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43 books about LGBTQ life, culture, history, and politics everyone should read

"Another Country" by James Baldwin

"Another Country" by James Baldwin
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Set in Greenwich Village, Harlem, and France, among other locales, "Another Country" is a novel of passions — sexual, racial, political, artistic — that is stunning for its emotional intensity and haunting sensuality, depicting men and women, blacks and whites, stripped of their masks of gender and race by love and hatred at the most elemental and sublime. In a small set of friends, Baldwin imbues the best and worst intentions of liberal America in the early 1970s.

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"Foxfire" by Joyce Carol Oates

"Foxfire" by Joyce Carol Oates
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The time is the 1950s. The place is a blue-collar town in upstate New York, where five high school girls are joined in a gang dedicated to pride, power, and vengeance on a world that seems made to denigrate and destroy them. "Foxfire" is Joyce Carol Oates's strongest and most unsparing novel yet — an always engrossing, often shocking evocation of female rage, gallantry, and grit. Here is the secret history of a sisterhood of blood, a haven from a world of male oppressors, marked by a liberating fury that burns too hot to last. Above all, it is the story of Legs Sadovsky, with her lean, on-the-edge, icy beauty, whose nerve, muscle, hate, and hurt make her the spark of Foxfire, its guiding spirit, its burning core. Amid scenes of violence and vengeance lies this novel's greatest power: the exquisite, astonishing rendering of the bonds that link the Foxfire girls together.

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"If I Was Your Girlfriend" by Meredith Russo

"If I Was Your Girlfriend" by Meredith Russo
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Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she's determined not to get too close to anyone. But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can't help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda's terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won't be able to see past it. Because the secret that Amanda's been keeping? It's that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?

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"Whipping Girl" by Julia Serano

"Whipping Girl" by Julia Serano
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In the updated second edition, Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose supremely intelligent writing reflects her diverse background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist, shares her powerful experiences and observations — both pre- and post-transition — to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole. In addition to debunking popular misconceptions about transsexuality, Serano makes the case that today's feminists and transgender activists must work to embrace and empower femininity — in all of its wondrous forms.

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"Feminist Queer Crip" by Alison Kafer

"Feminist Queer Crip" by Alison Kafer
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Alison Kafer imagines a different future for disability and disabled bodies. Challenging the ways in which ideas about the future and time have been deployed in the service of compulsory able-bodiedness and able-mindedness, Kafer rejects the idea of disability as a pre-determined limit. She juxtaposes theories, movements, and identities such as environmental justice, reproductive justice, cyborg theory, transgender politics, and disability that are typically discussed in isolation and envisions new possibilities for crip futures and feminist/queer/crip alliances. This bold book goes against the grain of normalization and promotes a political framework for a more just world.

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"Stone Butch Blues" by Leslie Feinberg

"Stone Butch Blues" by Leslie Feinberg
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Published in 1993, this brave, original novel is considered to be the finest account ever written of the complexities of a transgendered existence. Woman or man? That's the question that rages like a storm around Jess Goldberg, clouding her life and her identity. Growing up differently gendered in a blue-collar town in the 1950s, coming out as a butch in the bars and factories of the pre-feminist 60s, deciding to pass as a man in order to survive when she is left without work or a community in the early 70s. This powerful, provocative and deeply moving novel sees Jess coming full circle, she learns to accept the complexities of being a transgendered person in a world demanding simple explanations: a he-she emerging whole, weathering the turbulence.

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"Gender Trouble" by Judith Butler

"Gender Trouble" by Judith Butler
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One of the most talked-about scholarly works of the past 50 years, Judith Butler's "Gender Trouble" is as celebrated as it is controversial. Arguing that traditional feminism is wrong to look to a natural, "essential" notion of the female, or indeed of sex or gender, Butler starts by questioning the category "woman" and continues in this vein with examinations of "the masculine" and "the feminine." Best known however, but also most often misinterpreted, is Butler's concept of gender as a reiterated social performance rather than the expression of a prior reality. Thrilling and provocative, few other academic works have roused passions to the same extent.

