Important Books To Read During LGBT History Month
LGBT history is U.S. history!
LGBT History Month
In the U.S., October is LGBT History Month! The celebration first began in 1994 when history teacher Rodney Wilson brought it to fruition, choosing October so it would coincide with National Coming Out Day on October 11th.
We've found six books that are perfect for LGBT History Month! They are packed with incredible info on the history of LGBT in the U.S. and are great jumping off point for those interested in learning about history that is so rarely taught taught in school.
Check out these LGBT books and expand your knowledge of U.S. history!
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1. Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America by Lillian Faderman
Lillian Faderman is an expert in lesbian and LGBT history and has released many fantastic books over the years. Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers follows this tradition. In the book, she chronicles the lives of twentieth century lesbian in the United States. During much of the twentieth century, acceptance of gay women ebbed and flowed with over time, often coinciding with acceptance of the Women's Rights Movement while events like the Great Depression, McCarthyism, and the AIDS Crisis made acceptance plummet. Also included is information on lesbian and identity and subcultures, painting a vivid picture of lesbians' lives in the twentieth century.
2. Queer: A Graphic History by Dr. Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele
Written by Dr. Meg-John Barker and illustrated by Julia Scheele, Queer: A Graphic History is an exciting look everything that has shaped queer theory over the years. Drawing from academia, activism, pop culture, and more, Queer looks at everything from shaped gender roles to identity politics to privilege and exclusion to paint an image of how queerness is viewed and the "landmarks which shift perspective of what's normal."
3. Transgender History: The Roots of Today's Revolution by Susan Stryker
Susan Stryker's Transgender History: The Roots of Today's Revolution covers trans history from mid-1800s through today to illustrate both trans history and the "movements, writings, and events" that have lead to social change over the years such as the release of The Transsexual Phenonmenon, communities that formed post-WWII, and big events like Stonewall. Best of all are the sidebars throughout the book that include quotes from speeches and texts important to trans history, along with other excerpts that provide firsthand accounts of trans folks over the years.
4. And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts
One of the biggest events in LGBTQ history that even straight cis people are quick to name is the AIDS epidemic. First published in 1987, Randy Shilts' And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic is an eyeopening look into the way the epidemic was blatantly ignored and denied by the Reagan Administration and the media. The book includes a particularly compelling comparison between AIDS coverage and the Chicago Tylenol murders, which claimed seven lives and received excessive media coverage, along with the help of 1,100 FDA employees and 100 law enforcement agencies, while AIDS could scarcely get coverage or funding until straight people began dying of the disease.
5. The Stonewall Reader
This summer was the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots that began on June 28, 1969, a hugely significant even in the Gay Liberation Movement. The Stonewall Reader is a collection of archives from the New York Public Library, filled with "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." The book takes care to highlight big players like Sylvia Rivera and Ernestine Eckstein, a lesbian activist from the 1960s who often is too left out of the narrative.
6. A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski
A Queer History of the United States is the first book in the Revisioning History series which also includes An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, An African American and Latinx History of the United States, and A Disability History of the United States. This book "radically challenges" the U.S. history taught in schools by drawing upon "primary-source documents, literature, and cultural histories" to tell the story of LGBT history from the late 1400s through the 90s.
Let's Keep the Conversation Going
What books do you plan to read for LGBT History Month?