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Spotlight Books: June: Pride Month

A place to spotlight relevant books

June is Pride Month

Pride in Your Words

Pride in Your Words

Penguin Random House Publishing has officially dropped Pride in Your Words, their first-ever zine. This year’s zine opens with an introduction from the LGBTQ+ Network and highlights authors and books published in 2022, with passages and interviews from Vagabonds/Eloghosa Osunde, All the Flowers Kneeling/Paul Tran, Acts of Service/Lillian Fishman, and I’m Not Broken/Jesse Leon, as well as coloring pages from Color Me Queer by Anshika Khullar. Also featured is a 2022 Pride reading list, an illustrated guide to making your own zine, and four original illustrations from lettering artist Kyle Letendre. Click the image to download a copy of Pride in Your Words.

LGBTQ+ Poetry

The Cold and the Rust

The Cold and the Rust by Emily Van Kley. A tender portrait of a queer girlhood on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In this lyrical and unflinching debut, a landscape of staggering beauty abuts industrial towns in the throes of economic decay. Emily Van Kley explores notions of home, estrangement, isolation, and longing against a backdrop of crystalline winters, Lake Superior’s mythic tempers, and forests as vast as they are close. Winner of the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry.

Night Sky with Exit Wounds

Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong. Whiting Award winner Vuong is one of the most celebrated modern poets. In his first full-length collection, he uses spirited language and hypnotic cadence to question masculinity and femininity, to inspect violence and family, memory and romance. A haunting debut that is simultaneously dreamlike and visceral, vulnerable and redemptive, and risks the painful rewards of emotional honesty. Vuong’s work is both painful and joyful to read. 

If They Come for Us

If They Come for Us by Fatimah Asghar. This is a breathtaking collection, overflowing with rage and pain and healing and joy. Asghar tells a powerful story of being a Pakistani Muslim orphan in America, coming of age surrounded by love but feeling untethered. She grapples with violent histories, with a lack of memory of her family and her homeland, and with racial, religious, and queer micro- and macroaggressions. Her poetry is wholly original and her unique voice resonates throughout the collection.

The New Testament

The New Testament by Jericho Brown. In The New Testament, Jericho Brown summons myth, fable, elegy, and fairy tale in a tender examination of race, masculinity, and sexuality. Intensely musical, Brown’s poetry is suffused with reverence—simultaneously transporting and transforming the reader. “As for praise and worship,” Brown says, “I prefer the latter.”  A triumphant second collection, The New Testament laments the erasure of culture and ethnicity, elegizes two brothers haunted by shame, yet extols survival in the face of brutality and disease. Brown seeks not to revise the Bible but to find the source of redemption.

Bury It

Bury It by Sam Sax. Bury It, winner of the 2017 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, begins with poems written in response to the spate of highly publicized young gay suicides in the summer of 2010. What follows are raw and expertly crafted meditations on death, rituals of passage, translation, desire, diaspora, and personhood. What’s at stake is survival itself and the archiving of a lived and lyric history.

October Mourning

October Mourning by Lesléa Newman (audiobook). This work relates, from various points of view, the events from the night of October 6, 1998, when twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was lured out of a Wyoming bar, savagely beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die. A poetic exploration of the impact of Matthew Shepard's murder on the world, told through a cycle of 68 poems

Youth Resources

Youth Resources

Positive environments are important to help all youth thrive. However, the health needs of LGBT Youth can differ from their heterosexual peers. Click the image to find resources from the CDC, other government agencies, and community organizations for LGBT Youth, their friends, educators, parents, and family members to support positive environments.

LGBTQ+ Fiction

Giovanni's Room

Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin. By one of the great American authors of the 20th century, Giovanni's Room was one of the first American novels to deal with the topic of homosexuality. Set in Paris in the 1950s, David is a young American expatriate who has just proposed to his girlfriend Hella. While she is away on a trip, David meets a bartender named Giovanni to whom he is drawn in spite of himself. Soon the two are spending the night in Giovanni's room. But Hella's return to Paris brings the affair to a crisis, one that rapidly spirals into tragedy.

As the Crow Flies

As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman. Welcome to Camp Three Peaks. A rustic, Christian summer retreat for teenage girls! A week of hiking, adventure, and communing with the God of its 19th-century founders… a God that doesn’t traditionally number people like 13-year-old Charlie Lamonte among His (Her? Their? Its?) flock.

