I’m sure I’m not the first one to say this, but the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t get a lot of rep. They aren’t represented a lot in movies, or in TV shows, or in books. When they are, they’re often turned into comic relief or are used as sexual objects, and I’m sick of it. So I took the liberty of looking for books that actually show the real face of the LGBTQ+ community, and the results are better than I’d imagined.
Ang Nanay ni Erwin, Ang Tatay ni Klara
By Eugene Y. Evasco, illustrated by Tokwa Peñaflorida
One of the very few children’s books that proudly represents the LGBTQ+ community, Ang Nanay ni Erwin, Ang Tatay ni Klara is a flip book that shows two different but equally powerful stories. The book follows Erwin’s butch lesbian mother and Klara’s gay Filipino-Chinese beautician father, whose relationships prove that being queer doesn’t at all affect how good of a parent you are.
Ang Nanay ni Erwin, Ang Tatay ni Klara is available here.
Butterfly Boy: Memories of Chicano Mariposa
By Rigoberto González
Unlike any queer coming-of-age story you’ve read before, Butterfly Boy is an autobiography that looks at the life of Rigoberto González, who is poor, gay, and Mexican. As readers, we get to see González comes to terms with his sexuality in spite of the machismo-ridden culture he lives in. This book doesn’t just talk about being gay, it also talks about everything surrounding this: culture, heritage, class, and much, much more.
Butterfly Boy is available here.
Read more: Watch 10 LGBTQ+ films where nobody dies
None of the Above
By I.W. Gregorio
There aren’t many books out there that tackle the topic of intersexuality—wherein one is born with different sex characteristics, not just male or female—but luckily, None of the Above chose to stand out with this theme. Krissy, the novel’s main character, has it all: a loving boyfriend, a college scholarship, a position as champion hurdler, and a chance at becoming the next prom queen. She’s on top of the world—that is, until her intersexuality is revealed to the entire school. Covering intersexuality as well as the discrimination that comes along with it, None of the Above is an educational tale about people we don’t often see portrayed anywhere else. You go, Gregorio!
None of the Above is available here.
By Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen
If you’re looking for something lighter and more whimsical, Lumberjanes is the narrative for you. This series of graphic novels follows a group of girls that head off to summer camp in hopes of weaving baskets and making lanyards, but soon realize that they’re in for a bumpier ride than they’d signed up for. Tackling issues like figuring out your sexuality and gender identity (see issue #17, where one of the characters comes out as trans,) Lumberjanes is definitely worth reading if you want to live a little bit on the wild side—reading-wise, of course.
Lumberjanes is available here.
Ladlad: An Anthology of Philippine Gay Writing
By Danton Remoto and J. Neil Garcia
Since we started with a Filipino-written book, let’s end with one, too. This book is the first of three in the Ladlad series, showcasing different poems, stories, plays, and essays about life as a queer Filipino. It exhibits the struggles they endure as well as the sweet moments that play out in between, and then takes a long hard look at what’s it like to be gay in a third-world-slash-kind-of-developing country.
Ladlad is available here.
Art by Julia Danielle David