In honor of LGBT Pride Month, here is a list of remarkable reads that provide an inside look at coming out in society. Whether you’re LGBT or simply an ally, these stories are inspiring.
‘Blue Apple Switchback’
Blue Apple Switchback: A Memoir by Carrie Highley
At 16, Carrie Highley knew she was gay. But living in the south as a gay woman was and still is something to be feared, and she chose to live life in a heterosexual marriage and have two children. As she seeks to build a passion in cycling in her thirties, Carrie finds herself having an affair with another woman. Soon she discovers the courage to come out and discusses the aftermath of that pivotal moment in her life with grace, grit and warmth.
‘A Work in Progress”
A Work in Progress: A Memoir by Connor Franta
YouTube star, philanthropist and entrepreneur Connor Franta shares his story of coming out as a millennial in a new digital age of LGBT acceptance. While his words resonate with his generation, his story remains a timeless tale on self-identity and acceptance.
‘Sweet Tooth: A Memoir’
Sweet Tooth: A Memoir by Tim Anderson
When you’re a sweets-loving young boy growing up gay in the ’80s in North Carolina, one might assume being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is God’s way of punishing him. This roaring, uplifting and delicious memoir will throw readers into audible “lol’s” and tear-soaked frenzies.
Uncovered: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home by Leah Lax
Leah Lax grew up in a secular Jewish household. But with unstable parents, her way of rebelling against her family was to be the exact opposite of unstructured and liberal household and join orthodox Jewish life as a covered woman. After getting married young living in a Hasidic community and giving birth to seven children, Leah also realizes that she is indeed a lesbian. Hailed by Gloria Steinem, New York Public Library and Redbook, this daring memoir discusses coming out in unimaginable circumstances — proving to readers it’s never too late to say “yes” to who you truly are.
‘Whatever… Love is Love’
Whatever… Love Is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves by Maria Bello
Actress and activist Maria Bello’s memoir is not a story of coming out you’ve heard before. It’s an in-depth look at relationships and falling in love that disregards labels and focuses on the root of it all: love. After making waves with an essay in which she tells her son she’s fallen in love with her best friend who’s a woman, her son tells her, “Whatever Mom, love is love.” This propels Maria to question the roles she plays in love, work, motherhood and life.
‘Not My Father’s Son’
Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming, the beloved star of stage, television and film, exposes his emotional and complicated life story that shaped his career. Growing up with a physically and emotionally abusive father, Alan has struggled with trauma his entire life. After television producers in the UK asked Alan to appear on a celebrity genealogy show, he hoped to solve a mystery about his maternal grandfather. But as the facts are uncovered, Alan learns more than he bargained for. Moving from past to present, Alan reveals how his painful past led him to an artistic and fearless adulthood.
‘Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen’
Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
As a trans woman, YouTube star and spokesperson for the trans community, Jazz Jennings’s memoir has garnered praise from Oprah Winfrey, Laverne Cox, Janet Mock and Jodi Picoult. Coming out as trans at age five, Jazz Jennings has had support from her family as she continues to be one of the youngest teen activists and trailblazers of our time. In her memoir, Jazz reflects on her very public appearances, including the time at age six when she was interviewed by Barbara Walters at a time when the country was less knowledgeable on trans issues. Through it all, Jazz remains a strong woman with an incredible family support system who seeks to inspire and change the world.
Switching Teams: What Coming Out Later in Life Taught Me about Love, Conquering Fear and Accepting Change by Dawn Elizabeth Waters
“My coming out was the first step in reclaiming my life as it was supposed to have been,” Dawn Elizabeth Waters writes in Switching Teams. At 39 years old, Dawn’s life as a wife and stay-at-home mom dramatically changed after coming out as a lesbian. Her life became even more interesting when she confesses her love for her best friend of 10 years who happens to feel the same way. Switching Teams tells the incredible true story of a woman who risks it all to live an authentic life.
“This Book Is Gay”
This Book Is Gay by James Dawson
Wouldn’t it be great if there were an instruction manual for coming out as a gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans person? This Book Is Gay is just that, and it has all the answers to your questions about sex, politics, stereotypes, coming out and more — as well as stories from real people across the sexual and gender spectrums. It’s entertaining and informative, but most importantly, it reminds you that you are exceptional and that you matter.
‘Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out’
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
In Beyond Magenta, author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral teens and weaves together a groundbreaking literary work that has been recognized as a Stonewall Honor Book. Every story offers a new perspective, and Susan introduces readers to these young adults in an intimate and relatable way.
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