Just at the tail end of June and in honor of the recent Supreme Court decision to legalize marriage for all Americans regardless of sexual orientation, here's a book list of some of my favorite titles focusing on the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Reinaldo Arenas's autobiography Before Night Falls is an amazing testament of life under Castro and required reading as far as I'm concerned. Powerful, vivid and graphic, it depicts repression and rebellion in an unforgettable real-life narrative.
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is another memoir, by writer
Jeanette Winterson, about growing up lesbian in a fundamentalist family in England. It's also about the power of literature to save and change lifes. If you don't read any other LGBT book, you should pick either Winterson's or Arenas's memoir.
Scott Pomfret's memoir Since My Last Confession is about being gay in liberal Boston, and the fight for marriage equality in Massachusetts. Massachusetts was one of the first states to legalize marriage for gay Americans and his book gives a lot of insight into the early days of the struggle. And it's really funny too.
David Sedaris and Alison Bechdel have both written a lot about their gay lives. My favorite Sedaris title is Me Talk Pretty One Day, which mostly focuses on the time in his life when he met his partner Hugh and moved to France. Bechdel was a prolific comics artist and writer of the multi-volume series Dykes to Watch Out For before she became a star with her book (now a Broadway play) Fun Home.
Alan Holinghurst's The Line of Beauty is a really wonderful novel set in Thatcherite England about a gay man trying to make a life among people who only tolerate him as long as they choose to.
Another memoir I love is John Waters' recent Carsick, a combination of fact
and fiction about his trip hitchhiking across America. Waters is a well-known filmmaker and author who mixes his real-life trip with made-up stories about what could have happened, or maybe should have, depending on your point of view. He's hilarious.
Those are just a few of my favorites. I hope you find something to read!