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"Sister Outsider" by Audre Lorde

"Sister Outsider" by Audre Lorde
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In this charged collection of 15 essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde-scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde's philosophies resonate more than 20 years after they were first published.

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"Confessions of a Mask" by Yukio Mushima

"Confessions of a Mask" by Yukio Mushima
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"Confessions of a Mask" tells the story of Kochan, an adolescent boy tormented by his burgeoning attraction to men: He wants to be "normal." Kochan is meek-bodied, and unable to participate in the more athletic activities of his classmates. He begins to notice his growing attraction to some of the boys in his class, particularly the pubescent body of his friend Omi. To hide his homosexuality, he courts a woman, Sonoko, but this exacerbates his feelings for men. As news of the War reaches Tokyo, Kochan considers the fate of Japan and his place within its deeply rooted propriety.

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"Born Both, an Intersex Life" by Hilda Viloria

"Born Both, an Intersex Life" by Hilda Viloria
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My name is Hida Viloria. I was raised as a girl but discovered at a young age that my body looked different. Having endured an often turbulent home life as a kid, there were many times when I felt scared and alone, especially given my attraction to girls. But unlike most people in the first world who are born intersex — meaning they have genitals, reproductive organs, hormones, and/or chromosomal patterns that do not fit standard definitions of male or female — I grew up in the body I was born with because my parents did not have my sex characteristics surgically altered at birth.

"Born Both" is the story of my lifelong journey toward finding love and embracing my authentic identity in a world that insists on categorizing people into either/or, and of my decades-long fight for human rights and equality for intersex people everywhere.

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"Normal Life" by Dean Spade

"Normal Life" by Dean Spade
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"Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law" raises revelatory critiques of the current strategies [for trans rights] pivoting solely on a 'legal rights framework,' but also points to examples of an organized grassroots trans movement that is demanding the most essential of legal reforms in addition to making more comprehensive interventions into dangerous systems of repression — and the administrative violence that ultimately determines our life chances.

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"Transgender History" by Susan Stryker

"Transgender History" by Susan Stryker
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Covering American transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to today, "Transgender History" takes a chronological approach to the subject of transgender history, with each chapter covering major movements, writings, and events. Chapters cover the transsexual and transvestite communities in the years following World War II; trans radicalism and social change, which spanned from 1966 with the publication of "The Transsexual Phenomenon", and lasted through the early 1970s; the mid-70s to 1990, the era of identity politics and the changes witnessed in trans circles through these years; and the gender issues witnessed through the 90s and 2000s.

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"Edinburgh" by Alexander Chee

"Edinburgh" by Alexander Chee
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Twelve-year-old Fee is a shy Korean American boy and a newly named section leader of the first sopranos in his local boys' choir. But when Fee learns how the director treats his section leaders, he is so ashamed he says nothing of the abuse, not even when Peter, his best friend, is in line to be next. When the director is arrested, Fee tries to forgive himself for his silence. But when Peter takes his own life, Fee blames only himself. In the years that follow he slowly builds a new life, teaching near his hometown. There he meets a young student who is the picture of Peter and is forced to confront the past he believed was gone.

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"The Argonauts" by Maggie Nelson

"The Argonauts" by Maggie Nelson
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Maggie Nelson's "The Argonauts" is a genre-bending memoir, a work of 'autotheory' offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author's relationship with the artist Harry Dodge. This story, which includes Nelson's account of falling in love with Dodge, who is fluidly gendered, as well as her journey to and through a pregnancy, offers a firsthand account of the complexities and joys of (queer) family-making.

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"The Autobiography of Alice. B. Toklas" by Gertrude Stein

"The Autobiography of Alice. B. Toklas" by Gertrude Stein
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"The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas" was written in 1933 by Gertrude Stein in the guise of an autobiography authored by Alice B. Toklas, who was her lover. It is a fascinating insight into the art scene in Paris as the couple were friends with Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso. They begin the war years in England but return to France, volunteering for the American Fund for the French Wounded, driving around France, helping the wounded and homeless. After the war Gertrude has an argument with T. S. Eliot after he finds one of her writings inappropriate. They become friends with Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway. It is by most accounts one of the best descriptions of the lives and morays of the American and European literary and artistic scene between the wars.

