LGBTQ Books to Build Empathy During Pride Month

As you celebrate Pride Month, it’s important to revisit why this month exists and to appreciate the struggles of the LGBTQ community. Books are a gift; they have a wonderful way of bringing stories to life and allow you to understand life from another perspective. Anyone can benefit from reading LGBTQ books. They can help build empathy and show you how everyone can create a more inclusive society. I want to highlight five inspirational books that honor the struggles of many on their journey to acceptance.

Celebrate Pride Month LGBTQ Books

Every year in June, the United States celebrates Pride Month. The LGBTQ community comes together for a month-long celebration of love, acceptance, diversity, and self-pride.

Wanda Sykes Takes Us Through the History of LGBTQ+ — Now You Know – TheEllenShow

In June 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village. It resulted in riots spilling out onto the streets. Leaders in the LGBTQ community continued to riot for another six days. Protestors demanded places they could go to without fear of arrest for their sexual orientation. These riots were thought to be a tipping point for the LGBTQ liberation movement in the United States and paved the way for the modern fight against inequality in LGBTQ rights.

Nowadays, Pride Month attracts millions of participants from all over the world every year. Parades, marches, protests, and parties take place across the nation. It’s a time to remember people who have lost their lives in the fight for acceptance and look toward the future with hope. 

Five Books to Build Empathy and Feed Your Mind During Pride Month

This Pride Month, feed your mind with stories from the past, and build empathy by gaining a deep understanding of how different people live and love. Here are five books you need to read during Pride Month. 

1. We Are Everywhere by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown

The ideal coffee book table, We Are Everywhere, is a photographic masterpiece. The collection of photographs from more than seventy photographers takes you on a journey through queer history. The details of LGBTQ history date back as far as the 19th century, including the Stonewall riots and modern-day activism. If you’re looking for a narrative on queer history and liberation, this book is beautiful and inspiring. It really shows the ongoing fight for equality from people who have experienced it. 

2. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is a brilliant yet heartbreaking portrait of a family. Ocean is an American-Vietnamese poet who tells his extraordinary story about the lasting effects of the Vietnam War. The novel is written in the form of a letter from a son to a mother. He begins to unravel revelations and asks crucial questions about acceptance in contemporary American society. If you want to feel fully immersed in a narrative, this is the book for you. 

3. Fairest by Meredith Talusan

Fairest is a powerful memoir about a precocious boy with albinism. From a rural Philippine village, the boy goes on to become a woman in America. This coming-of-age book delves deep into issues of race, gender, and disability. After reading this, you will feel like you have been taken on a journey. It will challenge your perception of love, gender, identity, and fairness in life. 

4. Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

Boy Erased is now an award-winning film. This memoir by Garrard Conley tells the story of his childhood where he had to enroll in religious conversion therapy against his will. As the son of a Baptist pastor, Garrard was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality growing up. After being outed at nineteen, he was forced into a conversion program to cure homosexuality. The New York Times bestseller tells of the heartbreaking yet inspirational story that covers the complexities of faith, religion, love, and acceptance. 

5. The Stonewall Reader

The Stonewall Reader is a collection of firsthand accounts, diaries, articles, and magazines that documented the years before and after the Stonewall riots. You gain a richer and more dangerous view of what led to the uprising. It wonderfully reflects the small moments throughout the events in a way that feels frightfully accurate. Interestingly, the anthology spotlights key activists in the movement like Sylvia Rivera, co-founder of Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (STAR). It also talks about lesser-known yet still pivotal activists like Ernestine Eckstein, one of the few African American lesbian activists in the 60s.

If you want to learn about those who have paved the way for this moment in the LGBTQ community, this is an essential read for anyone. It’s an excellent compilation of history that has set the tone for years to come.

LGBTQ: Mental Health

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, many psychiatrists thought that homosexuality or bisexuality was a mental illness. People would be forced to seek treatment against their will. Although significant strides have been today, many people within the LGBTQ community still experience discrimination and prejudices.

The Danger of Hiding Who You Are | Morgana Bailey – TED

Statistics show that LGBTQ youth are four times as likely to engage in self-harm and experience suicidal thoughts than straight youths. LGBTQ+ individuals are also more likely to suffer from eating disorders and are three times as likely to experience mental health conditions like major depression. 

It’s more important than ever to support our loved ones who are LGBTQ and do everything we can to create an accepting and loving world.

Happy Pride Month 2021

Pride Month is a great time to recognize the contributions and honor those in the LGBTQ community. You can also take the opportunity to learn a little bit more about the history and celebrate diversity. Consider how you can help contribute to a more inclusive world and be an ally to the LGBTQ community.