May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), and all around the world, events are being held to fight discrimination against the LGBTI community.
Society has come a long way in the last decade, in particular with regards to same sex marriage – it’s now legal in every English-speaking first world country except Australia. Representation in literature and popular culture is growing. Being queer is no longer a hidden facet of a person, it’s embraced. And slowly, but surely, the tides are changing – people have realised that love is love. Pure and simple.
This IDAHOT, we’ve put together a list of our favourite “queer” books that span sexuality, family, and gender identity, all providing a great insight as to how society’s attitudes have evolved over the last 100 years. If we missed any book you think need to be on this list, let us know!
The 27 Books You Should Read This IDAHOT (and beyond) – The Classics
The Well of Loneliness
by Radclyffe Hall
What do I care for the world’s opinion? What do I care for anything but you’
Named by her wealthy father, who wanted a boy, Stephen knows she does not fit in. She hates wearing her hair long, loves riding, reading and fencing and, she soon realizes, is attracted to women. From the battlefields of the First World War and to the streets of bohemian Paris, The Well of Loneliness recounts her passionate search for love and fulfilment. Read more.
A Boy’s Own Story
by Edmund White
Originally published in 1982 as the first of Edmund White’s trilogy of autobiographical novels, A Boy’s Own Story became an instant classic for its pioneering portrayal of homosexuality. Lyrical and powerfully evocative, this is an American literary treasure…
It was his power that stupefied me and made me regard my knowledge as nothing more than hired cleverness he might choose to show off at a dinner party. Read more.
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
by Jeanette Winterson
This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God’s elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts. At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family, for the young woman she loves. Innovative, punchy and tender, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession. Read more
The 27 Books You Should Read This IDAHOT (and beyond) – Contemporary Fiction and Y.A.
This Is How It Aways Is
by Laurie Frankel
Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time – and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a girl.
Warm, touching and bittersweet, THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS is a novel about families, love and how we choose to define ourselves. It will make you laugh and cry – and see the world differently. Read more.
Sing You Home
by Jodi Piccoult
Zoe Baxter has spent ten years trying to have a baby, and finally it looks as though her dream is about to come true – she is seven months pregnant. But a terrible turn of events takes away her baby and breaks apart her marriage to Max. In the aftermath she throws herself into her career as a music therapist. When Vanessa, a guidance counsellor, asks Zoe to work with a suicidal teen, Vanessa and Zoe’s relationship moves from business to friendship and then, to Zoe’s surprise, blossoms into love… Read more.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire-Saenz
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be… Read more
The 27 Books You Should Read This IDAHOT (and beyond) – Biographies and Memoirs
The Gender Games
by Juno Dawson
It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’ are the first words almost all of us hear when we enter the world. Before our names, before we have likes and dislikes – before we, or anyone else, has any idea who we are. And two years ago, as Juno Dawson went to tell her mother she was (and actually, always had been) a woman, she started to realise just how wrong we’ve been getting it… Read more.
by Nevo Zisin
Meet Nevo: girl, boy, he, she, him, her, they, them, daughter, son, teacher, student, friend, gay, bi, lesbian, trans, homo, Jew, dyke, masculine, feminine, androgynous, queer. Nevo was not born in the wrong body. Nevo just wants everyone to catch up with all that Nevo is. Personal, political and passionate, Finding Nevo is an autobiography about gender and everything that comes with it… Read more.
by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele
Activist-academic Meg-John Barker and cartoonist Julia Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTI action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel. From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged… Read more.
About the Contributor
Emily is Booktopia's resident eBook Merchandiser and music nerd. Obsessed with all things Harry Potter, dogs, biographical and digital; she occasionally talks too much and worked in customer service in a previous Booktopian life. When she's not obsessing over one of her many loves, she's out taking photos or trying to write self-deprecatingly witty things.