100 books like Racism and the Making of Gay Rights

By Laurie Marhoefer,

Here are 100 books that Racism and the Making of Gay Rights fans have personally recommended if you like Racism and the Making of Gay Rights. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought

Donna J. Drucker Author Of Fertility Technology

From my list on the history of sexuality in modernity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been drawn to how people of the past think about their sexual identities, attractions, and behaviors. I conducted my PhD research at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, where I spent many happy hours reading letters and books voicing people’s unfiltered desires for sexual arousal, connection, and expression. I found the punched-card machines that Alfred Kinsey used to organize data from his personal interviews oddly compelling, and that interest developed into a long-term engagement with the intersection of gender and sexuality with science and technology. I share my fascination with readers through my books on Kinsey, machines used in sex research, contraception, and fertility technology.

Donna's book list on the history of sexuality in modernity

Donna J. Drucker Why did Donna love this book?

Mitra’s book centers on the colonial period in India, when European scholars, British officials, and Indian intellectuals, focused on sexuality, specifically the figure of the prostitute, in order to study and to understand the place of women in modern Indian society.

The specter of deviant female sexuality structured fiction and intellectual thought on topics ranging from caste domination to trafficking, to widowhood and inheritance, to abortion and infanticide.

Indian Sex Life compellingly illustrates the importance of female deviance in the imagination of scholars and writers, and how they used their ideas about women’s sexuality to solidify rigid gender ideals—and to blame women for the failures of modern society. Mitra’s accounting of this history is richly drawn and hard to put down.

By Durba Mitra,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Indian Sex Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How British authorities and Indian intellectuals developed ideas about deviant female sexuality to control and organize modern society in India

During the colonial period in India, European scholars, British officials, and elite Indian intellectuals-philologists, administrators, doctors, ethnologists, sociologists, and social critics-deployed ideas about sexuality to understand modern Indian society. In Indian Sex Life, Durba Mitra shows how deviant female sexuality, particularly the concept of the prostitute, became foundational to this knowledge project and became the primary way to think and write about Indian society.

Bringing together vast archival materials from diverse disciplines, Mitra reveals that deviant female sexuality was critical…


Book cover of A Marsh Island

Donna J. Drucker Author Of Fertility Technology

From my list on the history of sexuality in modernity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been drawn to how people of the past think about their sexual identities, attractions, and behaviors. I conducted my PhD research at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, where I spent many happy hours reading letters and books voicing people’s unfiltered desires for sexual arousal, connection, and expression. I found the punched-card machines that Alfred Kinsey used to organize data from his personal interviews oddly compelling, and that interest developed into a long-term engagement with the intersection of gender and sexuality with science and technology. I share my fascination with readers through my books on Kinsey, machines used in sex research, contraception, and fertility technology.

Donna's book list on the history of sexuality in modernity

Donna J. Drucker Why did Donna love this book?

A Marsh Island was nineteenth-century New England writer Sarah Orne Jewett’s favorite novel among her many books, but it has had less acclaim than The Country of Pointed Firs.

A Marsh Island is the story of Dick Dale, who is on vacation from New York City in the Sussex, Massachusetts area (in real life, Essex County). When Dale stays with the rural Owen family following an injury, he develops an interest in the family’s daughter Doris and feels a kinship to her brother Israel Jr., who died in the Civil War.

Don James McLaughlin introduces Jewett as one half of the best-known “Boston marriage” with Annie Adams Fields and reflects on this novel’s themes of queer hiddenness and visibility in post–Civil War New England.

By Sarah Orne Jewett, Don James McLaughlin (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Marsh Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Marsh Island has not fared well among Jewett's works. Critics have given it almost no attention at all. Except for Margaret Roman in Sarah Orne Jewett: Reconstructing Gender, most of the few people who have reported reading it have seen it as one of Jewett's lesser works. Below are two typical evaluations of the novel. As I have prepared this work for the Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project, I have found much to like about it. I have wondered whether previous readers have made too much of the love story and too little of the story of the artist…


Book cover of Sexual Progressives: Reimagining Intimacy in Scotland, 1880-1914

Donna J. Drucker Author Of Fertility Technology

From my list on the history of sexuality in modernity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been drawn to how people of the past think about their sexual identities, attractions, and behaviors. I conducted my PhD research at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, where I spent many happy hours reading letters and books voicing people’s unfiltered desires for sexual arousal, connection, and expression. I found the punched-card machines that Alfred Kinsey used to organize data from his personal interviews oddly compelling, and that interest developed into a long-term engagement with the intersection of gender and sexuality with science and technology. I share my fascination with readers through my books on Kinsey, machines used in sex research, contraception, and fertility technology.

