LGBTQ+ Ally Must Read Books

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Our family believes that love is love. We believe in everyone’s right to live their authentic life and be really and truly happy. It’s important as a Mom that I’m teaching my kids those same values so that they can be who they are and also treat others with the utmost respect and kindness. While it’s important to live this way 365 days a year, in honor of Pride Month, I wanted to share the LGBTQ+ ally books on our shelves and list.

These books were written for people who are ready to learn and be an ally for the LGBTQ+ community.

LGBTQ+ Ally Books

This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson

This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson

The bestselling young adult non-fiction book on sexuality and gender! One of the first LGBTQ+ ally books I purchased.

Lesbian. Gay. Bisexual. Transgender. Queer. Straight. Curious. This book is for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference. This book is for anyone who’s ever dared to wonder. This book is for YOU.

There’s a long-running joke that, after “coming out,” a lesbian, gay guy, bisexual, or trans person should receive a membership card and instruction manual. THIS IS THAT INSTRUCTION MANUAL. You’re welcome.

Inside you’ll find the answers to all the questions you ever wanted to ask, with topics like:

  • Stereotypes ― the facts and fiction
  • Coming out as LGBT
  • Where to meet people like you
The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate

The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate by Jeannie Gainsburg

The Savvy Ally: A Guide for Becoming a Skilled LGBTQ+ Advocate is an enjoyable, humorous, encouraging, easy to understand guidebook for being an ally to the LGBTQ+ communities. It is chock full of practical and useful tools for LGBTQ+ advocacy, including:

  • Current and relevant information on identities and LGBTQ+ language
  • Tips for what to say and what not to say when someone comes out to you
  • LGBTQ+ etiquette and techniques for respectful conversations
  • Common bloopers to avoid
  • Tools for effectively navigating difficult conversations
  • Suggestions for addressing common questions and concerns
  • Actions for creating more LGBTQ+ inclusive spaces
  • Recommendations for self-care and sustainable allyship
Raising LGBTQ Allies: A Parent's Guide to Changing the Messages from the Playground

Raising LGBTQ Allies: A Parent’s Guide to Changing the Messages from the Playground by Chris Tompkins

No matter who we are or where we come from, we all play on the same playground. There are certain collective societal messages we hear growing up that we either consciously or subconsciously believe. As a result, we develop certain belief systems from which we operate our lives. 

Raising LGBTQ Allies sheds light on the deeper, multi-faceted layers of homophobia. It opens up a conversation with parents around the possibility they may have an LGBTQ child and shows how heteronormativity can be harmful if not addressed clearly and early. Although not every parent will have an LGBTQ child, their child will jump rope or play tag with a child who is LGBTQ.

One of our top choices for LGBTQ+ ally books.

Allies at Work: Creating a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Inclusive Work Environment

Allies at Work: Creating a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Inclusive Work Environment by David M. Hall

Dr. David M. Hall began his lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy work while he was just a teenager. 

It was after learning in his high school human sexuality class about the historical treatment of the LGBT community that he was struck with the urgency to become a straight ally, even if he did not know anyone at the time who would benefit from his work. 

He would soon immerse himself into fighting for LGBT rights, a devotion that prompted him to write, Allies at Work: Creating a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Inclusive Work Environment to encourage others to become straight allies. 

Through extensive research, the book offers a guide to creating cultural change in the workplace, developing work environments that fully include everyone regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. 

The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle

The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle by Lillian Faderman

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.

The fight for gay and lesbian civil rights—the years of outrageous injustice, the early battles, the heart-breaking defeats, and the victories beyond the dreams of the gay rights pioneers—is the most important civil rights issue of the present day. In “the most comprehensive history to date of America’s gay-rights movement” (The Economist), Lillian Faderman tells this unfinished story through the dramatic accounts of passionate struggles with sweep, depth, and feeling. 

