35+ Non-Fiction LGBTQ+ Book Recommendations

text reads: LGBTQ+ non fiction books, on green and brown background, image of artie holding an ipad on the left, five book covers on the right

Hey Pals!

Another Recommendations lists for you! This time, combining my love of Non-Fiction and LGBTQ+ stories. I also have a linked video on my channel about the books I have already read of this genre, please go check it out and give my channel a subscribe! This is also a collab with Jaesic of Queer Cult Blog, go check out their blog and the other part to this collab!

There are affiliate links in this post! Linking to my BookShop codes so you can buy the books listed, support me, the authors, and indie bookshops all at once!

Trans Britain: Our Journey From The Shadows by Christine Burns: Mentioned in my Trans Book Recs Blog post. Over the last five years, transgender people have seemed to burst into the public eye: Time declared 2014 a ‘trans tipping point’, while American Vogue named 2015 ‘the year of trans visibility’. From our television screens to the ballot box, transgender people have suddenly become part of the zeitgeist. This apparently overnight emergence, though, is just the latest stage in a long and varied history. The renown of Paris Lees and Hari Nef has its roots in the efforts of those who struggled for equality before them, but were met with indifference – and often outright hostility – from mainstream society. Trans Britain chronicles this journey in the words of those who were there to witness a marginalised community grow into the visible phenomenon we recognise today: activists, film-makers, broadcasters, parents, an actress, a rock musician and a priest, among many others. Here is everything you always wanted to know about the background of the trans community, but never knew how to ask. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay: From the New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.” In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself. With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family by Garrard Conley: A beautiful, raw and compassionate memoir about identity, love and understanding. Now a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Lucas Hedges, directed by Joel Edgerton.. The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality. When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Through an institutionalized Twelve-Step Program heavy on Bible study, he was supposed to emerge heterosexual, ex-gay, cleansed of impure urges and stronger in his faith in God for his brush with sin. Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness. By confronting his buried past and the burden of a life lived in shadow, Garrard traces the complex relationships among family, faith, and community. At times heart-breaking, at times triumphant, this memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson: In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys. Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

Nonbinary: Memoirs Of Gender and Identity by Micah Rajunov: What happens when your gender doesn’t fit neatly into the categories of male or female? Even mundane interactions like filling out a form or using a public bathroom can be a struggle when these designations prove inadequate. In this groundbreaking book, thirty authors highlight how our experiences are shaped by a deeply entrenched gender binary. The powerful first-person narratives of this collection show us a world where gender exists along a spectrum, a web, a multidimensional space. Nuanced storytellers break away from mainstream portrayals of gender diversity, cutting across lines of age, race, ethnicity, ability, class, religion, family, and relationships. From Suzi, who wonders whether she’ll ever “feel” like a woman after living fifty years as a man, to Aubri, who grew up in a cash-strapped fundamentalist household, to Sand, who must reconcile the dual roles of trans advocate and therapist, the writers’ conceptions of gender are inextricably intertwined with broader systemic issues. Labeled gender outlaws, gender rebels, genderqueer, or simply human, the voices in Nonbinary illustrate what life could be if we allowed the rigid categories of “man” and “woman” to loosen and bend. They speak to everyone who has questioned gender or has paused to wonder, What does it mean to be a man or a woman—and why do we care so much? GoodReads.

Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde: “Lorde seems prophetic, perhaps alive right now, writing in and about the US of 2017 in which a misogynist with white supremacist followers is president. But she was born in 1934, published her first book of poetry in 1968, and died in 1992. Black, lesbian and feminist; the child of immigrant parents; poet and essayist, writer and activist, Lorde knew about harbouring multitudes. Political antagonists tried, for instance, to discredit her among black students by announcing her sexuality, and she decided: “The only way you can head people off from using who you are against you is to be honest and open first, to talk about yourself before they talk about you.” Over and over again, in the essays, speeches and poems collected in Your Silence Will Not Protect You, Lorde emphasises how important it is to speak up. To give witness: “What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?” GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

Gender Explorers by Juno Roche: Life-affirming interviews with young trans people who share their empowering experiences of questioning and exploring gender. “I believe that children who are questioning and exploring their gender are the gender bosses that we all so desperately need. I believe that they are our future.” In this life-affirming, heartening and refreshing collection of interviews, young trans people offer valuable insight and advice into what has helped them to flourish and feel happy in their experience of growing up trans. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