The only black camper in the group, and queer besides, she struggles to reconcile the innocent intent of the trip with the blinkered obliviousness of those determined to keep the Three Peaks tradition going. As the journey wears on and the rhetoric wears thin, Charlie can’t help but poke holes in the pious disregard this storied sanctuary has for outsiders like herself.

The Color Purple

The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Walker's masterpiece about the love between women isn't just an LGBT classic, it's a must-read book in just about every way. A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker’s epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey toward redemption and love.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. A coming of age tale about two loner teens who strike up an unexpected friendship that teaches them life-changing truths about themselves and each another. This star-crossed lover story is great for middle school kids and teens, but adults will find lots to love here, too.

The Hours

The Hours by Michael Cunning. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Cunningham draws inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of a group of contemporary characters struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair. The narrative of Woolf's last days before her suicide early in World War II counterpoints the fictional stories of Samuel, a famous poet whose life has been shadowed by his talented and troubled mother, and his lifelong friend Clarissa, who strives to forge a balanced and rewarding life in spite of the demands of friends, lovers, and family.

The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”-strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess-Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

"The Man Who Thought Himself a Woman"

"The Man Who Thought Himself a Woman" and Other Queer Nineteenth-Century Short Stories, edited by Christopher Looby. If these are not the kinds of stories we expect to find in nineteenth-century American literature, it is perhaps because we have been looking in the wrong places. The stories gathered here are written by a diverse assortment of writers—women and men, obscure and famous: Herman Melville, Willa Cather, and Louisa May Alcott, among others. Exploring the vagaries of gender identity, erotic desire, and affectional attachments that do not map easily onto present categories of sex and gender, they celebrate, mourn, and question the different modes of embodiment and forgotten styles of pleasure of nineteenth-century America.

The Angel of History

The Angel of History by Rabih Alameddine. Set over the course of one night in the waiting room of a psych clinic, The Angel of History follows Yemeni-born poet Jacob as he revisits the events of his life, from his maternal upbringing in an Egyptian whorehouse to his adolescence under the aegis of his wealthy father and his life as a gay Arab man in San Francisco at the height of AIDS. Hovered over by the presence of alluring, sassy Satan who taunts Jacob to remember his painful past and dour, frigid Death who urges him to forget and give up on life, Jacob is also attended to by 14 saints. Set in Cairo and Beirut; Sana'a, Stockholm, and San Francisco; Alameddine gives us a charged philosophical portrait of a brilliant mind in crisis. This is a profound, philosophical and hilariously winning story of the war between memory and oblivion we wrestle with every day of our lives.

LGBTQ+ in American History

LGBTQ in American History ( -1800)

1649 – Sarah White Norman and Mary Vincent Hammon are charged with “lewd behavior” in Plymouth, Massachusetts, believed to be the first conviction for lesbian behavior in the new world.

1714 – Sodomy laws are put in place in the early colonies and in the colonial militia. These laws would remain in place until challenged in 1925.

1778 – Lieutenant Gotthold Frederick Enslin of the Continental Army becomes the first documented service member to be dismissed from the U.S. military for homosexuality. 

1779 – Thomas Jefferson proposes Virginia law to make sodomy punishable by mutilation rather than death. This proposal was rejected by the Virginia legislature.

1789 – Olauda Equiano, a former slave, publishes The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African. It was one of the first widely read narratives of slave life at the time. In it, he describes his same-sex relationships with other men and the existence of same-sex relationships within slave culture due to slaves be unable to marry.

LGBTQ in American History (1800-1900)

Photo of Albert Cashier

1849 – Lifelong partners Jason Chamberlain and John Chaffee sail from Boston to California to seek their fortunes in the California Gold Rush. They lived together in Groveland, CA, until Chamberlain died in 1903. Chaffee took his own life not long after.

1862 – Jennie Hodgers, disguised as a man named Albert Cashier, enlists in the Union army in Illinois. She would continue living as a man after the war.

1868 – Fourteenth Amendment Ratified. This is the most cited amendment in Supreme Court civil rights cases and has been the basis for landmark cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges. Gay rights advocates often cite this amendment in support of equality for future court cases.

1879 – Death of Charley Parkhurst, a well-known stagecoach driver in Central California who was born a woman but lived as a man. In 1868, she may have been the first person of the female sex to vote in a presidential election in California. It was not until after her death that her sex was discovered by others.

