100 books like The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935)

By John Lauritsen, David Thorstad,

Here are 100 books that The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935) fans have personally recommended if you like The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935). Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Invention of Heterosexuality

Jeff Stookey Author Of Acquaintance

From my list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve known all my life that I am gay. At age 50 I decided to try my hand at writing. After an image of two men kissing in a 1920s vehicle landed in my head, I began writing my Medicine for the Blues trilogy (Acquaintance is book one). But knowing nothing about LGBT history, I began a deep dive into gay and lesbian history, into the history of Portland and Oregon, into the era of the 1920s, the KKK, Prohibition, Freud, eugenics, and more. During 20 years of writing the trilogy, I’ve read dozens of books that roiled through my imagination and the information spilled out in the story.

Jeff's book list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century

Jeff Stookey Why did Jeff love this book?

I love the subversive title of this book. If there is no “heterosexuality” then there is no “homosexuality.” A challenging read, because of the subtle and complex reasoning Katz uses to untangle early erotic/procreative/love relationship concepts that were very differently structured from our own homo/hetero dichotomy. He uses history to show the slow development of the concept of heterosexuality, and that it is not “an essential, eternal, normal.” Katz draws on Michel Foucault regarding ancient Greece, on the Puritans, the Victorians, on Krafft-Ebing, Freud, and Alfred Kinsey, showing how language reveals the changing ways of conceptualizing and valuing differing modes of sexual expression. The critiques of Freud are a revelation.

By Jonathan Ned Katz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Heterosexuality," assumed to denote a universal sexual and cultural norm, has been largely exempt from critical scrutiny. In this boldly original work, Jonathan Ned Katz challenges the common notion that the distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality has been a timeless one. Building on the history of medical terminology, he reveals that as late as 1923 the term "heterosexuality" referred to a "morbid sexual passion" and that its current usage emerged to legitimate men and women having sex for pleasure. Drawing on the works of Sigmund Freud, James Baldwin, Betty Friedan, and Michel Foucault, "The Invention of Heterosexuality" considers the effects…


Book cover of Same-Sex Affairs: Constructing and Controlling Homosexuality in the Pacific Northwest

Jeff Stookey Author Of Acquaintance

From my list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve known all my life that I am gay. At age 50 I decided to try my hand at writing. After an image of two men kissing in a 1920s vehicle landed in my head, I began writing my Medicine for the Blues trilogy (Acquaintance is book one). But knowing nothing about LGBT history, I began a deep dive into gay and lesbian history, into the history of Portland and Oregon, into the era of the 1920s, the KKK, Prohibition, Freud, eugenics, and more. During 20 years of writing the trilogy, I’ve read dozens of books that roiled through my imagination and the information spilled out in the story.

Jeff's book list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century

Jeff Stookey Why did Jeff love this book?

This book was essential background for my trilogy. What I like most is its descriptions of the different sex practices of the different homosexual “types”—lower/working class men (“trade” or “wolves”) preferred anal intercourse with boys or young men (“punks” or “lambs”); upper class men preferred oral sex with “queens” or “fairies.” Focusing on the Pacific Northwest of the USA, Boag does great research into criminal and court records, which were some of the only records of these “aberrant” activities. A bonus is Boag’s tracing of the influence of the Oscar Wilde trial (1895) on attitudes in the Western USA.

By Peter Boag,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At the turn of the twentieth century, two distinct, yet at times overlapping, male same-sex sexual subcultures had emerged in the Pacific Northwest: one among the men and boys who toiled in the region's logging, fishing, mining, farming, and railroad-building industries; the other among the young urban white-collar workers of the emerging corporate order. Boag draws on police logs, court records, and newspaper accounts to create a vivid picture of the lives of these men and youths - their sexual practices, cultural networks, cross-class relations, variations in rural and urban experiences, and ethnic and racial influences.


