The best LGBTQ+ books to annoy the people trying to ban them

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Sara Jo Easton, and I’m the bisexual author of the Zarder novels, a fantasy series where a race of dragon-like creatures called Onizards learns to get past their prejudices. When I was at a book signing for my third book, The Blood of Senbralni, a strange man loudly declared I was part of an agenda to turn people to homosexuality and Satan with my evil dragons. To be clear, I am not and will never be affiliated with Satan. I made a vow that every book I wrote from that point forward would have at least one LGBTQ+ romance with a happy ending to annoy people like that man.


I wrote...

A Dream of Light

By Sara Jo Easton,

Book cover of A Dream of Light

What is my book about?

Eramine needs to rescue a dragon-like race from death and homophobia. The problem is her brother thinks she's been kidnapped.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Picture of Dorian Gray

Sara Jo Easton Why did I love this book?

This book is a fascinating look at how cruelty can turn you ugly on the inside.

It was scandalous at the time of its publication in 1890, because it is very clear that the male character Basil is romantically in love with the man he is painting, the title character Dorian Gray. Basil considers the portrait his best work, and Dorian makes a wish that he can stay as beautiful as the portrait forever.

As Dorian starts to act cruelly toward others, the painting changes but Dorian does not age. The painting acts as a picture of Dorian’s soul as he continues to commit worse and worse crimes against the people around him, until it is too horrifying for him to look at anymore.

I consider this a worthwhile book to start your journey of reading LGBTQ+ books to annoy the people trying to ban them; they’ve been trying to ban this one since its publication. The Picture of Dorian Gray was even used as evidence in court to convict Oscar Wilde of a crime called “gross indecency” that was used to persecute homosexual men in the U.K. in the 1890s.

Reading this book helps a persecuted man get the last laugh at his oppressors and also gives you an interesting dose of gothic horror.

By Oscar Wilde,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Picture of Dorian Gray as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A triumph of execution ... one of the best narratives of the "double life" of a Victorian gentleman' Peter Ackroyd

Oscar Wilde's alluring novel of decadence and sin was a succes de scandale on publication. It follows Dorian Gray who, enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life, indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his depravity. This definitive edition includes a selection of…


Book cover of The Left Hand of Darkness

Sara Jo Easton Why did I love this book?

If you’re like me, you are a sucker for stories about an outsider finding themselves in a new society and having to struggle and adapt to circumstances they don’t fully understand.

Genly Ai is a man who is sent to the planet Gethen to convince the people there to join a planetary alliance. The problem is Genly is so fixated on his manhood and personal identity that he can’t adapt culturally in a world where everyone is genderfluid.

Genly’s political mistakes get him into a lot of trouble that his lone ally Estraven tries to save him from, and it is only by learning to accept differences and listen to Estraven that Genly finally succeeds in his quest.

You can’t go wrong with the engrossing worldbuilding in this book, and as a bonus the people trying to ban LGBTQ+ books will be extremely annoyed if you read a book where a man grows to care for a genderfluid alien.

For extra credit you can mail the naysayers a copy of the book using the Ursula K. Le Guin postage stamp, which has Genly and Estraven in the artwork.

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Left Hand of Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION-WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION BY DAVID MITCHELL AND A NEW AFTERWORD BY CHARLIE JANE ANDERS

Ursula K. Le Guin's groundbreaking work of science fiction-winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

A lone human ambassador is sent to the icebound planet of Winter, a world without sexual prejudice, where the inhabitants' gender is fluid. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the strange, intriguing culture he encounters...

Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an…


Book cover of The Fifth Elephant

Sara Jo Easton Why did I love this book?

When it comes to fantasy books, it’s hard to narrow things down to only one book in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.

He was a master of satire and the use of asides to parody the tropes of fantasy while also telling compelling stories and building a world you could imagine visiting. If we’re going to annoy the people trying to ban LGBTQ+ books, though, I’d have to recommend starting with The Fifth Elephant.

As the kingdom of dwarves is in disarray over the disappearance of the Scone necessary to crown their king, a group of Night Watch detectives from a distant land must work together to solve the crime while dodging evil werewolves.

