In celebration of Pride Week (March 12-16) at MacEwan, we’ve put together a reading list of books with LGBT characters, content, and themes. It’s by no means exhaustive or authoritative–there’s plenty out there to choose from–but the books below should bring some reading joy as winter slowly gives way to spring.
Rubyfruit Jungle, Rita Mae Brown
One of the remarkable things about this lesbian coming-of-age novel is that it was published in 1973. Another is that the main character, Molly Bolt, isn’t doomed to a life of unhappiness–an otherwise common fate for fictional LGBT characters in the past. The book has a few detractors, but nonetheless remains a significant early work of LGBT literature.
Boy Erased: A Memoir, Garrard Conley
The author recounts his conservative religious upbringing in Arkansas and his outing as a 19 year old. Facing the possible loss of family and friends, he agrees to enter a 12-step “pray the gay away” program. No surprise, but he doesn’t emerge from it “cured.” While it gets dark at times, Boy Erased also manages to find some light at the end of the tunnel.
The Sunlight Pilgrims, Jenni Fagan
It’s not quite post-apocalyptic, but in this second novel by the Scottish author of The Panopticon, the end is very much nigh. As the world plunges into a new ice age, a handful of survivors cross paths in the Highlands, including protagonist Estella, a 12-year-old transgender girl living in a trailer park with her mother.
Levithan’s second novel (his first was a novelization of 10 Things I Hate About You) follows the lives of high school students in a gay-friendly New Jersey town. The book mostly follows sophomore Paul as he meets Noah, loses Noah, then has to figure out a way to get Noah back again.
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Alison Bechdel
This 2006 graphic memoir recounts the author’s coming out and subsequent discovery that her cold father, an English teacher and funeral home director, was gay himself. A major theme is the contrast between Bechdel’s open sexuality as a young woman and her father’s inability to come out until shortly before his death.