Queer Intentions: A (Personal) Journey Through LGBTQ + Culture

Queer Intentions: A (Personal) Journey Through LGBTQ + Culture by Amelia Abraham

Today, the options and freedoms on offer to LGBTQ+ people living in the West are greater than ever before. But is same-sex marriage, improved media visibility, and corporate endorsement all it’s cracked up to be? At what cost does this acceptance come? And who is getting left behind, particularly in parts of the world where LGBTQ+ rights aren’t so advanced? Combining intrepid journalism with her own personal experience, in Queer Intentions, Amelia Abraham searches for the answers to these urgent challenges, as well as the broader question of what it means to be queer right now. Join her as she cries at the first same-sex marriage in Britain, loses herself in the world’s biggest drag convention in L.A., marches at Pride parades across Europe, visits both a transgender model agency and the Anti-Violence Project in New York to understand the extremes of trans life today, parties in the clubs of Turkey’s underground LGBTQ+ scene, and meets a genderless family in progressive Stockholm.

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin

A groundbreaking work of LGBT literature takes an honest look at the life, love, and struggles of transgender teens.

Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.

Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders

Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Finney Boylan returns with a remarkable memoir about gender and parenting that discusses how families are shaped and the difficulties and wonders of being human.

A father for six years, a mother for ten, and for a time in between, neither, or both, Jennifer Finney Boylan has seen parenthood from both sides of the gender divide. When her two children were young, Boylan came out as transgender, and as Jenny transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother, her family faced unique challenges and questions. In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jenny asks what it means to be a father or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents. 

Queer: A Graphic History

Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker and Jules Scheele

Activist-academic Meg John Barker and cartoonist Julia Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel. A kaleidoscope of characters from the diverse worlds of pop-culture, film, activism and academia guide us on a journey through the ideas, people and events that have shaped ‘queer theory’.

From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender, and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology, and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged.

Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive

Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive by Julia Serano

A transformational approach to overcoming the divisions between feminist communities

While many feminist and queer movements are designed to challenge sexism, they often simultaneously police gender and sexuality — sometimes just as fiercely as the straight, male-centric mainstream does. Some feminists vocally condemn other feminists because of how they dress, for their sexual partners or practices, or because they are seen as different and therefore less valued. Among LGBTQ activists, there is a long history of lesbians and gay men dismissing bisexuals, transgender people, and other gender and sexual minorities. In each case, the exclusion is based on the premise that certain ways of being gendered or sexual are more legitimate, natural, or righteous than others.

Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son

Gay Like Me by Richie Jackson

Chosen by Town & Country as one of the most anticipated books of the year | Named “An LGBTQ Book That’ll Change the Literary Landscape in 2020” by O: The Oprah Magazine

In this poignant and urgent love letter to his son, award-winning Broadway, TV, and film producer Richie Jackson reflects on his experiences as a gay man in America and the progress and setbacks of the LGBTQ community over the last 50 years.

Bi America: Myths, Truths, and Struggles of an Invisible Community (Bisexuality)

Bi America by William E. Burleson

There are at least five million bisexual people in America, generally invisible to straight society, the gay community, and even to each other. While the vast majority of these five million live within the straight or gay world, there are a few who have formed a community of their own. Bi America: Myths, Truths, and Struggles of an Invisible Community offers an inside look at the American bisexual community and gives an understanding of the special circumstances unique to being bisexual. The book takes the reader to bi-community events from picnics, to conferences, to support groups, to performances in order to expose the everyday trials of the bisexual community.

The Velvet Rage- Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World

The Velvet Rage- Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man’s World by Alan Downs, PhD

A groundbreaking examination of the psychology of homosexuality, why it leads to shame over one’s identity, and how to overcome it

In The Velvet Rage, psychologist Alan Downs draws on his own struggle with shame and anger, contemporary research, and stories from his patients to passionately describe the stages of a gay man’s journey out of shame and offers practical and inspired strategies to stop the cycle of avoidance and self-defeating behavior. The Velvet Rage is an empowering book that has already changed the public discourse on gay culture and helped shape the identity of an entire generation of gay men.

A Queer History of the United States for Young People

A Queer History of the United States for Young People by Michael Bronski

Queer history didn’t start with Stonewall. This book explores how LGBTQ people have always been a part of our national identity, contributing to the country and culture for over 400 years.

It is crucial for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth to know their history. But this history is not easy to find since it’s rarely taught in schools or commemorated in other ways. A Queer History of the United States for Young People corrects this and demonstrates that LGBTQ people have long been vital to shaping our understanding of what America is today.

Nina Here Nor There- My Journey Beyond Gender

Nina Here Nor There- My Journey Beyond Gender by Nick Krieger

The next-generation Stone Butch Blues–a contemporary memoir of gender awakening and a classic tale of first love and self-discovery.

