Celebrate Pride month with these 10 LGBTQ+ reads

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Whether you’re a fan of fiction or nonfiction, there are plenty of books for all ages and genres of book lovers to enjoy this Pride season.

These books provide fierce and vulnerable characters whose storylines may mimic personal experiences or lived pasts of those within the LGBTQ+ community. They explore themes of sexuality, politics, history, love, cultural and religious dilemmas and family. They are vehicles for education and starting points for conversations that can inspire open dialogue and foster change.

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While books on the list below can be found online and in most stores, many were considered taboo and obscene and weren’t always as accessible. Independent LGBTQ+ bookstores like Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium in Vancouver and GLAD Day Bookshop in Toronto, have allowed for queer voices to be amplified for decades. If you can support these independent stores, please do so. 

From an eleganza extravaganza on the runway to historic marches in New York, first loves to learning to love yourself, celebrate Pride month with one of the books below.

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

Image via GoodReads.

A Stonewall Book Award winner, this novel is about the unexpected friendship and special bond between two teens, one an angry loaner and the other a caring individual who sees the world in an unusual way. Navigating cultural identity, gender roles, sexuality and family, the teens set out on a journey to discover themselves and the secrets of the universe. Fun fact, Lin-Manuel Miranda reads the audiobook. 

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Image via HarperCollins Publishers.

This Stonewall Book Award recipient is set in London and follows the main character, Michael, as he struggles to find where he fits in with his Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican heritage and his sexual identity. It’s not until he discovers drag that Michael emerges as the fierce Black Flamingo and begins to learn where he belongs.  

Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and The Last Century of Queer Life by Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez

Image via Penguin Random House

 Spawning twelve seasons, spin-offs and a Las Vegas show, RuPaul has created a platform that shares queer culture and history. Every chapter, examines an element of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” like the Werk Room, the Library, the Untucked Lounge and their relation to queer culture, tradition and popular figures. Don’t forget, “reading is fundamental.”  

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Image via Penguin Random House

In this thoughtful and heartbreaking novel, Vuong explores family trauma, first loves, addiction, the meaning of masculinity and growing up as an immigrant in Hartford, Ct. Presented as a letter from a son to his illiterate mother, the novel draws parallels from the Vietnamese-American poet’s own life.  

Peanut Goes for the Gold by Jonathan Van Ness

Image via HarperCollins Publishers

“Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness tells the story of a non-binary guinea pig named Peanut, a rhythmic gymnast who has their own way of doing things. With illustrations by Gillian Reid, kids learn to embrace themselves and to do it with their own personal flare.  

Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

Image via HarperCollins Publishers

This teen love story is about a transgender boy named Pony and a cisgender girl named Georgina, who both want to keep a low-profile in their senior year. Pony doesn’t want the same attention he received after coming out as transgender at his old school and Georgina has promised herself not to date. All bets are off when they see each other on the first day of school.

Tasty Pride: 75 Recipes and Stories from the Queer Food Community by Tasty and Jesse Szewczyk

Image via Buzzfeed

Thanks to 75 colourful recipes from celebrities and cooks like “Queer Eye” star Antoni Porowski and “Top Chef” contestant Josie Smith-Malave, this book serves delicious inspirations with a side of personal stories from each contributor about the role food has played in their pride journey. 

We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown

Image via Penguin Random House Canada

A picture is worth a thousand words and the over 300 photographs in this book, curated by the founders of @lgbt_history, tell the history and fight for queer liberation. “We Are Everywhere allows us to commemorate the individuals who fought for change and reflect on the work that still needs to be accomplished.                                                                                       

We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samar Habib

Image via Penguin Random House Canada

Described by the author as a “rallying cry for anyone who has ever felt out of place,” Samar Habib’s memoir is about belonging and the search for a safe space. Habib takes us on a global journey examining the challenges of conflicting identities and about finding the courage to be your true self.  

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Image via HarperCollins Publishers

Combine the writing talents of “Love, Simon” author Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera and you get this coming-of-age love story. After a chance meeting at the post office, a flurry of “what ifs” ensue for Arthur and Ben about what the universe wants them to do. 

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