations of the late twentieth century. Founded in 1987, ACT UP quickly grew into a large and diverse coalition united by the shared goal of ending the AIDS crisis.

Through a combination of grassroots organizing, public protest, and direct action, ACT UP pressure governments and pharmaceutical companies to invest more resources in AIDS research and treatment. They changed the way we think about HIV/AIDS and ushered in a new era of LGBTQI visibility and activism.

Although their methods were sometimes controversial, there is no denying that ACT UP helped change the course of history.

21. How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed AIDS

How to Survive a Plague

Written by: David France

Published: 2016

Pages: 640

The author David France tells the fantastic story of how AIDS was transformed from a death sentence to a manageable condition. France chronicles the epidemic's early days when few knew anything about the disease or how it was transmitted.

He documents the efforts of activists to raise awareness and funds for research, and he tells the stories of the scientists who made breakthroughs in understanding and treating HIV/AIDS.

Through these stories, France shows how ordinary people can make a difference in the face of a significant crisis.

As he writes, "The activists and scientists featured in this book offer an inspiration lesson in how to change the world."

22. How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir Hardcover

How We Fight for Our Lives

Written by: Saeed Jones

Published: 2019

Pages: 192

This book is an intimate and harrowing memoir about growing up gay and Black in the American South.

Through lyrical and often searing prose, Jones chronicles his coming of age amid the violence, poverty, and familial struggle of his Birmingham, Alabama, childhood; his tumultuous adolescence in Atlanta, Georgia; and his young adulthood in New York City.

He revisits the traumas of abuse and abandonment with unflinching honesty, confronts the demons of addiction and self-hatred, and charts a course toward hope and healing.

How We Fight for Our Lives is a masterful account of one man's journey through some of the most formative years of his life.

It is also a powerful reminder that hope springs eternal and that even if you have been raised in challenging circumstances, you can do your best to overcome them.

23. Darling Days: A Memoir

Darling Days: A Memoir

Written by: iO Tillett Wright

Published: 2016

Pages: 400

In her memoir Darling Days, iO Tillett Wright chronicles her unique childhood growing up in New York City's 1980s and 1990s.

Born to artists of color in the 1980s, Wright was raised in an unconventional household where creativity and self-expression were encouraged. She developed a love for fashion and art from a young age and began to experiment with her own style.

As she got older, Wright began to explore her sexuality and gender identity, eventually coming out as transgender. Along the way, Wright encounters a cast of larger-than-life characters, from drag queens to prostitutes to junkies.

In Darling Days, she paints a vivid picture of her formative years, offering readers a rare insight into the world of an LGBTQ+ kid coming of age in New York City.

24. Asegi Stories: Cherokee Queer and Two-Spirit Memory

Asegi Stories

Written by: Qwo-Li Driskill

Published: 2016

Pages: 224

Qwo-Li Driskill expertly weaves together oral narratives, personal experiences, and Cherokee historical and cultural context to create a powerful and moving account of what it means to be queer and two-spirit in Cherokee society.

Driskill's writing is lyrical and evocative, giving readers a deep sense of the rich traditions and customs that have shaped Cherokee life for centuries.

In particular, the author does an excellent job of highlighting the importance of family, community, and spirituality in Cherokee culture. Driskill also uses views from other indigenous cultures and people worldwide.

Through their stories, the queer and two-spirit people featured in this book offer a profound challenge to the Eurocentric notion that queer people are somehow unnatural or abnormal.

25. A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns (Quick & Easy Guides)

A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns

Written by: Archie Bongiovanni Tristan Jimerson

Published: 2018

Pages: 64

Pronouns are an essential part of our language. They allow us to refer to people and things without using their names. They can also help to create a sense of belonging and community. Unfortunately, not all pronouns are created equal.

While some people use pronouns that match their gender identity, others find their pronoun choices are more limited. This can be especially true for people who identify as non-binary or genderqueer.

Thankfully, there is an increasing awareness of the importance of using inclusive language. As a result, more and more people use they/them pronouns.

