This year’s Pride celebrations have been a little different from what we’re used to – it’s been a lot more digital for a start. It’s easy to write off 2020 as a year when nothing notable happened, except for a global economic shutdown of course; but you would be wrong to think that. There are still LGBTQ+ people writing, traveling, and inspiring, and their books are being published.
If you want to explore the best this year has to offer, check out the curated list below.
“Non-Binary Lives: An Anthology of Intersecting Identities” edited by Meg-John Barker, Kat Gupta, Benjamin Vincent and Jos Twist
Non-Binary Lives is a superb collection of accessible essays that examines the intersection of gender identities in the modern world. For instance, how does being a parent, being black, having a religion or a disability, intersect with non-binary gender identity? And what is general liability for business? Sometimes these subjects can seem too academic to explore, but in this collection, we gain more of a personal account and understanding of them and how they relate and interact.
If you want to learn more about human gender diversity, this collection is a fabulous place to start.
“In the Dream House” by Carmen Maria Machado
In the Dream House is an outstanding literary account of an abusive same-sex relationship. Initially enthralled by her first same-sex relationship Carmen Maria Machado was subject to violence and fear. Using a range of poetic devices, she chronicles the shame, disbelief and distortions that result from an abusive relationship. What sets this book apart is Machado’s literary talent, and ability to make language sing.
“Who Killed My Father” by Edouard Louis
Who Killed My Father is a masterly work from writer Edourad Louis, who reflects on the death of his father at the age of 50. A devastating memoir it describes casual violence, homophones, poverty, and shame. His father’s death is placed in the context of a political elite whose policies can result in the death of societies most vulnerable.
The book, however, is not a horror show. It is also full of tenderness, growth, and honesty. This is a book from and underrepresented voice that reminds us the personal is never completely divorced from the political.
“Swimming in the Dark” by Tomasz Jedrowski
Swimming in the Dark is an LGBTQ+ novel that was first published in February of this year. The story takes place in 1980s Poland, where homosexuality is illegal. It follows the fortunes of a young university student called Ludwik, as he finds his first overwhelming love affair. As the country’s communities decline in waves of violence, Ludwik discovers a portal into human kindness and generosity. Being gay in 80’s Poland may not have been legal or desirable, but as this novel shows, the reality of some experiences are unforgettable.
“Gears for Queers” by Abigail Melton and Lilith Cooper
Gears for Queers is a triumphant road trip through Europe with a queer couple Abigail and Lilith. Using very basic bikes and gear, they document their experiences in a memoir-style detailing the joys and challenges they encountered along the way. These included difficulties in disclosing their relationship to other travelers and a non-conforming attitude to cyclist stereotyping.
If you’re looking for a bit of relatable escapism during your pandemic lockdown, look no further than Gears for Queers.