Pride month—June—every year shifts the spotlight to the LGBTQIA community. However, it’s important to note that the community doesn’t exist once a year. It’s a part of the world we live in, as delightful and significant. If you’re looking to dive into the world of stellar queer stories, let the following books take you through the journey.
1. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
How did the queer community navigate the establishments of the 1950s? Baldwin’s piece of art was published years ago, and continues to resonate with readers even today. It tells the tale of a young man caught between desire and morality in 1950s Paris. What sets this one apart is the fact that several aspect of love, life, and heartbreak remain the same, despite conversations surrounding the rights of the community having come a long way.
2. Maurice: A Novel by EM Forster
Fancy a love story? Forster’s book chronicles the journey of the title character whose first love interest, Clive, leaves him to marry a woman. As time passes, the protagonist falls for another man. What follows forms the plot of the story. It is interesting to note that this steamy novel was written in 1913, but it wasn’t published until after Forster's death in 1971.
3. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
Joanna “Jo” Gordon’s life suddenly takes a turn for the worse when her father remarries, and the family relocates from Atlanta to Rome, Georgia. She is forced to hide her identity for senior year. What’s the hiccup? Well, Jo is falling for her new friend’s sister, Mary Carlson. What follows is a heartfelt novel about coming out and the love that blossoms.
4. Under The Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
Ijeoma, a young girl, is sent away from her family to escape the Nigerian Civil War. Soon, she meets Amina who too has separated from her family. They enter a brief relationship, only to find out that their love, for those around them, is forbidden. During the course of the story, Ijeoma is then sent back home and forced into marrying a man, as she battles her attraction to women. What does fate have in store for her?
5. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
This Pulitzer Prize winner was subjected to criticism over its controversial plot when it released, but this one continues to be one of the landmarks of queer literature. One of the statements in the book, perfectly describe the evolution of the character in the intersex coming-of-age book. “I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.”