In this concise read, at just over 60 pages, you’ll learn simple ways to show respect for someone's identity. It also helps to create a more inclusive environment for everyone.

26. We Both Laughed in Pleasure: The Selected Diaries of Lou Sullivan

We Both Laughed in Pleasure

Written by: Lou Sullivan

Published: 2019

Pages: 440

This is a collection of the private writings of one of the most important yet underappreciated gay rights activists of the twentieth century.

Lou Sullivan was a groundbreaking figure in both the transgender and gay rights movements, and his diaries offer a unique insight into the mind of a revolutionary.

In addition to chronicling his journey from female-to-male transition, Sullivan also documented the early days of the gay rights movement, providing a valuable record of an often-ignored history.

His writing is both personal and political, and it gives readers an intimate look at the struggles and triumphs of a LGBTQI pioneer. Even though he lived a short life and died at the age of 39, he made sure to make the most of it.

27. Ask a Queer Chick: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life for Girls Who Dig Girls

Ask a Queer Chick

Written by: Lindsay King-Miller

Published: 2016

Pages: 256

In this book, King-Miller offers an intimate and personal look at what it means to be a queer woman today. Drawing on her own experiences and those of her friends and readers, she tackles a wide range of topics, from coming out and dating to sex and body image.

Throughout the book, King-Miller is frank and funny, offering advice and insights that will resonate with any woman who is struggling to find her way in a world that often seems bewildering and hostile.

With her trademark wit and wisdom, she provides a much-needed roadmap for anyone who is trying to navigate the often-confusing landscape of modern sexuality.

This book is based on her advice column in The Hairpin but has loads of new content that she didn’t cover in it.

28. Queer: A Graphic History

Queer: A Graphic History

Written by: Meg-John Barker, Julia Scheele (Illustrations)

Published: 2016

Pages: 368

Barker's book is vital for its recounting of queer history and its innovative format. Barker uses a mix of prose, poetry, and illustrations to bring the past to life, making Queer an engaging and accessible read.

The book covers a wide range of topics, from same-sex love in ancient Greece to the Stonewall Riots, and is sure to appeal to anyone interested in queer history.

In addition, Barker's use of humor and Scheele’s beautiful illustrations make Queer an enjoyable read, even for those unfamiliar with the subject matter.

For all these reasons, Queer is an essential read for anyone interested in queer history or simply looking for an enjoyable and informative read.

29. Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality

Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers

Written by: Debbie Cenziper and Jim Obergefell

Published: 2016

Pages: 304

In the spring of 2015, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. This case would ultimately decide the fate of marriage equality in America.

At the heart of the case were Jim Obergefell and John Arthur, a same-sex couple from Ohio who had been together for over twenty years. When Arthur was diagnosed with a terminal illness, the couple decided to get married so that Obergefell could be listed as Arthur's husband on his death certificate.

However, their home state of Ohio did not recognize same-sex marriages, so they sued to have their marriage recognized.

The case made its way through the courts and eventually reached the Supreme Court. The Court made same-sex marriage legal in all fifty U.S. states in a historic ruling.

30. This Book Is Gay

This Book Is Gay

Written by: Juno Dawson with an introduction by David Levithan

Published: 2021 (Original publish date: 2014)

Pages: 308

Juno Dawson's This Book Is Gay is an important and timely book that offers an accessible and relatable introduction to the LGBTQIA+ experience.

The book is perfect for readers who are questioning their sexuality or gender identity and those who simply want to understand better and support their LGBTQIA+ friends and family members.

Through a combination of personal stories, expert advice, and humor, This Book Is Gay dispels many common myths about what it means to be LGBTQIA+ and provides valuable insights into the unique challenges this community faces.

In addition, the book includes a comprehensive glossary of terms related to sexuality and gender identity, making it an essential resource for anyone interested in learning more about the LGBTQIA+ experience.

31. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

Beyond Magenta

Written by: Susan Kuklin

Published: 2014

Pages: 182

Beyond Magenta is a moving and eye-opening look at the lives of six transgender teens.

