10 Queer Books to Help Feel Comfortable in Your Sexuality

Book covers for "Untamed," "Giovanni's Room," "The Girl From the Sea," and "Perfectly Queer."

Queer identities don’t always have the best representations in the media. However, literature has done a great job of uplifting the voices of different queer identities who seek a world in which they feel comfortable, seen, and understood.

Some authors have shared their personal stories, and others have created fictional worlds in which being yourself is the norm or accepted. These books have given readers the space to grow comfortable with their own sexuality and accept themselves for who they are.

From graphic novels of high school students finding themselves to stories about what the working place is for queer people, these books help as a stepping stone to open the space for more queer voices to be heard.

In no particular order, here are 10 queer books to help feel comfortable in your sexuality:

1. Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

Book cover for "Gender Queer" with two individuals.

Gender Queer is the kind of book made for people who are trying to find themselves, exploring their pronouns, and understanding what life is like for them. Maia Kobabe wrote this memoir as a comic to share eir journey.

The book includes crushes, family, society, friendship, and different situations people go through in their lives. It’s the perfect reading for non-binary and asexual individuals who are looking for stories like their own.

Book Description: In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

2. Heartstopper: Volume 1 by Alice Oseman

Book cover for "Heartstopper" with drawings of two teenagers in school uniform with backpacks.

If the Netflix show Heartstopper was your cup of tea, the graphic novel by Alice Oseman will definitely be the kind of read you enjoy. Just like the show, the book focuses on Charlie’s journey as he struggles in school and gets to know Nick.

The characters are just as heartwarming as they are on the show. Charlie’s story becomes more complete with every volume, and Oseman is able to create the perfect world for readers to submerge.

Book Description: Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him.

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 sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…

3. The Times I Knew I Was Gay by Eleanor Crewes

Book cover for "The Times I Knew I Was Gay" with an orange background and the drawing of a girl in a pink top.

It can be hard for girls to come to terms with liking other girls. The journey to self-acceptance is not an easy one, and Eleanor Crewes describes this perfectly in her graphic memoir The Times I Knew I Was Gay.

Like many young girls, Ellie has an obsession with a TV character and a crush on a girl. She navigates this and other awkward situations in the book, giving readers a sense of comfort and belonging.

Book Description: A charming, highly relatable graphic memoir that follows one young woman’s adventures in coming out and coming of age.

Ellie always had questions about who she was and how she fit in. As a girl, she wore black, obsessed over Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and found dating boys much more confusing than many of her friends did. As she grew older, so did her fears and a deep sense of unbelonging. From her first communion to her first girlfriend via a swathe of self-denial, awkward encounters, and everyday courage, Ellie tells her story through gorgeous illustrations—a fresh and funny self-portrait of a young woman becoming herself.

4. There Are Trans People Here by H. Melt

Purple and pink book cover of "There Are Trans People Here."

Poetry is one of the best forms to express your feelings, your identity, and your journey. H. Melt understands that and chooses this form of literature to speak about trans people and the reality of their lives.

The book dives into the lives of the trans community from the past to the present, including different individuals who have been a part of the trans liberation movement.

Book Description: There are trans people here in the past, the present, and the future. H. Melt’s writing centers the deep care, love, and joy within trans communities. This poetry collection describes moments of resistance in queer and trans history as catalysts for movements today. It honors trans ancestors and contemporary activists, artists, and writers fighting for trans liberation. There Are Trans People Here is a testament to the healing power of community and the beauty of trans people, history, and culture.

5. Perfectly Queer: Facing Big Fears, Living Hard Truths, and Loving Myself Fully Out of the Closet by Jillian Abby

Book cover of "Perfectly Queer" with a rainbow background.

Not everybody has had the opportunity to come out in their teenage years or their early 20s. Other members of the queer community have found themselves and have had the chance to come out in their 30s.

That is the story that Jillian Abby shares in her book Perfectly Queer. Her memoir touches on her life as a mother, a wife, and a woman who speaks about her sexuality after 30.

Book Description: This humorous, heartwarming memoir follows a wife and mother’s journey of self-discovery and acceptance as she comes out as a lesbian in her late 30s.
Jill had a happy, healthy 20-year relationship with her college sweetheart, two wonderful kids, and rescue cat from the Humane Society. They lived in a nice suburban home with a white picket fence and owned a small bar that was rated one of the “Best Mom & Pop” businesses in Tampa Bay. From the outside, everything looked perfect.

Perfectly Queer takes the reader on Jillian Abby’s poignant and painfully funny rollercoaster of self-discovery as she identifies and eventually accepts herself as a lesbian just before her 40th birthday. Living her new truth means leaving behind a life that, by societal standards, is nearly perfect.

This is a story for anyone who is hiding a piece of themselves and wants to know if it’s safe to be revealed. It’s for the parent who must choose between their own happiness and the stability of their family, wondering if prioritizing themselves is selfish. It’s for the person potentially facing a major life upheaval filled with unknowns in the future who is seeking reassurance that everything will work out just fine. It’s a story of hope and inspiration to those who are starting or are in the middle of their journey, and an affirmation to those who have been through it to stand proudly on the other side.