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"Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman" by Leslie Feinberg

"Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman" by Leslie Feinberg
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A copiously illustrated survey of historical and contemporary figures who have resisted the gender conventions of their day, from the Welsh peasants who cross-dressed to protest taxes to today's transsexual parents.

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"Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes" script by Tony Kushner

"Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes" script by Tony Kushner
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In two full-length plays — "Millennium Approaches" and "Perestroika" — Kushner tells the story of a handful of people trying to make sense of the world. Prior is a man living with AIDS whose lover Louis has left him and become involved with Joe, an ex-Mormon and political conservative whose wife, Harper, is slowly having a nervous breakdown. These stories are contrasted with that of Roy Cohn (a fictional re-creation of the infamous American conservative ideologue who died of AIDS in 1986) and his attempts to remain in the closet while trying to find some sort of personal salvation in his beliefs.

*Note: description from Goodreads

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"Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability" by Robert McRuer

"Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability" by Robert McRuer
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"Crip Theory" attends to the contemporary cultures of disability and queerness that are coming out all over. Both disability studies and queer theory are centrally concerned with how bodies, pleasures, and identities are represented as 'normal' or as abject, but "Crip Theory" is the first book to analyze thoroughly the ways in which these interdisciplinary fields inform each other.

Drawing on feminist theory, African American and Latino/a cultural theories, composition studies, film and television studies, and theories of globalization and counter-globalization, Robert McRuer articulates the central concerns of crip theory and considers how such a critical perspective might impact cultural and historical inquiry in the humanities.

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"Zami: A New Spelling of My Name" by Audre Lorde

"Zami: A New Spelling of My Name" by Audre Lorde
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A little black girl opens her eyes in 1930s Harlem. Around her, a heady swirl of passers-by, car horns, kerosene lamps, the stock market falling, fried bananas, tales of her parents' native Grenada. She trudges to public school along snowy sidewalks, and finds she is tongue-tied, legally blind, left behind by her older sisters. On she stumbles through teenage hardships — suicide, abortion, hunger, a Christmas spent alone — until she emerges into happiness: an oasis of friendship in Washington Heights, an affair in a dirty factory in Connecticut, and, finally, a journey down to the heat of Mexico, discovering sex, tenderness, and suppers of hot tamales and cold milk. This is Audre Lorde's story. It is a rapturous, life-affirming tale of independence, love, work, strength, sexuality and change, rich with poetry and fierce emotional power.

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"MacArthur Park" by Andrew Durbin

"MacArthur Park" by Andrew Durbin
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After Hurricane Sandy, Nick Fowler, a writer, stranded alone in a Manhattan apartment without power, begins to contemplate disaster. Months later, at an artist residency in upstate New York, Nick finds his subject in disaster itself and the communities shaped by it, where crisis animates both hope and denial, unacknowledged pasts and potential futures. As he travels to Los Angeles and London on assignment, Nick discovers that outsiders — their lives and histories disturbed by sex, loss, and bad weather — are often better understood by what they have hidden from the world than what they have revealed.

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"The Last Time I Wore a Dress: A Memoir" by Daphne Scholinski

"The Last Time I Wore a Dress: A Memoir" by Daphne Scholinski
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At 15 years old, Daphne Scholinski was committed to a mental institution and awarded the dubious diagnosis of 'Gender Identity Disorder.' She spent three years — and over a million dollars of insurance — 'treating' the problem...with makeup lessons and instructions in how to walk like a girl. Daphne's story — which is, sadly, not that unusual — has already received attention from such shows as "20/20," "Dateline," "Today," and "Leeza." But her memoir, bound to become a classic, tells the story in a funny, ironic, unforgettable voice that, according to Time Out New York, "isn't all grim; Scholinski tells her story in beautifully evocative prose and mines her experiences for every last drop of ironic humor, determined to have the last laugh."

