Skip to main content
LGBTQA+ History Month

Media Recommendations

LGBTQA+ History Month gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of the lived experiences of people from the LGBTQA+ community, educate ourselves and become better allies.

Below is a collection of books, podcasts and other media that explore the lived experience of LGBTQA+ people through time and space. Books with * indicate that they are available through the Queen Mary Library Services.

Please note that some of the following resources may have content and refer to sensitive issues that some individuals may find upsetting or distressing. If you feel uncomfortable with anything you encounter then please stop your activity, it is important that you look after your own wellbeing.

If you have any other book recommendations that you would like to share or would like to be included in this list please get in touch with the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team ( with the title, media type and why you are making the recommendation. 

Books: Non-Fiction

Non-Binary Lives: An Anthology of Intersecting Identities by edited by Jos Twist, Ben Vincent, Meg-John Barker and Kat Gupta  

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community . Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is a revolutionary resource-a comprehensive, reader-friendly guide for transgender people, with each chapter written by transgender or genderqueer authors.  

There is no one way to be transgender. Transgender and gender non-conforming people have many different ways of understanding their gender identities. Only recently have sex and gender been thought of as separate concepts, and we have learned that sex (traditionally thought of as physical or biological) is as variable as gender (traditionally thought of as social). 

The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion edited by Ruth Hunt    *

The Book of Queer Prophets contains modern-day epistles from some of our most important thinkers, writers and activists: Jeanette Winterson tackles religious dogma, Amrou Al-Kadhi writes about trying to make it as a Muslim drag queen in London, John Bell writes about his decision to come out later in life, Tamsin Omond remembers getting married in the middle of a protest and Kate Bottley explains her journey to becoming an LGBT ally. 

Essays from: Jeanette Winterson, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Amrou Al-Kadhi, Pádraig Ó Tuama, Garrard Conley, Juno Dawson, Rev. Winnie Varghese, Keith Jarrett, Jay Hulme, Lucy Knight, Tamsin Omond, Erin Clark, Michael Segalov, Jarel Robinson-Brown, John L. Bell, Mpho Tutu van Furth, Karl Rutlidge, Garry Rutter, Rev Rachel Mann, Jack Guiness, Dustin Lance Black, Ric Stott. Afterword: Kate Bottley.  

Holding the Man by Timothy Conigrave   

In the mid-seventies at an all-boys Catholic school in Melbourne, Timothy Conigrave fell wildly and sweetly in love with the captain of the football team. So began a relationship that was to last for fifteen years, a love affair that weathered disapproval, separation and, ultimately, death. With honesty and insight, Conigrave's bestselling memoir explores the highs and lows of any partnership: the intimacy, constraints and temptations. And the strength of heart both men had to find when they tested positive to HIV.

Gender Outlaw, on Men, Women and the Rest of us by Kate Bornstein  *

Gender Outlaw is the work of a woman who has been through some changes--a former heterosexual male, a one-time Scientologist and IBM salesperson, now a lesbian woman writer and actress who makes regular rounds on the TV (so to speak) talk shows. In her book, Bornstein covers the ""mechanics"" of her surgery, everything you've always wanted to know about gender (but were too confused to ask) addresses the place and politics of the transgendered and intterogates the questions of those who give the subject little thought, creating questions of her own.

She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan  

The bestselling, seminal work of trans literature: a story of love, sex, selfhood, and     understanding from Jennifer Finney Boylan. She's Not There was one of the first works to present trans experience from the perspective of a literary novelist, opening a door to new understanding of love, sex, gender, and identity. Boylan inspired readers to ask the same questions she asked herself: What is it that makes us---ourselves? What does it mean to be a man, or a woman? How much could my husband, or wife, change--and still be recognizable as the one I love?  

Trans Britain: Our Journey from the Shadows by Christine Burns   *

Trans Britain chronicles this journey in the words of those who were there to witness a marginalised community grow into the visible phenomenon we recognise today: activists, film-makers, broadcasters, parents, an actress, a rock musician and a priest, among many others.

Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family by Garrard Conley  

A Memoir is a 2016 memoir by Garrard Conley recounting his childhood in a fundamentalist Arkansas family that enrolled him in conversion therapy. 

The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs    *

Drawing on contemporary psychological research, the author's own journey to be free of anger and of shame, as well as the stories of many of his friends and clients, The Velvet Rage outlines the three distinct stages to emotional well-being for gay men. Offering profoundly beneficial strategies to stop the insidious cycle of avoidance and self-defeating behavior, The Velvet Rage is an empowering book that will influence the public discourse on gay culture, and positively change the lives of gay men who read it. 

Believe Me by Eddie Izzard    *

Writing with the same candour and razor-sharp insight evident in her comedy ,Eddie Izzard reflects on a childhood marked by unutterable loss, sexuality and coming out, as well as a life in show business, politics, and philanthropy. Honest and generous, 'Believe Me' is an inspired account of a very singular life thus far.  

The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy   

All her life, Ariel Levy was told that she was too fervent, too forceful, too much. As a young woman, she decided that becoming a writer would perfectly channel her strength and desire. She would be a professional explorer--""the kind of woman who is free to do whatever she chooses."" Levy moved to Manhattan to pursue her dream, and spent years of adventure, travelling all over the world writing stories about unconventional heroines, following their fearless examples in her own life.  

Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man by Thomas Page McBee   

In this “refreshing and radical” narrative, Thomas McBee, a trans man, sets out to uncover what makes a man—and what being a “good” man even means—through his experience training for and fighting in a charity boxing match at Madison Square Garden. 

Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man  by Thomas Page McBee   *

In Man Alive, McBee asks, “What does it really mean to be a man?” by focusing on two of the most impactful men in his life – the father who abused him as a child, and a mugger who threatened his life and then released him in an odd moment of mercy. Standing at the brink of the life-changing decision to transition from female to male, McBee seeks to understand these fallen icons of manhood as he cobbles together his own identity. 

Eleanor and Hick, the Love Affair that Shaped a First Lady by Susan Quinn  

A warm, intimate account of the love between Eleanor Roosevelt and reporter Lorena Hickok—a relationship that, over more than three decades, transformed both women's lives and empowered them to play significant roles in one of the most tumultuous periods in American history  

The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television by Maria San Filippo    *

Often disguised in public discourse by terms like ""gay,"" ""homoerotic,"" ""homosocial,"" or ""queer,"" bisexuality is strangely absent from queer studies and virtually untreated in film and media criticism. Maria San Filippo aims to explore the central role bisexuality plays in contemporary screen culture, establishing its importance in representation, marketing, and spectatorship.  

Bi: The Hidden Culture, History and Science of Bisexuality by Julia Shaw

In BI: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality, Shaw probes the science and culture of attraction beyond the binary. From the invention of heterosexuality to the history of the Kinsey scale, as well as asylum seekers trying to defend their bisexuality in a court of law, there is so much more to explore than most have ever realized. Drawing on her own original research—and her own experiences—this is a personal and scientific manifesto; it’s an exploration of the complexities of the human sexual experience and a declaration of love and respect for the nonconformists among us.

Sissy: A coming-of-gender story by Jacob Tobia   

A heart-wrenching, eye-opening, and giggle-inducing memoir about what it's like to grow up not sure if you're (a) a boy, (b) a girl, (c) something in between, or (d) all of the above.  

Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon    *

Poet, artist, and LGBTQIA+ rights advocate Alok Vaid-Menon deconstructs, demystifies, and reimagines the gender binary. 

LGBT People and the UK Cultural Sector: The Response of Libraries, Museums, Archives and Heritage since 1950 by John Vincent 

This book examines the complex and conflicting relationships between LGBT people and our cultural and heritage organisations including libraries, museums and archives. In this unique book established author John Vincent draws together current good practice and also highlights issues which urgently still need to be addressed.  