Donna's book list on the history of sexuality in modernity

Donna J. Drucker Why did Donna love this book?

A small number of Scots at the end of the Victorian era and throughout the Edwardian era were eager to live in a world ungoverned by Protestant Christianity and unrestricted by its strict sexual morality.

Cheadle introduces readers to socialists, freethinkers, and writers in Glasgow and Edinburgh who advocated for sexual freedoms grounded in new forms of political, religious, and cultural thought. One example is Jane Hume Clapperton, who was deeply involved in the suffrage movement, described birth control methods in her 1888 novel Margaret Dunmore, and demanded full sexual freedom for women. 

Sexual Progressives brings them to life, showing how they questioned dominant morality and envisioned a way of life in which people could prioritize sexual freedom and pleasure. You won’t forget them.

By Tanya Cheadle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sexual Progressives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sexual Progressives is a major new study of the feminists and socialists who campaigned against the moral conservatism of the Victorian period. Drawing on a range of sources, from letters and diaries to radical newspapers and utopian novels, it provides the first group portrait of Scotland's hitherto neglected sexual rebels. They include Bella and Charles Pearce, prominent Glasgow socialists and disciples of an American-based mystic who taught that religion needed 're-sexed'; Jane Hume Clapperton, a feminist freethinker with advanced views on birth-control and women's right to sexual pleasure; and Patrick Geddes, founder of an avant-garde Edinburgh subculture and co-author of…


Book cover of The Queerness of Home: Gender, Sexuality, and the Politics of Domesticity after World War II

Donna J. Drucker Author Of Fertility Technology

From my list on the history of sexuality in modernity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been drawn to how people of the past think about their sexual identities, attractions, and behaviors. I conducted my PhD research at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, where I spent many happy hours reading letters and books voicing people’s unfiltered desires for sexual arousal, connection, and expression. I found the punched-card machines that Alfred Kinsey used to organize data from his personal interviews oddly compelling, and that interest developed into a long-term engagement with the intersection of gender and sexuality with science and technology. I share my fascination with readers through my books on Kinsey, machines used in sex research, contraception, and fertility technology.

Donna's book list on the history of sexuality in modernity

Donna J. Drucker Why did Donna love this book?

While many books on LGBTQ+ history focus on public activism, Vider turns attention to how queer people in the post-World War II era formed homes, partnerships, and community.

For example, groups like the AIDS Action Committee in Boston in the 1980s formed buddy programs for people living with AIDS and volunteer caregivers. Caregivers could live with their buddies or visit them, providing practical assistance as well as companionship, connectedness, and a sense of belonging. 

The Queerness of Home looks at the quieter but no less political and impactful side of queer life from the late 1940s through the 1980s, showing how a sense of place and connection helped queer people feel grounded and safe in a culture in which it was not always possible to live their full truth in public.

By Stephen Vider,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Queerness of Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vider uncovers how LGBTQ people reshaped domestic life in the postwar United States.

From the Stonewall riots to the protests of ACT UP, histories of queer and trans politics have almost exclusively centered on public activism. In The Queerness of Home, Stephen Vider turns the focus inward, showing that the intimacy of domestic space has been equally crucial to the history of postwar LGBTQ life.

Beginning in the 1940s, LGBTQ activists looked increasingly to the home as a site of connection, care, and cultural inclusion. They struggled against the conventions of marriage, challenged the gendered codes of everyday labor, reimagined…


Book cover of Buying Gay: How Physique Entrepreneurs Sparked a Movement

Jim Elledge Author Of An Angel in Sodom: Henry Gerber and the Birth of the Gay Rights Movement

From my list on gay history before Stonewall.

Why am I passionate about this?

In post-Roe America, gay people face the very real possibility of our rights being stripped from us, underscoring the importance of this adage: “Those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it.” That's why years ago, when I realize that many gay men were ignorant about gay history before Stonewall, I began editing anthologies of gay writings from the past. That led me to writing biographies and histories in which I explore gay men’s experiences, hoping my work shines a light on our forgotten past.

Jim's book list on gay history before Stonewall

Jim Elledge Why did Jim love this book?

Before reading Buying Gay, I couldn’t imagine how physique photography—nude and semi-nude pictures of buff models that appeared in bodybuilding magazines and were available by mail-order—qualified for a place in gay history. In discussions of gay libido, of course, but history? Naw! Johnson showed me the light, revealing how important desire coupled with American capitalism was in the development of gay identity and community. Through the efforts (and talent and chutzpah) of men like photographer Bob Mizer and publisher H. Lynn Womack, gays won the right to express desire more openly than ever before after decades of battles against obscenity laws. In short, Johnson enabled me to see more deeply into the private lives of some of the men I’ve written about.