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"Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation" by Eli Clare

"Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation" by Eli Clare
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Eli Clare's revelatory writing about his experiences as a white disabled genderqueer activist/writer established him as one of the leading writers on the intersections of queerness and disability and permanently changed the landscape of disability politics and queer liberation. With a poet's devotion to truth and an activist's demand for justice, Clare deftly unspools the multiple histories from which our ever-evolving sense of self unfolds. His essays weave together memoir, history, and political thinking to explore meanings and experiences of home: home as place, community, bodies, identity, and activism. With heart and hammer, 'Exile and Pride' pries open a window onto a world where our whole selves, in all their complexity, can be realized, loved, and embraced.

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"The Gay Revolution" by Lillian Faderman

"The Gay Revolution" by Lillian Faderman
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"The Gay Revolution" begins in the 1950s, when gays and lesbians were criminals, psychiatrists saw them as mentally ill, churches saw them as sinners, and society victimized them with hatred. Against this dark backdrop, a few brave people began to fight back, paving the way for the revolutionary changes of the 1960s and beyond. Faderman discusses the sweeping story of the struggle for gay and lesbian rights — based on amazing interviews with politicians, military figures, and members of the entire LGBT community who face these challenges every day.

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"The Queer Art of Failure" by Judith (now Jack) Halberstam

"The Queer Art of Failure" by Judith (now Jack) Halberstam
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"The Queer Art of Failure" is about finding alternatives — to conventional understandings of success in a heteronormative, capitalist society; to academic disciplines that confirm what is already known according to approved methods of knowing; and to cultural criticism that claims to break new ground but cleaves to conventional archives. Tacking back and forth between high theory and low theory, high culture and low culture, Halberstam looks for the unexpected and subversive in popular culture, avant-garde performance, and queer art. She pays particular attention to animated children's films, revealing narratives filled with unexpected encounters between the childish, the transformative, and the queer. Failure sometimes offers more creative, cooperative, and surprising ways of being in the world, even as it forces us to face the dark side of life, love, and libido.

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"The Other Side of Paradise" by Staceyann Chin

"The Other Side of Paradise" by Staceyann Chin
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No one knew Staceyann's mother was pregnant until a dangerously small baby was born on the floor of her grandmother's house in Jamaica, on Christmas Day. Staceyann's mother did not want her, and her father was not present. No one, except her grandmother, thought Staceyann would survive. It was her grandmother who nurtured and protected and provided for Staceyann and her older brother in the early years. But when the three were separated, Staceyann was thrust, alone, into an unfamiliar and dysfunctional home in Paradise, Jamaica. Chin plumbs tender and unsettling memories as she writes about drifting from one home to the next, coming out as a lesbian, finding the man she believes to be her father, and ultimately, discovering her voice.

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"We are Never Meeting in Real Life" by Samantha Irby

"We are Never Meeting in Real Life" by Samantha Irby
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Samantha Irby turns the serio-comic essay into an art form. Whether talking about how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making "adult" budgets, explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette — she's "35-ish, but could easily pass for 60-something" — detailing a disastrous pilgrimage-slash-romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father's ashes, sharing awkward sexual encounters, or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms — hang in there for the Costco loot— she's as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past self as she is at capturing powerful emotional truths.

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"Gay Voices of the Harlem Renaissance" by A.B. Christa Schwarz

"Gay Voices of the Harlem Renaissance" by A.B. Christa Schwarz
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This groundbreaking study explores the Harlem Renaissance as a literary phenomenon fundamentally shaped by same-sex-interested men. Christa Schwarz focuses on Countée Cullen, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Richard Bruce Nugent and explores these writers' sexually dissident or gay literary voices. The portrayals of men-loving men in these writers' works vary significantly. Schwarz locates in the poetry of Cullen, Hughes, and McKay the employment of contemporary gay code words, deriving from the Greek discourse of homosexuality and from Walt Whitman. By contrast, Nugent ― the only "out" gay Harlem Renaissance artist ― portrayed men-loving men without reference to racial concepts or Whitmanesque codes. Schwarz argues for contemporary readings attuned to the complex relation between race, gender, and sexual orientation in Harlem Renaissance writing.