A Dutiful Boy by Mohsin Zaidi 

A coming-of-age memoir about growing up queer in a devout Muslim family.

Books: Fiction 

Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman   

Call Me by Your Name is a 2007 coming-of-age novel by American writer André Aciman that centers on a blossoming romantic relationship between an intellectually precocious, curious, and pretentious 17-year-old American-Italian Jewish boy named Elio Perlman and a visiting 24-year-old American Jewish scholar named Oliver in 1980s Italy. The novel chronicles their summer romance and the 20 years that follow. 

Disobedience by Naomi Alderman   *

A small, close-knit Orthodox Jewish community in London is the setting for a revealing look at religion and sexuality.  

Steeped in Jewish philosophy and teachings, Disobedience is a perceptive and thoughtful exploration of the laws and practices that have governed Judaism for centuries, and continue to hold sway today. Throughout the novel, Alderman retells stories from the Torah -- Judaism's fundamental source -- and the interplay between these tales and the struggles of the novel's unique characters wields enormous power and wisdom, and will surely move readers to tears. 

Love Bi The Way by Bhaavna Arora   

“Love Bi the Way” explores the topic in detail and does so with the help of a wonderfully woven story. 

Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin   *

When David meets the sensual Giovanni in a bohemian bar, he is swept into a passionate love affair. But his girlfriend's return to Paris destroys everything. Unable to admit to the truth, David pretends the liaison never happened, while Giovanni's life descends into tragedy. 

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown   

Rubyfruit Jungle is the first novel by Rita Mae Brown. Published in 1973, it was remarkable in its day for its explicit portrayal of lesbianism. 

Pages for You by Sylvia Brownrigg   

In a steam-filled diner in a college town, Flannery Jansen catches sight of something more beautiful than she's ever seen: a graduate student, reading. The seventeen-year-old, new to everything around her—college, the East Coast, bodies of literature, and the sexual flurries of student life—is shocked by her desire to follow this wherever it will take her. When Flannery finds herself enrolled in a class with the remote, brilliant older woman, she is intimidated at first, but gradually becomes Anne Arden's student—Baudelaire, lipstick colors, or how to travel with a lover—Flannery proves an eager pupil, until one day learns more about Anne than she ever wanted to know. 

Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth   

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a coming-of-age teen novel by Emily M. Danforth published in 2012. The novel's protagonist is Cameron Post, a 12-year-old Montana girl who is discovering her own homosexuality. After her parents die in a car crash, she lives with her conservative aunt and her grandmother.  

Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg   

Stone Butch Blues is a historical fiction novel written by Leslie Feinberg about life as a butch lesbian in 1970s America. While fictional, the work also takes inspiration from Feinberg's own life, and she described it as her "call to action."

Maurice by E.M Forster    *

Maurice Hall is a young man who grows up confident in his privileged status and well aware of his role in society. Modest and generally conformist, he nevertheless finds himself increasingly attracted to his own sex. Through Clive, whom he encounters at Cambridge, and through Alec, the gamekeeper on Clive's country estate, Maurice gradually experiences a profound emotional and sexual awakening. A tale of passion, bravery and defiance, this intensely personal novel was completed in 1914 but remained unpublished until after Forster's death in 1970. 

Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden   

A story of two teenage girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings. The book has been banned from many school libraries and publicly burned in Kansas City. 

The Swimming-Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst    *

Young, gay, William Beckwith spends his time, and his trust fund, idly cruising London for erotic encounters. When he saves the life of an elderly man in a public convenience an unlikely job opportunity presents itself - the man, Lord Nantwich, is seeking a biographer. Will agrees to take a look at Nantwich’s diaries. But in the story he unravels, a tragedy of twentieth-century gay repression, lurk bitter truths about Will’s own privileged existence. 

The Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories by David Leavitt and Mark Mitchell    *

This is an anthology of stories that, in the worlds of its co-editor David Leavitt, 'illuminate the experience of love between men, explore the nature of homosexual identiy or investigate the kinds of relationships gay men have with each other, with their friends and with their families'.  

It is not a collection of stories written exclusively by gay authors; indeed, readers with discover that many women writers and straight male writers have also explored the terriroty. What the stories do share is a refusal to 'ghettoize' gay men as denizens of a nocturnal subculture. The men in these stories live very mush in the world; their sexuality, though an important aspects of the lives, doesn't singluarly define them. The thirty-nine stories brought together here suggest how gay experience has - and hasn't - changed over the course of this century. These stories illuminate the common ground of gay male experience - and also its astonishing diversity.  

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan    *

Love is never easy. Especially if you're Paul. He's a sophomore at a high school like no other, and these are his friends: Infinite Darlene, the homecoming queen and star quarterback. Joni, Paul's best friend who may not be his best friend anymore. Tony, his other best friend, who can't leave the house unless his parents think he's going on a date...with a girl. Kyle, the ex-boyfriend who won't go away. Rip, the school bookie, who sets the odds... and Noah, the boy. The one who changes everything. 

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin    *

Tales of the City is a series of nine novels written by American author Armistead Maupin from 1978 to 2014, depicting the life of a group of friends in San Francisco, many of whom are LGBT. 

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston  

The novel centres around the character of Alex Claremont-Diaz, the First Son of the United States, and his romantic relationship with Prince Henry, a British prince. 

A Love Story for Bewildered Girls by Emma Morgan   

A Love Story for Bewildered Girls is a hilarious and heart-warming tale of female friendship and first love in all its guises – a novel to remind us that whatever we think our happy ending should be, life can have other, sometimes far better, plans. 

Carol by Claire Morgan (pseudonym) 

Patricia Highsmith's story of romantic obsession may be one of the most important, but still largely unrecognized, novels of the twentieth century. First published in 1952 and touted as ""the novel of a love that society forbids,"" the book soon became a cult classic. 

The Last Romeo by Justin Myers    

Adrift and single in loved-up London, James needs to break out of his lonely, drunken comfort zone. Encouraged by Bella, he throws himself headlong into online dating, blogging each encounter anonymously as the mysterious Romeo. After meeting a succession of hot/weird/gross men, James has fans and the validation he's always craved. But when his wild night with a closeted Olympian goes viral and sends his Twitter-fame through the roof, James realises maybe, in the search for happy-ever-after, some things are better left un-shared. Seriously, wherefore art thou Romeo . . .  

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North   

Told in a chorus of voices belonging to those who knew her best, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is an intimate portrait of an elusive woman whose monumental talent and relentless pursuit of truth reveal the cost of producing great art, both for the artist and for the people around her. 

The Gods of Tango by Carolina De Robertis    *

From one of the leading lights of contemporary Latin American literature—a lush, lyrical, deeply moving story of a young woman whose passion for the early sounds of tango becomes a force of profound and unexpected change. 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz   

Set in El Paso, Texas in 1987, the novel follows two Mexican-American teenagers, Aristotle ""Ari"" Mendoza and Dante Quintana, their friendship, and their struggles with racial and ethnic identity, sexuality, and family relationships. Since its publication, the novel has received widespread critical acclaim and numerous accolades.  

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon   

Set in an impeccably realised world of dragons, warring factions and underground rebellion, The Priory of the Orange Tree has all the hallmarks of a fantasy classic. 

The Color Purple by Alice Walker    *

A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience.  

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters     *

Set in England during the 1890s, it tells a coming of age story about a young woman named Nan who falls in love with a male impersonator, follows her to London, and finds various ways to support herself as she journeys through the city. 

Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson     *

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a novel by Jeanette Winterson published in 1985 by Pandora Press. It is a coming-of-age story about a lesbian girl who grows up in an English Pentecostal community. 