By David K. Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Buying Gay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1951, a new type of publication appeared on newsstands-the physique magazine produced by and for gay men. For many men growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, these magazines and their images and illustrations of nearly naked men, as well as articles, letters from readers, and advertisements, served as an initiation into gay culture. The publishers behind them were part of a wider world of "physique entrepreneurs": men as well as women who ran photography studios, mail-order catalogs, pen-pal services, book clubs, and niche advertising for gay audiences. Such businesses have often been seen as peripheral to the gay…


Book cover of The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out

Loren A. Olson, M. D. Author Of No More Neckties: A Memoir in Essays

From my list on for mature men who have sex with men.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been gay for half my life; the other half I was confused, questioning, and considered a pathologic deviant by the American Psychiatric Association. I am no longer confused, or considered pathologic or deviant. I’m a father, psychiatrist, and author who grew up in Nebraska. I was a good boy, followed all the rules, and lived the life that was expected of me. I fit in but I never felt like I belonged. I took back control of my life and threw off expectations of what I should be. I want others to believe that they can have a richer life by living the life they were meant to live.

Loren's book list on for mature men who have sex with men

Loren A. Olson, M. D. Why did Loren love this book?

When I explored coming out in my forties, I was lonely and searched for answers. I found nothing. So, I wrote my own book.

Gay people who’ve been in heterosexual marriages, especially those with children, face a predicament: a bad choice and a worse one. The Lie is a story of hope for anyone caught in the dilemma of either living a lie or leaving a family they love. Many consider suicide; many have attempted it.

The Lie is an emotional and honest story of Dameron’s coming out to live the life he was meant to live. He owns up to his past, sheds the shame and guilt, and seeks and finds forgiveness as he begins to live his life honestly.

By William Dameron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A candid memoir of denial, stolen identities, betrayal, faking it, and coming out.

Do you know me?, the email began, sparking tremors of fear that turned into a full quake of panic when William Dameron discovered that his selfie had been stolen by strangers. On social networks and dating sites, his image and identity-a forty-year-old straight white male-had been used to hook countless women into believing in lies of love and romance. Was it all an ironic cosmic joke? Almost a decade prior, William himself had been living a lie that had lasted for more than twenty years. His secret?…


Book cover of God of Fury

Liz Ashlee Author Of Moving Forward

From my list on romance novels with pet names that will make you smile.

Why am I passionate about this?

Pet names in romance can make or break a book, in my opinion. Sometimes, they can be offputting, but other times, pet names make me smile. They elevate the chemistry between characters–turn the heat up a notch on a steam scene, make you blush, and make you fall in love with the characters. When I read a pet name I can imagine the tone, level, and timbre. It makes me feel like I'm there in the pages with the characters. I think it's because a pet name or nickname is special. A person assigns it to you because they care–or, better yet, within the pages of a romance, they love.

Liz's book list on romance novels with pet names that will make you smile

Liz Ashlee Why did Liz love this book?

This book was my most anticipated read of 2023, and not just because of all the TikTok videos and reels I devoured.

Niko and Brandon's relationship had been hinted at during the previous books, and I was salivating for all of those pieces to be linked together so I would have their full love story. Even more so, I needed to know why Niko called Bran his Lotus Flower.

That nickname and romance had a chokehold on me before I even read the book, and the book did not disappoint. Niko and Bran’s relationship, trials, tribulations and that nickname are going to stay with me for a long time. 

By Rina Kent,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked God of Fury as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From USA Today bestselling author Rina Kent comes a new STANDALONE MM college romance.

I’m not attracted to men.
Or so I thought before I slammed into Nikolai Sokolov.
A mafia heir, a notorious bastard, and a violent monster.
An ill-fated meeting puts me in his path.
And just like that, he has his sights set on me.
A quiet artist, a golden boy, and his enemy’s twin brother.
He doesn’t seem to care that the odds are stacked against us.
In fact, he sets out to break my steel-like control and blur my limits.
I thought my biggest worry…


Book cover of The Two-Bear Mambo

Nick Kolakowski Author Of Hell of a Mess

From my list on read during a fierce, possibly city-destroying storm.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a crime and horror author based in New York City. I’ve lived through a couple of direct hits from mega-storms and other natural disasters, including Hurricane Sandy, which plowed through my neighborhood in 2012. Those kinds of experiences leave a psychological mark I’ve tried to process through both fiction and non-fiction. This writing has also allowed me to explore how people and cities could potentially survive the calamities that await us, especially in coastal regions vulnerable to climate change.  

