So, May 17 is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. For once, I wanted to recommend you some books wayyy earlier, so you can add some to your TBR if you’d like. I made a selection of various kind of works, but that all deals with homophobia and transphobia. Here we go for What to read for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia!
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Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin
This book is a classic of gay literature. Taking place in Paris in the 50s, we follow the life of an average-American man who wants to live a very conventional life. But he is gay, and finds himself tortured by his sexual identity as he falls for a bartender when engaged to a young woman. I really loved the way this book was narrated, and how we can feel the author tried to unravel some mysteries of society and sexuality as he went. It also deals with how society was built then, and I think it is very interesting to read it now, in order to compare to present days.
Detransition, baby, Torrey Peters
Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.
Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby—and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together? (via Goodreads)
Honeybee, Craig Silvey
« Late in the night, fourteen-year-old Sam Watson steps onto a quiet overpass, climbs over the rail and looks down at the road far below.
At the other end of the same bridge, an old man, Vic, smokes his last cigarette.
The two see each other across the void. A fateful connection is made, and an unlikely friendship blooms. Slowly, we learn what led Sam and Vic to the bridge that night. Bonded by their suffering, each privately commits to the impossible task of saving the other.
Honeybee is a heart-breaking, life-affirming novel that throws us headlong into a world of petty thefts, extortion plots, botched bank robberies, daring dog rescues and one spectacular drag show.
At the heart of Honeybee is Sam: a solitary, resilient young person battling to navigate the world as their true self; ensnared by a loyalty to a troubled mother, scarred by the volatility of a domineering step-father, and confounded by the kindness of new alliances. » (via Goodreads)
Last Night at the Telegraph club, Malinda Lo
« Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.
America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day. » (via Goodreads)
How it all blew up, Arwin Ahmadi
« Eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi always knew coming out to his Muslim family would be messy–he just didn’t think it would end in an airport interrogation room. But when faced with a failed relationship, bullies, and blackmail, running away to Rome is his only option. Right?
Soon, late nights with new friends and dates in the Sistine Chapel start to feel like second nature… until his old life comes knocking on his door. Now, Amir has to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to a U.S. Customs officer, or risk losing his hard-won freedom. » (via Goodreads)
All boys aren’t blue, George.M.Johnson
For me, his memoir is to be read by all because not only does it deal with gender identities and sexual ones, but also because it is deeply touching for young readers, as for older ones. This is an exploration of what it means to be part of minorities, and how to embrace your true self.
Fairest, Meredith Talusan
« Fairest is a memoir about a precocious boy with albinism, a « sun child » from a rural Philippine village, who would grow up to become a woman in America. Coping with the strain of parental neglect and the elusive promise of U.S. citizenship, Talusan found childhood comfort from her devoted grandmother, a grounding force as she was treated by others with special preference or public curiosity. As an immigrant to the United States, Talusan came to be perceived as white. An academic scholarship to Harvard provided access to elite circles of privilege but required Talusan to navigate through the complex spheres of race, class, sexuality, and her place within the gay community. She emerged as an artist and an activist questioning the boundaries of gender. » (Via goodreads)
Tomorrow will be different, Sarah McBride
Sarah McBride is on a mission to fight for transgender rights around the world. But before she was a prominent activist, and before she became the first transgender person to speak at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, she was a teenager struggling with her identity.
With emotional depth and unparalleled honesty, Sarah shares her personal struggle with gender identity, coming out to her supportive but distraught parents, and finding her way as a woman. She inspires readers with her barrier-breaking political journey that took her, in just four years, from a frightened, closeted college student to one of the nation’s most prominent transgender activists walking the halls of the White House, passing laws, and addressing the country in the midst of a heated presidential election. She also details the heartbreaking romance with her first love and future husband Andy, a trans man and activist, who passed away from cancer in 2014 just days after they were married.
Sarah’s story of identity, love, and tragic loss serves as a powerful entry point for readers who want to gain a deeper understanding of gender identity and what it means to be openly transgender. From issues like bathroom access to healthcare, identification and schools, Sarah weaves the important political milestones, cultural and political debates, and historical context into a personal journey that will open hearts and change minds. » (Via Goodreads)
On Being Different, Merle Miller
« Originally published in 1971, On Being Different is a pioneering and thought-provoking book about being homosexual in America. Just two years after the Stonewall riots, Miller wrote an essay for the New York Times Magazine entitled « What It Means To Be a Homosexual » in response to a homophobic article in Harper’s Magazine. Miller’s writing, described as « the most widely read and discussed essay of the decade, » along with an afterword chronicling his inspiration and readers’ responses, became On Being Different — one of the earliest memoirs to affirm the importance of coming out. This updated edition includes a foreword by Dan Savage and an afterword by Charles Kaiser to highlight the impact of Miller’s classic work. » (via Goodreads)
Boy Erased, Garrard Conley
« 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. » (via Goodreads)