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A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography Of A Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby and Mary Louise Plummer: Also Included in my Disabled Writers Rec List. A Two-Spirit Journey is Ma-Nee Chacaby’s extraordinary account of her life as an Ojibwa-Cree lesbian. From her early, often harrowing memories of life and abuse in a remote Ojibwa community riven by poverty and alcoholism, Chacaby’s story is one of enduring and ultimately overcoming the social, economic, and health legacies of colonialism. As a child, Chacaby learned spiritual and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother and trapping, hunting, and bush survival skills from her Ojibwa stepfather. She also suffered physical and sexual abuse by different adults, and by her teen years she was alcoholic herself. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay with her children to escape an abusive marriage. Abuse, compounded by racism, continued, but Chacaby found supports to help herself and others. Over the following decades, she achieved sobriety; trained and worked as an alcoholism counselor; raised her children and fostered many others; learned to live with visual impairment; and came out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the first gay pride parade in her adopted city, Thunder Bay, Ontario. Ma-Nee Chacaby has emerged from hardship grounded in faith, compassion, humor, and resilience. Her memoir provides unprecedented insights into the challenges still faced by many Indigenous people. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Woman, and Queer Radicals by Saidiya Hartman: In Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, Saidiya Hartman examines the revolution of black intimate life that unfolded in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. Free love, common-law and transient marriages, serial partners, cohabitation outside of wedlock, queer relations, and single motherhood were among the sweeping changes that altered the character of everyday life and challenged traditional Victorian beliefs about courtship, love, and marriage. Hartman narrates the story of this radical social transformation against the grain of the prevailing century-old argument about the crisis of the black family. In wrestling with the question of what a free life is, many young black women created forms of intimacy and kinship that were indifferent to the dictates of respectability and outside the bounds of law. They cleaved to and cast off lovers, exchanged sex to subsist, and revised the meaning of marriage. Longing and desire fueled their experiments in how to live. They refused to labor like slaves or to accept degrading conditions of work. Beautifully written and deeply researched, Wayward Lives recreates the experience of young urban black women who desired an existence qualitatively different than the one that had been scripted for them—domestic service, second-class citizenship, and respectable poverty—and whose intimate revolution was apprehended as crime and pathology. For the first time, young black women are credited with shaping a cultural movement that transformed the urban landscape. Through a melding of history and literary imaginationWayward Lives recovers their radical aspirations and insurgent desires. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

If you want to see my recommendations of books by Black Authors, check out my video!

Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me by Janet Mock: Riveting, rousing, and utterly real, Surpassing Certainty is a portrait of a young woman searching for her purpose and place in the world—without a road map to guide her. The journey begins a few months before her twentieth birthday. Janet Mock is adjusting to her days as a first-generation college student at the University of Hawaii and her nights as a dancer at a strip club. Finally content in her body, she vacillates between flaunting and concealing herself as she navigates dating and disclosure, sex and intimacy, and most important, letting herself be truly seen. Under the neon lights of Club Nu, Janet meets Troy, a yeoman stationed at Pearl Harbor naval base, who becomes her first. The pleasures and perils of their union serve as a backdrop for Janet’s progression through her early twenties with all the universal growing pains—falling in and out of love, living away from home, and figuring out what she wants to do with her life. Despite her disadvantages, fueled by her dreams and inimitable drive, Janet makes her way through New York City while holding her truth close. She builds a career in the highly competitive world of magazine publishing—within the unique context of being trans, a woman, and a person of color. Long before she became one of the world’s most respected media figures and lauded leaders for equality and justice, Janet was a girl taking the time she needed to just be—to learn how to advocate for herself before becoming an advocate for others. As you witness Janet’s slow-won success and painful failures, Surpassing Certainty will embolden you, shift the way you see others, and affirm your journey in search of self. GoodReads.

