During the month of February, LGBTQ+ History Month is celebrated in the UK. Each year there is a theme and in 2022, that theme is Politics In Art: ‘The Arc Is Long’.

The organisers have picked five artists (one each to represent the L,G,B,T and ‘+’ of the community) who used their talents for “political” ends, or who have expressed their orientation through their work. You can find more about these individuals on the LGBTQ+ History Month website.

You’ll find titles about LGBTQ+ History on our library shelves and in our BorrowBox collection. You can also browse our reading lists on our Inclusive Reads page – these are updated regularly so do keep checking for new releases.

Here are some titles that Warwickshire Libraries’ staff recommend this LGBTQ+ History Month


Kerry

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

This series has been very popular – it follows the story of Charlie and Nick and the progression of their relationship. It’s soon to be a Netflix series and the graphic novel style makes this a must read. You can find Volume One here (there are four so far).

Charlie and Nick are at the same school, but they’ve never met – until one day when they’re made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realised.


Emily

The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes by Zoe Playdon

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This is on my ‘To Be Read’ pile as it sounds like a remarkable read. You can find it in physical copy and eBook and on eAudio on BorrowBox.

From the book’s blurb:

Ewan Forbes was born Elisabeth Forbes to a wealthy landowning family in 1912. It quickly became clear that the gender applied to him at birth was not correct, and from the age of six he began to see specialists in Europe for help. With the financial means of procuring synthetic hormones, Ewan was able to live as a boy, and then as man, and was even able to correct the sex on his birth certificate in order to marry.

Then, in 1965, his older brother died and Ewan was set to inherit the family baronetcy. After his cousin contested the inheritance on the grounds that it could only be inherited by a male heir, Ewan was forced to defend his male status in an extraordinary court case, testing the legal system of the time to the limits of its understanding.

In The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes, Zoë Playdon draws on the fields of law, medicine, psychology and biology to reveal a remarkable hidden history, uncovering for the first time records that were considered so threatening that they had been removed from view for decades.


Matt

Christodora by Tim Murphy

From the blurb: In this vivid and compelling novel, Tim Murphy follows a diverse set of characters whose fates intertwine in an iconic building in Manhattan’s East Village, the Christodora. 

The Christodora is home to Milly and Jared, a privileged young couple with artistic ambitions. Their neighbour, Hector, a Puerto Rican gay man who was once a celebrated AIDS activist but is now a lonely addict, becomes connected to Milly’s and Jared’s lives in ways none of them can anticipate. Meanwhile, the couple’s adopted son, Mateo, grows to appreciate the opportunities for both self-realisation and oblivion that New York offers.

Queer City by Peter Ackroyd

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In Queer City Peter Ackroyd looks at London in a whole new way – through the history and experiences of its gay population.

In Roman Londinium the city was dotted with lupanaria (‘wolf dens’ or public pleasure houses), fornices (brothels) and thermiae (hot baths). Then came the Emperor Constantine, with his bishops, monks and missionaries. And so began an endless loop of alternating permissiveness and censure.

Ackroyd takes us right into the hidden history of the city; from the notorious Normans to the frenzy of executions for sodomy in the early nineteenth century. He journeys through the coffee bars of sixties Soho to Gay Liberation, disco music and the horror of AIDS.

You can also find this title as an eBook on BorrowBox.


Alice

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The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye

Available on eAudio and in book format, this is the blurb from Faye’s best-selling book:

Trans people in Britain today have become a culture war ‘issue’. Despite making up less than one per cent of the country’s population, they are the subjects of a toxic and increasingly polarized ‘debate’ which generates reliable controversy for newspapers and talk shows. This media frenzy conceals a simple fact: that we are having the wrong conversation, a conversation in which trans people themselves are reduced to a talking point and denied a meaningful voice.

In this powerful new book, Shon Faye reclaims the idea of the ‘transgender issue’ to uncover the reality of what it means to be trans in a transphobic society. In doing so, she provides a compelling, wide-ranging analysis of trans lives from youth to old age, exploring work, family, housing, healthcare, the prison system and trans participation in the LGBTQ+ and feminist communities, in contemporary Britain and beyond.


Non-Fiction Recommendations

Queer: A Collection of LGBTQ Writing From Ancient Times to Yesterday edited by Frank Wynne

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You’ll find this anthology available on our library shelves and in our BorrowBox collection. “Drawing together writing from Catullus to Sappho, from Arthur Rimbaud to Anne Lister and Armistead Maupin, translator Frank Wynne has collected eighty of the finest works representing queer love by LGBTQ authors.

These pieces straddle the spectrum of queer experience, from Verlaine’s sonnet in praise of his lover’s anus and Emily Dickinson’s exhortation of a woman’s beauty, to Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel of her coming out, Juno Dawson’s reflections on gender and Oscar Wilde’s ‘De Profundis’.

With stories, poems, extracts and scenes from countries the world over, Queer is an unabashed and unapologetic anthology, which gives voice to those often silenced.”

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Queer Up by Alexis Caught

From the book’s blurb:

In this empowering and uplifting book, award-winning podcaster Alexis Caught sets out to help queer and curious teenagers explore their LGBTQ+ identity and understanding. Alongside the author’s personal experiences are first-hand stories from notable LGBTQ+ figures, providing a inclusive account of what it means to grow up queer.

With chapters on questioning, coming out, friends and family, love, sex, shame, pride and allyship, this is insightful, thoughtful and reassuring book is essential reading for any questioning teen and their allies looking to support them.


Fiction Recommendations

Under The Rainbow by Celia Laskey

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“Welcome to Big Burr, population 10,024.Big Burr, Kansas is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone – or so they think. But after being labeled “the most homophobic town in America”, a group of queer activists are moving in, and everything is about to change.

Linda welcomes the newcomers. The less they know about the death of her son, the better. Avery is furious at being uprooted from her life in LA. She dreads her classmates discovering that her mom is the head of the queer task force. And Gabe, a lifelong Big Burr resident, is no longer sure about the life he’s built with his wife.

While new friendships are formed, elsewhere tensions reach boiling point. And every resident, old and new, must reconsider the true meaning of community.”

Find it in physical copy, eBook and on eAudio.

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Tink and Wendy by Kelly Ann Jacobson

“What happens when Tinker Bell is in love with both Peter Pan and Wendy?

In this sparkling re-imagining of Peter Pan, Peter and Wendy’s granddaughter Hope Darling finds the reclusive Tinker Bell squatting at the Darling mansion in order to care for the graves of her two lost friends after a love triangle gone awry.

As Hope wins the fairy’s trust, Tink tells her the truth about Wendy and Peter—and her own role in their ultimate fate. Told in three alternating perspectives—past, present, and excerpts from a book called Neverland: A History written by Tink’s own fairy godmother—this queer adaptation is for anyone who has ever wondered if there might have been more to the story of Tinker Bell and the rest of the Peter Pan legend.”