It’s June, which means that it is officially Pride Month! With each passing year, LGBTQ+ people have gained more visibility in media, literature, and even in politics. It is impossible to look back at queer history and not show gratitude to the trailblazers. Specifically, the trans BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) who have fought for our rights. But despite all the progress that has been made, it seems that it can still be difficult for marginalized communities to find themselves represented in queer spaces.
We had seen BIPOC be portrayed as the sidekicks or gay best friends, but it was harder to find us as the main characters. However, in more recent years, marginalized voices have become louder and prouder. At Bookstr, our mission is to uplift and amplify, so we have found nine LBGTQ+ books centered around protagonists from marginalized communities. Check them out and add them to your Pride TBR!
Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters
This new queer romance novel follows Isaac Martin as he plans a summer to remember for him and his best friend, Diego, before they part ways for college. All Isaac needs to do is secure tickets to Legends Con. But when Isaac’s plan backfires when he runs into his old crush, Davi, he’s left without a badge. Diego is pretty forgiving, until he discovers what really happened that day between Isaac and Davi, and becomes distant. If you love geeky friends-to-lovers, this is the book for you!
Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao
In her debut graphic novel, Laura Gao details her experience of immigrating from Wuhan, China, to Texas as a child. Growing up in predominantly white schools, not many people knew of Wuhan, and she didn’t find an Asian community until she entered college. Gao jumps between past and future while covering an array of topics such as the impact of COVID-19 on her life, wanting to make the basketball team, and questioning the feeling she gets around girls.
The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela
When gay Latinx professor, Andrés, finds out that his father is very ill, he finds himself back in his hometown. Surrounded by familiar faces, such as a bully and his first love, Andrés gets himself into some trouble that he thought he left in the past. The story follows his relationships with others as well as with the community he was raised in. This debut novel covers young love, queerness, racism and classism in white suburbia, and overall identity in a refreshing new way.
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
Five years after the death of her husband, Feyi’s best friend, Joy, encourages her to get back into the dating scene. Looking to have some fun, Feyi has a chance encounter at a party that catapults her into new opportunities, including dating. However, after he invites her on a trip to the Caribbean, she finds her eyes glued to someone she should steer clear from. Akwaeke Emezi shares a story about love, healing, and finding joy while honoring grief.
Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore
Rumor has it that there’s a world beneath the lake that is half water and half air. Bastián Silvano grew up living between both worlds, while Lore Garcia has only seen the otherworldly place once. Lore’s experience changed their life forever, and the two haven’t spoken in seven years. Not only is there a magical world below the lake, but their secrets do too, and both are being threatened to come to the surface if Lore and Bastián don’t work together. This breathtaking novel is filled with magical realism and provides visibility for neurodivergent, non-binary trans teens.
Buffalo is the New Buffalo by Chelsea Vowel
This new set of short stories explores both the Metis and queer experience. Vowel responds to the common Indigenous metaphor, “Education is the new buffalo” with a, “Instead of accepting that the buffalo, and our ancestral ways, will never come back, what if we simply ensure that they do?” Two-Spirit shapeshifters, a superhuman forgotten by his own people, and many others grace the pages by portraying a world of “Metis futurism.” Along with this, Vowel allows us to explore the impact of colonization and ancestral trauma.
The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
After being outed by her ex-best friend at her last school, Yamilet Flores prefers to be known as a straight girl with killer makeup rather than being one of the few queer Mexican girls at her new, and very white, Catholic school. But when she finds herself falling for the insanely cute, openly queer, and super smart classmate, Bo. Reyes invites us to watch as Yamilet navigates wanting to make her mother proud, protecting her brother, and living out her truth.
Café Con Lychee by Emery Lee
A Puerto Rican bakery and Asian American café are not the only ones involved in a rivalry. Gabi Moreno hides his sexuality and love for dance with the guise of being a soccer player (and a terrible one at that). Meanwhile, Theo Mori cannot wait to get out from working for his parents and dealing with Gabi. But when the businesses are in jeopardy, the two must work together to keep their parents’ dreams alive while figuring out the new feelings rising between them.
All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews
Despite the recession turning America upside down, Sneha has been lucky to secure a corporate job in Milwaukee, make enough money to send to her family in India, provide jobs for her friends, and date women. But things are too good to be true when secrets get unearthed and Sneha feels like she can’t trust anyone, including her charming crush, Marina. All seems bleak until Sneha’s friend, Tig, comes up with a plan that may help them all. Mathews honest new novel is set to hit shelves this August.
Have a happy and safe Pride Month! For more Pride articles, click here.