Tag: lgbtq

red white and royal blue

Amazon to Adapt LGBTQ Hit ‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ for TV

Berlanti Productions is still going strong, even without any future seasons of Arrow lined up after next year’s Season 8 conclusion.

Deadline reports that Amazon Studios and Berlanti Productions will be adapting Casey McQuiston’s Red White & Royal Blue, one of 2019’s most anticipated LGBTQ novels about an unexpected power couple romance.

 

Red White Royal Blue

Image via Amazon

 

Red White & Royal Blue follows America’s favorite son, White House royal-equivalent, Alex Claremont-Diaz, as he falls in love with former across the pond enemy, Prince Henry. The surprise romance causes all sorts of diplomatic complications between the two nations, and Alex’s relationship problems will be taken to another level.

The highly anticipated novel appears to be in good hands. Juilliard Playwriting graduate Ted Malawer will pen the adaptation, and Berlanti Productions has developed LGBTQ content with favorable audience approval, especially after its recent success with introducing LGBTQ superhero icon, Batwoman, to television (She was the only memorable part of that Arrowverse TV crossover).

While there is no release date for the rom-com adaptation, the novel will be published by Macmillan next month.

 

 

 

Featured Image via Deadline

A cute little rainbow for all our LGBT+ readers!

10 LGBT+ Releases to Wow You in April 2019

This month’s releases are about to give Reading Rainbow a whole new meaning. We’re fortunate enough to live in an era in which LGBT+ releases don’t just hit the shelves; they sucker-punch them, particularly in the overarching YA genre. It’s not such a surprise that this change has taken place: nearly half of those in Gen-Z do not identify as exclusively heterosexual. Millennials aren’t statistically far behind. What does this mean? Well, hopefully, that we’ll finally have some better representation. It’s no longer enough to simply hint that a character is gay—especially because said hint usually involves two tortured white guys staring meaningfully at each other, possibly while being rivals, enemies, or something else suitably sexy. (Of course, it was never enough to begin with.)

Done with subtext and need more text? These ten releases across genres and age levels should make you pretty happy* about the ongoing state of representation on our bookshelves.

*Disclaimer: some of these may actually make you cry, and you’ll have to read them to figure out which.

 

1. The Devouring Gray

 

'The Devouring Gray' by Christine Lynne Herman

 

Release Date: April 2nd

Stranger Things meets The Raven Boys? More like bisexual representation, meet my bookshelf immediately. Set in a secluded town in upstate New York, the novel is an intimate, chilling exploration of the supernatural—an exploration of the terror involved when it’s not the whole world that’s in danger but your whole world. Readers will appreciate a YA genre release that’s high stakes but small blast radius. Give this book a try for mysterious deaths in a remote wilderness; intrigue going back generations; and an evil beast who lurks within the Gray, a hollow dimension meant to hold the beast captive. But it isn’t captive anymore—and you’re certain to be captivated by every word.

 

2. The Red Scrolls of Magic

 

'The Red Scrolls of Magic' by Cassandra Clare

 

Release Date: April 9th

These scrolls may be magical, but there’s a 0% chance they’re anywhere near as magical as this book. Shadowhunters fans will recognize this release as the latest instalment in Cassandra Clare’s ever-expanding fantasy universe. Fans can join stubborn yet compassionate Alec and the freewheeling warlock Magnus Bane as they cause mayhem across Europe in their pursuit of an ever-elusive romantic trip. It was hard enough for the couple to come out to the repressive Clave and to get over the age difference (immortality isn’t always easy), but it may be harder to stop the cult that is, apparently, dead set on making this couple’s getaway more of a get-away-from-me. Of course, the cult also wants to cause chaos around the world. But that’s less annoying, if more important.

 

3. The Meaning of Birds

 

'The Meaning of Birds' by Jaye Robin Brown

 

Release Date: April 16th

Hot-tempered Jess’ love for Vivi changes everything. It cools down her anger issues, which rage constantly beneath the surface. It makes her want to let go of her own pain and embrace her artistic talents, to strive for a future that might actually be within reach. It heals her. Fixes her. That’s what love is, right?

Wrong.

