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Motivated by pride month, we at The Writing Box decided to suggest LGBT+ graphic nonfiction books about LGBT+ culture and history. Between fiction, nonfiction, poetry, academic, business and dictionaries, we decided to engage you in illustrated nonfiction books focused on LGBT+ key events, turning points, characters and contributions to society from a historical or personal perspective..

top 5 best lgbt+ graphic nonfiction books

Queer: a Graphic History

By Meg-John Barker (Author), Jules Scheele (Illustrator)
Published by Icon Books Ltd
Average price £13
(paperback)

 

Meg-John Barker’s graphic book is a fun, brilliant way to emerge yourself into what it means to be queer and LGBT+ history. The nonfiction graphic novel was brilliantly illustrated by Jules Scheele, making it an easy read. The book challenges our perceptions of biology, psychology, sexology, gender and sexuality. In addition, the book is an enjoyable read on queer theory and essential concepts such as hate speech, heteronormativity, homophobia, androgyny, and more.

The Queen’s English: The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Expressions

By Chloe O. Davis
Published by Vintage Publishing
Average price £15 (hardback)

 

The Queen’s English is a glossary of queer theory terms, slangs and colloquial playful expressions that define and celebrate the community. It is an illustrated guide of the LGBT+ community’s contributions to the English language. The book is out on the 17th of June.

The Life & Times Of Butch Dykes: Portraits of Artists, Leaders, and Dreamers Who Changed the World

By Eloisa Aquino
Published by Microcosm Publishing
Average price £15 (hardback)

 

Beautifully illustrated by Eloisa Aquino, the book is a collection of the artist’s zines written in the 2000s. The book focus on portraits of women writers, athletes, leaders, and musicians who defied society’s feminine behaviour expectations worldwide. From poet and feminist Audre Lorde to some of the most popular Brazilian singers Maria Bethânia, Cassia Eller, Adriana Calcanhotto, Mart’nália and Marina Lima, tennis players Martina Navratilova to filmmakers Chantal Akerman and Esther Eng.

Queer Heroes

By Arabelle Sicardi (Author), Sarah Tanat-Jones (Illustrator)
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Average price £15 (hardback)

 

Queer Heroes is a fun reading presenting portraits from past and present of 53 LGBTQ+ leaders and artists around the globe. Virginia Woolf, Freddie Mercury, Pedro Almodovar, Harvey Milk, Ellen Degeneres are some of the personalities present in the book. It is an inspiring book that can make you feel proud by getting to know how far the LGBT+ movement has come and, at the same, how different the world felt for the community not so long ago.

Sensible Footwear: A Girl’s Guide: A graphic guide to lesbian and queer history 1950-2020

By Kate Charlesworth
Published by Myriad Editions
Average price £15
(paperback)

 

The acclaimed book written by Kate Charlesworth was awarded best graphic nonfiction by the Broken Frontier Awards 2019, longlisted for the Portico Prize in 2019 and shortlisted for the Comedy Women in Print Prize 2020. The book is a memoir of her life growing up as a lesbian in Yorkshire in the 50s, trying to find role models to support her search to discover her own sexuality. One of the most exciting aspects of this book is how brilliantly Kate brings a personal point of view to some of the most critical events from post-war Britain to the LGBT+ movement of today.

*More suggestions on our Bookshop.org LGBT+ Pride Month must-read books 2021 list.

 

A short timeline of LGBT+ rights important dates

The LGBT+ month occurs in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, which happened in 1969. Also known as the Stonewall Uprising, it happened in consequence of constant police raids in LGBT+ bars. The importance of the Stonewall Riots is that they became the turning point for the fight for LGBT+ rights and inspired a new era for resistance and revolution.

In England, the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised sex between men from age 21, but only in private. Furthermore, the act only specified sex between men, not women, as it was never entirely acknowledged by law as a crime.

However, this small step was taken by the Sexual Offences Act 1967 took a big hit when Tatcher’s Section 28 prohibited “the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities”. This Section, valid between 1988 and 2003, had a significant impact in schools, provoking an increase in bullying among LGTB+ youth*.

In response to Section 28, actor Sir Ian McKellen co-founded Stonewall UK in 1989 to fight for LGBT+ rights. Stonewall UK was granted a charity status only in 2003. Equal Rights for adoption was only granted in 2002 by the Adoption and Children Act 2002, which allowed gay and lesbian single people and same-sex couples to adopt. This was followed by the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to include same-sex couples.

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 gave trans people the right to get a new birth certificate, but still in a binary (male/female) perspective. Finally, the Equality Act gave people the right to equal treatment in access to employment and private and public services, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation, came into place*. On a small note from a worldwide perspective, the World Health Organisation only removed homosexuality from its mental health disorders list in 1993*.

Do you want more LGBT+ reading suggestions?

We created an extensive list of books between fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, dictionaries, poetry, business books. Whatever you are looking for, we got you covered on our Pride Month booklist at Bookshop.org. The list comprises books written by new and well-known writers, written by or about the LGBt+ community.