11 must-read LGBTQ+ non-fiction books exploring queer lives this autumn
The season of crisp mornings, pumpkin spice lattes and cosy knitwear has arrived, along with stellar LGBTQ+ non-fiction offerings for book lovers this autumn.
This year has already seen a number of strong LGBTQ+ non-fiction releases, from queer celebrities unveiling the intimacies of their life stories to activists reckoning with the greatest issues facing the LGBTQ+ community today.
Elsewhere, Vaneet Metha published his hard-hitting manifesto Bisexual Men Exist and Tash-Oakes Monger shared much-needed optimism for the transgender community with their collection All the Things They Said We Couldn’t Have: Stories of Trans Joy.
But the year isn’t over yet and as the days get darker, here are 11 autumn LGBTQ+ non-fiction releases to keep you engrossed.
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A Real Piece of Work by Erin Riley
This collection of 20 “fresh and boldly intimate” stories touches on topics around gender and identity, the messiness of love and families, and the unjust systems and structures that exist in the world, by Australian social worker Erin Riley.
Real Life by Erin Riley (Penguin Random House) is available to pre-order now.
Daddy Boy by Emerson Whitney
From critically acclaimed author Emerson Whitney comes Daddy Boy, a “smart, big-hearted and electrifying” book mixing memoir, queer theory and essays.
After a decade-long relationship with a dominatrix called Daddy, Whitney starts questioning transness, ageing and what home means. As he piles into a van with a group of strangers to travel across America, Emerson recalls tales from his childhood and faces the biggest question of all: “Did he want to be Daddy now?”
Daddy Boy by Emerson Whitney (Cipher Press) is available to pre-order now.
Live, Laugh, Lesbian – Navigating Life as a Lesbian in the 21st Century by Helen Scott
The title speaks for itself in Helen Scott’s upcoming half-memoir, half-guide to all the baby lesbians looking for a big sister to navigate them through the choppy waters of discovering your sexuality. .. and what comes next.
“From strap-ons and Lesbian Bed Death to dealing with homophobic micro-aggressions in the workplace and finding your second family”, Scott is here to help everyone down their “unique path to gay town”.
Live, Laugh Lesbian by Helen Scott (Jessica Kingsley Publishers) is available to pre-order now.
Jojo: Finally Home by Johannes Radebe
Strictly Come Dancing pro Johannes Radebe takes the reader behind the headlines in his candid memoir Jojo: Finally Home.
As he recounts his childhood growing up as a gay man in South Africa – where he was subjected to homophobic abuse – Radebe shares an uplifting tale of resilience and the joy of pursuing your dreams.
Jojo: Finally Home by Johannes Radebe (Hodder Catalyst) is available to buy now.
Fair Play – How Sports Shape the Gender Debates by Katie Barnes
As the toxic debate around trans athletes in gender-segregated sports shows no sign of waning, LGBTQ+ sports journalist Katie Barnes offers a thought-provoking and nuanced look at the progression of women’s sports “as a pastime and political arena”.
“Fair Play looks at all sides of the issue and presents a reasoned and much-needed solution that seeks to preserve opportunities for all going forward,” the synopsis reads.
Fair Play: How Sports Shape the Gender Debates by Katie Barnes (St Martin’s Press) is available to pre-order now.
Gay Aliens and Queer Folk – How Russell T Davies Changed TV by Emily Garside
Screenwriter Russell T Davies has been fundamental in shaping LGBTQ+ British TV over the past few decades. As we look ahead to Davies’ upcoming season of Doctor Who, with LGBTQ+ actors front and centre, this is the perfect light read to get audiences pumped.
Garside’s book traces how Davies “broke down barriers, showing gay characters unapologetically living their lives to the full and celebrating the complexity and joy of queer identities,” from Queer As Folk to his most contemporary work.
Gay Aliens and Queer Folk by Emily Garside (Calon) is available to pre-order now.
Gender is Really Strange written by Teddy G. Goetz & illustrated by Sophie Standing
Goetz and Standing’s Gender is Really Strange graphic comic offers a science-based perspective on the expansive nature of gender, outside the Westernised binary.
It reflects on “the complexity of gender is revealed through examining neuroscience, biology, hormones, mental health, behaviour and how much of gender comes from society” and prompts readers to celebrate gender in all its messy glory.
Gender is Really Strange by Teddy Goetz and Sophie Standing (Jessica Kinglsey Publishers) is available to pre-order now.
Leading Lady: A Memoir of a Most Unusual Boy by Charles Busch
During a time when drag is under attack, Busch’s timely memoir recalls his journey from discovering drag to becoming a award-winning Broadway, off-Broadway and Hollywood drag legend.
Busch is known for the Tony Award-nominated hit The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife and his off-Broadway run in Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. His work is punctuated by “colourful and sometimes outlandish interactions” with talents such as Joan Rivers, Angela Lansbury, Rosie O’Donnell and more.
Leading Lady: A Memoir of a Most Unusual Boy by Charles Busch (Smart Pop Books) is available to buy now.
The Magic Border by Arlo Parks
Brit Award-winning artist Arlo Parks is turning to the written word for her intimate collection of poetry, never-seen-before song lyrics and images in collaboration with photographer Daniyel Lowden.
The 20 original poems, complete lyrics from her sophmore album My Soft Machine and an exclusive author’s note reflect on “queer experience, Blackness, grief, trauma and love through the eyes of the remarkable young musician”.
The Magic Border by Arlo Parks (Fourth Estate) is available to pre-order now.
Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant by Curtis Chin
Curtis Chin’s stark memoir delves into his life as a gay Chinese-American kid growing up in 1980s Detroit. His safe haven, restaurant Chung’s Cantonese Cuisine, was the place that welcomed anyone – from the city’s first Black mayor to local drag queens.
Tipped as the must-read book this autumn, Chin’s book is “both a memoir and an invitation: to step inside one boy’s childhood oasis, scoot into a vinyl booth, and grow up with him – and perhaps even share something off the secret menu”.
Everything I Learned, I Learned in a Chinese Restaurant by Curtis Chin (Little Brown and Company) is available to pre-order now.
The Risk It Takes to Bloom: On Life and Liberation by Raquel Willis
Raquel Willis’ “passionate and powerful” memoir reflecting on her experience as a Black transgender activist working towards collective liberation.
Straddling both Obama and Trump’s presidential eras, we trace Willis’ self-empowerment as she embraces her identity as a trans woman and carves herself out as a formidable voice in the ongoing movement for Black trans rights.
The Risk It Takes to Bloom by Raquel Willis (St Martin’s Press) is available to pre-order now.
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