Book cover of Jeb and Dash: A Diary of Gay Life, 1918-1945

Jeff Stookey Author Of Acquaintance

From my list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve known all my life that I am gay. At age 50 I decided to try my hand at writing. After an image of two men kissing in a 1920s vehicle landed in my head, I began writing my Medicine for the Blues trilogy (Acquaintance is book one). But knowing nothing about LGBT history, I began a deep dive into gay and lesbian history, into the history of Portland and Oregon, into the era of the 1920s, the KKK, Prohibition, Freud, eugenics, and more. During 20 years of writing the trilogy, I’ve read dozens of books that roiled through my imagination and the information spilled out in the story.

Jeff's book list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century

Jeff Stookey Why did Jeff love this book?

A valuable first-person account in real time describing what it was like to be gay in early 20th century USA. Jeb is well-read in the homosexuality literature of his era, from Havelock Ellis to Walt Whitman. One sympathizes with Jeb’s shame and misery in a time when being homosexual was socially unacceptable and illegal. Yet his self-pity and social ineptitude can be exasperating. In time he makes some gay friends, but he is often ambivalent toward them. Eventually he does develop some confidence and self-assertiveness. Most admirable is his love of culture (books, art, movies, stage plays, concerts) and his affection for nature (weather, plants, scenery, etc.) which he describes so exquisitely. By sloth and lack of dedication, Jeb never achieved his ambitions as a writer, but he did leave us these diaries that so well describe his singular life.

By Ina Russell (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It occurred to me today with something of a shock how horrible it would be for this diary of mine to be pawed over and read unsympathetically after I am dead, by those incapable of understanding... And then the thought of the one thing even more dreadful and terrible than that - for my diary never to be read by the one person who would or could understand. For I do want it to be read - there is no use concealing the fact - by somebody who is like me, who would understand.
Jeb Alexander was a gay man…


Book cover of Bertram Cope's Year

Jeff Stookey Author Of Acquaintance

From my list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve known all my life that I am gay. At age 50 I decided to try my hand at writing. After an image of two men kissing in a 1920s vehicle landed in my head, I began writing my Medicine for the Blues trilogy (Acquaintance is book one). But knowing nothing about LGBT history, I began a deep dive into gay and lesbian history, into the history of Portland and Oregon, into the era of the 1920s, the KKK, Prohibition, Freud, eugenics, and more. During 20 years of writing the trilogy, I’ve read dozens of books that roiled through my imagination and the information spilled out in the story.

Jeff's book list on revealing LGBT life in the early 20th century

Jeff Stookey Why did Jeff love this book?

While trying to learn about gay life in the 1920s, I was delighted to find this novel, “privately” published in 1919. One soon learns that Bertram Cope, who comes to teach at an undergraduate college as he works on an advanced degree, has a relationship with another young male with whom he plans to cohabit—interesting that two men could openly set up housekeeping together, even back then. Meanwhile an older matron, an aging homosexual man, and various young women hope to attract Cope’s attention. Though seen by some as a trivial social satire, Fuller’s light touch and subtle wit mask an undertone of eroticism and homosexual associations. His anonymous, authorial, third-person narrative voice is humorous and incisive, revealing his penetrating observations of social niceties and the layers of his characters’ maneuverings. Clever and understated, the book implies much that is never declared.

By Henry Blake Fuller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bertram Cope's Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Entertaining . . . eminently readable, distinguished by beautifully evoked period atmosphere and sly humor.”—The New York Times

America’s first gay novel, published in 1919.


Book cover of How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir

Jonathan T. Jefferson Author Of Mugamore: Succeeding without Labels - Lessons for Educators

From my list on Black-ish American memoirs and autobiographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first twenty-five years of my life appeared to be atypical for an inner-city African American boy from a large family. Only a small number of children were bused to more “academically advanced” schools. I earned that honor by frequently running away from the local school. Overcoming the challenges of being a minority in a demanding, predominantly Jewish, school district eventually benefited me greatly. In the early 1970s, my parents did something unprecedented for a working-class African American family from Queens: They bought an old, dilapidated farmhouse in Upstate New York's dairy country as a summer home. What other unusual life experiences that impact people of color have taken place on the American tapestry? 