1886 – Henry James writes the book, The Bostonians, about a long term relationship between two women and the term “Boston Marriages” develops to describe two women living together, independent of financial support from a man.

1890 – The term, Lesbian, is first used in a medical dictionary.

1890 – Hull House, founded by Jane Addams and other women opens in Chicago, IL with funding from her partner, Mary Rozet Smith.

1890 – Birth of Alan Hart, who pioneered the use of the X-Ray for tuberculosis diagnosis and was one of the first transgender men to undergo a hysterectomy.

LGBTQ in American History (1900-1950)

Photo of Gertrude and Alice

1907 – Gertrude Stein meets Alice B. Toklas, sparking a legendary romance. In Paris, the two women set up a salon that connects many great writers and artists, including gays. Stein publicly declares her love for Toklas in print in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, published in 1933.

1917-1935 – The Harlem Renaissance. Historians have stated that the renaissance was “as gay as it was black.” Some of the lesbian, gay or bisexual people of this movement included writers and poets such as Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen and Zora Neale Hurston; Professor Alain Locke; music critic and photographer Carl Van Vechten, and entertainers Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters and Gladys Bentley.

1924 – The Society for Human Rights, the first gay rights organization, is founded by Henry Gerber in Chicago. The organization ceases to exist after most of its members are arrested.

1928 – Radclyffe Hall, an English author, publishes what many consider a groundbreaking lesbian novel, The Well of Loneliness. This causes homosexuality to be a topic of public conversation in the United States.

1948 – Alfred Kinsey, an American biologist and sexologist at Indiana University publishes Sexual Behavior of the Human Male, which discusses male homosexuality. (Also known as the Kinsey Reports).

1950 – U.S. Congress issues the report, “Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in Government.” It is distributed to members of Congress. The report shows that the federal government had covertly investigated employees’ sexual orientation. It states that since homosexuality is a mental illness, homosexuals “constitute security risks” to the nation.

1950 – The Mattachine Society forms in Los Angeles, California, by activist Harry Hay and is one of the first sustained gay rights groups in the United States. The Society focuses on social acceptance of homosexuals. The organization continues today with different objectives.

LGBTQ in American History (1950-Stonewall)

Photo of Christine Jorgensen

1952 – Christine Jorgensen becomes one of the most famous transgender people when she undergoes a sex change operation. She went on to have a successful career in show business.

1952 – The American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual lists homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disturbance that could be treated.

1952 – U.S. Congress passes the Immigration Act, which bars “aliens afflicted with a psychopathic personality, epilepsy or mental defect” from immigrating to the United States. Congress makes clear that this includes “homosexuals and sex perverts."

1953 – The Kinsey Report, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, is published. Similarly to its counterpart, this report discusses female homosexuality.

1953 – Executive Order 10450, issued by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, bans homosexuals from working for the federal government, stating they are a security risk. This order stays in place until 1993, when President Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress enact the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

1962 – Illinois becomes the first state to decriminalize homosexual acts between two consenting adults in private.

1966 – Compton’s Cafeteria Riot. Transgender people and drag queens in San Francisco react to violent and constant harassment from the police. One result of the protest is the establishment of the National Transsexual Counseling Unit (NTCU) in support of transgender people.

1967 – The Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop opens in New York City by Craig Rodwell. The bookshop is devoted to gay history and gay rights.

Stonewall Uprising - Part 1

By 1969, the Stonewall Inn was one of the most popular gay bars in Manhattan. Homosexuality was also considered criminal offense, and this made the Stonewall Inn a popular target for police raids. The New York State Liquor Authority refused to grant liquor licenses to bars that served known or suspected LGBT individuals and these bars were often shut down. As a result, most gay bars in New York at the time were owned by the Mafia, who operated without liquor licenses and often paid the police to look the other way. These payments also ensured that the police would tip off the Mafia about an incoming raid, which allowed for the bar to hide their liquor and avoid fines. The Stonewall Inn was raided about once a month leading up to the raid that would set off the Stonewall Uprising. 

On a Friday night in June, the Stonewall Inn was packed. The bar had been stormed by police only a few nights earlier. Eight police officers entered the bar in plainclothes. However, this time the bar had not been tipped off about the incoming raid. The police officers began arresting the bar's employees and any cross-dressing patrons (cross-dressing was a crime), taking them to the bathrooms to check their sex. More officers arrived on the scene. Outside the bar a crowd was forming of patrons and nearby residents who were fed up with the constant police harassment. Police began aggressively loading arrested employees and patrons into a police van. 

