Recently my 8-year old and I were having a conversation in which I explained to her that it wasn’t always considered acceptable for girls to marry girls and boys to marry boys. The idea flummoxed her — she couldn’t imagine why other people would care who you marry. That conversation really drove home to me how important Pride is, and how far the LGBTQIA movement has come. Happy Pride, everyone!
Classics & Contemporary Fiction
Maurice by E.M. Forster
A young man goes away to college, meets someone, falls in love. While the plot summary sounds cliche, this novel — from a time when homosexuality was illegal in England — is anything but. It is widely considered to be a founding work of modern gay literature influenced by the author’s own life.
Young Jeanette comes of age in an Evangelical family, certain she is meant to be a missionary, but unsure how to reconcile her faith and her attraction to women. Winterson denies that the novel is ‘a lesbian novel’ saying, “I’ve never understood why straight fiction is supposed to be for everyone, but anything with a gay character or that includes gay experience is only for queers.”
This is a sweeping tale of forbidden love set against the backdrop of the Biafran conflict in Nigeria. Ijeoma and Amina fall in love despite the taboos: they are both girls, and of different tribes. The novel follows Ijeoma throughout her life. In her Author’s Note Okparanta reports that homosexuality continues to be illegal in Nigeria; death by stoning is a possible sentence.
One day Gerda, an Art Deco painter, asked her husband Einar to dress as a woman and pose for her. This small request triggered a sea change in him, and awakened his desire to become a woman. Based on a true story, The Danish Girl asks us to imagine what it must have been like to ardently want something that “simply did not exist, [and] simply could not exist.”
For Children and Teens
17-year old Quinn sees his life as a movie in-production. While he’d expected to live a “fairly standard coming-of-age L.G.B.T. genre film,” instead his sister/movie-making partner dies in a car crash. Quinn becomes a virtual shut-in until his best friend pushes him to re-enter the world. Readers will find it refreshing to read about a gay character who struggles with more than just their sexuality.
In this endearing middle grade novel, George is a girl who was born a boy and is determined not to let her sex get in the way of her dream of playing the lead role in the class production of Charlotte’s Web.