20 New Memoirs to Read This Pride Month

Posted by Cybil on June 3, 2019

This post is sponsored by Amazon Publishing and its new title The Lie by William Dameron.

This June, as we observe LGBTQ Pride Month—the annual celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning communities—we thought we'd highlight 20 highly rated memoirs published since 2018.

These titles represent a myriad of experiences and tones—from the heartrending to the humorous—reflecting the lives of people you may already know or highlighting personal stories you'll want to discover.

Take a look at the books below and then add your own recommendations in the comments!


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Which LGBTQ book would you recommend this Pride Month? Tell us in the comments!

Check out more recent articles:
Audiobooks for a Summer Road Trip
June's Hottest New Releases
23 Upcoming Books Librarians, Editors, and Booksellers Think You'll Love

Comments Showing 1-50 of 74 (74 new)


message 1: by annob (last edited Jun 03, 2019 12:45AM) (new)

annob Have to add the asexual romantic memoir The Friend by Christopher X. Sullivan. It's firmly on my Best Book of 2019 list. And happy Pride month to everyone!


All Cops Are Bastards Not a memoir, but I think the world would be a better place if everyone read Julia Serano. Her most recent book, Outspoken, is the most autobiographical, but I recommend starting with Whipping Girl. Serano is a trans woman and a biologist and combines her experiences, training, and rigor to produce a compelling account of gender and the plight of its minorities.

It's also hard to go wrong with Kate Bornstein. Gender Outlaw is a memoir of her life as the titular outlaw that I highly recommend.

Susan Stryker's Transgender History is again not a memoir, but again needs to be more widely read. It is a concise, accessible, engaging account of the last hundred odd years of trans history.

If fiction is more your thing, hold on to your hat because you need to check out these last few. These authors will give you a very real sense of what it's like to be trans.
Nevada by Imogen Binnie. It's a novel about a trans woman who steals her partner's car and goes on a road trip, but it's also so much more. Read it!

A Safe Girl to Love, by Casey Plett, is a magnificent collection of short stories about trans women that I can't recommend highly enough, aside from a caveat that Plett can be really depressing and difficult to read, because she writes truth. Her recent novel, Little Fish, is an exceptionally fascinating, resonant, and rough story about a trans woman dealing with a family death and other struggles.

I was just going to say Serano, but got carried away. Hope this helps someone.


message 3: by Gabi (new)

Gabi annob wrote: "Have to add the asexual romantic memoir The Friend by Christopher X. Sullivan. It's firmly on my Best Book of 2019 list. And happy Pride month to everyone!"

Hahaha.. got there before me! :D Highly recommended indeed!


message 4: by Arthur (new)

Arthur Mesropian Never could understand why someone should be proud of their sex. Is it a super accomplishment or a life changing achievement?


message 5: by Recato (new)

Recato What is a "questioning community"? As I am still looking for a word to define myself.


All Cops Are Bastards Arthur wrote: "Never could understand why someone should be proud of their sex. Is it a super accomplishment or a life changing achievement?"

Yes. Living without shame in a hostile world is life changing. You hit the nail on the head.


message 7: by annob (last edited Jun 03, 2019 02:29AM) (new)

annob Robyn wrote: "Not a memoir, but I think the world would be a better place if everyone read Julia Serano. "

Thank you for the recs, Robyn!

Let's get the discussion back to books, please.


message 8: by Constantine (new)

Constantine From the list I have only read Boys Keep Swinging by Jake Shears. I enjoyed it a lot


message 9: by flybird_lux (new)

flybird_lux If you want to find some more books:

https://drownedinletters.home.blog/20...


message 10: by Josefine (new)

Josefine Arthur wrote: "Never could understand why someone should be proud of their sex. Is it a super accomplishment or a life changing achievement?"

It's not about being proud of your sexual orientation. It's about being proud of being yourself. Of daring not to lie about who you are to others or yourself. That is Pride.


message 11: by John (new)

John Arthur wrote: "Who even mentioned the “shame”? The opposite of “shame” is not “pride” anyway. There is nothing to be ashamed or to be proud of one’s sex. It’s just what you are born with like your ears, nose or h..."
As a "hetro" I feel that when ever there is a discussion about likes and dis-likes of this group,groups, then the word "homophobic" raises it head. Labels. The reading group that I attend has read 9 books this year. Of those 9, 6 had "same gender" relationships. They were very good books. My question to the group was,"are the authors of this decade reflecting "social" change or are they trying to change the views of society" It was met with silence.


message 12: by Erin (new)

Erin I definitely recommend the classic Nancy Garden book "Annie On My Mind." To my knowledge, it's the earliest lesbian novel in America that does not show lesbianism in a negative light or end with either love interest dying and it was made for a young adult audience. It's a beautiful book!


message 13: by Leon (new)

Leon Arthur wrote: "Never could understand why someone should be proud of their sex. Is it a super accomplishment or a life changing achievement?"