Stonewall Uprising - Part 2

Accounts vary on what happened next, but according to witnesses the crowd erupted after a police officer hit a woman over the head. The crowd began taunting the officers and throwing pennies and bottles. Within minutes hundreds of people were involved. The police retreated to the Stonewall Inn and barricaded themselves inside. The crowd attempted to break down the barricade, but soon sirens announced the arrival of more police officers, as well as the Tactical Patrol Force (TPF), the city's riot police. Protestors ran away, only to circle back around to continue the protest.

Sometime after 4 a.m. things settled down. No one had been killed or seriously injured. Stonewall Inn was open the very next day, though without any liquor. As the evening continued, more and more people showed up at the bar to show their support to the community. Police arrived and began beating and tear gassing the crowd for hours, until the crowd finally dispersed in the early hours of the morning. Protestors continued to appear over the next few days, as well did the police, although these instances were less confrontational. 

While the Stonewall Uprising did not start the gay rights movement, it was a galvanizing force. It led to the creation of numerous rights organizations, including the Gay Liberation Front, Human Rights Campaign, and GLAAD. One year after the uprising thousands marched from Stonewall Inn to Central Park. This was America's first gay pride parade. The site of the uprisings, including the Stonewall Inn itself, is now a national monument.

LGBTQ in American History (Stonewall-1980)

1969 – Gay Liberation Front organization forms in New York following the Stonewall Riots to advocate for sexual liberation for all people.

1969 – The Gay Activist Alliance forms in New York by a group unsatisfied with the direction of the Gay Liberation Front. Their purpose is to “secure basic human rights, dignity, and freedom for all gay people.”

1970 – The first gay pride marches are held in multiple cities across the United States on the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.

1971 – The “Body Politic” Magazine begins publishing in Toronto, Canada. It becomes one of the most widely read publications regarding LGBT rights.

1974 – Elaine Noble becomes the first openly gay person to be elected as a state legislator; she serves in the Massachusetts State House of Representatives for two terms.

1976 – The book, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A., is written by Jonathan Ned Katz based on his play of 1972. This is the first book that documented gay history in the U.S.

1978 (June 25) – In San Francisco, the Rainbow Flag is first flown during the Gay Freedom Parade.

1979 – National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Over 100,000 people gather in support of gay and lesbian rights.

LGBTQ in American History (1980-2000)

1981 (June 5) – AIDS Epidemic begins. 

1985 – Rock Hudson dies. He was a leading actor in many movies in the 1950s and 1960s. He died of complications related to AIDS. After his death, it was revealed that he was gay and had several male relationships.

1986 – Bowers v. Hardwick (Supreme Court Decision). By a vote of 5-4 that a Georgia sodomy law criminalizing oral and anal sex in private between consenting adults was legal and that there were no constitutional protections for acts of sodomy.

1993 – The U.S. Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” that allowed gay and lesbian people to serve in the military. They would not be asked their sexual orientation during enlistment screening.

1994 – Greg Louganis, four-time Olympic gold medalist and considered one of the greatest divers in history, publicly came out as gay as part of the Gay Games in New York City.

1997 – Ellen DeGeneres, a comedian, TV actor and television host was one of the first popular entertainers who publicly came out as a lesbian during an interview on the Oprah Winfrey show and then became the first openly gay character on the TV show, “Ellen.”

1998 – Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, was brutally attacked and tied to a fence in a field outside of Laramie, Wyo. and left to die because he was gay. He died from his wounds several days later.

LGBTQ in American History (2000-2022)

2003 – Lawrence v. Texas. Ruled by a vote of 6-3 that a Kansas law criminalizing gay or lesbian sex was unconstitutional declaring the importance of constitutional liberty and privacy consistent with the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Also overturned the court decision in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) stating that the court had made the wrong decision.

2008 – Proposition 8 passes with a 52% yes vote in California declaring that marriage is between a man and a woman.

2010 – The U.S. Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” so that gay and lesbian people could serve openly in the military.

2013 – U.S. v. Windsor / Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act – DOMA. By a vote of 5-4 the Supreme Court ruled that defining marriage as just between a man and a woman is unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment guarantee of equal protection. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1996 and stated that marriage or legal unions are between one man and one woman. This decision ruled the congressional law as unconstitutional and that states have the authority to define marital relationships.

