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queer books everyone should read: international day against homophobia, transphobia, biphobia

queer books everyone should read: international day against homophobia, transphobia, biphobia

today, as we celebrate the international day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, I'm writing this article with some queer books recommendations that you shouldn't miss! above all, the day is meant to coordinate international events that raise awareness of lgbtqia+ rights violations and increase interest in its rights' work around the world.

that's why I'm starting this article with a hot topic in the united states. maia kobabe, who always felt a little out of place, began to take refuge in drawings and comic books. she then drew her truth and the book "gender queer" became the most contested in 2021 in the usa: banned in schools, it was even called "pornographic", "obscene" and “illegal".

in “gender queer", maia shares their deeply personal journey of self-discovery, from adolescent crushes to coming out to family and society. through a candid storytelling, they offer not just a memoir, but a valuable guide to gender identity for advocates, allies, and anyone seeking understanding.

now on to the rest of the recommendations, I'll start with my favorite book of all time which focuses on the hollywood movie icon evelyn hugo, who despite her seven husbands throughout her career, cannot fight the fact that the love of her life is a woman. “the seven husbands of evelyn hugo” is a beautiful book, written by the amazing taylor jenkins reid, which follows the entire journey of these characters, in the difficult times that were the 50s, especially being a hollywood star and having everyone's eyes on you.

moving on to some classics… everyone knows virginia woolf right? woolf's 1928 novel "orlando” is a masterpiece of modernist queer fiction. following the life of the titular protagonist, who changes sex from male to female and lives for over 400 years, the novel is both a satire of english historiography and a love letter to woolf's partner, friend, and muse, vita sackville-west.

it was not only vita who provided the inspiration for the character of orlando and his/her gender-switching and eccentric life story – vita's childhood home, the magnificent knole house in kent, england, also inspired the novel. for the fans of cinema there’s also the movie, released in 1992, the story was further mythologised, directed by sally potter and starring tilda swinton.

another classic book that touches the homosexuality theme is “maurice” by e.m forster, who started writting it in 1913 but was only published 58 years later. e.m forster, as a gay man, decided to write this book as a form of encouragement to all those who need the same courage he had.

maurice's sexuality was considered not only depraved and sinful, but a crime. conventional, beloved, wealthy, well-educated, maurice is made to struggle with self-hatred, condemning himself as "an unspeakable of the oscar wilde sort"; he visits not a psychiatrist but a hypnotist in the hope of being "cured". and yet, in maurice, the truth triumphs. by the end of the novel, maurice has accepted himself and his love for alec.

the last classic recommendation is "the well of loneliness” by radclyffe hall. originally banned for obscenity after its publication in 1928, hall's novel was for a time the most famous lesbian novel written in english. it tells the story of stephen: a fencer, rider, scholar, and daughter of upper-class parents expecting a son. she becomes a war hero and a bestselling writer, but as a woman who loves women, she is still confined by the society she lives.

just as “gender queer”, “heartstopper” is a graphic novel with 5 books already published about a gay couple in high school, this one only for boys. a tiktok tendency, these books follow this couple’s journey through acceptance. you can also watch the tv show, released in 2022 on netflix.

close to the end, we have the famous “call me by your name” by andré aciman, very well known especially because of the movie, released in 2017. one of my favorite movies ever, it’s a little controversial because of the age gap between an adolescent boy, elio, and a summer guest, oliver, at his parents' cliff-side mansion on the italian riviera. considered a powerful yet impossible and tragic between these two men. a movie that made me bawl my eyes out for almost 2 days straight, every time I’d think of it. there’s also already the sequel “find me” publised.

last but not least, “young mungo” published in 2022,  by douglas stuart. growing up in a glasgow housing estate, mungo and james, divided by their protestant and catholic backgrounds, should be enemies. yet, against the odds, they forge a deep friendship in the sanctuary of james's pigeon dovecote. as they fall in love and dream of belonging, mungo hides his true self, especially from his brutal brother hamish, a local gang leader. sent on a fishing trip with strangers, mungo must summon courage to return to safety and a possible future with james. "young mungo" explores masculinity, sectarianism, violence against queer individuals, and the perils of love.

as we celebrate the international day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, it is important to recognize and value queer voices in literature. these books offer an opportunity to build understanding and empathy while celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion in all forms of artistic expression.

francisca amado is an internship student, from a communication and multimedia design degree , currently in CINCO team. born and raised in the outskirts of coimbra. always showing creativity and ambition, since very young.

we independently evaluate all recommended products and services. if you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation.

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