Ambitious, sporty, feminine “capital-L lesbians” had been Nina Krieger’s type, for friends that are.  She hadn’t dated in seven years, a period of non-stop traveling—searching for what, or avoiding what, she didn’t know. When she lands in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood, her roommates introduce her to a whole new world, full of people who identify as queer, who modify their bodies and blur the line between woman and man, who defy everything Nina thought she knew about gender and identity. Despite herself, Nina is drawn to the people she once considered freaks, and before long, she is forging a path that is neither man nor woman, here nor there. This candid and humorous memoir of gender awakening brings readers into the world of the next generation of transgender warriors and tells a classic tale of first love and self-discovery. 

Crisis- 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America

Crisis- 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social, and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America by Mitchell Gold

A mental health crisis faces American teens right now-and it is one we can solve. Hundreds of thousands of gay teens face traumatic depression, fear, rejection, persecution, and isolation-usually alone. Studies show they are 190 percent more likely to used drugs or alcohol and four times more likely to attempt suicide. Homophobia and discrimination are at the heart of their pain. Love, support, and acceptance-all within our power to give-can save them. This book is for: clergy, parents, educators, and politicians who cause harm with their words and actions; parents of gay teens; teens navigating this difficult time; and fair-minded people who want to help end the harm. Here are revealing stories by forty diverse Americans, some well known and some not, plus insights from straight clergy and parents explaining their support of gay people as whole human beings guaranteed equal rights by our Constitution.

Have you read any of these books yet? Are there any that we haven’t listed that you would recommend? Tell us below!

If you’re looking for gifts in honor of Pride Month, check out our top picks!

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It's Pride Month and we are sharing the LGBTQ+ Ally must-read books!
It's Pride Month and we are sharing the LGBTQ+ Ally must-read books!

Share with a friend!

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Hello There!

I'm so honored that you've found us! I'm Heather, a Mom of 3 who blogs about parenting, food, occasional travel and how I overcame my daily struggle with anxiety. I miss sleeping and rely on coffee and laughter to get me through the day. I hope you enjoy and visit often!

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  1. What a great selection of books I’m so proud to see so many resources for allys of the LGBTQ community. Truly love is love and slowly but surely we are making progress. Happy Pride!

  2. OMG! This is such an amazing post and thanks to you I have just updated my “wish to read” list! Being an ally is incredibly important to me, thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. All of these books are so important for informing us about LGBT rights. Love is love and it’s a good thing for us to accept.

  4. Wow! I’m an ally & never knew about all these great books supporting this cause. I am definitely going to checkout a few

  5. This sounds like an amazing list of books. It is nice to have some recommendations for books to check out.

  6. I don’t think I have read any LGBTQ inspired books, so thank you for sharing these titles, I need to add them to my reading list

  7. This is a great comprehensive list of LGBTQ books. June is such a great month to learn about inclusivity.

    1. Post
      Author

      I’m currently reading This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson. I will definitely share thoughts (but likely on IG stories).

  8. I think these books are not just for LGBTQ people but for all individuals who are curious or interested to read about this genre.

  9. Thanks for the book list. My book club wanted to read a book and these look like great discussion books.

  10. Those look like interesting books. These seem great to educate people especially with books, it’s important to educate yourself as an ally. Thanks for sharing!

  11. These books sound wonderful. I would love to read any of them. I’ll definitely be checking some of them out.

  12. I have good friends who are gay and transgenders, and also some friends who have children who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. I consider them “unique” not “different.” These books are a must read. Acceptance and respect is what they need and these books will help us understand them more.

  13. I think this is a wonderful list! In order to be able to stand up for our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters, we have to understand their lives.

  14. This is a great list, thanks for sharing it. Education definitely plays a big role in being an ally.

  15. Thank you for this I am going to have to look into each one a bit more and see what’s available as an audiobook and get myself a couple.

  16. These are all excellent picks! I think educating yourself is the first step to being an ally. You can’t stand up for people when you don’t understand them.

  17. This is such an important post! I absolutely love that those are books for allies. This post makes my heart happy. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Thank you for this list! I will read some of these for sure. As you know, we are a huge LGBTQ+ ally. I know my daughter might want to read this as well.