2015 – Obergefell v. Hodges. The Supreme Court voted 5-4 that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This decision mandated that states must allow same-sex couples to legally marry.

Memoirs

Becoming a Man

Becoming a Man: The story of a transition by P. Carl. For fifty years P. Carl lived as a girl and then as a queer woman, building a career, a life, and a loving marriage, yet still waiting to realize himself in full. As Carl embarks on his gender transition, he takes us inside the complex shifts and questions that arise throughout—the alternating moments of arrival and estrangement. He writes intimately about how transitioning reconfigures both his own inner experience and his closest bonds—his twenty-year relationship with his wife, Lynette; his already tumultuous relationships with his parents; and seemingly solid friendships that are subtly altered, often painfully and wordlessly. Carl’s quest to become himself and to reckon with his masculinity mirrors, in many ways, the challenge before the country as a whole, to imagine a society where every member can have a vibrant, livable life. Here, through this brave and deeply personal work, Carl brings an unparalleled new voice to this conversation.

I Can't Date Jesus

I Can't Date Jesus by Michael Arceneaux. It hasn’t been easy being Michael Arceneaux. Equality for LGBTQ people has come a long way and all, but voices of persons of color within the community are still often silenced, and being Black in America is…well, have you watched the news?

With the characteristic wit and candor that have made him one of today’s boldest writers on social issues, I Cant Date Jesus is Michael Arceneaux’s impassioned, forthright, and refreshing look at minority life in today’s America. Leaving no bigoted or ignorant stone unturned, he describes his journey in learning to embrace his identity when the world told him to do the opposite. He eloquently writes about coming out to his mother; growing up in Houston, Texas; being approached for the priesthood; his obstacles in embracing intimacy that occasionally led to unfortunate fights with fire ants and maybe fleas; and the persistent challenges of young people who feel marginalized and denied the chance to pursue their dreams.

Are There Closets in Heaven?

Are There Closets in Heaven? by Carol Curoe and Robert Curoe. It's always difficult for a child to tell her parents she is gay, regardless of how liberal or conservative her family might be. When the daughter is part of a devout Catholic family living in a small rural community, the parent-child relationship is exposed to even greater risk, often beyond repair. A revealing first-person dialogue between a lesbian daughter, who had always dutifully tried to please her parents, and her Catholic father, an 81 year old Iowan farmer. Through their letters and reflections, we see how courage and love made it possible for them to navigate the twists and turns of such a dramatic shift in their lives. This highly personal and often emotional exchange offers a gift of hope and inspiration to families who struggle with learning their child is not what they expected.

Butterfly Boy

Butterfly Boy by Rigoberto González. Heartbreaking, poetic, and intensely personal, Butterfly Boy is a unique coming out and coming-of-age story of a first-generation Chicano who trades one life for another, only to discover that history and memory are not exchangeable or forgettable. Growing up among poor migrant Mexican farmworkers, Rigoberto González also faces the pressure of coming-of-age as a gay man in a culture that prizes machismo. Losing his mother when he is twelve, González must then confront his father’s abandonment and an abiding sense of cultural estrangement, both from his adopted home in the United States and from a Mexican birthright. His only sense of connection gets forged in a violent relationship with an older man. By finding his calling as a writer, and by revisiting the relationship with his father during a trip to Mexico, González finally claims his identity at the intersection of race, class, and sexuality. The result is a leap of faith that every reader who ever felt like an outsider will immediately recognize.

Does Jesus Really Love Me?

Does Jesus Really Love Me?: a gay Christian's pilgrimage in search of God in America by Jeff Chu. When Jeff Chu came out to his parents as a gay man, his devout Christian mother cried. And cried. Every time she looked at him. For months. As a journalist and a believer, Chu knew that he had to get to the heart of a question that had been haunting him for years: Does Jesus really love me?

The quest to find an answer propels Chu on a remarkable cross-country journey to discover the God “forbidden to him” because of his sexuality. Surveying the breadth of the political and theological spectrum, from the most conservative viewpoints to the most liberal, he tries to distill what the diverse followers of Christ believe about homosexuality and to understand how these people who purportedly follow the same God and the same Scriptures have come to hold such a wide range of opinions. Chu captures spiritual snapshots of Christian America at a remarkable moment, when tensions between both sides in the culture wars have rarely been higher. Both funny and heartbreaking, perplexing and wise, Does Jesus Really Love Me? is an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual pilgrimage that reveals a portrait of a faith and a nation at odds.

