The Pride In Us: 9 Books In Honour Of LGBTQ Community Around The World
Despite living in a world where freedom is claimed to be a propaganda as well as campaign topic for decades it’s hardly a basis for humanity’s foundations. In a time where oppression runs deep in the blood of pseudo righteous imbeciles, it’s a rare honour to recount the lives of survivors and warriors of the battle. The global LGBTQ community has carved a long journey from being called shameful to being recognized as the pride of the world.
Books are an intrinsic support for validation, comfort and courage of an individual so here are 9 fearless LGBTQ-related books that will inspire awe in your heart and captivate your soul.
Accepting love as love without the gender labels…
1. On Earth we are Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Ocean Vuong composed an epistolary to form his debut novel On Earth we are Briefly Gorgeous. Vuong has addressed this novel as a son to a mother who cannot read. The angst and love between a mother and her son gives a rich flavor to Vuong’s voice as he describes a brutally honest exploration of race, class, gender, love and masculinity. It’s impossible to tag this novel under one particular box but it lives up to its title by being briefly gorgeous.
Also Check: Queeristan: LGBTQ at Indian Workplace Stories
2. Aristotle and Dante discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
When scales are tilted towards realistic YA novels, Benjamin Saenz has undoubtedly given one of the most compelling pieces of modern literature. Aristotle and Dante discover the Secrets of the Universe follows the tale of young boys Aristotle and Dante as they find peace amidst chaos and forge soul deep bonds. If you’ve ever been a lonesome, contemplative teen Aristotle would comfort you to your heart’s content. Without revealing too much, it would be appropriate to say that the ending would keep you for a night or two.
3. In at the Deep End by Kate Davies
In at the Deep End is one of those books that leave you feeling wrecked yet satisfied. Kate Davies has brilliantly explored queer self-discovery via toxic relationships and the variedly tilted perceptions of villainy. It reflects over that part of your psyche which has been scarred by your journey and yet is grateful to have arrived where you are at the present moment.
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4. Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai
In Sri Lanka same-sex relations are considered as unnatural or indecent acts which are punishable by law. Selvadurai’s debut novel, set against the backdrop of Tamil-Sinhalese conflict, is a coming-of-age story about growing up in Colombo. The protagonist Chelvataram is mocked for being “different” in his lifestyle like his way of dressing and playing ‘bride-bride’ instead of hanging out with boys and kicking a ball around. As he grows old the reader gets a personal glimpse into a journey of self discovery and self acceptance in a place where it’s not welcome.
5. An Arab Melancholia by Abdellah Taia
Taia was notably the first openly gay Arab writer and hails from Morocco where ‘lewd and unnatural acts’ of ‘sodomy’, partaken by people of same sex, are punished by prison term ranging anywhere between six months to three years alongwith fine. An Arab Melancholia is an autobiography that spans over 20 years of Taia’s voyage from growing up in Sale, to being exiled in Paris and afterwards shooting movies in Cairo. This novel is more than just growing up gay in Morocco, it’s a tale of love and loss beyond sexual identities.
Add to wishlist: Queeristan: LGBTQ at Indian Workplace Stories
6. Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
Okparanta was born in Port Harcourt of Nigeria and shifted to the US when she was ten. Reflecting on her homeland, in her debut novel Okparanta spins a tale of a young girl named Ijeoma who is sent to work as a servant after her father’s death and falls in forbidden love with another girl named Amina while the country lies in wake for the Nigerian civil war. Okparanta gives a colorful splendor to being yourself in a world that desperately wants you to be someone else.
The Pride of our home: The Indian LGBTQ community
7. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is one of the prime examples of why it’s almost impossible to go wrong with Arundhati Roy’s books. The novel follows Aftab who transitions into Anjum, an intersex Muslim woman, and strives to protect her community after witnessing communal riots and their chaotic destruction. This book not only comments on the state of modern India but also tackles with the subject of gender identification and supposedly ‘taboo’ ways of love.
8. The Truth About Me: A Hijra Life Story by A. Revathi and V. Geetha
The transsexual community bears the brunt of several obnoxious old customs in a thriving-to-be-developed India. A. Revathi, in her autobiography The Truth About Me: A Hijra Life Story, describes about the brutality of society towards the transsexual community. From being bullied, bearing a painful sex change operation and resorting to sex to make ends meet to becoming a leading activitist and a strong voice for the Hijra community, Revathi pens down a soulful account being the voice of thousands that look up to her.
9. Trying to Grow by Firdaus Kanga
Set in urban India, Trying to Grow is a semi-autobiographical novel by Firdaus Kanga. Kanga writes a humorously alive tale about the protagonist Brit Kotwal, called so because of his brittle bone condition, who can never grow taller than four feet. The novel follows his journey as he explores life and sexuality in witty and poignant manner. Trying to Grow is, all in all, fun light hearted read with its own twists and turns.
Add to cart: Queeristan: LGBTQ at Indian Workplace Stories
Final Words, From my heart to yours
In an age where phrases like Love is Love and Never apologize for who you love are common, it’s important to truly let it sink in and become less of a judge and more of a friend. Added to that the books mentioned in the list would be a wonderful read for all kinds of audience; after all a right book teaches you more than one lesson and gifts you a hundred lives in a few brief moments.
“I want to say when I was little, like Maleficent, I was told I was different. And I felt out of place and too loud, too full of fire, never good at sitting still, never good at fitting in. And then one day I realized something – something I hope you all realize. Different is good. When someone tells you that you are different, smile and hold your head up and be proud.”
– Angelina Jolie
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