Queer books · Top Lists

10 Queer Non-Fiction Books to Add to Your TBR

Hello bookworms! Today I have a list of 10 Queer Non-Fiction books you can add to your TBR! This list includes a few memoirs, a couple of graphic novels and even a true crime book! These books cover topics including coming out, growing up asexual, the history of Pride and much more. I hope this list has a few books on it that will interest you!

As always you’ll find links to each books Goodreads page along with a few links to some of my favorite bookstores if you’d like to order a copy for yourself!

Life Isn’t Binary: On being Both, Beyond and In-Between by Alex Iantaffi and Meg-John Barker

Challenging society’s rigid and binary ways of thinking, this original work shows the limitations that binary thinking has regarding our relationships, wellbeing, sense of identity, and more. Explaining how we can think and act in a less rigid manner, this fascinating book shows how life isn’t binary.


Third Place Books | Elliott Bay Book Co. | Powell’s City of Books

Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

The Times I Knew I Was Gay by Eleanor Crewes

“Evocative, authentic, and hilarious.” —Tillie Walden, author of Spinning and On a Sunbeam

A charming, highly relatable graphic memoir that follows one young woman’s adventures in coming out and coming of age.

Ellie always had questions about who she was and how she fit in. As a girl, she wore black, obsessed over Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and found dating boys much more confusing than many of her friends did. As she grew older, so did her fears and a deep sense of unbelonging. From her first communion to her first girlfriend via a swathe of self-denial, awkward encounters, and everyday courage, Ellie tells her story through gorgeous illustrations—a fresh and funny self-portrait of a young woman becoming herself.

The Times I Knew I Was Gay reminds us that people sometimes come out not just once but again and again; that identity is not necessarily about falling in love with others, but about coming to terms with oneself. Full of vitality and humor, it will ring true for anyone who has taken the time to discover who they truly are.


Third Place Books | Elliott Bay Book Co. | Powell’s City of Books

Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

The Stonewall Reader by New York Public Library

For the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, an anthology chronicling the tumultuous fight for LGBTQ rights in the 1960s and the activists who spearheaded it, with a foreword by Edmund White.

June 28, 2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which is considered the most significant event in the gay liberation movement, and the catalyst for the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States. Drawing from the New York Public Library’s archives, The Stonewall Reader is a collection of 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. Most importantly the anthology spotlights both iconic activists who were pivotal in the movement, such as Sylvia Rivera, co-founder of Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (STAR), as well as forgotten figures like Ernestine Eckstein, one of the few out, African American, lesbian activists in the 1960s. The anthology focuses on the events of 1969, the five years before, and the five years after. Jason Baumann, the NYPL coordinator of humanities and LGBTQ collections, has edited and introduced the volume to coincide with the NYPL exhibition he has curated on the Stonewall uprising and gay liberation movement of 1969. 


Third Place Books | Elliott Bay Book Co. | Powell’s City of Books

Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

I Have Something to Tell You by Chasten Glezman Buttigieg

A moving, hopeful, and refreshingly candid memoir by the husband of former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg about growing up gay in his small Midwestern town, his relationship with Pete, and his hope for America’s future.

Throughout the past year, teacher Chasten Glezman Buttigieg has emerged on the national stage, having left his classroom in South Bend, Indiana, to travel cross-country in support of his husband, former mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Pete’s groundbreaking presidential campaign. Through Chasten’s joyful, witty social media posts, the public gained a behind-the-scenes look at his life with Pete on the trail—moments that might have ranged from the mundane to the surprising, but that were always heartfelt.

Chasten has overcome a multitude of obstacles to get here. In this moving, uplifting memoir, he recounts his journey to finding acceptance as a gay man. He recalls his upbringing in rural Michigan, where he knew he was different, where indeed he felt different from his father and brothers. He recounts his coming out and how he’s healed from revealing his secret to his family, friends, community, and the world. And he tells the story of meeting his boyfriend, whom he would marry and who would eventually become a major Democratic leader.

With unflinching honesty, unflappable courage, and great warmth, Chasten Buttigieg relays his experience of growing up in America and embracing his true self, while inspiring others to do the same.


Third Place Books | Elliott Bay Book Co. | Powell’s City of Books

Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

How to be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual by Rebecca Burgess

Brave, witty and empowering, this graphic memoir follows Rebecca as she navigates her asexual identity and mental health in a world obsessed with sex. From school to work to relationships, this book offers an unparalleled insight into asexuality.


Third Place Books | Elliott Bay Book Co. | Powell’s City of Books

Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults. 


Third Place Books | Elliott Bay Book Co. | Powell’s City of Books

Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen

An engaging exploration of what it means to be asexual in a world that’s obsessed with sexual attraction, and what we can all learn about desire and identity by using an ace lens to see the world.

What exactly is sexual attraction and what is it like to go through the world not experiencing it? What does asexuality reveal about consent, about compromise, about the structures of society? This exceedingly accessible guide to asexuality shows that the issues that aces face—confusion around sexual activity, the intersection of sexuality and identity, navigating different needs in relationships—are conflicts that all of us need to address as we move through the world.

Through interviews, cultural criticism, and memoir, ACE invites all readers to consider big-picture issues through the lens of asexuality, because every place that sexuality touches our world, asexuality does too.

Journalist Angela Chen uses her own journey of self-discovery as an asexual person to unpretentiously educate and vulnerably connect with readers, effortlessly weaving analysis of sexuality and societally imposed norms with interviews of ace people. Among those included are the woman who had blood tests done because she was convinced that “not wanting sex” was a sign of serious illness, and the man who grew up in an evangelical household and did everything “right,” only to realize after marriage that his experience of sexuality had never been the same as that of others. Also represented are disabled aces, aces of color, non-gender-conforming aces questioning whether their asexuality is a reaction against stereotypes, and aces who don’t want romantic relationships asking how our society can make room for them. 


Third Place Books | Elliott Bay Book Co. | Powell’s City of Books

Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele

Activist-academic Meg-John Barker and cartoonist Julia Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel.

From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged.

Along the way we look at key landmarks which shift our perspective of what’s ‘normal’ – Alfred Kinsey’s view of sexuality as a spectrum, Judith Butler’s view of gendered behaviour as a performance, the play Wicked, or moments in Casino Royale when we’re invited to view James Bond with the kind of desiring gaze usually directed at female bodies in mainstream media.

Presented in a brilliantly engaging and witty style, this is a unique portrait of the universe of queer thinking. 


Third Place Books | Elliott Bay Book Co. | Powell’s City of Books

Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and Phoebe Kobabe

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity–what it means and how to think about it–for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.


Third Place Books | Elliott Bay Book Co. | Powell’s City of Books

Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green

The gripping true story, told here for the first time, of the Last Call Killer and the gay community of New York City that he preyed upon.

The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.

He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.

Nor will he be his last.

The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.

This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.


Third Place Books | Elliott Bay Book Co. | Powell’s City of Books

Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Amazon

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you found a few books to add to your TBR!

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