When Vivi passes away, Jess feels as though everything she’s lost everything. But the truth is that she’s only lost Vivi—as if that could ever be said with an only. This beautiful, heart-wrenching tale of first love and first loss serves as reminder that progress is not inextricably tied to another person, no matter how supportive that person is or was. Healing is a place you can only reach yourself, even if someone who loves you helps to guide you there.

4. Starworld

 

'Starworld' Audrey Coulthurst

 

Release Date: April 16th

Sam and Zoe are teenage girls with a lot on their minds (a redundant statement when being a teenage girl inherently means having way, WAY too much on your mind). But these are some serious distractions: Sam is trying to help her mother cope with debilitating OCD; Zoe is coping with her adoptive mother’s cancer. In the midst of these hardships, they’re both in need of a less serious distraction—each other. Coulthurst and Garner blend contemporary and genre writing as they portray Sam and Zoe’s text exchanges as a fantasy world, complete with impossible things: a dragon, for starters, and a feeling that this all might work out in the end.

5. A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities

 

'A Quick & Easy Guide to Trans & Queer Identities' Mady G

 

Release Date: April 23th

This new release from Mady G & J.R. Zuckerberg is an insightful follow-up to A Quick & Easy Guide to They / Them Pronouns. (I have my own guide for you: respect them. But something tells me that statement not quite as informative.) Many allies and even LGBT+ people are confused by misconceptions surrounding different queer identities. Some have never heard of any identities beyond the L, G, B & T; some unknowingly believe stereotypes due to their own misunderstandings*.

(*For instance, bisexuals are not indecisive. You may have previously met an indecisive bisexual, but that had nothing to do with their sexuality and everything to do with their inability to choose a place to eat for dinner. Pansexuality is not the same thing as bisexuality, and ‘asexual’ is not a euphemism for ‘has never worn a crop top.’ Now you’re getting it.)

Not only is this book extremely helpful, but it’s clearly also adorable. Keep things light with this fun, non-judgmental, and informative look into the diverse spectrum of LGBT+ identities.

 

The book explains the difference between bisexuality, asexuality, and pansexuality, three LGBT+ identities which may be confusing to some.

 

6. Lie With Me: A Novel

 

'Lie With Me: A Novel' Philippe Besson

 

Release Date: April 30th

Hailed as ‘the French Brokeback Mountain,’ Lie With Me: a Novel depicts one man’s recollection of his first love, the passionate same-sex affair he fell headlong into as a teenager in the 1980s. And the “a novel” addendum is deeply necessary—without it, readers may be left unclear whether or not this is a memoir. The novel leaks emotional truth, rife with intimacy and honesty that informs rather than suggests that the story may not be entirely fictional.  Hauntingly translated by Sixteen Candles actress Molly Ringwald, Lie With Me gives readers so many more than sixteen reasons to read it cover to cover.

 

7. Yay! You’re Gay! Now What?: A Gay Boy’s Guide to Life

 

'Yay! You're Gay! Now What?' Riyadh Khalaf

 

Release Date: April 30th

Are you there, God? It’s the millions of baby gays with no self-help book that can offer the help they need. While coming-of-age is a shared experience across people of all sexualities (yes, you’re likely to wear ugly clothes and make an ass of yourself in front of your crush regardless), most self-help books skip topics crucial to the LGBT+ community. YouTuber Riyadh Khalef offers thoughtful, earnest advice on how to be your best gay self. Of course, the advice isn’t this book doesn’t only apply to gay boys—the book itself addresses the fluid nature of sexualities: “Yay! You’re gay! Or maybe you’re bi. Or maybe you just feel different… in time, that difference will become the greatest gift you could ask for.” Whether you’re gay, bi, pan, or on the spectrum of asexuality, this heartfelt and often hilarious advice for young queer boys is sure to set the record straight—okay, maybe not so straight after all.

 

8. Belly Up

 

'Belly Up' Eva Darrows

 

Release Date: April 30th

Sara Rodriguez definitely didn’t expect to get pregnant one night at a house party after an ill-conceived revenge hookup—but she definitely didn’t expect the father to turn back up. But if you’re looking for angst, look elsewhere. Sara’s support network is exactly that—deeply supportive and utterly endearing. This story is less about any devastating consequences of Sara’s pregnancy and more about her experience of pregnancy with the help of the important people in her life: demisexual love interest Leaf, who has feelings for her despite her circumstances and her grey-asexual best friend, Devi, who makes sure she’s taken care of. Sara questions her own sexuality and what the hell she did to deserve so much affection.

