10 Own-Voices Black Queer Books to Check Out

Black history and the LGBTQ+ community has been long since intertwined and the intersectionality between the two, an integral part of igniting modern-day Black Lives Matter and queer rights movements. Standout Black LGBTQ+ figures have led crucial moments in history, such as Marsha P. Johnson - a Black trans woman activist credited with leading the 1969 Stonewall Riots.

 

To find more stories from Black and queer voices, there is an abundance of literature to pick up written by Black LGBTQ+ creators!

 

So, here is a non-exhaustive list of ten own-voices Black queer book to check out, recommended by own-voice readers, reviewers, and prominent Black LGBTQ+ activists: 

  1. 1. Felix Ever After - Kacen Callender

    From Award-winning author Kacen Callender, Felix Ever After follows Felix Love navigating high school and wondering why it feels like everyone but him is falling in love. He is proud of his identity as Black, queer, and transgender, and when an anonymous student posting transphobic messages, Felix comes up with his revenge plan. What he doesn’t expect is to find himself smack-dab in the middle of a quasi-love triangle as he must navigate complicated feelings and a journey of self-discovery.

  2. 2. Let’s Talk About Love - Claire Kann

    Alice was ready to spend the perfect summer with her best friends marathoning her favourite TV shows and eating at all-you-can-eat buffets. After confessing to her girlfriend that she is asexual and subsequently being dumped, Alice is ready to say “no thank you” to dating. That is, until her summer takes an unexpected term and she meets Takumi, her library co-worker, and for some reason cannot stop thinking about him… Alice needs to decide what she is willing to risk in pursuit of a love that might not be reciprocated or understood.

  3. 3. All Boys Aren’t Blue - George M. Johnson

    LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and new adulthood in this series of personal essays. This young-adult memoir paints the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys, weaving topics of gender identity, toxic masculinity, family, structural marginilization, and Black joy.

  4. 4. Little & Lion - Brandy Colbert

    Little & Lion follows Suzette who is coming home to L.A. from her New England boarding school, back to her friends, family, and step-brother who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and needs emotional support. Back in her old life, Suzette finds herself falling in love… with the same girl her brother is in love with. Now, Suzette must confront her past mistakes and navigate her complicated situation — all while finding a way to help her brother as his disorder spirals out of control.

  5. 5. The Black Flamingo - Dean Atta

    This powerful coming-of-age verse novel tells the story of a boy coming to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teenager. As he navigates adolescence and enters university, he finds his voice as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. From acclaimed poet and performer Dean Atta, we follow the bold story about embracing your uniqueness and showing yourself to the world.

  6. 6. An Unkindness of Ghosts - Rivers Solomon

    For all the sci-fi/dystopian fans out there, An Unkindness of Ghosts takes place on the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. The Matilda carries the last of humanity as the ship’s leaders impose harsh restrictions and indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers, like Aster, considered by them to be sub-human. After making a surprising discovery about her mother’s suicide, Aster sets out embroiled with a grudge and learns that a way off the ship is possible for those who are willing to fight for it.

  7. 7. You Should See Me In A Crown - Leah Johnson

    Liz is eager to get out of her small, rich, midwestern town in Indiana but she has a plan: Attend the elite Pennington College, play in their famous orchestra, become a doctor, and never look back. But when her financial aid unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s dreams come crashing down… Until she remembers her school’s scholarship for the prom king and queen. Now Liz is on a mission and willing to do whatever it takes to win prom queen and get to Pennington. The only problem is that she’s falling for her competition, the new girl in school who is also running for queen…

  8. 8. The Fire Next Time - James Baldwin

    Published in 1963, this national best seller by prominent activist James Baldwin gives a voice to the emerging civil rights movement and Baldwin’s early life in Harlem. Told through two “letters,” this non-fiction provides an evoking and powerful examination of the consequences of racial injustice, all in brilliant and poignant prose.

  9. 9. Hurricane Child - Kacen Callender

    Another story by Kacen Callender, this Award-winning middle-grade tells the story of 12-year-old Caroline born during a hurricane and hated by everyone in her small school for being an unlucky Hurricane Child. Plus, a spirit visible only to her keeps following and her mother has never returned home after leaving her one day. When a new student named Kalinda comes to town, it appears that Caroline’s luck will turn around and she becomes her first and only friend — and her first crush. Caroline must find the courage to confront her feelings, her spirit, and face the reason her mother abandoned her in this emotional and beautiful read.

  10. 10. The Color Purple - Alice Walker

    This powerful classic in American literature is a must-read Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. We follow the lives of two sisters, Celie and Nettie, separated as girls who write  a series of letters spanning twenty years. This novel was monumental in raising the narration of women’s lives, companion and growth, domestic and sexual abuse, and bravery in this beautifully imagined journey of love and growth.

Ranging in audience, genre, and topics, there is a plethora of stories by Black queer authors to explore and enjoy! Own voices give authority to the writer to tell their story and steer our minds away from a monolithic idea about a particular group. If you are looking for more books beyond the ten this list (because there is so much more), feel free to search some of the authors included and look into all of their other works!