In honor of Pride Month, I thought I would take the time to discuss some of my favorite LGBT stories. I also will link to some LGBT resources offered by library organizations. This list is by no means comprehensive. If you don’t see a LGBT work that you’ve really enjoyed, please share in the comments!
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children (Kirstin Cronn-Mills)–This YA novel follows trans teen Gabe as he struggles to find acceptance for his decision to become male. Gabe starts hosting a radio called “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children” and finds both his voice and acceptance. This is a great story with relatable characters; the book is a lot less Pollayanish than I’m making it sound. I think it does a great job of showing Gabe’s search for acceptance without relying on dramatic tactics to explore those issues; Gabe’s music geekery will be sure to appeal to some readers.
The Rifter series (Ginn Hale)-I’ve talked about the Rifter series on this blog before (see this post), and I need to mention it again. This fantasy LGBT series has great world-building and a compelling story; the romance between the two main characters–John and Kyle– is sweet and well-portrayed.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Benjamin Alire Saenz)–Aristotle (Ari for short) is an angry young teen with a brother in jail; Dante is super inquisitive and cheerful. After Dante starts teaching Ari how to swim, the two develop a strong friendship that becomes something more. I really enjoyed these two characters–particularly Ari–and found the story engaging. The friendship unfolds very nicely, the language is beautiful, and the issues don’t completely overwhelm the story nor is the storytelling overly dramatic. This book’s a great read.
Wandering Son (Takako Shimura): This manga series follows a grade school boy who wants to be a girl and a grade school girl who wants to be a boy. I haven’t come across any other stories with younger trans characters, so I wanted to be sure and include it.
Nightrunner series (Lynn Flewelling): This fantasy series follows Seregil and Alan who spy for the kingdom. I haven’t read the whole series, but I enjoyed the setting and stories. Seregil and Alan are really fun characters, and, if you like stories set in an engaging world with a little romance thrown in, you’ll enjoy this.
I’ve always been impressed by the diversity of the scene both in terms of works and creators. There are a lot of comics out there that feature LGBT characters, but I decided to focus on the ones I read with LGBT main themes. I think this category is especially lacking, so if you’ve got favorites, share them!
Rain (Jocelyn Samara)—This comic focuses on a MtoF transexual who is trying to get through her senior year at a conservative Christian school. The story is equal parts engaging and entertaining as it explores themes of identity and acceptance; the cast features a diverse group of orientations and gender identities. Also, if you’re into anime/manga and/or video games, there are a lot of fun references!
As the Crow Flies (Melanie Gillman): This comic features Charlie, a queer African-American girl, who is on a hiking trip with a predominately white Christian group. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous (all of it is done in colored pencil!), and, while the story updates slowly, it is an engaging read as it explores the topics of faith and identity.
Resources from the Library World
American College and Research Libraries. Protections for LGBT Americans in the Workplace. This article offers resources includes historical timelines, reports on LGBT workers, and resources for LGBT workers.
American Library Association’s GLBT Roundtable. GLBT Book Month. This is a collection of award lists for LGBT books. The site includes the Stonewall Award and the Roundtable’s Rainbow Books (for teens and children) and Over the Rainbow(LGBT books for adults) lists.