Books for Lesbian Visibility Day

By Colleen Rowe | April 26 2021 | Humanities & Social Sciences

We are Celebrating Lesbian Visibility Day by sharing books that delve into lesbian and LGBTQ+ experiences, including fiction, biography, and history.

 

Cantoras 

Winner of the Stonewall Book Award, Cantoras is a revolutionary novel about five wildly different women who, in the midst of the Uruguayan dictatorship, find one another as lovers, friends, and ultimately, family.

 

Sister Outsider

Sister Outsider is a collection of nonfiction writings on race, gender, and LGBTQ issues by the groundbreaking feminist Audre Lorde.

 

Bestiary

A Winner of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award and Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Bestiary is a novel that traces one family’s history from Taiwan to America, with themes of migration, queer lineages, and girlhood.

 

Sybille Bedford

Selina Hastings gives the first biography of the universally acclaimed British writer, Sybille Bedford,  a writer and a journalist who was ahead of her time in many ways, including forming friendships with a literary network of high-powered lesbians.

 

Forcing the Spring

Forcing the Spring is the definitive account of five remarkable years in American civil rights history, when the United States experienced a tectonic shift on the issue of marriage equality.

 

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

“ZAMI is a fast-moving chronicle. From the author’s vivid childhood memories in Harlem to her coming of age in the late 1950s, the nature of Audre Lorde’s work is cyclical. It especially relates the linkage of women who have shaped her. . . . Lorde brings into play her craft of lush description and characterization. It keeps unfolding page after page.” —Off Our Backs

 

The Liar’s Dictionary

The Liar’s Dictionary chronicles the misadventures of a lovelorn Victorian lexicographer and the young woman put on his trail a century later to root out his misdeeds while confronting questions of her own sexuality and place in the world.

 

On Being Different

Originally published in 1971, Merle Miller’s On Being Different is a pioneering and thought-provoking book about being gay in the United States. Miller’s essay “What It Means To Be a Homosexual,” described as “the most widely read and discussed essay of the decade,” carried the seed that would blossom into On Being Different—one of the earliest memoirs to affirm the importance of coming out.

 

Leaving Isn’t Even the Hardest Thing 

Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing interrogates notions of queerness and what it means to live freely. Each essay is a reckoning: of survival, identity, and how to reclaim one’s past when carving out a future.

 

Say Say Say

Tightly woven, humane and insightful, tracing unflinchingly the most intimate reaches of a young woman’s heart and mind, Say Say Say is a riveting story about what it means to love, in a world where time is always running out.

 

Black Girl, Call Home

A literary coming-of-age poetry collection and a piercingly intimate deconstruction of daughterhood, Black Girl, Call Home is an unforgettable poetry collection about race, feminism, and queer identity.

 

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl

Andrea Lawlor gives a riotous, razor-sharp bildungsroman whose hero/ine wends his/her way through a world gutted by loss, pulsing with music, and opening into an array of intimacy and connections.

 

Find more books on LGBTQ+ Literature and History of LGBTQ+ on our Higher Education course listings.

Cantoras
978-0-525-56343-3
Cantoras is a revolutionary novel about five wildly different women who, in the midst of the Uruguayan dictatorship, find one another as lovers, friends, and ultimately, family.
$16.95 US
Jun 02, 2020
Paperback
336 Pages
Vintage

Sister Outsider
Essays and Speeches
978-0-14-313444-2
“Sister Outsider, a collection of essays and speeches by the pioneering feminist Audre Lorde, is one of my all-time-favorite books. It’s always great to have an intersectional tome on hand.” —Amanda Gorman   "Sister Outsider's teachings, by one of our most revered elder stateswomen, should be read by everyone." —Essence Presenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature, with a foreword by Mahogany L. Browne. A New York Times New & Noteworthy book A Penguin Vitae Edition
$27.00 US
Feb 25, 2020
Hardcover
208 Pages
Penguin Classics

Bestiary
A Novel
978-0-593-13259-3
Three generations of Taiwanese American women are haunted by the myths of their homeland in this spellbinding, corporeal debut about one family's queer desires, violent impulses, and buried secrets. LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE - "Epic and intimate at once, Bestiary brings myth to visceral life. K-Ming Chang's talent exposes what is hidden inside us. She makes magic on the page." --Julia Phillips, author of Disappearing Earth
$17.00 US
Jun 01, 2021
Paperback
288 Pages
One World

Sybille Bedford
A Life
978-1-101-94791-3
Selina Hastings gives the first biography of the universally acclaimed British writer, Sybille Bedford, by the celebrated author of books about Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh.
$32.50 US
Feb 02, 2021
Hardcover
432 Pages
Knopf

