Celebrating Pride Month 2020: Great LGBTQ+ Books, Authors and Stories

Pride month 2020 might look a little (or a lot) different to previous years thanks to lockdown, but it’s still a great time to celebrate all things queer and to recognise the incredible people who led us to where we are now, and who have helped us to move towards a more accepting, equal future.

Across the world, June is recognised as Pride month, dating back to the Stonewall uprising (or Stonewall riots) of June 28, 1969. On that night, approx. 200 queer people came together in the streets and gathered in the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City to protest against police harassment, violence and assault of the queer community.

It’s important to remember that Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, both trans women of colour, were paramount in kick-starting the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Whilst Pride events and Pride month should be a celebration of the community, we must not forget about the fights for rights that have happened, and those that continue to take place across the world.

We’re moving forward but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

7 Books and Authors to Add to your TBR

It was only recently that I really sat down and thought about how hetero- and cis-normative my bookshelf is. There are certain stories and characters (White, cis, heterosexual, able-bodied…. I could go on) that are dominant in ‘mainstream’ books and writing, which is highly problematic and something I am actively going to change within my own bookshelf – and I encourage you to do the same. We should read and celebrate diverse authors, stories, characters, books and writing.

That’s why I’m going to share some of my favourite, current and upcoming reads by LGBTQ+ authors, or works that include people of different gender and sexual identities to those portrayed as the ‘norm’. I hope you find some books you’d like to pick up too!

Her Body & Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

A fantastic collection of creepy short stories that maps the experiences of women’s bodies and the violence enacted upon them. I love Machado’s writing and have already put In the Dream House, sharing her experiences in an abusive same-sex relationship, on my ‘to buy’ list.

A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan

Kirsty Logan has quickly become one of my favourite authors. Her short stories are so vivid, beautifully written and otherworldly. The Portable Shelter is a magical set of short stories that are basically fairy tales for adults. Full of emotion and rich with descriptions, both A Portable Shelter and Things We Say in the Dark are going to be books I reach for again and again.

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

This is on my TBR list and I can’t wait to get started on it. Emezi’s debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self as a young Nigerian woman, Ada, develops separate selves within her.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Joint Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2019, Girl, Woman, Other tells the story of modern Britain and black womanhood with the inclusion of non-binary identities. Full of life, very distinct voices and a wide range of experiences, this book should be on everyone’s TBR list.

Clouds Cannot Cover Us by Jay Hulme

A beautiful collection of poetry that tells of Jay’s journey growing up in a working-class family in Leicestershire alongside his experiences of life as a transgender teenager.

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

This book was key in highlighting how I wanted to diversify my bookshelf as I loved reading the story of a female/female relationship that wasn’t sensationalised.

Exciting Times follows a millennial Irish woman who moves to Hong Kong for work and new experiences, but becomes entangled in a love triangle with a male banker and a female lawyer.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

My current read which I am really enjoying. This is a book I just don’t want to put down as I already feel invested in the lives of its characters after just a few chapters.

The Vanishing Half follows the story of twin sisters who grow up together in a small, southern black community but run away aged sixteen. Their lives splinter as they choose to live in very different worlds, one black and one white.

What are you favourite LGBTQ+ books and authors?

I’d love to know if you’re planning to pick up any of these books – or what you thought of them if you have already read them? Share some of your favourite LGBTQ+ books in the comments so that I can add them to my TBR list too!

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