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"Intersex (for Lack of a Better Word)" by Thea Hillman

"Intersex (for Lack of a Better Word)" by Thea Hillman
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"Intersex (For Lack of a Better Word)" chronicles one person's search for self in a world obsessed with normal. What is "intersex"? According to the Intersex Society of North America, the word describes someone born with sex chromosomes, genitalia, or an internal reproductive system that are neither clearly male nor clearly female. In first-person prose as intimate as a diary, Thea Hillman redefines memoir in a series of compelling stories that take a no-holds-barred look at sex, gender, family, and community. Whether she's pondering quirky family tendencies, reflecting on queerness, or recounting scintillating adventures in San Francisco's sex clubs, Hillman's brave and fierce vision for cultural and societal change shines through.

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"Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel

"Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel
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Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the "Fun Home." It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

Note: this book is an illustrated graphic novel, and was the basis for the "Fun Home" Broadway musical.

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"A burst of Light" by Audre Lorde

"A burst of Light" by Audre Lorde
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Winner of the 1988 Before Columbus Foundation National Book Award, this path-breaking collection of essays is a clarion call to build communities that nurture our spirit. Lorde announces the need for a radical politics of intersectionality while struggling to maintain her own faith as she wages a battle against liver cancer. From reflections on her struggle with the disease to thoughts on lesbian sexuality and African-American identity in a straight white man's world, Lorde's voice remains enduringly relevant in today's political landscape.

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"Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout" by Laura Jane Grace

"Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout" by Laura Jane Grace
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It began in a bedroom in Naples, Florida, when a misbehaving punk teenager named Tom Gabel, armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a headful of anarchist politics, landed on a riff. Gabel formed Against Me! and rocketed the band from its scrappy beginnings to a major-label powerhouse that critics have called this generation's The Clash. Since its inception in 1997, Against Me! has been one of punk's most influential modern bands, but also one of its most divisive.

Underneath the public turmoil, something much greater occupied Gabel-a secret kept for 30 years, only acknowledged in the scrawled-out pages of personal journals and hidden in lyrics. Not until May of 2012 did a Rolling Stone profile finally reveal it: Gabel is a transsexual, and would from then on be living as a woman under the name Laura Jane Grace.

"Tranny" is the intimate story of Against Me!'s enigmatic founder, weaving the narrative of the band's history, as well as Grace's, with dozens of never-before-seen entries from the piles of journals Grace kept. More than a typical music memoir about sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll-although it certainly has plenty of that — "Tranny" is an inside look at one of the most remarkable stories in the history of rock.

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"Giovanni's Room" by James Baldwin

"Giovanni's Room" by James Baldwin
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Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin's now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.

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"Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More" by Janet Mock

"Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More" by Janet Mock
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In her profound and courageous New York Times bestseller, Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community — and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms.

With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman's quest for self at all costs, "Redefining Realness" is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another — and of ourselves — showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real.

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"Night Sky with Exit Wounds" by Ocean Vuong

"Night Sky with Exit Wounds" by Ocean Vuong
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In his haunting and fearless debut, Ocean Vuong walks a tightrope of historic and personal violences, creating an interrogation of the American body as a borderless space of both failure and triumph. At once vulnerable and redemptive, dreamlike and visceral, compassionate and unforgiving, these poems seek a myriad existence without forgetting the prerequisite of self-preservation in a world bent on extinguishing its othered voices. Vuong's poems show, through breath, cadence, and unrepentant enthrallment, that a gentle palm on a chest can calm the most necessary of hungers.

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"Drawing Blood" by Poppy Z. Brite

"Drawing Blood" by Poppy Z. Brite
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Escaping from his North Carolina home after his father murders their family and commits suicide, Trevor McGee returns to confront the past, and finds himself haunted by the same demons that drove his father to insanity.