Orlando by Virginia Woolf     *

Inspired by the tumultuous family history of the aristocratic poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West, Woolf's lover and close friend, it is arguably one of her most popular novels; Orlando is a history of English literature in satiric form. The book describes the adventures of a poet who changes sex from man to woman and lives for centuries, meeting the key figures of English literary history. Considered a feminist classic, the book has been written about extensively by scholars of women's writing and gender and transgender studies.  


Queen Mary Alumni in Podcasts - Hear from alumnus Mitchell Harris, in this episode from the wonderful podcast Extraordinary Unplugged: ‘Having the courage to be me’ 

Episode Description: After living a double life for 10 years, Mitch finally found the courage to tackle the most difficult conversation he’d ever faced. How many of us are living a double life? Hiding our true selves from our friends, family and colleagues? And how can you find the courage to be yourself? Key topics include difficult conversations, relationships, and thought spirals. 

A Gay and a Non-Gay - is the UK’s #1 award winning LGBTQ+ podcast.  Hosted by comedians James Barr and Dan Hudson. The podcast reluctantly began when James friend Talia moved abroad, leaving he and her boyfriend to fend for themselves. This is the hilarious tale of two unlikely heroes forming new friendship, challenging our preconceptions of each other and crossing divides.   

Bad Gays - A podcast about evil and complicated queers in history. Why do we remember our heroes better than our villains? Hosted by Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller.  

Becoming myself: Gender Identity - Series that goes inside the Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic in London to explore gender dysphoria. Narrated by Adjoa Andoh.    

Bi People - A spin off of the BBC's Bad People Podcast. In celebration of Pride Month Dr Julia Shaw and Sofie Hagen explore the history, science and culture of bisexuality. They discuss research on how we can measure sexuality, what REALLY happened during the Stonewall uprising, and the bi-acivists who fought to make pride happen.  

Homo sapiens  - Alan Cumming and Christopher Sweeney talk to inspirational people over tea and biscuits. Each week they'll bring you intelligent, informative and fun conversations that represent the interests of LGBTQ+ people around the world.   

How to be a girl  - is an audio podcast about life with a Mum and her young trans daughter, as they attempt together to sort out just what it means to be a girl.   

LGBTQ&A - is an LGBTQ+ interview podcast produced by Jeffrey Masters and the Advocate Magazine.   

Like-Minded Friends - With Tom Allen and Suzi Ruffell. A podcast where two comedians talk about life, love and culture... sometimes.    

Making Gay History - Bringing the voices of queer history to life through intimate conversations with LGBTQ+ champions, heroes, and witnesses to history.      

Nancy -  is a critically-acclaimed podcast featuring queer stories and conversations, and hosted by two best friends, neither of whom are named Nancy. It’s a podcast about how we define ourselves, and the journey it takes to get there.   

NB: my non-binary life - You might have heard the term non-binary. This is how it feels. Join Caitlin Benedict & Amrou Al-Kadhi as they ask the big questions about gender & identity.     

One From the Vaults – a trans history podcast by Morgan M Page.   

Out with Suzi Ruffell - 'Out with Suzi Ruffell' is a new podcast all about the inspiring lives of LGBTQ+ people.  

Sounds Fake But Okay - Sounds Fake But Okay is a weekly podcast where an aromantic asexual girl and a demisexual straight girl talk about love, relationships, sexuality, & pretty much anything else they just don't understand.  

The Coming-Out Tapes - The Coming Out Tapes is an audio archive of LGBTQ+ stories curated by comedian Cerys Bradley.   

The LGBT Sport Podcast - BBC’s LGBT sport podcast taking a look at LGBTQ+ issues in sport.      

The Logbooks - Stories from Britain’s LGBT+ history and conversations about being queer today. The team take a look through the Archives of Switchboard - the LGBT phone line set up in the 1960s.    


These resources have been gathered via suggestions from the Queen Mary community and variety of wider sources: the views shared within individual recommendations do not represent that of Queen Mary.

Back to top