One of the detectives on the case is Cheery, a dwarf who causes waves for openly identifying as female (the dwarves follow logic similar to J.R.R. Tolkien’s dwarves in that every dwarf has a beard and gender is never identified, thus defaulting all the dwarves to male and making any dwarf that identifies as female the equivalent of transgender in our world).

It is Cheery’s open femininity that helps the case get resolved in the end. 

By Terry Pratchett,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Fifth Elephant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

They say that diplomacy is a gentle art. That its finest practitioners are subtle, sophisticated individuals for whom nuance and subtext are meat and drink. And that mastering it is a lifetime's work. But you do need a certain inclination in that direction. It's not something you can just pick up on the job. Which is a shame if you find yourself dropped unaccountably into a position of some significant diplomatic responsibility. If you don't really do diplomacy or haven't been to school with the right foreign bigwigs or aren't even sure whether a nod is as good as a…


Book cover of The Color Purple

Sara Jo Easton Why did I love this book?

This book was one of the first depictions of LGBTQ+ relationships that I ever read, and its compelling characters make it always worth a revisit.

To summarize as briefly as I can, Celie Harris is a young woman who goes through a series of abusive relationships, losing contact with both her sister and her children as she endures psychological and sexual abuse from the men in her life.

Her life starts to change when she meets and falls for Shug Avery, a jazz singer, and Celie eventually discovers the truth about her sister’s whereabouts and reunites with her family. This book is frequently challenged because of the abuse Celie undergoes as well as her feelings for Shug, but it forces you to have important discussions on how to stop abuse from happening. In the end, it is a strong testament to the inner strength of humanity.

I will forever regret missing out on seeing the musical version of this book due to the start of the pandemic in 2020. I’m excited to learn there will be a filmed version of it coming out soon! This book is a great choice to annoy the people trying to ban LGBTQ+ books and to know more about the plot before people start talking about the musical version.

By Alice Walker,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The Color Purple as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Alice Walker's iconic modern classic is now a Penguin Book.

A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug…


Book cover of This Book Is Gay

Sara Jo Easton Why did I love this book?

You might believe that I chose this book solely based on the title.

I can’t deny finding the idea of having the cover out and actively reading it in front of the kind of people wanting to ban LGBTQ+ books is a tantalizing one. That said, the real reason I chose this book is it is a helpful guide to the LGBTQ+ community that uses inclusive language and describes the different ways people identify with copious amounts of humor and quotes from members of the community.

It has important information about a wide variety of topics that I wish were around in an easy-to-read format when I was younger. There are frank sex education discussions in this book, which is vital information to fill in the gaps in sex education in most schools. I have this one saved for when the younger members of my family are ready to start reading about sexuality. 

By Juno Dawson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Book Is Gay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The bestselling young adult non-fiction book on sexuality and gender!
Lesbian. Gay. Bisexual. Transgender. Queer. Intersex. Straight. Curious. This book is for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference. This book is for anyone who's ever dared to wonder. This book is for YOU.
This candid, funny, and uncensored exploration of sexuality and what it's like to grow up LGBTQ also includes real stories from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, not to mention hilarious illustrations.
Inside this revised and updated edition, you'll find the answers to all the questions you ever wanted to ask, with topics like:Stereotypes-the facts…


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Price of Vengeance

By Kurt D. Springs,

Book cover of Price of Vengeance

Kurt D. Springs

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Teacher Cook Barista Guardian

Kurt's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Liam was orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin. Taken in by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, Liam was raised with their older son, Randolf in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a soldier. After being cut off from the city, Liam finds that there is an alien intelligence behind the chitin. To defeat it, he must discover who he is and how to use his powers. Then, Liam discovers that a traitor, responsible for his birth parents' deaths, had murdered his beloved foster parents. Will the price he has to pay in his quest for vengeance prove to be an even more unbeatable foe?

Price of Vengeance

By Kurt D. Springs,

What is this book about?

"From the cover to the opening pages, Price of Vengeance grabs the reader and takes them on a wild ride. Fasten your seat belts for this book." -S. J. Francis, author of Shattered Lies

What is the Price of Vengeance? One could understand why Liam was angry. He was orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin. Taken in by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, Liam was raised with their older son, Randolf in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a…


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