Stories of Experience

By Skokie Staff Adult Services

How people celebrate Pride is as varied as the experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals themselves. This list shares an array of perspectives, yet it is still only a small selection of the LGBTQIA+ experience.

  • Be Gay, Do Comics!


    Filled with LGBTQIA experiences, ranging from personal stories to queer history to cutting satire about pronoun panic and brands desperate to co-opt Pride, and brimming with resilience, inspiration, and humor, this graphic novel has an incredible lineup of top indie cartoonists that takes you from the American Revolution through Stonewall to today's fights for equality and representation. I have never read another book that encompasses so many of the ways people experience queerness, and that is absolutely due to the number of voices represented in this work. A must-read. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Black Boy Out of Time: A Memoir

    2021 by Ziyad, Hari

    Through reframing their own coming-of-age story, Ziyad takes readers on a powerful journey of growing up queer and Black in Cleveland, Ohio, and of navigating the equally complex path toward finding their true self in New York City. Exploring childhood, gender, race, and the trust that is built, broken, and repaired through generations, Ziyad investigates what it means to live beyond the limited narratives Black children are given and challenges the irreconcilable binaries that restrict them. Recommended by Mary.

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  • Love Is an Ex-Country: A Memoir

    2021 by Jarrar, Randa

    Queer. Muslim. Arab American. A proudly fat woman. Randa Jarrar is all of these things. In this "exuberant, defiant, and introspective" memoir of a cross-country road trip, she explores how to claim joy in an unraveling and hostile America (The New York Times Book Review). Recommended by Allyson.

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  • All Boys Aren't Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto

    2020 by Johnson, George M.

    In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys. Recommended by Mary.

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  • Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story

    2019 by Tobia, Jacob

    A heart-wrenching, eye-opening, and giggle-inducing memoir about what it's like to grow up not sure if you're a boy, a girl, something in between, or all of the above. Recommended by Mary.

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  • We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation

    2019 by Riemer, Matthew

    A collaboration of the creators of @lgbt_history on Instagram, this is an illustrated history of Queer Liberation. It includes photographs and primary source materials. Publisher's Weekly says, "The authors trace the origins of the movement to 19th-century Europe, detailing its evolution through historical records and firsthand accounts. Taking an intersectional approach, Riemer and Brown provide perspectives from communities traditionally underrepresented in queer history—including people of color, disabled people, bisexuals, and transgender individuals." Recommended by Becca.

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  • Fairest: A Memoir

    2020 by Talusan, Meredith

    Fairest is a standout debut memoir about a precocious boy with albinism, a "sun child" from a rural Philippine village who geow up to become a woman in the United States. Library Journal says, "Talusan explores her childhood in the Philippines, and how her albinism and family dynamics affected her upbringing. Later, she becomes a student at Harvard, navigating a new environment while exploring her sexuality and grappling with the complexities of her racial identity. Lastly, in perhaps the most compelling part of the book, readers follow her journey and relationships after college, which ultimately led to her gender transition." Recommended by Mary.

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  • Queer Love in Color

    2021 by Jordan, Jamal

    Billy Porter says, “The world needs to see and receive what love looks like in all its forms. Queer Love in Color arrested my heart and soothed my anxious soul. Love is love is love is love! Thank you, Jamal Jordan, for showing the world what true love looks like.” Recommended by Allyson.

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  • The Gay Agenda: A Modern Queer History & Handbook

    2020 by Molesso, Ashley

    Compiled and designed by queer power couple and illustrators extraordinaire, Ashley Molesso and Chess Needham, founders of the popular stationery company Ash + Chess, The Gay Agenda is an inviting and entertaining guide that pays tribute to the LGBTQ+ community. A joyful celebration of the community’s development, history, and culture, packed with facts, trivia, timelines, charts, and beautiful full-color illustrations. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Born Both: An Intersex Life

    2017 by Viloria, Hida

    From one of the world’s foremost intersex activists, a candid, provocative, and eye-opening memoir of gender identity, self-acceptance, and love. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy

    2020 by Brody, Leslie

    "Biographer/playwright Brody, who adapted Harriet the Spy for the stage, portrays the determinedly lesbian/radical life led by Harriet's creator, Louise Fitzhugh, taking her from segregated 1920s Memphis to heady Greenwich Village to postwar Europe" while negotiating the difficult position of being a lesbian author of children’s books (Library Journal). Recommended by Allyson.

