14 New (and New-Ish) LGBTQ+ Books to Read This Pride Month
June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month. To celebrate, you could watch a bunch of queer movies and TV shows. Or, you could support queer-owned fashion and beauty brands. You could also read one of these recently published books LGBTQ+-themed books. Without further ado, the best new (and new-ish) LGBTQ+ books to read right now.
1. Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
Reese was thisclose to having it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City and a job she didn't hate. She had a life that previous generations of trans women could only dream of. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitions and became Ames, and everything falls apart. But Ames isn't happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him pretty much everything. To add insult to injury, Ames's boss and lover reveals that she's pregnant with his baby, leaving Ames to wonder if the three of them could form some kind of unconventional family and raise the baby together.
2. Everybody (Else) Is Perfect: How I Survived Hypocrisy, Beauty, Clicks and Likes by Gabrielle Korn
To the people around her (and to her many Instagram followers) Gabrielle Korn seemed to have it all—especially after being named the youngest editor-in-chief of prestigious fashion magazine Nylon. On the inside, however, she was struggling: Struggling to stay afloat in the cutthroat fashion world, struggling to find love as a young lesbian in New York City, struggling in her battle with anorexia and struggling not to lose herself in a mirage of women's empowerment and Instagram perfection. In this candid and inspiring collection of essays, Korn fearlessly exposes what’s going on behind the scenes of those perfect social media posts we see every day.
3. Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 by Sarah Schulman
ACT UP New York was a broad and unlikely coalition of activists from all races, genders, sexualities and backgrounds that took on the AIDS crisis with an indefatigable and multifaceted attack on the corporations, institutions, governments and individuals who stood in the way of AIDS treatment for all. Based on more than two hundred interviews with ACT UP members, Let the Record Show is a revelatory exploration of the coalition's inner workings, conflicts, achievements and ultimate fracture.
4. Love Is an Ex-Country by Randa Jarrar
Randa Jarrar is a queer, Muslim, Arab American and proudly fat woman. As an American raised for a time in Egypt, she finds herself captivated by the story of an Egyptian belly dancer's journey across the United States in the 1940s and decides to take her own road trip from her home in California to her parents’ in Connecticut. On the way, she schools a rest-stop racist, destroys Confederate flags in the desert and visits the Chicago neighborhood where her immigrant parents first lived, all while recounting the happenings of her life and how she reclaimed her autonomy after a life of survival.
5. The Queer Bible: Essays Edited by Jack Guinness
In 2016, model and queer activist Jack Guinness decided that the LGBTQ+ community needed to be reminded of its history. The following year, he created QueerBible.com, an online community devoted to celebrating queer heroes, both past and present. In this book, inspired by the website, contemporary queer heroes pay homage to those who helped pave their paths. Think: Elton John writing on Divine, comedian Mae Martin writing on Tim Curry, Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy on Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon and more.
6. With Teeth by Kristen Arnett
Sammie is afraid of her son, Samson, who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain about how she feels about motherhood, she tries her best while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie's life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels.
7. The 2000s Made Me Gay by Grace Perry
While it’s easy for young people today to look around and see queer role models pretty much everywhere, that hasn’t always been the case. As a teenager, writer Grace Perry had to search for queerness in the (largely straight) teen cultural phenomena the aughts had to offer: Gossip Girl, Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl," country-era Taylor Swift, and more. Her new collection of essays is a hilarious and nostalgic trip through 2000s media, interweaving cultural criticism and personal narrative to examine how a very straight decade forged a very queer woman.
8. Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage
Jonah is a struggling playwright new to New York City who begins an affair with a glamorous Pulitzer Prize-winning colleague. When summer arrives, Jonah joins his older lover at his sprawling estate in the Hamptons, where a fancy group of artist friends are served by a waitstaff of young, attractive gay men, many of whom have ugly bruises. Soon, Jonah is cast out of the circle and a sinister underlay begins to emerge, hurtling Jonah toward a decisive revenge that will shape the rest of his life.
9. The Guncle by Steven Rowley
Early beach read alert. Former sitcom star Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece and nephew. He cherishes their visits to Palm Springs, but a week is usually more than enough quality time. Then, tragedy strikes and Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Quickly realizing that parenting—even if temporary—isn't solved with treats and jokes, Patrick's eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility.
10. Sarahland by Sam Cohen
In America in 2021, you either know someone named Sarah or you’re named Sarah yourself. In this wonderfully weird debut story collection, Cohen explores identity, sexuality and relationships through a series of stories about characters named, you guessed it, Sarah. In one story, a Sarah finds pleasure—and a new set of problems—by playing dead for a wealthy necrophiliac. Another Buffy-loving Sarah uses fan fiction to work through romantic obsession. It’s witty, subversive and a whole lot of fun.
11. Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier
In this debut novel, a pregnant 18-year-old is working as a pizza delivery girl in suburban Los Angeles while grieving the death of her father, avoiding her supportive mom and loving boyfriend, and basically ignoring her future. Then she meets Jenny, a stay-at-home mom who orders pizza every week. As one character looks toward motherhood and the other toward middle age, their relationship blurs in strange, complicated and ultimately heartbreaking ways.
12. You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat
On a hot day in Bethlehem, a 12-year-old Palestinian-American girl is yelled at by a group of men outside for exposing her legs in a biblical city. When she finally admits to her mother that she is queer, her mother's response only intensifies a sense of shame: “You exist too much.” In Brooklyn, she moves into an apartment with her first serious girlfriend but soon gives into reckless romantic encounters and obsessions with other people. Told in vignettes that move between the U.S. and the Middle East, Arafat's debut novel traces her protagonist's progress from blushing teen to sought-after DJ and aspiring writer.
13. The Queer Advantage: Conversations with LGBTQ+ Leaders on the Power of Identity by Andrew Gelwicks
Gelwicks is a former Conde Nast editor turned fashion stylist turned author. For The Queer Advantage, he interviewed trailblazing queer folks like Lee Daniels, Dan Levy, Billie Jean King, Margaret Cho and more about how their queerness has given them a precious, powerful edge. It's an inspiring collection of stories from people whose journeys can affect change for generations to come.
14. Tomboyland by Melissa Faliveno
Melissa Faliveno grew up in working-class Wisconsin in the 1980s surrounded by factories and farms, guns and bars and lakes and trees. As a first-generation college graduate who moved to New York City, she found it impossible to fully shake her roots. In her debut collection of essays, she examines the complicated—and often contradictory—parts of her life: the first time she shot a gun; her experiences in BDSM as a feminist; and navigating androgyny and bisexuality, womanhood and rage, religion and myth, loneliness and love.