I suggest you read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pride_p...

"Pride parades (also known as pride marches, pride events, and pride festivals) are outdoor events celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) social and self acceptance, achievements, legal rights and pride. The events also at times serve as demonstrations for legal rights such as same-sex marriage. Most pride events occur annually, and many take place around June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, a pivotal moment in modern LGBTQ social movements."


message 14: by Leon (new)

Leon Something Like Summer (Something Like, #1) by Jay Bell
Something Like Summer

Not a memoir, but the first of a VERY lovely and charming series.
Perhaps even the best of the last decade.


message 15: by Leon (new)

Leon Arthur wrote: "Leon thank you for sharing such a valuable piece of knowledge from... wikipedia, but let me suggest you read my comments above again and perhaps again trying to understand the meaning of what I said without replying in cliche’d training-language-ready-made phrases.."

Arthur, I understood the meaning of what you said very well, but clearly you do not understand how my answer relates to your question. Anyway, it boils down to what Josephine already said.

It is not about "training-language-ready-made phrases": I wanted to show you were "Pride" comes from, that is all.


message 16: by Leon (new)

Leon Hmmm, ok, if so then how come it’s only the LGBT people make parades about being proud of who they are? I guess it’s the high time heteros organize their own Pride Parades simply to demonstrate how proud they are of being who they are."

Again, Pride is about "social and self acceptance, achievements and legal rights".

Heterosexual people don't have to deal with societies and laws that discriminate against them.
They never had to fight against discrimination based on their sexual orientation. They never were thrown in prison for it. They never had to hide who they are. They never had parents who did not accept them because of their sexual orientation.
I am sure you can see this.
To remember the past and to continue the struggle for equality we celebrate "Pride". I agree, the word is confusing, but I am sure you are an intelligent man and now understand what it means and why straight people do not have their own Pride.


message 17: by Leon (last edited Jun 03, 2019 08:15AM) (new)

Leon Arthur wrote: "I never asked where Pride comes from, all I said was people generally should take pride not in their nationality, race, gender or even in who they are but they should take pride in something valuab..."

Indeed, you did not ask where Pride comes from but you (understandably) misunderstood the meaning of the word/why it was chosen for gay festivities, so I tried to explain it for you.


message 18: by Edie (new)

Edie Wyatt I'd love to add my newly released memoir to the list! My story is about becoming a lesbian at 29, a few years after marrying a man, and all of the twists and turns that came before and after that startling realization. Enjoy!

Married, Divorced, and Gay by 30: A memoir


message 19: by Martha (new)

Martha Barghusen Foster I would highly recommend Another Mother Tongue by Judy Grahn, an excellent, and enjoyable, history.


message 20: by Leon (new)

Leon John wrote: "My question to the group was,"are the authors of this decade reflecting "social" change or are they trying to change the views of society" It was met with silence. "

What do you think? I think it is both.


message 21: by Kelley (last edited Jun 03, 2019 09:49AM) (new)

Kelley Arthur wrote: "I never asked where Pride comes from, all I said was people generally should take pride not in their nationality, race, gender or even in who they are but they should take pride in something valuab..."

Arthur, ours has been a patriarchal society for thousands of years, and in that time, white, heterosexual men have had the power and the advantage. People who have been mariginalized and repressed have a.) gone unrecognized for their hard work, b.) had their talent quashed simply bc of who they are, and c.) engaged in A LOT of self-sacrifice to become recognized and have rights that so called "normal" people take for granted. This is also why we have Black History Month and Women's History Month. Those of us in these marginalized/repressed groups, whether we're black, women, LGBTQ+, or all 3 (or more), have fought hard (and have had many fight hard before us) to get where we are.....to get the rights that some people enjoy from Day 1. And right now, these months such as Pride Month are a way to say, you must remember what we've gone through. You must see, whether you understand or not. And we will not go back to the way things were. LGBTQ+, Blacks, Women, and others....we're very proud of how far we've come, and that journey is something that should be celebrated. I hope I've helped your understanding just a little bit.