 

9. Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our Americas

 

'Mama's Boy' Dustin Lance Black

 

Release Date: April 30th

Dustin Lance Black was born into a Mormon, military household. This fact isn’t surprising in and of itself, but it becomes a lot more unusual when paired with its broader context: Black is gay, wrote the screenplay Milk, and is a prominent LGBT+ rights activist who brought the case for marriage equality to the supreme court. This unlikely tale of a memoir studies how Black reached this point—but it’s also a tale of his conservative mother’s journey to understanding and accepting the LGBT+ community without forsaking her religious beliefs in a perhaps even less likely conclusion. Powerful and inspiring, this memoir documents LGBT+ history and moves its readers to the point of tears.

 

10. The Stonewall Reader

 

'The Stonewall Reader' Edited by the New York Public Library

 

Release Date: April 30th

Fifty years after Stonewall, the uprising known best as the most significant event of the LGBT+ liberation movement, the New York Public Library is honoring its impact by releasing this in-depth compilation of primary sources. The Stonewall Reader combines the contributions of activists with periodic literature and news coverage of the events to explore the compelling history of an under-reported event. The NYPL curators offer insight into the courage of the Stonewall activists: predominantly African-American, these LGBT+ heroes were at a precarious intersection of two marginalized communities and, still, their strength was unwavering.

 

 

In-text Images Via Amazon.
Featured Image Via Springpod Blog.

5 Amazing LGBTQ Books to Honor Stonewall’s 50th Anniversary

2019 marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots, a series of spontaneous riots between the LGBT community and the NYPD in response to law enforcement raids on LGBTQ clubs and spaces.   Marcia P. Johnson famously threw the first brick at Stonewall, which is considered the most important event in the struggle for LGBTQ rights and acceptance in the USA.

 

To celebrate half a century since this historic event and to celebrate the work of the many LGBTQIA+ artists, activists, and advocates that have brought so much to the fight for equality, we’ve put together a list of five amazing books by LGBTQI+ authors coming out this year for you to look forward to.

 

1. The fourth courier by timothy jay smith

 

The Fourth Courier book cover
Image Via Goodreads

Publishers Weekly says that Timothy Jay Smith’s latest novel, The Fourth Courier, possesses “Sharply drawn characters, rich dialogue, and a clever conclusion bode well for any sequel.” Booklist notes how “Smith skillfully bridges police procedural and espionage fiction, crafting a show-stealing sense of place and realistically pairing the threats of underworld crime and destabilized regimes.” Timothy Jay Smith is a proud member of the LGBTQ community, who is passionate about exploring these themes in his work, which has garnered him countless accolades. His book Fire on the Island was the winner of the 2017 the Gold Medal in the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel. Smith also won the Paris Prize for Fiction for his debut work, A Vision of Angels.  Smith has also been nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize for short fiction, and his screenplays have won numerous international competitions, as well as holding the title of founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater. Phew!

 

On the 30th anniversary of the victory of Solidarity in Poland and the fall of the Berlin Wall, comes a riveting new novel set in Poland on the brink of change, THE FOURTH COURIER .

Smith sets his novel in 1992 in post-cold war Poland, where nothing is quite as it seems. When three execution-style murders take place in Warsaw, FBI Special Agent Jay Porter is assigned to help with the investigation, suspecting that the three victims may have been couriers hired to smuggle nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union.

When Jay learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has also disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Suspenseful, thrilling, and smart, THE FOURTH COURIER teams up an FBI agent with a gay CIA officer who uncover a gruesome plot involving murder, radioactive contraband, narcissistic government leaders, and unconscionable greed.

2. IN SEARCH OF STONEWALL: The Riots at 50, The Gay & Lesbian Review at 25, Best Essays, 1994-2018. a collection of essays edited by Richard Schneider Jr.

 

Book cover for In Search of Stone Wall showing two rainbows of NYC
Image Via Goodreads

 

The San Francisco Chronicle “highly” recommends this compilation of essays on the Stonewall Riots and their effect on society, as well as celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, calling In Search of Stonewall “an important addition to the literature about the LGBT movement and more: this is a selection of excellent writings by significant authors who helped shape history. Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of LGBT rights, and the perfect book to celebrate the anniversary of this monumental event.