Nick's book list on read during a fierce, possibly city-destroying storm

Nick Kolakowski Why did Nick love this book?

Whenever someone asks me to recommend a funny mystery/thriller series, I always do my best to steer them toward Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard series. Hap Collins is a wisecracking good ol’ boy with liberal leanings, while his best friend Leonard is a Black, gay, conservative war veteran. They bumble and punch their way through mysteries that usually involve long-buried, lethal secrets.

The Two-Bear Mambo is arguably the most cinematic of the Hap and Leonard books, and that’s because the two are searching a small Texas town for Hap’s ex-girlfriend—a town at risk of serious flooding. The climactic fight in a graveyard is an over-the-top melee of rushing water, bones, and death. Solving mysteries is even harder when you have to prevent yourself from drowning in the biggest natural disaster to hit Texas in years. 

By Joe R. Lansdale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Two-Bear Mambo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Florida Grange, Leonard's gorgeous lawyer and Hap's former lover, has vanished while in pursuit of the real story behind the jailhouse death of a bluesman's son. Hap and Leonard investigate and end up in a part of East Texas that has Klan wannabes, an exhumation in a voodoo graveyard, and murder.


Book cover of Your Lonely Nights Are Over

Aaron H. Aceves Author Of This Is Why They Hate Us

From my list on books about queer boys written by queer men.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I never saw myself fully represented in fiction. I only glimpsed pieces of my younger self reflected in novels about queer or queer-coded characters, and so I made it my life’s mission to give teenage me exactly what he wanted. As a YA author whose queer male readers are not always young adults, the message I get the most is, “I wish I had this as a teen.” While I often feel this way as well, I still know that reading the five books I recommended (as well as my own) at any age is life-affirming for queer men like myself. 

Aaron's book list on books about queer boys written by queer men

Aaron H. Aceves Why did Aaron love this book?

Sass’s first novel, Surrender Your Sons, is a favorite of mine, so it’s no surprise that this book, a queer horror novel reminiscent of Scream, is a riot and an absolute page-turner.

It contains all the best elements of slasher movies and teen comedies alike, and unabashedly gay characters with wit and sharp edges kept me invested all the way until the story’s climactic ending. 

By Adam Sass,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Your Lonely Nights Are Over 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?

Scream meets Clueless in this YA horror from Adam Sass in which two gay teen BFFs find their friendship tested when a serial killer starts targeting their school’s Queer Club.

Dearie and Cole are inseparable, unlikeable, and (in bad luck for them) totally unbelievable.

From the day they met, Dearie and Cole have been two against the world. But whenever something bad happens at Stone Grove High School, they get blamed. Why? They’re beautiful, flirtatious, dangerously clever queen bees, and they’re always ready to call out their fellow students. But they’ve never faced a bigger threat than surviving senior year,…


Book cover of I Think Our Son Is Gay 01

Emmarie Bee Author Of A Twist of Fate

From my list on LGBTQ+ manga/graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved cartoons and anime. I’m also bisexual and non-binary. Growing up, gay representation was hard to come by, so when we did get it, we were always super excited, whether it was good or not so good. Luckily, I’ve gotten to watch the world change and grow more accepting, but sometimes it’s still difficult to find good rep when you don’t know where to look. I try to fill my books with good representation so that my readers can feel seen in a way I didn’t, and I want to spread the word about some great LGBT manga that I love and made an impact on me.

Emmarie's book list on LGBTQ+ manga/graphic novels

Emmarie Bee Why did Emmarie love this book?

I’m always a sucker for something sweet, wholesome, and low-to-no stakes when it comes to my gay manga.

It’s a sweet and wholesome story about a mom who realizes her eldest son is gay, but gives him the space, respect, and privacy to come out in his own time. She also makes a point to defend her son’s sexuality without outing him to others. It made me crack up because I remember being that eldest son - thinking I was slick at hiding my sexuality, when I really wasn’t.

I also love how the mom gives her son the space he needs and respects his privacy. A super mom, for sure!

By Okura,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Think Our Son Is Gay 01 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A doting mother and her two beloved sons, one of whom she thinks is probably gay, go about their daily lives in this hilarious and heartwarming LGBTQIA+-friendly family comedy!

Despite belonging to a family of four, the Aoyama residence is typically home to three, with Dad away for work. Mom Tomoko and her two darling sons, Hiroki and Yuri, go about their everyday lives with little to disturb their gentle routines.

But as Hiroki begins his first year of high school, Tomoko can’t help but wonder if her eldest has fallen for another boy. Though Tomoko is content to cheer…


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