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More than 50 books by Queer People of Color
Gwen 1
zahrawithaz
This is for glinda, who is excited about queerlit50 but has expressed frustration because it's too much to handle alongside the very wonderful 50books_poc  (which was the 2nd comm's inspiration). She asked for recommendations for books by queer people of color.

I thought, I'm sure I can come up with 50 books by LGBT people of color. So I did.

Thus far it's 32 authors and 66 books. This list is obviously partial--it skews American, Anglophone, African-American, and bisexual, just to start, because of my own experiences, though I haven't read every book on it myself. I would really love to add to it, and welcome additions. Sadly, at the moment I think it's only a list of books by LGB people of color, and I'd be particularly interested in works by trans authors. (Also, if any of these books are transphobic, I'd like to flag that, too. Let me know.)

Like  queerlit50  this list is about the author's identity, rather than content, so it includes books in which everyone is white (Giovanni's Room) and no one is obviously queer (A Raisin in the Sun). If I have inadvertently identified anyone incorrectly (for example, including someone of Cuban descent who doesn't consider themselves of color, or calling someone queer who doesn't identify that way), please let me know and I will be happy to amend.


Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls. Autobiography of a gay Cuban man.

James Baldwin, Another Country, Giovanni’s Room, Go Tell It On the Mountain, Tell Me How Long The Train’s Been Gone (novels), The Fire Next Time (essays). Highly recommended.

Octavia E. Butler, Fledgling, Kindred, Bloodchild and Other Stories, Dawn, Adulthood Rites, Imago, many others. Highly recommended.

Staceyann Chin, The Other Side of Paradise. Memoir about growing up poor, half-black and half-Chinese, and lesbian in Jamaica.

Christina Chiu, Troublemaker and Other Stories. Short stories.

Samuel R. Delaney, Dhalgren, Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, many other novels and short stories and The Motion of Light in Water (autobiography). Delaney identified as bisexual for a long time but now calls himself gay.

Farzana Doctor, Stealing Nasreen. Muslim Gujarati lesbians in Canada.

Mayra Lazara Dole, Down to the Bone. YA novel about a Cuban-American lesbian in Miami. Warning for biphobic sentiments voiced by characters and left unchallenged.

Jewel Gomez, The Gilda Stories. Black lesbian vampire lives through much of American history. Fascinating remaking of vampire mythology and a key text of 1970s lesbian lit. Warning for biphobic stereotypes.

Angelina Weld Grimké, Selected Works of Angelina Weld Grimké. Like Nugent below, Grimké wrote about erotic attractions to both women and men during the Harlem Renaissance, but homophobia kept her from publishing during her lifetime.

Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun (play). To Be Young, Gifted, and Black. The very talented Hansberry identified as a lesbian, but after her death her ex-husband/literary executor did a lot to obscure the fact.

E. Lynn Harris, Invisible Life, Just As I Am, And This Too Shall Pass, Any Way the Wind Blows, A Love of My Own. Novels about African-American gay and bisexual men. Often explicitly erotic.

Langston Hughes, The Big Sea (autobiography) and numerous collections of poetry.

June Jordan, Soldier: A Poet’s Memoir. And her poetry too, obviously.

Jackie Kay, Trumpet (a novel about a black trans jazz musician), Other Lovers (poetry) and many collections of poetry. Also Bessie Smith, her biography of the blues singer.

Thi Diem Thúy Lê, The Gangster We Are All Looking For. Author identifies as bisexual. Autobiographical novel about a Vietnamese immigrant family in the US.

Felicia Luna Lemus, Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties, and Like Son. Novels about Chicano genderqueer or trans protagonists. IMO the first one is much better.

Malinda Lo, Ash. YA fantasy involving fairies; a lesbian retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale.

Lani Ka'ahumanu, co-editor (with Loraine Hutchins), Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out. Edited collection.

Yukio Mishima, Confessions of a Mask. Famous novel about a closeted gay man by the giant of 20th-century Japanese literature. He wrote 39 other novels, plus plays, short stories, and essays before his even more famous public suicide.

Mary Anne Mohanraj, Bodies in Motion. Short stories about two linked Sri Lankan families, including gay, lesbian, and bi characters. Also two collections of erotic short stories: Torn Shape of Desire and Silence and the Word. Author identifies as bisexual (and has kindly provided more info in the comments below).

Richard Bruce Nugent, Gay Rebel of the Harlem Renaissance: Selections from the Work of Richard Bruce Nugent. It’s debated whether Nugent was a gay man, or a bisexual one whom later historians have forced into the gay mold. But he bravely wrote openly about male same-sex desire in the black community in the 1920s.

Achy Obejas, Days of Awe and Memory Mambo (novels about Cuban-American lesbians), We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This? (short stories)

Nina Revoyr, The Necessary Hunger and Southland (novels about Japanese-American and African-American communities in Los Angeles), The Age of Dreaming (novel about a Japanese-American silent film star). Highly recommended.

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, The Dirty Girls Social Club and other novels. Author identifies as bisexual, but handled coming-out in public badly.

Sean Steward Ruff, Finlater. Two young boys, one black, one Jewish, fall for each other in racially segregated Columbus. Too sexually explicit to be considered YA. Highly recommended.