 

The year was 1994. It was the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and, as luck would have it, the year in which a new magazine called The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review was publishing its first issue (Winter ’94). The fact that The G&LR’s first year coincided with Stonewall’s 25th forever joined its fate with that of the founding event of the modern LGBT movement. This book commemorates the magazine’s 25th birthday with a collection of relevant articles culled from its 136 issues.

The list of contributors includes: Dennis Altman, David B. Boyce, Michael Bronski, Frank Browning, David Carter, John D’Emilio, Steven F. Dansky, Michael Denneny, Martin Duberman, Lilian Faderman, D. Gilson, Eve Goldberg, Jewelle Gomez, Harry Hay, Amy Hoffman, Andrew Holleran, Karla Jay, Jill Johnston, Arnie Kantrowitz, Dolores Klaich, Larry Kramer, Toby Marotta, Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon, Felice Picano, John Rechy, Will Roscoe, Ellen Shumsky, Bob Smith, Timothy Stewart-Winter, Martha Stone, Edmund White.

 

3. Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story by Jacob Tobia

 

Sissy book cover
Image Via Bust

 

Named a Most Anticipated Book by HelloGiggles, PopSugar, SheReads, A.V. Club, Pride.com, The Daily Utah Chronicle, Read It Forward, Ms. Magazine, and EligibleSissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story has been garnering rave reviews from every lucky soul who has got their hands on it. Tyler Oakley dubs it it “Sensational“, Good Morning American calls Jacob Tobia “a force,” while TIME calls him ‘a necessary voice”. The Washington Post says the book is “a valuable dispatch from a new generation of queer activists and artists.”

A heart-wrenching, eye-opening, and giggle-inducing memoir about what it’s like to grow up not sure if you’re (a) a boy, (b) a girl, (c) something in between, or (d) all of the above.

From the moment a doctor in Raleigh, North Carolina, put “male” on Jacob Tobia’s birth certificate, everything went wrong. Alongside “male” came many other, far less neutral words: words that carried expectations about who Jacob was and who Jacob should be, words like “masculine” and “aggressive” and “cargo shorts” and “SPORTS!”

Naturally sensitive, playful, creative, and glitter-obsessed, as a child Jacob was given the label “sissy.” In the two decades that followed, “sissy” joined forces with “gay,” “trans,” “nonbinary,” and “too-queer-to-function” to become a source of pride and, today, a rallying cry for a much-needed gender revolution. Through revisiting their childhood and calling out the stereotypes that each of us have faced, Jacob invites us to rethink what we know about gender and offers a bold blueprint for a healed world–one free from gender-based trauma and bursting with trans-inclusive feminism.

From Jacob’s Methodist childhood and the hallowed halls of Duke University to the portrait-laden parlors of the White House, Sissy takes you on a gender odyssey you won’t soon forget. Writing with the fierce honesty, wildly irreverent humor, and wrenching vulnerability that have made them a media sensation, Jacob shatters the long-held notion that people are easily sortable into “men” and “women.” Sissy guarantees that you’ll never think about gender–both other people’s and your own–the same way again.

4. Out East: Memoir of a Montauk Summer by John Glynn

 

Book cover for Out East
Image Via Goodreads

 

I would trust basically anything author of phenomenon Call Me By Your Name Andre Aciman says, and trust him I do, when he says the following regarding Glynn’s coming-out memoir: “This boisterous chronicle of a summer in Montauk sees a group of twenty-something housemates who’ll grow to know, to love, and care for one another. They work hard during the week, party hard on weekends, and each will face heartthrob and heartbreak. A coming out story told with feeling and humor and above all with the razor-sharp skill of a delicate and highly gifted writer.” Out East is released May 19th.

 

They call Montauk the end of the world, a spit of land jutting into the Atlantic. The house was a ramshackle split-level set on a hill, and each summer thirty one people would sleep between its thin walls and shag carpets. Against the moonlight the house’s octagonal roof resembled a bee’s nest. It was dubbed The Hive.