Jonathan's book list on Black-ish American memoirs and autobiographies

Jonathan T. Jefferson Why did Jonathan love this book?

From childhood through college and a burgeoning career, the author’s honest and unambiguous voice matures as he paints a vivid picture of growing up poor, Black, and gay. Despite societal and familial challenges, having a loving single mother committed to his education helped him to navigate to success. Page after page, readers will find something relatable in unexpected ways.

By Saeed Jones,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked How We Fight for Our Lives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2020 STONEWALL BOOK AWARD-ISRAEL FISHMAN NONFICTION AWARD

"Jones's voice and sensibility are so distinct that he turns one of the oldest of literary genres inside out and upside down." NPR'S Fresh Air

Jones tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence-into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds…


Book cover of Love Is Love

Christine Ieronimo Author Of The Purple Pail

From my list on bringing children together in acceptance and kindness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm passionate about a world of kindness and inclusiveness. Growing up, I loved to write stories, but reading was hard. My eyes would go over the words but the meaning wouldn’t get to my brain. So I stopped writing. We must start with little children, making sure they believe in themselves, presenting issues of acceptance, diversity, and social justice. I've published two books on this theme and am working on two more. I talk to school classes and the media, and travel to Ethiopia, where I'm involved with their clean water project. I 'm involved in sustainable projects that improve health and education for children and young women. Please visit my website to learn more.

Christine's book list on bringing children together in acceptance and kindness

Christine Ieronimo Why did Christine love this book?

This is a book of inclusiveness about being a gay child. All children should be able to read books where they can recognize themselves in a positive light. I highly recommend all books by Little Pickle Press. They are dedicated to exactly what I believe in and why I write books. They publish picture books for little kids with meaningful stories, to help kids with awareness at a very young age. This is what we as parents and educators must do! 

By Michael Genhart, Ken Min (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love Is Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Open a dialogue with the children in your life about the importance of love and acceptance with this Silver Moonbeam Award Winner story celebrating open mindedness, diversity, and the LGBTQIA+ community. Perfect for your family library or a storytime read-aloud for any day of the year.
It's love that makes a family.
When a boy confides in his friend about bullies saying he doesn't have a real family, he discovers that his friend's parents-a mom and a dad-and his two dads are actually very much alike.
Dr. Michael Genhart's debut story is the perfect resource to gently discuss discrimination with…


Book cover of Bend

Lori Henriksen Author Of The Winter Loon

From my list on LGBTQ+ themes about the healing power of love.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a retired family therapist, I find that writing and reading stories about emotional journeys no matter our sexual identity, ethnicity, or class has the potential to transform us. A protagonist under threat of persecution who finds healing in the power of love, of family, of community can help us fix ourselves where we are broken. I believe stories can help us sever unhealthy ties to the patterns of past generations. My mother was a closeted lesbian with no family who died when I was nine. Writing how I wished her life could have been helped me heal from childhood trauma. Our ancestors passed the talking stick. We have books.

Lori's book list on LGBTQ+ themes about the healing power of love

Lori Henriksen Why did Lori love this book?

I chose this book for its honest look at the fragility of love when the push and pull of church doctrine clashes in a family with twins.

One twin at 17 knows she is lesbian, and the other is a member of BOCK (Brides of Christ’s Kingdom). The story weaves lessons about the effects of homophobia and heartbreak with loss and love, forgiveness and acceptance in a small bible-belt town in Minnesota. It’s a serious subject told with wit, humor, and honesty.

A baby born helps to heal family rifts, but it’s the pull of loss and the power of love from everyone that brings a homophobic mother to acceptance that allows a young woman to follow her heart.

