Book Recs: Pride Month Special

I’m sure all of you at least once experienced this: you go to school, you study history, and then years later, in totally random circumstances, you learn that some historical figure was actually gay. And then you probably cry a little (a lot, if you’re me) and you’re angry & disappointed, because yet again your own history was taken away from you.

That’s where we come in with this rec list! We put together fifty titles – so not a comprehensive list by any account, but it’s a place to start. To kick-off your historical journey and actually make you realise you do love history, just the one that is actually ours.

Siken would say that “there are a lot of names in history. / none of them are ours”, but he was only halfway right. We have always existed, we just weren’t always allowed to talk about it.

This list is divided into 5 historical eras, with a few books that are studies across eras, and then further into what types of books there are. You will find here memoirs, letters, essays, history textbooks… Anything you can think of, it’s probably here!

Take a quiz to figure out where you should start your LGBT education:

Take the quiz!

Or just scroll through the whole list.

Key:

memoir or letters πŸƒ
biography 🌻
historical account 🐚
essays or theory 🌼

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Pre-1800s

 

Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe by John Boswell 🐚
Homosexuality & Civilisation by Louis Crompton 🐚
The King’s Assassin by Benjamin Woolley 🌻
Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy by Judith C. Brown 🌻

 

The Favourite by Ophelia Field 🌻
Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America by Rachel Hope Cleves 🌻
The Maiden of Tonnerre: The Vicissitudes of the Chevalier and the ChevaliΓ¨re of D’Eon by Charles de Beaumont πŸƒ

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1800s

 

Gentleman Jack: A Biography of Anne Lister, Regency Landowner, Seducer and Secret Diarist by Angela Steidele 🌻
Outlaw Marriages: The Hidden Histories of Fifteen Extraordinary Same-Sex Couples by Rodger Streitmatter 🌻
Love Stories by Jonathan Ned Katz 🐚
True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century by Emily Skidmore 🐚
The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde by Neil McKenna 🌻
Love in a Dark Time by Colm Tóibín 🐚

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1900s

 

Fighting Proud: The Untold Story of the Gay Men who Served in Two World Wars by Stephen Bourne 🐚
Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940s by Ricardo J. Brown πŸƒ
The Letters of Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf by Louise DeSalvo πŸƒ
The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps by Heinz Heger πŸƒ

 

Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold by Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy & Madeline D. Davis 🐚
Man into Woman by Lili Elbe πŸƒ
Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man by Siegfried Sassoon πŸƒ
A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E. M. Forster by Wendy Moffat 🌻

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1950s

 


Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival by Sean Strub πŸƒ
The Stonewall Reader ed. by the New York Public Library 🐚
When We Rise: My Life in the Movement by Cleve Jones πŸƒ
Not Guilty ed. by Sue Elliott πŸƒ

 

Tom of Finland: His Life and Times by F. Valentine Hooven III 🌻
The Disappearing L: Erasure of Lesbian Spaces and Culture by Bonnie J. Morris 🐚
Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D’Emilio 🌻

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Modern

 

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out ed. by Susan Kuklin πŸƒ
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls
by T Kira Madden πŸƒ

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya πŸƒ
We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib πŸƒ
Does Your Mama Know?: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Coming Out Stories ed. by Lisa C. Moore πŸƒ

 

Trans Britain: Our Journey from the Shadows ed. by Christine Burns πŸƒ
Asegi Stories: Cherokee Queer and Two-Spirit Memory
by Qwo-Li Driskill πŸƒ

Bi America: Myths, Truths, and Struggles of an Invisible Community by William E. Burleson 🐚
Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation by Urvashi Vaid 🐚
Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men’s Lives by Walt Odet 🐚
The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies by Vito Russo 🐚

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Across eras

 

My Dear Boy: Gay Love Letters through the Centuries by Rictor Norton πŸƒ
Mates and Lovers: A History of Gay New Zealand by Chris Brickell 🐚
Transgender History by Susan Stryker 🐚
Queering India: Same-Sex Love and Eroticism in Indian Culture and Society ed. by Ruth Vanita 🐚
A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity Across the World by Richard B. Parkinson 🐚
Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman by Leslie Feinberg 🐚

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Essays & theory

 

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde
Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity by Judith Butler
This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color ed. by CherrΓ­e Moraga & Gloria E. AnzaldΓΊa
A Queer World: The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader by Martin Duberman
Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence by Adrienne RichΒ 

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That’s all for this rec list! What LGBT history books have you read?

 

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