In 2013, John Glynn joined the share house. Packing his duffel for that first Memorial Day Weekend, he prayed for clarity. At 27, he was crippled by an all-encompassing loneliness, a feeling he had carried in his heart for as long as he could remember. John didn’t understand the loneliness. He just knew it was there. Like the moon gone dark.

OUT EAST is the portrait of a summer, of the Hive and the people who lived in it, and John’s own reckoning with a half-formed sense of self. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, The Hive was a center of gravity, a port of call, a home. Friendships, conflicts, secrets and epiphanies blossomed within this tightly woven friend group and came to define how they would live out the rest of their twenties and beyond. Blending the sand-strewn milieu of George Howe Colt’s The Big House, the radiant aching of Olivia Liang’s The Lonely City, OUT EAST is a keenly wrought story of love and transformation, longing and escape in our own contemporary moment.

5. Willa & Hesper by Amy Feltman

 

Willa and Hesper book cover
Image Via Goodreads

 

Kirkus Reviews has called Feltman’s debut a “deep and intimate portrait of two queer women in their mid-twenties who come of age in New York while navigating—or refusing to navigate—their relationships to privilege, family, identity, and faith….”, noting that is is “a moving glimpse into 21st-century queer womanhood.” Publishers Weekly declare it a “thoughtful and fascinating debut,” in which Feltman “skillfully weaves glimmers of hope and healing throughout, making for a keenly perceptive novel.” Check out the synopsis:

For fans of What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell and The Futures by Anna Pitoniak, a soul-piercing debut that explores the intertwining of past and present, queerness, and coming of age in uncertain times.

Willa’s darkness enters Hesper’s light late one night in Brooklyn. Theirs is a whirlwind romance until Willa starts to know Hesper too well, to crawl into her hidden spaces, and Hesper shuts her out. She runs, following her fractured family back to her grandfather’s hometown of Tbilisi, Georgia, looking for the origin story that he is no longer able to tell. But once in Tbilisi, cracks appear in her grandfather’s history-and a massive flood is heading toward Georgia, threatening any hope for repair.

Meanwhile, heartbroken Willa is so desperate to leave New York that she joins a group trip for Jewish twentysomethings to visit Holocaust sites in Germany and Poland, hoping to override her emotional state. When it proves to be more fraught than home, she must come to terms with her past-the ancestral past, her romantic past, and the past that can lead her forward.

Told from alternating perspectives, and ending in the shadow of Trump’s presidency, WILLA & HESPER is a deeply moving, cerebral, and timely debut

Arthur displays his library card.

A Librarian’s Guide to Fighting Discrimination

Earlier this year, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) published a digital resource for librarians as part of its push for freedom of expression (and book titles) in school libraries. The manual, an eight-page PDF file titled “Defend LGBTQ Stories,” outlines a number of difficult or delicate circumstances educators will encounter as their students develop literary tastes, and offers specific advice on how to be an ally and set an example of compassion for all students. The guide offers librarians simplified tools for de-stigmatizing LGBTQ themes, protesting banned books, staying up to date on school policy changes, communicating with the NCAC, and sharing their experiences on social media.

This fledgeling resource — a small, but mighty PDF — comes as part of a subset of the NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Program called the Kids’ Right to Read Project (KRRP). This grassroots-inspired program unites community members and national organizations to oppose the growing tangle of restrictions placed on library media in American schools. According to the NCAC’s website, the KRRP rallies “teachers, booksellers, librarians, local reporters and free speech advocates” to protect the reading rights of students.

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These subsets of the NCAC, itself an entity composed of fifty nonprofit organizations, do not have the legal clout to directly influence policy change in the American education system. Instead, they rely on time-tested community advocacy to drum up significant local support to challenge cases on an individual basis, while making these methods accessible to the public. Since 2016, for example, the Florida Citizens Alliance (FLCA) has pushed bills which aim to restrict materials allowed in Florida classrooms based on their educational value. The NCAC offers a thorough breakdown of the proposed legislation, a timeline for its development, and a history of the FLCA’s past initiatives. This document, available on the NCAC’s website, is free to read and share, and gives activists the help they need to make sure kids can read whatever they please.

While the NCAC’s resource “Defend LGBTQ Stories” is in effect a glorified How-To guide for being a properly “woke” librarian in an American school, it is nonetheless a tremendously productive and helpful tool which, in the hands of community activists and national associations alike, has the potential to effect real change and inspire a future generation that embraces diversity.

