It's June, which means it's Pride Month! Each June, we turn to history, contributions and stories of the LGBTQIA+ individuals, celebrate the community and look to the future as we continue to fight for the rights and equality of all people. It's a month that is both joyous and fun, but also calls upon us to insure that we are working each day to not only insist on the fair and equal treatment of the community, but to make sure that we are championing their stories in every thing we do, from what we watch and listen to, to the books we read.
Maybe you have always included LGBTQIA+ stories on your TBRs and are looking for suggestions you might not have seen before. Maybe you are new to diverse reading and aren't sure where to start. The nine suggestions below offer easy ways to include LGBTQIA+ books in your reading life, both during Pride month and far beyond. Whether you're looking for fictional LGBT characters or want to delve more into the history of the movement and individuals therein, we've got tips and lists for you to check out that will definitely get your currently reading to Pride-ready levels.
1Read Some Fiction With LGBTQIA+ Main Characters
This is definitely the most obvious, and easiest, way to honor Pride in your monthly reading. If you don't know where to start, why not check out lists of celebrated or newly released LGBT books to find plots that appeal to you. You can also turn to your favorite author to see whether they've written books from a queer perspective (writers like David Levithan, Nina LaCour and Benjamin Alire Saenz all have multiple excellent books with queer MCs in their backlist.) Or, you can just head to the book store or library and walk around your favorite section until you find something great, or have a bookseller or librarian offer you some suggestions based on your favorite reads. Might we also suggest LGBTQ Books With POC Protagonists?
2Turn To History Books To Get Informed
We often turn to fiction for diversity but it is also beyond crucial to be informed of the history of the Gay Rights Movement, from Stonewall to the AIDS crisis to the fight for marriage equality and so much more. If you're new to gay history you can look for a book which overarching histories and themes like. If you want to delve into more specific aspects of the community, reach for books like Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men from the March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis by Kevin J. Mumford to learn more about the equally important histories that are often hidden, or go untold. Here are a few more LGBTQ non-fiction suggestions to delve into.
3Read Books By LGBTQIA+ Authors
As equally important as reading diverse books in the first place, is reading Own Voices books, those written by authors who are part of the same community as their characters and can speak authentically to their experiences. The list of Own Voices LGBTQIA+ books is endless, so there is no excuse not to make picking these up a priority in your Pride book search. If you're looking for a place to start here are 25 Queer Authors You Should Absolutely Be Reading.
4Choose A Book To Movie Adaptation For Your Book Club, Then Read And Watch Together
This is a really fun way to make your Pride reading more interactive this month. Whether you belong to a large book club or just want to read something with a close friend or two, picking an LGBT book with an onscreen adaptation gives you two reasons to get together and discuss the story. Read the book first, then plan a movie night to watch the film. You not only get to hang out and have fun (wine optional, but who are we kidding?) you can delve into themes, the different ways LGBT characters are portrayed on the page and on screen, and so much more. And here are 11 suggestions for lesbian movies you can watch this month, some with literary counterparts.
5Grab An Anthology For Tons Of LGBTQIA+ Stories In One Place
If your TBR is already chock full of picks this month, but you want to include queer voices in your reading, an anthology is a great place to turn. With one additional book on your reading list, you get a plethora of queer voices and perspectives to delve into. This is not only the easiest way to get Pride reading in, but it will also introduce you to tons of writers and authors whose work you might want to check out in the future. Total win-win.
6Dive Into Some Memoir Or Biography
If you're more into reading about the life of one person verses an entire movement, memoir or biography is definitely the way to go. Memoirs from LGBTQIA+ individuals range from moving to hilarious, heart-wrenching to powerful, sometimes all within the same book. Whether they are stories about coming out, being an integral part of the gay rights movement, or just sharing what it's like to be part of the LGBT community today, these books shares the inside lives of important queer figures. The list of books to choose from is endless, so you can find the person and story that most speaks to you. But here are 30 LGBTQIA Memoirs for you to get started.
7Include Multifaceted Characters In Your Reading
While books about coming out are super important in the genre and should be included in your reading list, it is also important to remember that queer individuals are people with intense personal histories, adorable love stories, struggles and triumphs just like any other character you would expect to read. There are so many excellent books about LGBT main characters who, well, just to happen to be part of the LGBT community, but aren't necessarily struggling with their identity. Books like Nina LaCour's Everything Leads To You has a lesbian main character who is dealing with post-graduation life, career and dating... not with coming out or being gay. It's a refreshing change of pace that will give you yet another LGBT perspective to dive into.
8Share An LGBTQIA+ Plus Children's Book With A Kid In Your Life
Though we still have a long way to go, luckily you can find tons more middle grade and children's books with LGBT main characters and about LGBT issues than ever before. Of course, you can pick one of these up to read all on your own, but if you've got a kid in your life that you're close to, whether it's your own child, a younger sibling or family member, or maybe a child you babysit or tutor, sharing the stories of queer and trans children is an excellent way to start a crucial conversation on the beauty of differences and acceptance. These 5 Children's Books About Trans Issues are a great place to start.
9Grab A Stack Of Graphic Novels And Comics
If all else fails, there is nothing better to turn to during a month of reading than a big stack of graphic novels and comic books. So many incredible series feature LGBT main characters, from Gabby Rivera's America to Noelle Stevenson's Nimona and so, so many more, in both fiction and memoir. Graphic novels are notorious for being quick and easy to get through, while containing incredible artwork and speaking to serious themes like gender, sexism, racism and other topics crucial to include in any Pride month reading.