6. Untamed by Glennon Doyle

"Untamed" book cover with a colorful background.

Glennon Doyle is known in the literature world as an author and queer activist who uses her voice to tell stories that must be told. In Untamed, she recollects her life, making it a very detailed memoir.

The book is about a mother who goes through a divorce, meets new people, creates a blended family, and how to make the family work and feel complete.

Book Description: Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live. It is the story of navigating divorce, forming a new blended family, and discovering that the brokenness or wholeness of a family depends not on its structure but on each member’s ability to bring her full self to the table. And it is the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honor our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so that we become women who can finally look at ourselves and say: There She Is.

7. Straight Jobs, Gay Lives: Gay and Lesbian Professionals, The Harvard Business School, and the American Workplace by Annette Friskopp and Sharon Silverstein

Book cover for "Straight Jobs, Gay Lives" in blue, white, and red.

One of the hardest things queer people must learn to navigate is being (openly) queer in the workplace. Is it a safe environment for you to come out or be yourself? Will there be repercussions for being openly queer?

Annette Friskopp and Sharon Silverstein did over 100 interviews discussing what it’s like to be gay in America in the workplace. The study reveals the truth, including hardships and wins.

Book Description: “The workplace has become the next frontier for gay rights, ” stated a Fortune magazine cover story, and this book — based on a series of groundbreaking interviews with more than 100 gay and lesbian alumni of the Harvard Business School — is the most complete and most in-depth study ever made of gay and lesbian managers, executives, and employees in this country.

Straight Jobs, Gay Lives frankly examines issues such as coming out versus being closeted in the workplace, harassment, discrimination, health and insurance benefits, resources and support groups, and the differences between the experiences of gay men and lesbians. With hundreds of personal stories — from men and women of all ages and races — Straight Jobs, Gay Lives provides readers with the encouragement, information, and support that they need to navigate today’s fast-changing business world.

8. The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag

Book cover for "The Girl From The Sea" with drawings of two girls (one on land and one in the sea) touching hands.

Being a teenage girl and realizing you like another girl can be extremely terrifying. It can lead you to want to escape your life and get away even from the best of friends. And that is the story in The Girl from the Sea.

Morgan and Keltie fall in love after Keltie rescues Morgan from drowning. Even though things seem to be going in their favor, there are secrets that might change that.

Book Description: Fifteen-year-old Morgan has a secret: She can’t wait to escape the perfect little island where she lives. She’s desperate to finish high school and escape her sad divorced mom, her volatile little brother, and worst of all, her great group of friends…who don’t understand Morgan at all. Because really, Morgan’s biggest secret is that she has a lot of secrets, including the one about wanting to kiss another girl.

Then one night, Morgan is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl named Keltie. The two become friends and suddenly life on the island doesn’t seem so stifling anymore.

But Keltie has some secrets of her own. And as the girls start to fall in love, everything they’re each trying to hide will find its way to the surface…whether Morgan is ready or not.

9. Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote

Young man on the cover of "Other Voices, Other Rooms."

Truman Capote is well-known for the work he has done and the different stories he has told. Other Voices, Other Rooms is one of the many great works in his career. Being semi-autobiographical, it tells the story of Joel Knox.

The book follows his life as he goes to live in Alabama with his stepmom, cousin, and Idabel. It’s a coming-of-age story of hope and innocence.

Book Description: Published when Truman Capote was only twenty-three years old, Other Voices, Other Rooms is a literary touchstone of the mid-twentieth century. In this semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel, thirteen-year-old Joel Knox, after losing his mother, is sent from New Orleans to live with the father who abandoned him at birth. But when Joel arrives at Skully’s Landing, the decaying mansion in rural Alabama, his father is nowhere to be found. Instead, Joel meets his morose stepmother, Amy, eccentric cousin Randolph, and a defiant little girl named Idabel, who soon offers Joel the love and approval he seeks.

Fueled by a world-weariness that belied Capote’s tender age, this novel tempers its themes of waylaid hopes and lost innocence with an appreciation for small pleasures and the colorful language of its time and place.

10. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin

Figures in red, nude, and pink on the cover of "Giovanni's Room."

Life is about living, passion, and death, and that is what James Baldwin aims to share in Giovanni’s Room by telling a story set in Paris. The protagonist must decide between desire and conventional morality.

Exploring a city with different people, the opportunity of falling in love, and the use of imagination. It gives readers the space to dive into this world and also find themselves.

Book Description: Set in the contemporary Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. James Baldwin’s brilliant narrative delves into the mystery of loving with a sharp, probing imagination, and he creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the heart.

Are there any books that have helped you feel comfortable in your sexuality? Share your favorites in the comments below!


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Lara Rosales is a bilingual writer with a BA in Latin-American Literature. She works in PR, hosts a podcast (Cats, Milfs & Lesbian Things), and writes on the internet about TV and movies. Some of her articles can be found on Tell-Tale TV, Geek Girl Authority, Collider, USA Wire, Mentors Collective, Instelite, Noodle, Dear Movies, and Flip Screened.

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