The best books that show that it’s possible to be both queer and Christian

Who am I?

Growing up in an eccentric, liberal family, as a member of the Church of England, under the shadow of the British Government’s homophobic Section 28, the messages I received were distinctly mixed. If I’d heard the word ‘bisexual’ before the age of twenty my life might have been very different. And to this day, the most common assumption is that one can’t be simultaneously queer and Christian. As I’ve discovered, and as these books show, that isn’t true – and moving beyond that assumption reveals new and fascinating horizons.


I wrote...

Speak Its Name

By Kathleen Jowitt,

Book cover of Speak Its Name

What is my book about?

When Lydia Hawkins, English Literature student, evangelical Christian, and very closeted lesbian, encounters the eccentric, ecumenical household at Alma Road, she’s forced to expand her ideas of what it means to be Christian – and what it means to be herself. But she’s not the only one questioning some of those definitions. Speak Its Name is a university novel that explores faith, love, politics, and the untidy process of working out who you are.

The books I picked & why

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Acts and Omissions

By Catherine Fox,

Book cover of Acts and Omissions

Why this book?

Catherine Fox is intimately familiar with the nuances of the Church of England. She writes about them with wit and affection, and she’s dependably funny in this tale of a married bishop who doesn’t want to look too closely at why he’s quite so patient with his disaster of a chauffeur. The Lindchester series is ongoing, and I’m one of many followers who read along to share the joys and sorrows of the diverse, expanding, and delightful cast of characters. This is the place to start, though.


Easter

By Michael Arditti,

Book cover of Easter

Why this book?

Set in a London congregation at the height of the AIDS crisis, this is a powerful novel that packs a lot into one Easter weekend. Its ingenious triptych structure underlines the fact that there’s often more going on than a superficial understanding of either faith or sexuality would like to believe. The oldest book on this list by a couple of decades, this is one of the first novels to engage seriously with what it means to be queer in an institution that prefers to ignore that fact, and it was both a challenge and a comfort in my own coming-out years.


Daughter of Mystery

By Heather Rose Jones,

Book cover of Daughter of Mystery

Why this book?

If ever there was a book that felt like it had been written just for me, this is it. Set in a fictional European country in the early nineteenth century, it has swashbuckling, nights at the opera, complicated family history, politics, magic, and lesbians. The way that Christianity is integrated into the fantastic element won’t be for everybody, but I was won over by Margerit’s earnest insistence on claiming her identity as a queer woman of faith and power. I’d wholeheartedly recommend the rest of the series, too.


Briarley

By Aster Glenn Gray,

Book cover of Briarley

Why this book?

A Beauty and the Beast retelling, set amid the upheaval of the Second World War, in which the Beast is a dragon and the protagonist is a person who doesn’t see why his daughter should take the rap for her father’s misdemeanour. Humane and compassionate, this story isn’t afraid of exploring the theology of sexuality, but it never gets bogged down in details, and it maintains its fairy-tale atmosphere while remaining grounded in time and place. I loved it.


The God Painter

By Jessica Pegis,

Book cover of The God Painter

Why this book?

I’ve never read a book quite like this, and yet it felt hauntingly familiar. The population of Earth is rescued en masse from a destructive solar event and has to start again from scratch on an unknown planet. But of course humanity has taken the problems of its own nature with it, and the encounter with its new hosts only raises further questions – around sex, gender, love, and nature. It’s brave and beautiful, hopeful and sad and dynamic all at once, and it kept me reading and guessing all the way to the end. 


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in queer topics and characters, Christianity, and the Bible?

5,809 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about queer topics and characters, Christianity, and the Bible.

Queer Topics And Characters Explore 95 books about queer topics and characters
Christianity Explore 342 books about Christianity
The Bible Explore 209 books about the Bible

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Freshwater, The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings (Black and Blue Series), and Confessions of the Fox if you like this list.