Through powerful first-person accounts, the book tells the stories of these young people as they grapple with their gender identity and strive to find their place in the world.

Kuklin expertly captures the struggles and joys of her subjects, and her sensitive and respectful approach allows them to speak candidly about their experiences.

Beyond Magenta provides a much-needed glimpse into the lives of transgender teenagers, and it is sure to inspire empathy and understanding in its readers. The photos showing their lives make this book even more powerful and let the reader connect with the six teens as people instead of characters.

32. My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness

Written by: Kabi Nagata and translated by Jocelyne Allen

Published: 2017

Pages: 143

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is a brave and insightful exploration of one woman's search for meaning and connection. Raised in a conservative Japanese household, Nagata felt disconnected from her family and society at large.

She turned to alcohol and sex to cope with her feelings of loneliness, but these only served to isolate her further. In desperation, she embarked on a journey of self-discovery, learning to accept herself for who she is.

This is an important work that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt alone or out of place in the world. Nagata's sincerity and openness are both inspirational and empowering, offering hope to anyone who may be struggling with their own.

Nagata has numerous other manga books dealing with other issues connected to being lesbian.

33. The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World

The Velvet Rage

Written by: Alan Downs

Published: 2005

Pages: 224

Psychologist Alan Downs explores the unique challenges that gay men face in a society still largely hostile to homosexuality.

Downs argues that many of the issues that gay men, including himself, struggle with, such as low self-esteem, depression, and addiction, result from growing up in a world that tells them they are wrong or abnormal.

While it can be challenging to overcome the pain of living in a straight man's world, Downs provides readers with hope and practical advice for dealing with homophobia and finding self-acceptance. He explicitly shows three stages to help gay men become more confident in themselves and their life.

By shining a light on the unique challenges that gay men face, The Velvet Rage offers valuable insights into the LGBT experience.

34. Before Night Falls

Before Night Falls

Written by: Reinaldo Arenas and translated by Dolores M. Koch

Published: 2001 (Original publish date: 1992)

Pages: 398

Reinaldo Arenas' novel, Before Night Falls, is the story of the author's life, beginning with his childhood in Cuba and ending with his time in exile in the United States. It is a story of persecution and struggle, as Arenas was repeatedly imprisoned and tortured by the Cuban government for his homosexuality and his work as a dissident writer.

Despite his difficulties, Arenas continued to write and publish his work, eventually winning international acclaim.

His novel helped to bring attention to the plight of LGBT people in Cuba, and its success ultimately led to his release from prison.

After arriving in the United States, Arenas continued to fight for freedom of expression until his suicide when he was just 47 years old in 1990.

35. Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin

Lost Prophet

Written by: John D'Emilio

Published: 2003

Pages: 568

Bayard Rustin was one of the most influential civil rights leaders of the twentieth century. A tireless organizer and tireless advocate for nonviolence, he helped to shape the strategy and tactics of the Civil Rights Movement.

He also played a crucial role in organizing the 1963 March on Washington, which was one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in history.

In addition to his work in the civil rights movement, Rustin was also a leading voice in the fight for LGBTQ rights. He was openly gay at a time when it was not socially acceptable, and he worked tirelessly to promote equality for all people, regardless of sexual orientation.

While Rustin is not as well-known as other civil rights leaders, his impact on the movement was profound and needs to be known much more widely.

36. Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America

Eminent Outlaws

Written by: Christopher Bram

Published: 2012

Pages: 371

Eminent Outlaws is a book by Christopher Bram that examines the gay writers who helped shape America. The book looks at a wide range of writers, from James Baldwin and Gore Vidal to Edmund White and Tony Kushner.

Through their words and actions, these writers helped change the way America thought about homosexuality, paving the way for the modern gay rights movement.

While many of these writers experienced hostility and rejection from the mainstream, they persevered and made an essential contribution to American culture.

Eminent Outlaws is an important book that underscores the vital role gay writers have played in shaping our nation.

37. Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights


Written by: Kenji Yoshino

Published: 2006

Pages: 304

Kenji Yoshino is a gay first-generation Japanese man and legal professor. In this book, he examines social norms' effect on our civil rights. He argues that there are three types of covering: looking right, sounding right, and believing right.

