The best collection of queer themed books

Leslie Anne Frye-Thomas Author Of Pum Pum Rock—There's No Place Like Homo
By Leslie Anne Frye-Thomas

Who am I?

I'm an Emmy Award-winning writer, wife, and adoptive mother with an unapologetic passion for Black queer stories. I'm also an artist-activist who takes great pride in producing content that sparks honest dialogue and positive change. Life's complexities energize me, and, as a queer artist of color, I'm committed to reflecting these intricacies in my work. I write, produce video, and host allyship seminars as well as art as activism workshops for LGBTQ+ youth. If you're both inspired and entertained by layered depictions of BIPOC queer culture then please check out the recs in my Queer-tastic reading list. Enjoy!

I wrote...

Pum Pum Rock—There's No Place Like Homo

By Leslie Anne Frye-Thomas,

Book cover of Pum Pum Rock—There's No Place Like Homo

What is my book about?

Written in five parts, Pum Pum Rock—There's No Place Like Homo delves deep into orthodox Caribbean thinking. The story follows Natalia Higgins (Nate). The daughter of a diplomat, she's a teen of means; however, readers quickly learn that living as a homosexual in paradise comes with a hefty price.

Part coming of age and part romantic-thriller, Pum Pum Rock vacillates between Nate's formative years in Montego Bay and adult life in Los Angeles. Shrouded in themes of homophobia, mama-drama, and straight-up resilience, Nate's story gives readers an inside look at a cross-section of Black, lesbian life. From anti-LGBTQ+ laws and cultural norms to chosen family and the daily struggle to just be seen, Pum Pum Rock proves there truly is no place like homo.

The books I picked & why

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D'Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding

By Chencia C. Higgins,

Book cover of D'Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding

Why this book?

D'Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding reminds me of those mushy holiday movies my wife watches on loop at the close of each year. The love connection always begins with the couple physically bumping into each other. While D'Vaughn and Kris don't run into each other, they are randomly paired up on a dating show. An odd move for D'Vaughn, as she isn't out to her family, but because Kris is a hopeless romantic, I found myself rooting hard for the faux couple.

Watching D'Vaughn come into her authentic self and the two women support each other throughout the process reminds me that despite any family dynamic or even local legislation, the moment you decide to be in a committed relationship is the moment you become a team. A united front. Gay, straight, or otherwise, that's a universal theme that most of us can get behind. 

Honey Girl

By Morgan Rogers,

Book cover of Honey Girl

Why this book?

Astronomy Ph.D. in one hand and a ticket to sin city in the other, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter's desire to blow off a little steam lands her drunk and smack dab in the middle of a marriage to a woman she just met! Part girls trip, all Black girl magic, this queer coming of age story strikes a familiar chord with those who've had to navigate adulthood while balancing the staggering weight of our parent's expectations.

Like, Grace, I've been overlooked and underestimated professionally. And as a POC, I don't just acknowledge her belief that BIPOC must commit 110% effort to be seen; I co-sign it. Honey Girl tackles sexism, systemic racism, the necessity of newfound family, and the importance of self-discovery. Unapologetically declaring that mental health is wealth and a change of plans is merely the universe affording us another opportunity to walk in our truth.

Black Girl, Call Home

By Jasmine Mans,

Book cover of Black Girl, Call Home

Why this book?

I love pretty packaging, so it's no surprise that Mans' Black Girl, Call Home stopped me in my tracks. The cover art, an over-the-shoulder shot of a young Black girl, her head bedazzled in a rainbow assortment of brightly colored barrettes. For me and Black women across the globe, the image evokes instant nostalgia. Luther on the radio. Me between my mama's legs. And the smell of Blue Magic hair grease slathered on the back of her hand.

Both painful and empowering, Mans' candid approach to feminism, race, and LGBTQ+ identity is wrapped in undeniable realness. Whether readers identify as Black and queer or simply as women on the path to healing, Mans' rhythmic collection of truths inspires self-acceptance and sisterhood. Do yourself a favor — order the audiobook and be blown away by Mans' heartfelt spoken word!

Learned Reactions

By Jayce Ellis,

Book cover of Learned Reactions

Why this book?

I've always loved a steamy MM romance, so the bogus boyfriend premise was an easy sell for me. However, as a foster mom turned adoptive mother, I'll forever have a special place in my heart for BIPOC navigating child protective services. Whether the narrative focused on Carlton's traumatized niece and the therapy she so desperately needed or the number of hoops that the LGBTQ+ community jumps through to even be considered for adoption, this story hit home on multiple fronts.

It was inspiring to watch Carlton and Deion navigate the many facets of queer culture, including their newfound fatherhood. Mainly because while stories like theirs happen every day, we don't see them nearly enough. Faux couple or not, Carlton and Deion were the safe space that Olivia needed and the mainstream representation that readers like myself consistently crave.

The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer

By Janelle Monáe,

Book cover of The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer

Why this book?

The Memory Librarian is an adaptation of Monáe's 2018 emotion picture, Dirty Computer. Told in the icon's signature Afro-futuristic fashion, this unquestionably queer AF collection of sci-fi stories describes a dystopian world where dirty computers (people who stray from societal norms) are ostracized in the worse ways imaginable. What's even scarier, while the stories take place in the future, the premise isn't that far from our present-day reality.

Books that boast BIPOC themes are being banned at a record rate. And this year alone, over 200 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced into legislation. Just as Americans have banded together around their common causes, the inhabitants in Monáe's sci-fi saga unite as chosen family. Together they navigate technology, battle memory control, explore identity, and fight for freedom in a ruthless police state.

"Everything comes full circle. And time takes care of itself. Our work is the work of the living, of the present. The right now builds tomorrow." Reading this hope-filled closing passage reminds me to be patient, do the work, and trust the process because eventually, what's right, always comes to light.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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