And now, let's focus this thread on books. :)


message 22: by Martijn (new)

Martijn Read more Nietzsche.


message 23: by Linda (new)

Linda Spyhalski I picked one off my shelf. “Fit To Serve” by Ambassador James C. Hormel. Very much recommended and good reviews!


message 24: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Conty Less by Andrew Sean Greer. It should be required reading for LGBTQ youth.


message 25: by Oludara (new)

Oludara DOSE ANY ONE EVEN RELIZE WHAT THAT FLAG MEANS "pride" REALY PEOPLE


message 26: by B (new)

B Recato Cristiano wrote: "What is a "questioning community"? As I am still looking for a word to define myself."
You are in the questioning community if you dont know how to identify.


message 27: by Aurora (new)

Aurora So when is Jewish Pride month?


message 28: by Philip (new)

Philip To respond in general:
I agree that there are people who promote their sex or their sexual orientation to a lifestyle. I agree that this is a questionable practice, for any individual is more than only their sex and/or their orientation.

What's weird is how easily it seems to be forgotten that people tend to overlook the heterosexual men and women who do that sort of thing. Because if a hetero does that sort of thing, it's perfectly normal - apparently. And it's encountered more often than any unpleasant stereotype of the LGBT+ group.

Let's put the topic of sex/orientation as lifestyle aside and look at the "pride" thing by itself. As stated often enough, it's an event that celebrates the liberty of being yourself.
It is indeed a terrible shame civilized people need a parade of that sort to encourage something as basic and natural as that part of individual freedom.
The correct target for such criticism should be the intolerant, narrow-minded people who still encourage the oppression of diversity. If there wasn't such a mass of people enacting a force of oppression, it wouldn't require minorities to enact such measures of demonstrating liberty in order to fight said oppression. As long as people get executed and publicly wounded for their individuality of sex/orientation, I say the "Pride Parade" is a good, peaceful method of fighting such barbarism.

Finally, it is neigh impossible to answer a broadly philosophical critique of any sort by the medium of comments. This is a readers platform. If anyone among us still faces grave questions about the matter, and honestly seeks answers, I encourage them to formulate their questions into a concrete analysis and make use of the ample supply of publications on that subject. Your own mind, after all, is your best tool for answering your questions.


message 29: by Shane (new)

Shane Hill Are we going to have a month and books for ex gays as well? Thanks!


message 30: by Kameron Raynor (new)

Kameron Raynor I need to check these out!


message 31: by Yaaresse (new)

Yaaresse Arthur wrote: "I never asked where Pride comes from, all I said was people generally should take pride not in their nationality, race, gender or even in who they are but they should take pride in something valuab..."

I'm going to assume this is a sincere question and not just baiting.

"Pride" may not be the best word, but "hey, how about respecting LGBTQ people as human beings rather than discriminating and threatening lives based on this one thing about a human being" really doesn't have much of a ring to it, does it?

I'm a straight American female. I've been discriminated against in subtle and not so subtle ways over being female, a genetic issue that in no way affects my IQ of abilities, my age, my accent, my political leanings, and probably a bunch of other ways. Because as an anthropology professor once said, it seems to be the most base instinct of societies to form ranked cliques and marginalize those who don't fit the ideal specimen of the time. But not once have I ever had to experience bullying or discrimination or threat of losing my job, home, or life because I am straight. Not once.

Hey, look, I would love to live in a world where anyone's sexual orientation and gender identity -- gay, straight, bi, fluid, all of it -- was not an issue, but a private dimension of life that could be kept private. And not "private because shameful" but "private because so personal and precious that it is only shared with those closest to one." We don't live in that world. Instead, we live in a world where people are treated as "less than" because of a biological difference. So when orientation is no longer an issue and no one gives a second thought as to their coworker, neighbor, kid's teacher or President's sexual orientation, maybe all of us can take back some privacy about our personal affairs (literal and figurative meaning.) Considering how long women, people of color and the disabled have been fighting for equal rights, the LGBTQ folks have come a long way in a comparatively short time. A lot of that progress has been made through people daring to be visible and speak out even if it could mean their physical and economic security. Not unlike the Civil Rights movements of the past.

So if people are "tired" of the Black History month or Gay Pride week or any other designation to observe the struggle of a group to overcome societal hurdles, the "fix" is very simple: we stop making it necessary for those groups to fight for basic fairness and their safety. We act as if being LGBTQ is perfectly normal (because it is.) And who knows? Maybe when everyone is treated with respect regardless of their biology, we white straight people can have our own parade. We can call it the "Overcoming stupid prejudices" Pride Parade.

Pick one of the books above and read it with the goal of learning something you didn't know before or trying to really hear one human being's story. Reading is supposed to expand the ability to empathize with others, but only if we read things that we don't already agree with or are outside our filter bubble.


message 32: by Blakely (last edited Jun 03, 2019 01:06PM) (new)

Blakely Pride is about refusing to hide, refusing to let violence and hate keep us in the dark for one more second. It must be cozy to live an existence where you never had to live in this particular brand of fear. Some of these responses remind me exactly why my wife, our two young children, and I were out in our rainbow best yesterday...
1. to show them our family isn't alone. To be near and celebrate with others who are thriving in spite of anyone who stands against us.
2. To share with them the joy of our liberty, our right to stand in public and tell anyone and everyone we're a family.