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  • Gender Queer: A Memoir

    2019 by Kobabe, Maia

    "Kobabe’s art is very readable and, above all, accommodating. E lays out eir personal history with an enviable degree of candor. Telling the world all your most excruciating personal secrets while also making them aesthetically pleasing and readable certainly seems like it should be a simple enough task, but it’s harder than you might think. Even in the most sensitive areas Kobabe’s art and storytelling remain both personable and clear" (The Comics Journal). Recommended by Mary.

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  • Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality

    2018 by McBride, Sarah

    "Part autobiography, part advocacy, [Tomorrow Will Be Different] succeeds beautifully on both counts. . . . Highly readable and beautifully written, it is an inarguably important book that deserves the widest possible readership" (Booklist). Recommended by Mary.

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  • Children of the Land

    2020 by Hernandez Castillo, Marcelo

    In this lyrical memoir, the prize-winning poet writes about growing up undocumented in the United States. "Throughout, Castillo examines other borders and boundaries in his life, including being bisexual and bilingual" (Publishers Weekly). Recommended by Allyson.

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  • Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience

    2019 by Bhagwati, Anuradha Kristina

    This raw, unflinching memoir by a bisexual woman of color and former U.S. Marine brims "with the ebullient Bhagwati's fierce humanism, seething humor, and change-maker righteousness" (Shelf Awareness). Recommended by Allyson.

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  • Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul's Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life

    2020 by Fitzgerald, Tom

    From the singular voices behind Tom and Lorenzo comes the ultimate guide to all-things RuPaul’s Drag Race and its influence on modern LGBTQ culture. Legendary Children centers itself around the idea that not only is RuPaul’s Drag Race the queerest show in the history of television, but also that RuPaul and company devised a show that serves as an actual museum of queer cultural and social history, drawing on queer traditions and the work of legendary figures going back nearly a century. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Pride: The LGBTQ+ Rights Movement

    2019 by Measom, Christopher

    This lavishly illustrated book commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and is an inspiring photographic journey through the LGBTQ+ Pride movement over the last century. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman

    2019 by Stein, Abby

    The Times of Israel says, "The book gives readers a frank look at what it was like to come of age misgendered in one of the world's most gender-segregated societies. More so, it's about Stein becoming the woman she is and about her finally being able to embrace Judaism on her terms." Recommended by Mary.

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  • We Are Never Meeting in Real Life: Essays

    2017 by Irby, Samantha

    We believe that Irby is hilariously bawdy. You can't go wrong with any of her books and here's why: "The Kalamazoo, Mich., [originally from Evanston, IL] author writes about intersectionality in a way that’s never dogmatic or academic, but unselfconsciously real. From race (she’s Black) to weight (she’s fat) to homophobia (she’s bi) to disability (she has Crohn’s disease and degenerative arthritis), Irby’s personal writing gets at the heart of our daily interactions with life’s most irritating people..." (Advocate). Recommended by Allyson.

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  • Sorted: Growing up, Coming Out, and Finding My Place

    2019 by Bird, Jackson

    An unflinching and endearing memoir from LGBTQ+ advocate Jackson Bird about how, through a childhood of gender mishaps and an awkward adolescence, he finally sorted things out and came out as a transgender man in his mid-twenties (Publisher). Recommended by Mary.

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  • Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter?