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"Orlando" by Virginia Woolf

"Orlando" by Virginia Woolf
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In her most exuberant, most fanciful novel, Woolf has created a character liberated from the restraints of time and sex. Born in the Elizabethan Age to wealth and position, Orlando is a young nobleman at the beginning of the story-and a modern woman three centuries later.

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"Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite" by Lianne Simon

"Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite" by Lianne Simon
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"A Little Life" follows four college classmates — broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition — as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful depiction of love in the 21st century, Hanya Yanagihara's stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves.

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"A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara

"A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara
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"A Little Life" follows four college classmates — broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition — as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful depiction of love in the 21st century, Hanya Yanagihara's stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves.

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"Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded" by Hannah Hart

"Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded" by Hannah Hart
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The wildly popular YouTube personality, star of Food Network's "I Hart Food," and author of the New York Times bestseller "My Drunk Kitchen" is back. By combing through the journals that Hannah has kept for much of her life, this collection of narrative essays deliver a fuller picture of her life, her experiences, and the things she's figured out about family, faith, love, sexuality, self-worth, friendship and fame.

Revealing what makes Hannah tick, this sometimes cringe-worthy, poignant collection of stories is sure to deliver plenty of Hannah's wit and wisdom, and hopefully encourage you to try your hand at her patented brand of reckless optimism.

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"Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity" by C. Riley Snorton

"Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity" by C. Riley Snorton
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The story of Christine Jorgensen, America's first prominent transsexual, famously narrated trans embodiment in the postwar era. Her celebrity, however, has obscured other mid-century trans narratives — ones lived by African Americans such as Lucy Hicks Anderson and James McHarris. Their erasure from trans history masks the profound ways race has figured prominently in the construction and representation of transgender subjects. In "Black on Both Sides," C. Riley Snorton identifies multiple intersections between blackness and transness from the mid-nineteenth century to present-day anti-black and anti-trans legislation and violence.

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"Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us" by Kate Bornstein

"Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us" by Kate Bornstein
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"I know I'm not a man . . . and I've come to the conclusion that I'm probably not a woman, either. . . . The trouble is, we're living in a world that insists we be one or the other." With these words, Kate Bornstein ushers readers on a funny, fearless, and wonderfully scenic journey across the terrains of gender and identity. On one level, "Gender Outlaw" details Bornstein's transformation from heterosexual male to lesbian woman, from a one-time IBM salesperson to a playwright and performance artist. But this particular coming-of-age story is also a provocative investigation into our notions of male and female, from a self-described nonbinary transfeminine diesel femme dyke who never stops questioning our cultural assumptions.

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"The Ascent of Angels in America: The World Only Spins Forward" by Isaac Butler and Dan Kois

"The Ascent of Angels in America: The World Only Spins Forward" by Isaac Butler and Dan Kois
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When Tony Kushner's "Angels in America" hit Broadway in 1993, it won the Pulitzer Prize, swept the Tonys, launched a score of major careers, and changed the way gay lives were represented in popular culture. Now, on the 25th anniversary of that Broadway premiere, Isaac Butler and Dan Kois offer the definitive account of "Angels in America" in the most fitting way possible: through oral history, the vibrant conversation and debate of actors, directors, producers, crew, and Kushner himself. Their intimate storytelling reveals the on- and offstage turmoil of the play's birth — a hard-won miracle beset by artistic roadblocks, technical disasters, and disputes both legal and creative. Historians and critics help to situate the play in the arc of American culture, from the staunch activism of the AIDS crisis through civil rights triumphs to our current era.

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"Am I Blue: Coming Out from the Silence" by various authors, edited by Marion Dane Bauer

"Am I Blue: Coming Out from the Silence" by various authors, edited by Marion Dane Bauer
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Each of these stories is original, each is by a noted author for young adults, and each honestly portrays its subject and theme — growing up gay or lesbian, or with gay or lesbian parents or friends.

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