LGBT+ Books Everyone Should Read

Representation in media is an important aspect for all minorities, the LGBT+ community included. LGBT+ representation helps members of the community with their own confidence and helps to validate them, since it can be hard to accept oneself when they are never represented in the media. LGBT+ media can also help to educate others on the community and the specific issues that they face in society, like coming out and facing homophobia. It can help others understand what certain identities mean and that being LGBT+ is not a choice, along with the other struggles that the community faces. 

Books are a great way to represent the LGBT+ community, since they can really incorporare both the external and internal struggles that LGBT+ people face in their daily lives. Books and literature also tend to be the basis for other sources of media, like movies and TV shows, and having a surplus of LGBT+ books helps to open up the possibilities for other forms of representation. 

Here are some excellent LGBT+ books that everyone should read. They all highlight issues in the LGBT+ community, but just overall represent a community that is often overlooked in the media in general. 

Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Books 

1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Saenz 

Long title, great book. 

Aristotle and Dante covers the life of two Mexican-American teens and the bond that forms between the two boys. It is incredibly well-written, with beautifully poetic language. While it is about romance and accepting love, it is also a great narrative about coming of age and self discovery. It covers many deep topics, but it doesn't skip out on the humor and lightheartedness associated with adolescence. 

Not a big reader? Try the audiobook for this one. It is narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose voice fully captures the beauty and hilarity of the book. You will get lost in the story and his soothing voice. 

Goodreads rating: 4.34 

2. A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Mackenzi Lee 

While many LGBT+ books fall into the YA/realistic fiction genre, this book is perfect for anyone looking for representation in historical fiction. A Gentleman's Guide follows Henry Montague, a rebellious English elite, who has been sent on a tour of Europe with his sister and his best friend and crush, Percy. 

It also has the wlw counterpart and sequel, A Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

Goodreads rating: 4.15 

3. Ash - Malinda Lo 

For those who love the classic story of Cinderella should check out this lesbian retelling of the fairy tale. The book not only replaces the male romantic interest for a female one, but it also swaps out the prince for the king's huntress, who teaches Ash how to hunt. 

While the book does focus on Ash's sexuality and love life, it also focuses on the grieving process of losing a parent, since the book does stay true to the original Cinderella's orphan status. 

Goodreads rating: 3.62 

4. Let's Talk About Love - Claire Kann 

This book is an important book for representation, since it features a black asexual biromantic protagnist named Alice. This book helps to highlight the unique struggles that people on the asexual spectrum struggle with when searching for a romantic partner, since many believe, including members of the LGBT+ community, that asexuality isn't real; this book can not only help validate those who identify as ace by seeing someone who feels the same way that they do, but it can also help educate those who don't understand the sexuality. 

Goodreads rating: 3.84 

5. Leah on the Offbeat - Becky Albertalli 

Because of the movie adaptation that was released in 2018, Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda received a lot of attention for highlighting the experience of a Georgia teenager as he struggles with the threat of being outed by a classmate. However, the author of Simon, Becky Albertalli, wrote a sequel focusing on Simon's best friend, Leah, and her own sexuality. 

Leah on the Offbeat is a great narrative about bisexuality that also covers the anxiety of coming out after another friend has come out. 

Goodreads rating: 3.97

Transgender and Other Gender Non-Conforming Books 

1. If I Was Your Girl - Meredith Russo 

This contemporary young adult book features Amanda, who is a transgender girl. She is also starting at a new school, where no one knows that she is trans. This book opens a great conversation about how terrifying it can be for trans youth as they try to build themselves a normal high school experience without being rejected by those around them. 

Goodreads rating: 4.0 

2. I Wish You All the Best 

I Wish You All the Best stars Ben, a non-binary character who struggles with their life after they are kicked out for coming out to their parents and have to move in with their sister in order to stay off the streets. 

Not only does this book help to normalize non-binary genders and the usage of gender neutral pronouns like they/them, but it also highlights the anxiety that a lot of LGBT+ youths face because of their sexualities. Ben's anxiety prevents them from being who they are at school because they are afraid that their classmates and teachers will reject them the same way that their parents did. This book celebrates love and identity, but it also highlights the very real struggles that LGBT+ youth face in order to reach the happy parts of life. 

Goodreads rating: 4.52 

3. None of the Above - I.W. Gregorio 

This book features a teenage girl who realizes that she is intersex after going to a doctor's visit. This means that she has both female and male chromosomes and anatomy. The book discusses gender identity and expression compared with birth sex in both a personal and social setting. 

This book highlights the issues and struggles that intersex people face as they struggle to figure out their gender identity as well as their sex. Intersex educuation and narratives are incredibly rare, so books like this helps teens who are intersex feel more secure in who they are and the struggles that they face. 

Goodreads rating: 3.88 

4. Symptoms of Being Human - Jeff Garvin 

Riley is genderfluid, but feels like they cannot come out because of their conservative hometown and family. Riley's father is a Congressman, which causes for a lot of media and public attention on not just their father, but Riley as well. In order to deal with the pressures of not being able to come out, Riley starts an anonymous blog to express what it is like being genderfluid in their environment. 

Goodreads review: 4.18 

Exposure to different cultures and concepts is one of the best ways to fully understand other ways of life that are different from your own. While books can be great for reflecting on your way of life, they can also help to provide insight to another viewpoint that you don't normally get to see. Through LGBT+ literature, the marginalized voices and struggles of the LGBT+ community can come to life and help to educate those who don't identify within the community, as well as validate and represent members of the community.