    2017 by Davis, Heath Fogg

    In this accessible guide, Davis offers advice for those in organizations who want to redesign sex-classification policies related to situations such as single-sex colleges, public restrooms, and athletic teams. Davis integrates his own experiences as a transgender man born as woman as he argues that we need fewer sex-classification policies in order to reduce sex-identity discrimination. Recommended by Mary.

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  • Officer Clemmons: A Memoir

    2020 by Clemmons, François

    An intimate debut memoir by the Grammy Award-winning artist who famously played “Officer Clemmons” on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, tracing his Oberlin College music studies, his embrace of his sexual orientation, and his life-changing chance encounter with Fred Rogers. Recommended by Becca.

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  • The Book of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed the World

    2019 by Funk, Mason

    Paying tribute to more than 50 extraordinary and influential leaders who sparked the worldwide LGBTQ-rights movement, this important volume tells stories of dedication and triumph through never-before-published original interviews. Kirkus describes it by saying, "Among the dynamic voices featured in his empowering anthology are activists, leaders, and individual contributors who represent the struggle of LGBTQ people to be heard above the perennial din of intolerance, discrimination, and hate. Recognizing that many of the pioneers are baby boomers and that there will be 'fewer of our elders around to interview,' the author briskly traveled across America arranging interviews for a volume he knew would 'do justice to the long, complex journey that our community has traveled.'" Recommended by Becca.

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  • Trans Like Me: Conversations for All of Us

    2018 by Lester, CN.

    Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History, says, "In brisk and readable prose, CN Lester's Trans Like Me clearly maps our culture's current fixation on transgender issues. It's an indispensable insider's guide for the uninitiated, as well as a handy compendium of talking points for anyone who finds themselves needing to answer questions on contemporary trans lives." Recommended by Mary.

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  • Ask a Queer Chick: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life for Girls Who Dig Girls

    2016 by King-Miller, Lindsay

    Funny but honest, Lindsay King-Miller offers a positive and down-to-earth guide for life as a queer woman. Compassion is ultimately the theme of this book and King-Miller manages to cover a lot of ground—even including a chapter for cis/straight individuals. Recommended by Paul.

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  • Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love 1850s-1950s


    A collection of portraits and candid shots of couples taken between the mid-19th century and just after World War II. Author Nini says, "This book means, for the first time, that these people, these couples, get to speak for themselves. They couldn't do it when they were alive, but they can do it now, and I think that's really powerful." Recommended by Becca.

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  • Pride: The Story of the LGBTQ Equality Movement

    2020 by Todd, Matthew

    Pride documents the milestones in the fight for LGBTQ equality, from the victories of early activists to the passing of legislation barring discrimination, and the gradual acceptance of the LGBTQ community in politics, sports, culture, and the media. Rare images and documents cover the seminal moments, events, and breakthroughs of the movement, while personal testimonies share the voices of key figures on a broad range of topics. Pride is a unique celebration of LGBTQ culture, an account of the ongoing challenges facing the community, and a testament to the equal rights that have been won as a result of the passion and determination of this mass movement. Recommended by Becca.

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  • XOXY: Intersex Woman, Mother, Activist

    2020 by Zieselman, Kimberly M.

    Kyle Knight, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, says, "You'd be forgiven for assuming the memoir of a white straight cisgender woman in Massachusetts wouldn't be a story of profound self-discovery in a marginalized community; you'd also be wrong. Therein lies the power of XOXY--in a raw narrative, Zieselman delicately guides you through her own journey as an intersex woman, a mother and a lawyer, and perhaps a not-so-unlikely activist." Recommended by Allyson.

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  • Ace: What Asexuality Reveals about Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex

    2020 by Chen, Angela

    Evette Dionne, editor in chief of Bitch Media, says this is a "powerful book that interweaves reporting and research about asexuality in ways that will remain with readers long after they've turned the last page. Ace announces a new dawn, one in which asexual people are voicing their experiences without fear or shame. They're here, simply living and demystifying misconceptions in the process." Recommended by Allyson.

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