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LGBTQ+ Representation in Black Literature: 12 Books to Know

The goal of the Livre Cafe is to have a well-rounded education involving people of color. The biggest mistake we can make as progressives is to ignore important intersections that come along with who we are and the collective consciousness we build in our community. As an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, I do my best to educate myself, stay informed, and pay close attention to the stories of the people in our community who need our protection the most.

I say this after a very disappointing struggle to find literature by or about people of color in the LGBTQ+ Community. While there are plenty, there are not enough in the mainstream market. This is a common theme in LGBTQ+ literature, but the fact is simple: through conversation and curiosity, we can aid in the protection and global acceptance of the community.

Here are just a few books by or about the LGBTQ+ community that I found while searching.

1. Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin

This is one of my absolute favorite novels by James Baldwin. It was one of his most controversial as well. Not only was the theme of homosexuality discussed heavily in this novel during a time where it was considered extreme taboo, especially in the Black community, but it was also about a White gay men, which further confused his audience at the time. This book also discussed mortality and and introspection in ways few would expect from Baldwin. I definitely recommend reading this classic.

2. The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez

The Gilda Stories is a fantasy Fiction classic, published in the 1990s about a young woman escaping slavery and building community among a family of lesbian vampires. If that didn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will. This book has been described as both humorous and terrifying. I’m into it. I look forward to adding this to my collection.

3. Sister Outsider by Aurde Lorde

This iconic book contains a collection of 15 essays written between 1976 and 1984. We as readers are able to follow Lorde on her journey for self expression and identity as she implored others to examine social implications of her intersections of being black, queer and of a specific economic class.

4. The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin

In this memoir, performer, poet, and activist Staceyann Chin discusses what it means to grow up both multiracial and lesbian, and how frequent acts of bravery served as both shield and dysfunction. In this book, she candidly discusses themes of introspection, curiosity, anger and love.

5. Black Deutschland by Darryl Pinckney

This story depicts Jed, a newly sober young, gay, black man who moves to Berlin in hopes of new experiences and romantic prospects just to find out that distance will never be enough to eliminate the struggle of being who he was -- A young, black , gay, American man. This book takes you on a journey of incredible highs and intimate lows. I can’t wait to read this one!

6. Black Like Us: A century of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual African American Fiction by Devon W. Carbado

This is a collection of short stories meant to depict and celebrate 100 years of LGBTQ+ Fiction in literature. It features 40 writers including Lynn Harrice, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde, Angelina Welde Grimke, and Thomas Glave.

7. Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

This is a Young Adult fiction Novel that follows a young Suzette, who comes back home from boarding school with a newfound interest in her brothers girlfriend. This book is full of scandal and humor.

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

If you don’t already know who this woman is, it’s time to become familiar. She is an iconic transgender woman who exposes her perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.

9. Jam! on The Vine by Lashonda Katrice Barnett

This is a Historical Fiction Novel with theme’s of religion, homosexuality, prejudice, love and heartbreak. This book is probably the one I’m most eager to read personally. It talks about a young woman's struggle for equality as a lesbian daughter to a Muslim American family.

10. No Ashes in the Fire By Darnell L. Moore

In this memoir, Darnell L. Moore talks about coming up in the midst if the AIDS and crack epidemic as a gay black man of a lower socioeconomic standing. He chronicles his journey into activism by recalling iconic moments of his past.

11. Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Although not explicitly, this young teen fiction novel discusses themes of queerness and magical realism all at once. It follows a 12 year old Caroline who was born during a hurricane and given magical gifts. She becomes close friends with a girl who also possess supernatural gifts, and discovers the healing power of their friendship.

12. An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

This very unique science fiction Novel follows Aster, a young Queer, black and oppressed girl who lives on a spaceship in what seems to be a post-apocalyptic time period. On her journey to end the oppression and abuse she’s have to suffer just by being born, she finds love and loss along the way. This is one of my personal favorites and the cover art is absolutely stunning!

Have you read any of these books? Are there any here that I didn’t list that you wish were on this list? Let’s talk about it. Comment down below about your thoughts, or any other books you’d like to suggest to the public.

As always, Indulge Endlessly.

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