Love is never easy, but we all deserve to love and be loved in return no matter how we identify ourselves and who we choose to love. Sorry, there was a lot of “love” in that sentence, but what the world needs now is just that, and on this National Coming Out Day let’s spread the sentiment to everyone—lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and everyone else a part of the rainbow flag.
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In honor of National Coming Out Day, let’s celebrate these stories that remind us all to be ourselves and love who we love.
1. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
A historical classic in Gay and Queer literature, this story follows a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality in 1950s Paris. Published in a time when homosexuality was not accepted in society and even considered a mental illness, Baldwin’s book about sexuality and acceptance was groundbreaking and meant the world to thousands upon thousands of LGBT people, especially for gay men.
2. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Focused on two ex-boyfriends trying to make a new Guinness record—making out for a 32-hour marathon—this optimistic tale centers around universal questions of love, identity, and belonging that our teenaged characters struggle with. An unconventional read, Two Boys Kissing will leave you with bliss and hope that love will find a way.
Leila is trying to make it through and fit in at her high school, and struggling to accept her Iranian-American descent when she is at school is tough enough, but she is hiding the fact that she is also gay. Everything goes according to plan until the beautiful new girl Saskia shows up. Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, including coming out to one of her best friends about her feeling for Saskia. Finally coming out, Leila learns that every one of her classmates are keeping secrets of their own.
4. Rubyfruit Jungle by
With parents who love her deeply, beauty and wit that makes all the ladies swoon, Molly Bolt is paving her own life the way she wants it. This inspiring coming-of-age tale teaches us to be true to ourselves and, against the odds, strive for a happily ever after.
5. For Today I Am a Boy by
6. Stone Butch Blues by
This biographical novel follows the real-life struggle of Jess Goldberg. With the rigorous gender pressures of society, Jess questions her identity her entire life, trying to find where she fits in and where she can survive.
7. Prom and Other Hazards by Jamie Sullivan
Let’s be honest, not everyone was excited for prom. The same can be said for non-binary high schooler Sam, who wants nothing to do with it. If it weren’t for her best friend Tash, who has been dreaming about the perfect, romantic prom night, Sam would never consider going. After finding the perfect suit to match Sam’s androgynous and suave style, Sam puts a plan in motion to not only pay off the ridiculously expensive suit, but also to build up the courage to tell Tash how deeply in love she has been with her for years.
Granted not all of these books have romance as the focus, coming out is not always about having some romantic partner encouraging you to be true to what you want. There are times when you have to find it yourself. Either way, in this day and age, let’s hope that all can celebrate being who they are, and loving who they are, unapologetically.
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