In celebration of LGBTQ+ identities, here is a selection of books that celebrate the diversity, experience and culture of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The selection include personal stories, titles for young adults and picture books to share with young children.
Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart
Born under different stars, Protestant Mungo and Catholic James live in a hyper-masculine world. They are caught between two of Glasgow’s housing estates where young working-class men divide themselves along sectarian lines and fight territorial battles for the sake of reputation. They should be sworn enemies if they’re to be seen as men at all, and yet they become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the doocot that James has built for his prize racing pigeons. As they begin to fall in love, they dream of escaping the grey city, and Mungo must work hard to hide his true self from all those around him, especially from his elder brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold. But the threat of discovery is constant and the punishment unspeakable.
Detransition Baby by Torrey Peters
Reese nearly had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York, a job she didn’t hate. She’d scraped together a life previous generations of trans women could only dream of; the only thing missing was a child. Then everything fell apart and three years on Reese is still in self-destruct mode, avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men. When her ex calls to ask if she wants to be a mother, Reese finds herself intrigued. After being attacked in the street, Amy de-transitioned to become Ames, changed jobs, and, thinking he was infertile, started an affair with his boss Katrina. Now Katrina’s pregnant. Could the three of them form an unconventional family – and raise the baby together?
You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat
Told in vignettes that flash between the US and the Middle East, Zaina Arafat’s powerful debut novel traces her protagonist’s progress from blushing teen to creative and confusing adulthood.
We Can Do Better Than This by Amelia Abraham
We talk about LGBTQ+ equality. But what does it actually mean? And how do we get there? In this powerful and thought-provoking essay collection, 35 people – from actors, pop stars and athletes to scientists, writers and activists – set out to answer these vital questions. ‘We Can Do Better Than This’ meets the famous drag queen who wants to eradicate the stigma around dating trans people, a gay Bangladeshi activist calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality after his best friends were murdered in a hate crime, the Russian lesbian sex blogger skirting around the law to educate young people, a well-known trans author and journalist who wants to reimagine trans media representation, and the supermodel calling for the end of intersex surgeries on children.
An Accidental Icon by Norman Scott
In October 1975 an assassin tried to murder Norman Scott on Exmoor, but the trigger failed and he only succeeded in shooting Scott’s beloved dog, Rinka. Scott subsequently found himself at the centre of a major political scandal and became an unlikely queer icon. But this was never his intention. He was born in 1940 into a poor, dysfunctional and abusive family. Aged 16 he began an equestrian career, animals having been the one source of comfort in his childhood. By the age of 20 he had run into debts and had suffered a nervous breakdown. In 1960 Scott began a sexual affair with Jeremy Thorpe. By the time of the attempted assassination of Scott, Thorpe was married, leader of the Liberal Party and a figure at the heart of the establishment. He was embarrassed by their former relationship and wanted to cover it up. But he failed. The assassination attempt culminated in a sensational trial in 1979.
Youngman by Lou Sullivan
A unique first-hand account of a historical gay trans man’s whole life, which reads like a celebratory coming-of-age novel. Lou kept candid diaries from the age of 10. Through these extracts, we hear Lou’s life in his own words: from ‘playing boys’ in his childhood in Wisconsin, to cruising San Francisco’s gay bars for handsome ‘youngmen’; from first hearing about gender non-conforming communities to becoming a vital part of them as an activist, author and archivist.
Proud of Me by Sarah Hagger-Holt
Becky and Josh are almost-twins, with two mums and the same anonymous donor dad. Josh can’t wait until he’s eighteen, the legal age when he can finally contact his father, and he’ll do anything to find out more – even if it involves lying. Becky can’t stop thinking about her new friend, Carli. Could her feelings for Carli be a sign of something more. Becky and Josh both want their parents to be proud of them – but right now, they’re struggling to even accept themselves.
Me, My Dad and the end of the Rainbow by Benjamin Dean
Things aren’t going great for Archie Albright. His dad’s acting weird, his mum too, and he all he wants is for everything to go back to normal, to three months before when his parents were happy and still lived together. When Archie sees a colourful, crumpled flyer fall out of Dad’s pocket, he thinks he may have found the answer. Only problem? The answer might just lie at the end of the rainbow, an adventure away.
Together with his best friends, Bell and Seb, Archie sets off on a heartwarming and unforgettable journey to try and fix his family, even if he has to break a few rules to do it…
The Secret Sunshine Project – Benjamin Dean
Bea’s family are happy. Like, really happy. Like, kind of gross but also cute happy.
So when they visit London Pride together and have the ultimate day out, Bea doesn’t think her family could possibly get any happier. But a year later, a grey cloud is following Bea’s family around. Dad has passed away, and without him around they have no choice but to pack their bags and move to the countryside to live with Gran.
With Bea’s big sister, Riley, taking the news hard, Bea will do anything to cheer her up. So with the help of new friends, The Secret Sunshine Project is formed – Bea’s plan is to bring Pride to the countryside and a smile back to Riley’s face.
The Pirate Mums by Jodie Lancet-Grant
The Pirate Mums is a rollicking, swashbuckling, colourful adventure (with just a touch of toilet humour). It’s a celebration of family life, whatever that family happens to look like and its main characters are mums who are strong, kind, inventive and clever.
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah Brannen
Chloe loves, loves, LOVES her special uncle Bobby. So when she learns that Uncle Bobby is going to be getting married to his boyfriend Jamie she’s not at all pleased. What if Uncle Bobby doesn’t have time to play with Chloe anymore? But after spending a fun-filled day with Bobby and Jamie, she soon realises she’s not losing an uncle, but gaining a whole new one!