Fairyland

Fairyland: a memoir of my father by Alysia Abbott. After his wife dies, bisexual writer and activist Steve Abbott moves with his two-year-old daughter to San Francisco. There they discover a city in the midst of revolution, bustling with gay men in search of liberation—few of whom are raising a child. Steve throws himself into San Francisco’s vibrant cultural scene. He takes Alysia to raucous parties, pushes her in front of the microphone at poetry readings, and introduces her to a world of artists, thinkers, and writers. But the pair live like nomads, moving from apartment to apartment, with a revolving cast of roommates and little structure. As a child Alysia views her father as a loving playmate who can transform the ordinary into magic, but as she gets older Alysia wants more than anything to fit in. The world, she learns, is hostile to difference.

In Alysia’s teens, Steve’s friends fall ill as AIDS starts its rampage through their community. While Alysia is studying in New York and then in France, her father tells her it’s time to come home; he’s sick with AIDS. Alysia must choose whether to take on the responsibility of caring for her father or continue the independent life she has worked so hard to create.
 

LGBTQ+ Nonfiction

How to Survive a Plague

How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed AIDS by David France. This book tells the history of the battle to halt the AIDS epidemic, and the powerful stories of the gay activists who refused to die without a fight. This is the story of the men and women who, watching their friends and lovers fall, ignored by public officials, religious leaders, and the nation at large, and confronted with shame and hatred, chose to fight for their right to live. Expansive yet richly detailed, this is an insider's account of a pivotal moment in the history of American civil rights

The Gay Revolution: the Story of the Struggle

The Gay Revolution: the Story of the Struggle by Lillian Faderman. This is a chronicle of the modern day struggle for gay, lesbian, and transgender rights. It draws from interviews with politicians, military figures, legal activists, and members of the LGBT community to document the struggles since the 1950s. The Economist called it "the most comprehensive history to date of America's gay-rights movement."

Queer Religion

Queer Religion, edited by Donald L. Boisvert and Jay Emerson Johnson. This ground-breaking and eye-opening book examines the intersections of religion and same-sex desire, from St. Augustine to Hinduism to contemporary LGBT and queer culture.

Queering the Countryside

Queering the Countryside: New Frontiers in Rural Queer Studies, edited by Mary L. Gray, Colin R. Johnson, & Brian Joseph Gilley. Rural queer experience is often hidden or ignored, and presumed to be alienating, lacking, and incomplete without connections to a gay culture that exists in an urban elsewhere. Queering the Countryside offers the first comprehensive look at queer desires found in rural America from a genuinely multi-disciplinary perspective. This collection of original essays confronts the assumption that queer desires depend upon urban life for meaning.

The Lavender Scare

The Lavender Scare: the Cold War persecution of gays and lesbians in the federal government by David K. Johnson. The frightening, untold story of how, during the Cold War, homosexuals were considered as dangerous a threat to national security as Communists. Charges that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were havens for homosexuals proved a potent political weapon, sparking a “Lavender Scare” more vehement and long-lasting than McCarthy’s Red Scare. The Lavender Scare shatters the myth that homosexuality has only recently become a national political issue, changing the way we think about both the McCarthy era and the origins of the gay rights movement. And perhaps just as importantly, this book is a cautionary tale, reminding us of how acts taken by the government in the name of “national security” during the Cold War resulted in the infringement of the civil liberties of thousands of Americans.

Losing Matt Shepard

Losing Matt Shepard: Life and politics in the aftermath of anti-gay murder by Beth Loffreda. The infamous murder in October 1998 of a twenty-one-year-old gay University of Wyoming student ignited a media frenzy. The crime resonated deeply with America's bitter history of violence against minorities, and something about Matt Shepard himself struck a chord with people across the nation. Although the details of the tragedy are familiar to most people, the complex and ever-shifting context of the killing is not. Losing Matt Shepard explores why the murder still haunts us -- and why it should.

Juvenile Literature

This Day in June

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten. In a fun, validating, and joyous reflection of the LGBT community, experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united.

Sex is a Funny Word

Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smith. A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identies, Sex Is a Funny Word is an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers.

Heather Has Two Mommies

Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman. When Heather goes to playgroup, she feels bad because she has two mothers and no father, but she then learns that there are lots of different kinds of families and the most important thing is that all the people love each other.

Prince & Knight

Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis. A prince and a knight in shining armor find true love in each other's embrace after fighting a dragon together.