By Nancy J Hedin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lorraine Tyler is the only queer person in Bend, Minnesota. Or at least that’s what it feels like when the local church preaches so sternly against homosexuality. Which is why she’s fighting so hard to win the McGerber scholarship—her ticket out of Bend—even though her biggest competition is her twin sister, Becky. And even though she’s got no real hope—not with the scholarship’s morality clause and that one time she kissed the preacher’s daughter.

Everything changes when a new girl comes to town. Charity is mysterious, passionate, and—to Lorraine’s delighted surprise—queer too. Now Lorraine may have a chance at freedom…


Book cover of Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A.

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?

Gay American History was an epiphany for me and thousands of other gay men and women who were eager to learn about our history because books about it were few. I can’t describe the wonder I felt as I opened the book to thousands of rare documents (letters, diary entries, newspaper articles, book excerpts, medical and legal reports, etc.) that connected me to LGBT individuals who lived centuries earlier. Puritans, indigenous people, cross-dressing (“passing”) women, military personnel, artists of every ilk, government officials—their struggles, their defeats, and their victories, I learned, were no different in essence from those of the LGBT individual of the 21st Century. Gay American History is, in short, a treasure trove of information.

By Jonathan Ned Katz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A collection of documents provides a continuous chronicle of homosexuality in America, from colonial times to the present, and of the persecution of gay males and lesbians throughout American history


Book cover of Two Dads: A Book About Adoption

Thomas Tracy Author Of Scoochie & Skiddles: Scoochie's Adoption Story

From my list on about LGBTQ+ families.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a gay father of two transracially adopted daughters, I am constantly searching for books that feature families like mine. It is important for children to see families that look like theirs represented in their storybooks. Unfortunately, there is a limited number of children’s books spotlighting adoption and even less featuring LGBTQ+ families. I am happy to share this list of some of my favorites that represent diverse/LGBTQ+ families.   

Thomas' book list on about LGBTQ+ families

Thomas Tracy Why did Thomas love this book?

This book gets triple points in my opinion, as it specifically addresses adoption by two dads who are an interracial couple. There are very few children’s books that cover all of these topics and even fewer that do it as simplistic and easy as this one. We have this one in our personal library and it has been one of our go-to books for helping our own daughter who my husband and I adopted.  

By Carolyn Robertson, Sophie Humphreys (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Having Two Dads is double the fun! Many families are different, this family has Two Dads. A beautifully illustrated, affirming story of life with Two Dads, written from the perspective of their adopted child.


Book cover of The Sins of Jack Branson

Sydney Dell Author Of Take My Hand

From my list on LGBTQ that evoke emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a part of the LGBTQ+ community my whole life and have always been passionate about advocating for the people who identify as such. Furthermore, I have always had a fascination with emotional stories and the combination of a lack of many LGBTQ+ books with an abundance of romance and emotional thrillers out there makes it a ripe topic for stories. As a lesbian myself, it is very hard to write stories that don’t have those kinds of couples, so I tend to stick to that genre and I’m absolutely addicted to lesbian books.

Sydney's book list on LGBTQ that evoke emotions

Sydney Dell Why did Sydney love this book?

While reading this book, I was impressed by the skillful ability of the author to make me sympathize with the characters and begin rooting for them.

Their masterful execution of character development and the way I wanted to jump into the story to help make it one of the most amazing I have ever read and I would highly recommend it to those who are struggling to find a way to overcome sadness.

By David Schulze,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Schulze's depiction of the Victorian era is atmospheric and intense in conveying the persecution gay people faced." - Kirkus Review

England, 1881. Being gay is both a sin and a crime. Parents disowning their children is considered honourable. Consensual sex risks life in prison. Sodomy scandals ruin careers and reputations. Homosexuals have to choose between safety and happiness.

After an unspeakable incident gets him exiled from his idyllic Irish hometown, twenty-four-year-old Jack Branson rebuilds his life in fog-and-mould London as a house call prostitute for closeted members of the British aristocracy. His dangerous, lucrative profession makes him dependent on the…


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