 

Featured Image via Arthur

The Advocate Magazine Announce the 14 Best LGBTQ Graphic Novels of 2018

Are you ready to have a colorful Christmas, and a glittering New Year? Well, here’s The Advocate Magazine’s most recommended reads before 2018 comes to a close!

 

 

1. Pinky & Pepper Forever by Ivy Atoms

 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

 

After Pinky’s lethal performance art piece, her devoted girlfriend Pepper follows her into death, only to find that in Hell, Pinky is… thriving?!

 

Pinky & Pepper Forever is a dark comedy full of furry fun and gay Catholic guilt. Follow these two puppygirls’ relationship and artwork on Earth and their new life along the River Styx.

 

 

2. On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden 

 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

 

A ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together.

Two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love―only to learn the pain of loss.

With interwoven timelines and stunning art, award-winning graphic novelist Tillie Walden creates an inventive world, breathtaking romance, and an epic quest for love.

 

 

3. In Zodiac Starforce Volume 2: Cries of The Fire Prince by Kevin Panetta

 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

 

After defeating a former Zodiac Member and her mean-girl minions, the girls thought they’d catch a break! But once a mean magical girl, always a mean magical girl and Libra’s former best friend wants that power back! Determined to bring the goddess Cimmeria into our dimension, her coven opens a portal to the dark dimension Nephos, only they don’t get what they bargained for. A new big-bad has come out to play and demons begin to overrun the town! Zodiac Starforce discovers they aren’t the only Zodiac team in the game and together they form a tenuous alliance to find out who’s behind the demon infestation.
The series Comics Alliance calls “your favorite new magical girl team” returns with even more laughs, crushes, and monsters in their latest adventure! Collects Zodiac Starforce 2 #1-#4.

 

4. The Smell of Starving Boys by Loo Hui Phang and Fredrick Peeters

 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

 

Texas, 1872. With the Civil War over, exploration has resumed in the territories to the west of the Mississippi, and the geologist Stingley is looking to capitalize. Together with photographer Oscar Forrest, who catalogues the terrain, and their young assistant, Milton, Stingley strikes out into territory that might one day support a new civilization. But this is no virgin land. As the frontiersmen move west, it becomes clear that the expedition won’t go unchallenged.

 

Stingley has led them into a hostile region: the native Comanches’ last bastion of resistance. In a spectacular landscape, under the looming threat of attack, the boundaries between two worlds dissolve. As social conventions disappear and personal inhibitions go into retreat, an intimate relationship develops between Oscar and Milton. The Smell of Starving Boysis an intense Western about the clash of two worlds: one old, one new; one defined by rationality and technology, the other by shamanism and nature.

 

 

5. Skin & Earth by Lights

 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

 

The full collection of Lights’ masterwork is here! Based on Lights album of the same name, Skin & Earth is a story of a girl looking for hope in a hopeless world. Caught between romance and cults, gods and mortals, and just trying to find a good borscht, Enaia Jin is lead down a dark path by new lovers that reveals a twisted fantasy world and her own true nature.

 

Set in a post-apocalyptic future ruled by the Tempest Corporation, the adventurous tale of loneliness, deceit and self-discovery that ties in with the 14-track corresponding album is compiled for the first time here with the complete comic book series and album in one epic interactive collected edition!

 

6. Bingo Love by Tee Franklin

 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

 

When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families.

 

Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.

 

 

7. The Secret Loves of Geeks by Margaret Atwood, Gerard Way, Dana Simpson, Patrick Rothfuss, and Hope Nicholson

 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

 

Following the smash-hit The Secret Loves of Geek Girls comes this brand new anthology featuring comic and prose stories from cartoonists and professional geeks about their most intimate, heartbreaking, and inspiring tales of love, sex and, dating. Including creators of all genders, orientations, and cultural backgrounds.

 

 

8. Justin Case and the Closet Monster by Mark Julien

 

 

Image Via Mark-julien-illustration.myshopify.com

 

 

Justin Case and the Closet Monster is the story about two closeted gay men, Justin and Peter, who struggle to come to terms with who they are. Each man, coming from a different background, has closed the door on the possibility that he might be gay and made a pact with himself to never open it.

