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11 Books to Read This LGBTQ History Month

From an overview of the modern gay rights movement to an exploration of LGBTQ representation in film, here are 11 books to add to your reading list.

by Sierra C. Jackson /
Conceptual BooksGetty Images

October is LGBTQ History Month, a time to reflect on the community's rich history and honor those who tirelessly fought for equality — and continue to do so. Here are 11 books that can help readers shed light on important moments in the community's history.

"The Gay Revolution" by Lillian Faderman

 Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

A thorough introduction to the history of the gay and lesbian civil rights movements, this book chronicles the early struggles of LGBTQ individuals from the 1950s to present day using a compilation of enlightening interviews with politicians, military officials and members of the community.

"And the Band Played On" by Randy Shilts

 Courtesy of St. Martins Press MacMillan Publishers

A blend of investigative reporting and vivid storytelling, this account follows the rise of the AIDs epidemic using the narratives of doctors who were on the front lines of the outbreak, politicians and scientists who ignored it, and the real people who were affected by government's negligence.

"Love Wins" by Debbie Cenziper and Jim Obergefell

 Courtesy of Harper Collins Harper Collins Publishers

“Love Wins” details the the personal moments and conversations between the team of legal professionals, activists and individuals who successfully showed the world that everyone deserves the right to marry who they love while simultaneously honoring a dying man’s last wish.

"How to Survive a Plague" by David France

 Courtesy of Penguin Random House Penguin Random House

Inspired by the 2012 documentary by the same name, “How to Survive a Plague” recreates how a handful of shunned activists and AIDs-infected individuals researched AIDs and possible cures in a desperate attempt to save their own and their loved ones’ lives.

"When We Rise" by Cleve Jones

 Courtesy of Hachette Book Group Hachette Book Group

This semi-autobiographical account follows Cleve Jones as he explores his identity as a gay man in the 1950s, discovers a community and a cause through his mentor, Harvey Milk, and copes with the ravaging effects of the AIDS epidemic.

"Sister Outsider" by Audre Lorde

 Courtesy of Random House Random House

A celebration of intersectionality, black lesbian poet and feminist Audre Lorde analyzes the presence of ageism, sexism, racism, classism and homophobia in her own life through a collection of lyrical essays and speeches.

"The Men With the Pink Triangle" by Heinz Heger

 Courtesy of Alyson Books Alyson Books

In lurid detail, Heinz Hager unfolds the true story of Josef Kohout — a man who was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp for being gay — and effectively reminds the world of the torture gay individuals suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

"The Lavender Scare" by David E. Johnson

 Courtesy of University of Chicago Press University of Chicago Press

With the help of declassified documents and interview with military officials, David Johnson argues that Senator Joseph McCarthy was just as guilty of promoting anti-Communism paranoia as he was inspiring policies that considered homosexuality a threat to national security.

"The Celluloid Closet" by Vito Russo

 Courtesy of Harper & Row Harper & Row

Published in 1987, Russo’s analysis of the portrayal of homosexuality in film has laid the foundation for the how we evaluate LGBTQ representation in film today and has supported the argument that representation matters.

"Transgender Warriors" by Leslie Feinberg

 Courtesy of Beacon Press Beacon Press

In this account, Leslie Feinberg scours history to reveal possibly gender-nonconforming and transgender individuals that traditional historical accounts have often ignored or misrepresented.

"This Day in June" by Gayle E. Pitman and Kristyna Litten

 Courtesy of Magination Press The American Psychological Association/Magination Press

Take your child on a whimsical adventure to a pride parade in this colorful children’s book, which also includes creative ways to introduce your child to LGBTQ history and other topics about gender and sexual orientation.

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