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12 of the best LGBTQ+ books in English

12 of the best LGBTQ+ books in English

If you’re searching for books that deal with queer topics, you’ll fortunately find quite a large selection of LGBTQ+ literature by now. And hopefully, this diverse selection will continue to grow even further. To make sure you will find exactly the right lesbian, gay, trans, or queer book in English, we are happy to help out. Couple of Men compiles the best books from and for the LGBTQ+ community in English. 

Note: This article contains Amazon Affiliate Links.

Twelve LGBTQ+ books you need to read

No matter if you prefer novels, love stories or non-fiction. The world of LGBTQ+ books has a lot to offer. From queer heroes who changed the world to photographic documentation of the fight of the queer liberation movement. And there is even a queer spin-off of the classic Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. No matter what you are going to choose in the end, all these characters and titles help support the visibility of the LGBTQ community.  

The first book of Couple of Men

Fitting to the topic, we, of course, want to mention our book “Couple of Men – Ein Männerpaar reist um die Welt“. At the beginning of May 2022, together with Gräfe & Unzer Verlag, we released the first travel book from the LGBTQ+ community – in German language (hopefully in English soon as well). Thus, we go one step further after our blog work. Ten countries, ten travel stories, information and historical background on the queer community and our shared journey as a traveling gay couple gives the reader very personal insights into our lives. With our first book, we want to motivate every traveler to travel the way we do: respectful, open-minded and with a happy heart.


Buch Couple of Men - Ein Männerpaar auf Reisen © Coupleofmen.com

Order our book Couple of Men now!

You can either pre-order our book Couple of Men – Ein Männerpaar reist um die Welt online or purchase it at your local bookstore in Germany or online, for example at Amazon.

Tip: It will be released on May 3rd 2022, just in time for Pride month in June!

On Amazon >


#1 The Stone Wall reader – New York Public Library

Book Website

In the U.S., but also beyond its borders, the term Stonewall and the riots associated with it are household names in the LGBTQ+ community. Fifty years after the riots, in 2019, this anthology was published, chronicling the tumultuous fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the 1960s and the activists who spearheaded it. Readers will find first accounts, diaries, periodic literature, and articles from LGBTQ+ magazines and newspapers that documented both the years leading up to and the years following the riots.

Link: Book on Amazon >

#2 We are everywhere – Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown

Penguin Random House – Website

Here, history is told in pictures. The well-known Instagram account LGBT History has compiled this project around the Queer Liberation Movement. “Featuring more than 300 images from more than seventy photographers and twenty archives, this inclusive and intersectional book enables us to truly see queer history unlike anything before, with glimpses of activism in the decades preceding and following Stonewall, family life, marches, protests, celebrations, mourning, and Pride”, says Penguin Random House.

Link: Book on Amazon >

#3 Love, Simon – Becky Albertalli

Becky Albertalli – Website

Why is being straight the default? Everyone should have to come out, regardless of what their sexual orientation. At least that’s what high school student Simon thinks. In this charming coming of age LGBTQ+ story, we follow him on his journey to finding himself, his first love, and his first heartbreak. But you should remember Becky Albertalli anyway, because of her queer stories.

Link: Book on Amazon >

#4 They both die at the end – Adam Silvera

Harper Collins Publishers – Website

This #1 New York Times bestseller follows Mateo and Rufus, who will both die on the same day, which is today. The two boys are complete strangers, but they meet via an app and fall in love with each other. Now they will have to live a lifetime together in a little less than 24 hours. Even though this is a YA book also adults will be able to take a learning or two from it.

Link: Book on Amazon >

#5 The book of pride – Mason Funk

Harper Collins Publishers – Website

By focusing on LGBTQ+ heroes who changed the world, this book honors an important chapter of American history, but it also empowers young activists around the world who are still joining the fight for equal rights for the queer community. In this book, readers will find interviews with leaders, activists and ordinary people who witnessed moments of the gay rights movement from the 1960s until today.

Link: Book on Amazon >

#6 Rabi and Matthew – L.A. Witt

Good Reads – Website

Like Romeo and Juliet, but queer. This story follows the highschool boys Rabi and Matthew who – after they meet at a party and fall in love with each other – suddenly find themselves in a battle of democrat versus republican, Muslim versus Christian and heterosexual versus homosexual. This love story picks up quickly, and we promise you won’t be able to put it down.