 

Luckily for these men, members of The Closet Monster’s Guild – a legion of magical creatures that reside in a parallel dimension – are about to come along and open that door from the other side. A journey of faith, love, and family, this poignant story blends mythology, campy wit, and fantasy to show that while Justin’s path out of the closet has many hurdles, he learns that he is not alone in his quest to accept himself and find true love.

 

 

9. The Bride Was a Boy by Chii

 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

 

A diary comic with an upbeat, adorable flair that tells the charming tale of Chii, a woman assigned male at birth. Her story starts with her childhood and follows the ups and downs of exploring her sexuality, gender, and transition–as well as falling in love with a man who’s head over heels for her. Now, Chii is about to embark on a new adventure: becoming a bride!

 

 

10. Lost Soul, Be at Peace by Maggie Thrash

 

 

 Image Via Amazon

 

 

A year and a half after the summer that changed her life, Maggie Thrash wishes she could change it all back. She’s trapped in a dark depression and flunking eleventh grade, befuddling her patrician mother while going unnoticed by her father, a workaholic federal judge. The only thing Maggie cares about is her cat, Tommi . . . who then disappears somewhere in the walls of her cavernous house.

 

So her search begins — but Maggie’s not even really sure what she’s lost, and she has no idea what she’ll find. Lost Soul, Be at Peace is the continuation of Maggie’s story from her critically acclaimed memoir Honor Girl, one that brings her devastating honesty and humor to the before and after of depression.

 

 

11.  Part of It by Ariel Schrag

 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

 

Ariel Schrag, a critically-acclaimed memoirist and screenwriter, takes us on a painfully funny tour of her formative years, from her childhood in Berkeley to her mid-twenties in Brooklyn, exploring what it means to connect to others when you don’t yet know who you are—when you want to be “part of it” but the “it” changes daily. We meet hippie babysitters, mean girls, best friends, former friends, prom dates, girlfriends, sex ed students, and far too many LensCrafters sales associates.

These frank, irreverent, and honest comics revel in the uncomfortable—occasionally cringe-inducing—moments from our early years that end up wiring us as people. Part of It further cements Ariel Schrag as “one of the best pure storytellers…in any medium” (Comics Journal).

 

 

12. Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice from my Bipolar Life by Ellen Forney

 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

 

Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice From My Bipolar Life is the eagerly awaited sequel/ companion book to Forney’s 2012 best-selling graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me. Whereas Marbles was a memoir about her bipolar disorder, Rock Steady turns the focus outward, offering a self-help survival guide of tips, tricks and tools by someone who has been through it all and come through stronger for it.

 

 

13. Her Kind of Case by Jeanne Winer 

 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

 

Her Kind of Case is a legal drama that centers on Lee Isaacs, a female defense attorney on the cusp of turning 60, who, out of curiosity, determination, and desire for a big, even impossible, professional challenge, chooses to take on a tough murder case in which a largely uncooperative young man is accused of helping kill a gay gang member.

This beautifully-written novel, which has earned starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist, is built around not only a gradually resolving mystery, but by fully fleshed-out characters, particularly the strong-willed and sharp-witted Lee. It is a breath of fresh air to see someone of Lee’s standing achieve career and personal success as an older single woman who grieves the recent loss of her husband, but continues her daily routine of law and karate, fighting tooth and nail to prove her client not guilty.

 

 

14.  Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition by Julia Kaye 

 

 

Image Via Amazon

 

 

Instead of a traditional written diary, Julia Kaye has always turned to art as a means of self-reflection. So when she began her gender transition in 2016, she decided to use her popular webcomic, Up and Out, to process her journey and help others with similar struggles realize they weren’t alone.

Julia’s poignant, relatable comics honestly depict her personal ups and downs while dealing with the various issues involved in transitioning—from struggling with self-acceptance and challenging societal expectations, to moments of self-love and joy. Super Late Bloomer both educates and inspires, as Julia faces her difficulties head-on and commits to being wholly, authentically who she was always meant to be.

 

 

It may be the end of the list, but LGBTQ books are there if you are looking for representation in your personal life, or you like to read a great story or both!

 

 

Featured Image Via Torontolife.com (Photo: Adam Pulicicchio)