Five Queer Memoirs To Read During Pride Month

Between celebratory parades, fundraising initiatives, and community events, Pride Month is all about celebrating and honoring LGBTQIA+ culture and history. While we recommend supporting queer authors all year round, this month-long holiday also provides the perfect opportunity to curate your reading list around queer stories and histories.

Memoirs, specifically, give voice to individual stories while speaking to the shared experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community. If you're used to reading novels, nonfiction can seem like a less appealing alternative, but memoirs are definitely worth giving a shot. These books can make you laugh, move you to tears, connect with your background, and expose you to new ideas and realities.

For those new to the memoir genre, you can always check out books from your favorite celebrities or public figures, such as "Naturally Tan: A Memoir" by Tan France or "One Life" by Megan Rapinoe. But luckily there are plenty of queer memoirs that are perfect for your Pride Month reading.

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

You might recognize "Gender Queer" by Maia Kobabe from recent headlines, as it's become one of the most banned books in public and school libraries in the past years. Written as a graphic novel, this book charts Kobabe's adolescent experiences with gender identity and sexuality, exploring what it means to be non-binary and asexual.

Though it's designed for queer youth, "Gender Queer" is an informative, heartfelt story of gender identity that is worth a read for LGBTQIA+ adults and straight allies alike.

Mean by Myriam Gurba

Next on our list of memoirs is "Mean," a 2017 debut title from Myriam Gurba. Described as darkly comedic, this book chronicles the author's journey through childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood as a queer, mixed-race Chicana.

While Gurba is praised for her intelligent yet brutal exploration of heavy topics such as sexual assault, misogyny, and racism, some readers do criticize how she handles certain traumas. "Mean" takes a hard but witty look at growing up as a mixed-raced lesbian, but its tone and subject matter won't be for everyone.

Mama's Boy: A Story from Our Americas by Dustin Lance Black

You may know Dustin Lance Black from his historic activism against California's 2008 anti-gay marriage ballot proposition, or his award-winning work as the screenwriter for "Milk," but he also has an inspirational memoir about his life prior to these monumental moments.

In "Mama's Boy: A Story from Our Americas," Black combines his own experiences growing up in a Mormon household in San Antonio, Texas with tales from his stalwart mother's life to create a moving, vulnerable tale that explores everything from sexuality and religion to family bonds and political activism. If you enjoy the written version, you can also check out its adaptation on HBO Max.

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

While Audre Lorde defines "Zami: A New Spelling of My Name" as a biomythography, a genre combining myth, history, and biography, it still deserves a place on our list of queer memoirs. If you're unfamiliar, Lorde was a legendary writer, civil rights activist, womanist, and feminist of the late 20th century, penning essays such as "The Master's Tools Will Not Dismantle the Master's House."

Packed with beautiful writing and insightful honesty, "Zami" chronicles the author's early life in Harlem, exploring her connections to other women in tandem with her identity as a Black lesbian. Although it's considered a must-read by many, it does include heavy topics such as sexual assault, racism, violence, and suicide.

We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir by Samra Habib

Samra Habib's 2019 memoir "We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir" rounds out our recommendations with an examination of identity, religion, and family. Spanning Habib's childhood as an Ahmadi Muslim in Pakistan to her transition to refugee life in Canada and beyond, this book is about embracing your true self and reconciling various identities.

Clocking in at 220 pages, "We Have Always Been Here" is a great Pride Month pick for anyone looking for something heartfelt but short.