Link: Book on Amazon >

The beautiful drag of the one and only Lady Galore © Lady Galore
The beautiful drag of the one and only Lady Galore © Lady Galore/ Jelle Pieter de Boer

#7 Tales of the city – Armistead Maupin

Armistead Maupin – Website

Gianni ist schwul und hat sich mittlerweile zur wohl bekanntesten Stimme der Sinti und Roma in Deutschland entwickelt. Aber der Weg dorthin war alles andere als einfach. Immer wieder erlebte er rassistische Anfeindungen, aber auch familiäres Unverständnis aufgrund seiner Homosexualität. In diesem Buch erzählt er seine faszinierende Geschichte, entwirft aber gleichzeitig auch Ideen für eine antirassistische und diverse Gesellschaft.  

Link: Book on Amazon >

#8 How to survive a plague – David France

Penguin Random House – Website

The title, the story of how activists and scientists tamed AIDS, already explains it all. This is about the beginning of the epidemic that took hundreds of lives and from HIV going from a mostly fatal infection to a manageable disease. This book draws attention to the scientists and their research. Around the globe, around 15.8 million people taking anti-AIDS drugs today are alive thanks to their efforts.

Link: Book on Amazon >

Read more: Interview with HIV-positive activist Vincent >

#9 How we fight for our lives – Saeed Jones

Simon & Schuster Publisher – Website

Since this book was published in 2019, it has been showered with awards. Winner of the Kirkus Prize and the Stonewall Book Award. Listed as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time and The New Yorker. Don’t miss out on this stunning coming-of-age memoir about a young, black, gay man from the South at the crossroads of race, sex, and power.

Link: Book on Amazon >

#10 Under the Udala trees – Chinelo Okparantas

New York Times – Website

Ich bin kein Junge, ich bin ein Mädchen. Das würde George am liebsten ganz laut schreien. Macht er aber nicht, weil er Angst hat. Dieses Kinderbuch (das natürlich auch Erwachsene lesen können) begleitet die Hauptfigur auf dem Weg zu sich selbst und macht Mut, auf die eigene Identität stolz zu sein. Die Leseempfehlung ist hier übrigens ab sechs Jahren. 

Link: Book on Amazon >

#11 Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love 1850s-1950s – Hugh Nini and Neal Treadwell

Aufbau Verlage – Webseite

A fascinating contemporary document. The collection of countless photographs from the years 1850 to 1950 show couples in love, which should not have existed at the time. The authors of this fascinating work, collected the images at flea markets, auctions, shoe boxes in attics, family archives, in old suitcases and later on the Internet. With photographs from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Japan, Greece, Latvia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and Serbia, this collection shows that homosexuality and queer people have always existed, even in a time when it was not so easy to walk down the street hand in hand with a rainbow flag.

Link: Book on Amazon >

#12 Glitter maakt alles beter – Sander den Baas

Bruna Uitgevers – Website

Of course, a particularly colorful book from the Netherlands should not be missing, even if it was not published in English, but in Dutch. The first Dutch book about drag written and compiled by none other than the probably most famous drag queen from the Netherlands, Lady Galore, you simply must have read – and tried one of the cocktail recipes. The art form of drag and the freedom to find yourself and live out in your own creativity, this fact makes this book, which translates as “glitter makes everything better”, a must-have for the queer community.

Link: Book on Amazon >

Read more: Interview with Lady Galore on Couple of Men >


Buch Couple of Men - Ein Männerpaar auf Reisen © Coupleofmen.com

Order our book Couple of Men now!

You can either pre-order our book Couple of Men – Ein Männerpaar reist um die Welt online or purchase it at your local bookstore in Germany or online, for example at Amazon.

Tip: It will be released on May 3rd 2022, just in time for Pride month in June!

On Amazon >


And what are your favorite international books (in English) from the LGBTQ+ community?

Any other queer book tips? Of course, we couldn’t include all LGBTQ+ books worth reading in this list. If you have any tips, feel free to post them in the comments to share them with the community. We are planning to publish more book lists in the future, so any tip is welcome!

For more travel news from and background on the LGBTQ+ community, follow Couple of Men simply on InstagramTwitterYouTubePinterest, and Facebook!

Karl & Daan.

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