Yoshino contends that covering is widespread among gays and lesbians, who often tone down their mannerisms and dress to avoid discrimination.

However, he also observes that minorities of all types often need to cover their differences to be accepted. This pressure to conform can have a detrimental effect on individual rights and freedoms.

Yoshino calls for a new understanding of diversity that values individual differences instead of trying to erase them. Only by recognizing and respecting our differences can we be able to free ourselves from the “cover” that society wants to keep us under day after day.

38. The Naked Civil Servant

The Naked Civil Servant

Written by: Quentin Crisp with a preface by Michael Holroyd

Published: 1997 (Original publish date: 1968)

Pages: 212

First published in 1968, Quentin Crisp's The Naked Civil Servant was an instant classic. The book detailed his experiences as a gay man in 1930s and 1940s Britain, a memoir of Crisp's flamboyant and unconventional life.

While homosexuality was still illegal at the time, Crisp refused to closet himself, choosing instead to live his life as openly and honestly as possible.

The book chronicles Crisp's nightly adventures in London's seedy underground nightclubs, his comic encounters with the police, and his eventual rise to celebrity status.

In doing so, it offers a rare glimpse into a world that was hidden from most people at the time. It was also adapted into a movie made in 1975, starring John Hurt.

39. Fairest: A Memoir


Written by: Meredith Talusan

Published: 2020

Pages: 310

Fairest is a memoir by Meredith Talusan that tells the story of her journey to accept her identity as a transgender woman. She was born in the Philippines and came to the United States as a child.

More than that, she has albinism, so her skin color was also different from most people's. She grew up feeling like she didn't fit in with any community, and it wasn't until she went to college and realized she was transgender.

Talusan chronicles her struggles and triumphs as she transitioned, both in her personal life and in her professional career. She writes candidly about the discrimination she faced, both within the transgender community and in society.

But she also writes about the strength she found in herself and the love and support of her family and friends. Fairest is an essential read for anyone, no matter gender or sex, who feels they don't belong because of society's rules.

40. Queer, There and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World

Queer, There and Everywhere

Written by: Sarah Prager

Published: 2017

Pages: 272

This is a groundbreaking work that brings to light the achievements of queer people throughout history.

Through concise and engaging biographies, Prager tells the story of how queer people have made an indelible mark on the world.

From trailblazers like Harvey Milk and Bayard Rustin to lesser-known figures like Alan Turing and Marsha P. Johnson, this book challenges the idea that queer people are invisible in history. Doing so inspires readers to celebrate the diversity of human experience and fight for a more inclusive future.

It is an essential contribution to our understanding of the past, present, and future. This shows how people who are LGBTQI should be cherished and revered for their contributions to the world.

41. Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity

Black on Both Sides

Written by: C. Riley Snorton

Published: 2017

Pages: 256

Author C. Riley Snorton examines the intersections of race and gender in the lives of black transgender people in this book.

Drawing on a wealth of sources, including interviews, archival research, and literary analysis, Snorton offers a powerful and nuanced exploration of how trans people of color have been marginalized by both the white LGBTQ community and the mainstream black community.

In particular, Snorton highlights how trans women of color have often been excluded from both straight and LGBTQI spaces.

As Snorton shows, the marginalization of trans people of color is not only a matter of exclusion but also a matter of erasure; their stories have too often been overlooked or dismissed entirely.

42. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Sister Outsider

Written by: Audre Lorde

Published: 1984

Pages: 190

In Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde collected her most influential essays and speeches to educate and empower others to foster social change.

Lorde was a powerful voice in the feminist, civil rights, and LGBTQI rights movements, and her writings reflect her deep commitment to justice and equality. Her work is both intelligent and powerful, offering keen insights into the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality.

In addition to her activism, Lorde was also a prolific writer, and Sister Outsider is a testament to her skill as a thinker and a wordsmith.

She tackles some of the most pressing issues of her time with searing honesty and passion, and her words continue to resonate today.