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8 books about Pride Month and the history of the gay rights movement 

A collage of the books mentioned in this article.

In honor of Pride month, Candid’s Online Librarians have put together a list of books by, about, and for the LGBTQ community. As a co-leader of the Queer Diversity Resource Group at Candid, I hope you’ll take the time to peruse the list and learn more about the history of Pride Month and the struggle for LGBTQ rights. 

We celebrate Pride in June to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising, which began on June 28, 1969, in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. The first Pride events were marches and parades held on the anniversary of that day. Our celebrations are rooted in the memory of resistance and struggle: We have fought to be who we are, both as a society and as individuals. 

Learning about the history of Stonewall 

If you’re interested in learning more about Pride, here’s a good place to start. Below is a selection of books about the importance of Stonewall to the gay rights movement. 

Creating inclusion and community 

While Pride originated as a way to remember that LBGTQ folks fought for the right to exist out loud and in public, it’s since become a way to gather as a community and celebrate one another. It’s an occasion to remind friends and family that we exist and are part of their lives—which is one reason I wanted to write this article. I’m proud of the work I do at Candid and that I’m able to show up every day as my whole self. The titles below offer insights into how creating safe, inclusive, and respectful environments benefits all. 

  • Transgender Inclusion: All the Things You Want to Ask Your Transgender Coworker but Shouldn’t by A.C. Fowlkes. The clinical psychologist discusses transgender workers’ experiences of exclusion, harassment, and maltreatment, as well as FAQs about transition, the “dos and don’ts” of workplace etiquette, and transgender-affirming policies and procedures. 
  • Queer Data: Using Gender, Sex and Sexuality Data for Action by Kevin Guyan. Guyan explains why it’s important to understand, collect, and analyze data relating to gender, sex, sexual orientation, and trans identity and history; the benefits and challenges of doing so; and how we can better use queer data in advancing equity. 
  • Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States by Samantha Allen. The transgender journalist takes the reader on a road trip to visit places “more and more LGBT people are calling home.” The book is “a celebration of queer life and activism under the challenging circumstances that come with more conservative surroundings,” she writes. 

Fighting for equality in the courts 

Being part of the LGBTQ community—part of the rainbow, as some would say—unfortunately still exposes us to discrimination, criminalization, and uncomfortable debates surrounding our very existence. These titles highlight the history of those debates as they play out in U.S. courts, a reminder that being ourselves often means fighting for basic equality.  

  • The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America by Eric Cervini. The book tells the story of Frank Kameny and the organization he founded to protest the systematic persecution of gay federal employees. It also examines the gay rights movement’s ties to the Black Freedom Movement, the New Left, lesbian activism, and trans resistance. 
  • Queer (In)justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States by Joey L. Mogul, Andrea J. Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock. The authors examine “queer criminal archetypes,” the overrepresentation of transgender and gender-nonconforming people in the criminal justice system, and how the policing of sex and gender reinforces racial and gender inequalities. 

If you’re inspired to learn something new about the kaleidoscope of human experience this Pride Month, you can borrow these books through Candid’s library on OverDrive or on the Libby app. For help getting started, please read “How can I access Candid’s eBook collection?”  

Do you have a book to suggest for the collection? Let us know in the comments below.   


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