You don't have to understand it, you just have to shut up and get out of my way.


message 33: by Ann (Inky) (new)

Ann (Inky) I just read The Tea Dragon Society recently, which is the absolute cutest graphic novel. It was written for middle grade readers, but any adult who loves gentle fantasy will adore this. It has such a diverse cast, including a mixed race m/m relationship (one of them is in a wheelchair), and other characters dealing with mental health issues, but the levity and cuteness remain throughout.

Side note that this is not a appropriate place to begin antagonizing LGTBQ+ people and acting like an *ss! I cast thee out, trolls! Go back to twitter. :p


message 34: by Nikola (new)

Nikola Georgiev Is this some sort of a white pride month? Or a black pride month?


message 35: by nitya (new)

nitya Bloom, a graphic novel, has an adorable m/m romance and features a bakery! I also recommend The Prince and the Dressmaker (another graphic novel), it’s really sweet and beautifully written.

Also the straight cis men in this post 😑😑😑😑


message 36: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Nelms I’m reading Willa & Hesper by Amy Feltman, a queer, coming of age story.


message 37: by Through Glass (new)

Through Glass This is very disheartening. I was hoping to come to this thread and see some awesome recommendations for LGBTQIA++ memoirs and here we are, defending ourselves and dealing with ignorant comments and statements.


message 38: by Nenah (new)

Nenah “He She They Me” by Robyn Ryle is an AMAZING and informative book for starting the conversation on gender! My friend and I are reading it together, it reads like a “choose your own adventure” book and it’s so, so wonderfully written—not just from a western civilization perspective but a worldview of gender across many cultures! 10/10 recommend


Mrs. Chanandler Bong The art of being normal
the symptoms of being human
what if it's us
If i was your girl
vanilla
The upside of unrequited
love, simon
i'll give you the sun
leah on the offbeat
boy meets boy
the other boy
ship it


message 40: by Addison (new)

Addison Recato Cristiano wrote: "What is a "questioning community"? As I am still looking for a word to define myself."

I think you might be looking for queer. It is basically describing yourself as odd or peculiar


message 41: by Jim (new)

Jim Classic early AIDS Memoir, Becoming a Man by Paul Monette.


message 42: by Alicia (last edited Jun 03, 2019 04:40PM) (new)

Alicia Croft I would much rather read contemporaries like Carry On, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, What If It's Us etc...

Memoirs are very slow work, and the writing often just isnt engaging. It always seems its just the human drive to peer over the neighbours fence and be nosy, combined with the egoic need to talk about yourself continually.. only a few make really good stories (no offence, and no less of a valuable life)


message 43: by Pam (new)

Pam Masters Thank you for the suggestions. As the parent of a trans person, I was to support them and their friends. And I like to be armed with truths and facts when doing that.


message 44: by Zinny (new)

Zinny An obscure one that was recommended to me is Under the clock by Kate Black, a historical fiction starring a lesbian in Ireland. Annie on my mind was a charming read


message 45: by Sem (new)

Sem It's a symptom of the cult of self and the need for external validation.


message 46: by Doug (new)

Doug The only one on this list I've read so far, is Boys Keep Swinging: A Memoir, which was excellent. One that SHOULD have been on the list is Too Much Is Not Enough, which is a very fun and funny read.

PS... Don't 'feed' the trolls - it's what they want. Ignore them and they will slink back under the rocks they sprang from...


message 47: by Theresa (last edited Jun 03, 2019 09:31PM) (new)

Theresa I'm very excited to have just started Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future by Pete Buttigieg! If you're on Facebook, come join us in the discussion: www.facebook.com/groups/ButtigiegBook...! :)


message 48: by Em (last edited Jun 03, 2019 09:49PM) (new)

Em Through Glass wrote: "This is very disheartening. I was hoping to come to this thread and see some awesome recommendations for LGBTQIA++ memoirs and here we are, defending ourselves and dealing with ignorant comments an..."

I agree. More moderation would be beneficial, because the thread's clogged up with crap questioning the validity of Pride Month etc., and that's hindering discussion of the books. A lot of the books look really good!


message 49: by Anya (new)

Anya Melissa wrote: "Em wrote: "Through Glass wrote: "This is very disheartening. I was hoping to come to this thread and see some awesome recommendations for LGBTQIA++ memoirs and here we are, defending ourselves and ..."
you have some serious problems. Get help.


message 50: by Anya (new)

Anya Anyone got any fantasy book recommendations or know where to find some? It seems if you want queer representation you are most likely to find it in YA or Social Realism.


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