Redefining Realness: My Path To Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More by Janet Mock: In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the People.com editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America. Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person—no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on—and maybe even change—the world. This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself. Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master’s degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History by Blair Imani: An inspiring and radical celebration of 70 women, girls, and gender nonbinary people who have changed–and are still changing–the world, from the Civil Rights Movement and Stonewall riots through Black Lives Matter and beyond. With a radical and inclusive approach to history, Modern HERstory profiles and celebrates seventy women and nonbinary champions of progressive social change in a bold, colorful, illustrated format for all ages. Despite making huge contributions to the liberation movements of the last century and today, all of these trailblazers come from backgrounds and communities that are traditionally overlooked and under-celebrated: not just women, but people of color, queer people, trans people, disabled people, young people, and people of faith. Authored by rising star activist Blair Imani, Modern HERstory tells the important stories of the leaders and movements that are changing the world right here and right now–and will inspire you to do the same. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

Top To Bottom by Finlay Games: Also mentioned in my Trans Book Rec List. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability by Robert McRuer: Crip Theory attends to the contemporary cultures of disability and queerness that are coming out all over. Both disability studies and queer theory are centrally concerned with how bodies, pleasures, and identities are represented as “normal” or as abject, but Crip Theory is the first book to analyze thoroughly the ways in which these interdisciplinary fields inform each other. Drawing on feminist theory, African American and Latino/a cultural theories, composition studies, film and television studies, and theories of globalization and counter-globalization, Robert McRuer articulates the central concerns of crip theory and considers how such a critical perspective might impact cultural and historical inquiry in the humanities. Crip Theory puts forward readings of the Sharon Kowalski story, the performance art of Bob Flanagan, and the journals of Gary Fisher, as well as critiques of the domesticated queerness and disability marketed by the Millennium March, or Bravo TV’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. McRuer examines how dominant and marginal bodily and sexual identities are composed, and considers the vibrant ways that disability and queerness unsettle and re-write those identities in order to insist that another world is possible. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

Desiring Desirability: Queer Theory Meets Disabled Studies by Robert McRuer: In multiple locations, activists and scholars are mapping the intersections of queer theory and disability studies, moving issues of embodiment and desire to the center of cultural and political analyses. The two fields are premised on the idea that the categories of heterosexual/homosexual and able-bodied/disabled are historically and socially constructed. Desiring Disability: Queer Theory Meets Disability Studies explores how the frameworks for queer theory and disability studies suggest new possibilities for one another, for other identity-based frameworks of activism and scholarship, and for cultural studies in general. Topics include the study of “crip theory” and queer/disabled performance artists; the historical emergence of normalcy and parallel notions of military fitness that require both the production and the containment of queerness and disability; and butch identity, transgressive sexual practices, and rheumatoid arthritis. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

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I Will Not Be Erased: Our Stories About Growing Up As People Of Colour by Gal-Dem: Fourteen joyous, funny and life-affirming essays from gal-dem, the award-winning magazine created by young women and non-binary people of colour. gal-dem, the award-winning online and print magazine, is created by women and non-binary people of colour. In this thought-provoking and moving collection of fourteen essays, gal-dem’s writers use raw material from their teenage years – diaries, poems and chat histories – to explore growing up. gal-dem have been described by the Guardian as “the agents of change we need”, and these essays tackle important subjects including race, gender, mental health and activism, making this essential reading for any young person. GoodReads.

Female Husbands: A Trans History by Jen Manion: Recommended by my friend Piper! Long before people identified as transgender or lesbian, there were female husbands and the women who loved them. Female husbands — people assigned female who transed gender, lived as men, and married women — were true queer pioneers. Moving deftly from the colonial era to just before the First World War, Jen Manion uncovers the riveting and very personal stories of ordinary people who lived as men despite tremendous risk, danger, violence, and threat of punishment. Female Husbands weaves the story of their lives in relation to broader social, economic, and political developments in the United States and the United Kingdom, while also exploring how attitudes towards female husbands shifted in relation to transformations in gender politics and women’s rights, ultimately leading to the demise of the category of ‘female husband’ in the early twentieth century. Groundbreaking and influential, Female Husbands offers a dynamic, varied, and complex history of the LGBTQ past. GoodReads. Buy here and support me as well!