Forcing the Spring
Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality
978-0-14-312723-9
"[A] riveting legal drama... a spellbinder of a tale that, despite a finale reported round the world, manages to keep readers gripped until the very end." -- The Washington Post
$18.00 US
May 19, 2015
Paperback
496 Pages
Penguin Books

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
A Biomythography
978-0-89594-122-0
“ZAMI is a fast-moving chronicle. From the author’s vivid childhood memories in Harlem to her coming of age in the late 1950s, the nature of Audre Lorde’s work is cyclical. It especially relates the linkage of women who have shaped her . . . Lorde brings into play her craft of lush description and characterization. It keeps unfolding page after page.”
$16.99 US
Jan 01, 1982
Paperback
272 Pages
Crossing Press

The Liar's Dictionary
A Novel
978-0-385-54677-5
The Liar’s Dictionary chronicles the misadventures of a lovelorn Victorian lexicographer and the young woman put on his trail a century later to root out his misdeeds while confronting questions of her own sexuality and place in the world.
$26.95 US
Jan 05, 2021
Hardcover
288 Pages
Doubleday

On Being Different
What It Means to Be a Homosexual
978-0-14-310696-8
The groundbreaking work on being homosexual in America—available again only from Penguin Classics and with a new foreword by Dan SavageOriginally published in 1971, Merle Miller’s On Being Different is a pioneering and thought-provoking book about being homosexual in the United States. Just two years after the Stonewall riots, Miller wrote a poignant essay for the New York Times Magazine entitled “What It Means To Be a Homosexual” in response to a homophobic article published in Harper’s Magazine. Described as “the most widely read and discussed essay of the decade,” it carried the seed that would blossom into On Being Different—one of the earliest memoirs to affirm the importance of coming out.For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
$14.00 US
Sep 25, 2012
Paperback
96 Pages
Penguin Classics

Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing
Essays
978-0-593-08077-1
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "A memoir in essays about so many things—growing up in an abusive cult, coming of age as a lesbian in the military, forced out by homophobia, living on the margins as a working class woman and what it’s like to grow into the person you are meant to be. Hough’s writing will break your heart." —Roxane GaySearing and extremely personal essays, shot through with the darkest elements America can manifest, while discovering light and humor in unexpected corners.As an adult, Lauren Hough has had many identities: an airman in the U.S. Air Force, a cable guy, a bouncer at a gay club. As a child, however, she had none. Growing up as a member of the infamous cult The Children of God, Hough had her own self robbed from her. The cult took her all over the globe--to Germany, Japan, Texas, Chile—but it wasn't until she finally left for good that Lauren understood she could have a life beyond "The Family." Along the way, she's loaded up her car and started over, trading one life for the next. She's taken pilgrimages to the sights of her youth, been kept in solitary confinement, dated a lot of women, dabbled in drugs, and eventually found herself as what she always wanted to be: a writer. Here, as she sweeps through the underbelly of America—relying on friends, family, and strangers alike—she begins to excavate a new identity even as her past continues to trail her and color her world, relationships, and perceptions of self.  At once razor-sharp, profoundly brave, and often very, very funny, the essays in Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing interrogate our notions of ecstasy, queerness, and what it means to live freely. Each piece is a reckoning: of survival, identity, and how to reclaim one's past when carving out a future.A VINTAGE ORIGINAL
$11.99 US
Apr 13, 2021
Ebook
320 Pages
Vintage

Say Say Say
A novel
978-0-525-56552-9
Ella is nearing thirty, and not yet living the life she imagined. Her artistic ambitions as a student in Minnesota have given way to an unintended career in caregiving. One spring, Bryn—a retired carpenter—hires her to help him care for Jill, his wife of many years. A car accident caused a brain injury that has left Jill verbally diminished; she moves about the house like a ghost of her former self, often able to utter, like an incantation, only the words that comprise this novel's title.
$16.00 US
Jun 16, 2020
Paperback
176 Pages
Vintage

Black Girl, Call Home
978-0-593-19714-1
A literary coming-of-age poetry collection, an ode to the places we call home, and a piercingly intimate deconstruction of daughterhood, Black Girl, Call Home is a love letter to the wandering black girl and a vital companion to any woman on a journey to find truth, belonging, and healing.
$15.00 US
Mar 09, 2021
Paperback
256 Pages
Berkley

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
978-0-525-56618-2
It's 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a dyke best friend, makes zines, and is a flaneur with a rich dating life. But Paul's also got a secret: he's a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Paul transforms his body and his gender at will as he crossed the country––a journey and adventure through the deep queer archives of struggle and pleasure. 
$16.95 US
Apr 23, 2019
Paperback
352 Pages
Vintage