Gender Outlaws: the Next Generation by Kate Bornstein: There are several books by this author of similar titles, I recommend you check them all out! In the 15 years since the release of Gender Outlaw, Kate Bornstein’s groundbreaking challenge to gender ideology, transgender narratives have made their way from the margins to the mainstream and back again. Today’s transgenders and other sex/gender radicals are writing a drastically new world into being. In Gender Outlaws, Bornstein, together with writer, raconteur, and theater artist S. Bear Bergman, collects and contextualizes the work of this generation’s trans and genderqueer forward thinkers — new voices from the stage, on the streets, in the workplace, in the bedroom, and on the pages and websites of the world’s most respected mainstream news sources. Gender Outlaws includes essays, commentary, comic art, and conversations from a diverse group of trans-spectrum people who live and believe in barrier-breaking lives. GoodReads.

Eat, Gay, Love by Calum McSwiggan: In the spring of 2012, Calum finds himself single again after his relationship of six years comes to an end. Heartbroken, unhappy and unsure of what to do next, he leaves the hometown he has been in all his life to embark on a journey that takes him all around the world, from teaching in a school on the outskirts of Rome to exploring the sex clubs of Berlin, to raising tigers in an animal sanctuary deep in the jungles of Thailand. Along the way, he meets LGBT+ people from all walks of life and every part of the rainbow – from an Italian teenager struggling with a homophobic father to a kathoey navigating life as a trans person in Thailand, to a young HIV-positive man living on the streets of London. Their individual stories, not only of hardship and sorrow but also of profound strength and hope, show the breadth and depth of queer life and experience, shedding light on themes such as homophobia, sexual violence, marriage equality and gender identity. Through these meetings and friendships, Calum not only finds the encouragement to embrace life after heartbreak, but also discovers a beautiful, loving global community who support and uplift him through the best and worst moments of his time on the road. A travel memoir with a difference, Eat, Gay, Love is a celebration of the power of community and a personal tribute to the extraordinary lives of LGBT+ people everywhere in the world. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

Check out my recent five star reads!

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin: A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two “letters,” written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as “sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle…all presented in searing, brilliant prose,” The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

In Their Shoes: Navigating Non-binary Life by Jamie Windust: There is no one way to be non-binary, and that’s truthfully one of the best things about it. It’s an identity that is yours to shape.” Combining light-hearted anecdotes with their own hard-won wisdom, Jamie Windust explores everything from fashion, dating, relationships and family, through to mental health, work and future key debates. From trying on clothes in secret to iconic looks, first dates to polyamorous liaisons, passports to pronouns, Jamie shows you how to navigate the world and your evolving identity in every type of situation. Frank, funny, and brilliantly feisty, this must-read book is a call to arms for non-binary self-acceptance, self-appreciation and self-celebration. GoodReads. Buy here and support me too!

Late Additions!

Queer Body Power by Essie Dennis: “As a young, queer, plus-size person, Essie Dennis has spent a lot of time feeling like they weren’t enough – not queer enough, not feminine enough, not perfect enough. When they took to social media to share how they felt, they were overwhelmed by how many others felt the same. I look too masculine to be non-binary I look too feminine to be a lesbian Am I too fat for drag? Inviting you to challenge accepted beauty standards and the concept of ‘the perfect body’, Essie takes everything they have learned on their journey to self-acceptance and body satisfaction to help guide you towards loving your queer body. From gender, sexuality and reclaiming your body, through to food, politics, social media and fatphobia, this radical book starts a conversation about body image and mental health that queer people are so often left out of. Fiercely and unapologetically written, and with honest advice and powerful stories from a diverse range of queer people throughout, this is an inspiring and necessary book that will show you that you are enough.” GoodReads. Buy Here and support me too!

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Don’t forget to check out my fellow collaborator! Also have a look at my Non-Fiction TBR and my Non-Fiction BookShop list and watch my YouTube video of the LGBTQ+ non-fiction books I have read so far and am currently reading! I really appreciate any of your follows and shares of all social platforms, it helps me continue to develop my content into something I can do full time and support myself with in the future. I love talking about books, disability and LGBTQ+ content and want to continue to share my research with you and all my thoughts. If you have been enjoying these themed book recommendation posts, please leave a comment of what other themes you’d like to see on my blog and who I should collaborate with next!

~ Artie

they/them

5 thoughts on “35+ Non-Fiction LGBTQ+ Book Recommendations

  1. I’ve heard of “The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin and heard that it was an excellent read. I’m glad you’re recommending it.

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