Alex Sanchez, Rainbow Boys, Rainbow High, Rainbow Road, The God Box, So Hard to Say, Getting It, Bait. YA fiction about teenager boys, many of whom are gay or bisexual.

Shyam Selvadurai, Funny Boy, Cinnamon Gardens, Swimming in the Monsoon Sea. Novels that feature gay Sri Lankan men; the last is YA.

Linda Villarosa, Passing for Black. Fun, fluffy story about a black middle-class woman coming out. Warning for attempts to be a trans ally that fall short.

Alice Walker, The Color Purple, Anything We Love Can Be Saved, The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart, many other novels and short stories.

Rebecca Walker, Black White and Jewish and Baby Love. Author identifies as bisexual. Warning for much less talent than her mother.

Kenji Yoshino, Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights. A must-read for anyone who cares about identity. Highly, highly recommended.

Update 1 (because I hope there will be more)

Craig Laurance Gidney, Sea, Swallow Me. Short story collection, mostly fantasy, some horror, more focused on black gay men. Some explicit sex.

Nalo Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring (post-apocalyptic voudon!Toronto), Midnight Robber (Caribbean-colonized planet and its alternative dimension), Skin Folk (incredible short stories), The Salt Roads (the goddess Ezili connects the lives of a lesbian in pre-Revolutionary Haiti, a bisexual woman in 19thc France, and a prostitute in Roman Egypt), The New Moon's Arms (Caribbean-set fantasy/sf). Also the editors of So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy, Mojo: Conjure Stories, and Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction.

I'm tempted to put Nisi Shawl, author of the sci-fi short story collection Filter House, on this list, but I'm afraid it might be a misrepresentation of her identity. If anyone has info on how she self-identifies, I'd welcome clarification.

If you feel inclined to signal-boost, it would be much appreciated. I'm very excited about  queerlit50   and I'd like to see authors of color well-represented on it.

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You are awesome. Bookmarking this. ♥

Thank you. Please spread the word!

I've actually read some of these! Suddenly I feel reassured that this challenge won't be so difficult to fulfill (I still haven't read anything for 50books_poc this year and I was starting to feel a little dismayed at myself.

Good! Encouragement is a good thing!

Oh wow, this is excellent, I was hoping for a few recs but this is both wonderful and more than I could have hoped for! I knew about about Jackie Kay (Scottish lesbian writers for the win!) but all the rest are new to me.

So glad you like it! And very glad that it includes a lot of people you didn't previously know. I hope it will be a resource for lots of people.

If you're looking for Scottish lesbian writers, do you read Ali Smith?

Thank you for putting this together, it looks like a great resource.

The only addition that leaps to mind is Nalo Hopkinson (Brown Girl in the Ring and others), but I'll keep thinking about it.

So glad for the appreciation (it took quite a bit of time).

I did not know about Nalo Hopkinson! If I had, I would totally have put The Salt Roads on here. Thank you so much! I'm hoping to get a bunch more names and do one big update.

Thank you so much for putting this together!

I love reading lists and recommendations. This is just great. So many books to read. *drools* I'm so happy to see YA on the list as well.

(Deleted comment)
Yes, please do!

And aww, you make me blush.

This is great. Thank you.

Hello, list of amazingface! &hearts OMG, STACEYANN CHIN. I have been meaning to read that memoir; am going to bump it up the list now! :D

Glad you like!

And I've read the Staceyann Chin memoir, and I definitely recommend--I liked it enough to give it as an Xmas gift. I had expected it to be really depressing, but every time it seems it's headed that way the narrative turns an unexpected corner. It's really quite good, and it's a surprisingly fast read, too.

This is AWESOME; will link. I do think you're underselling Malinda Lo's Ash, though -- it's a lesbian retelling of Cinderella. :)

Thank you! And oh, you're totally right; I will amend when I do my update. I have that one sitting on my to-read shelf as we speak!

I'm here from 50books_poc, and just wanted to say thanks for the list! I've read some of them, but all. Will be referring back to this!

Warning for much less talent than her mother.

I laughed. I'm a bad person.

You are very welcome! I am excited to see it used as a community resource.

Not nearly as bad as I am for writing it! But, um, sometimes honesty wins over tact.

I had no idea Octavia Butler was queer.

She was very quiet about it, and who can blame her? She came to prominence in the 80s, a decade that was very cruel to both men and women who were out. But if you think about it there are quite a lot of queer themes in her fiction, and her last book, Fledgling, addressed them much more openly.

When she died (far too young! so sad!) it was noticeable that obituaries in the GLBT press identified her as a lesbian but mainstream ones did not.

Yay, thank you for putting this list together.

Chrystos (Menominee). I've only read Not Vanishing and In Her I Am; the latter is a collection of butch/femme erotic poetry.

Paula Gunn Allen (Laguna Pueblo, Lebanese, Scottish). The Sacred Hoop.

Thank you! Will update soon!

This is awesome. Thank you for putting it together. :)

Thanks for doing this! Just a quick note; my name is spelled Mary Anne (with an 'e') Mohanraj. And you might want to note that _Bodies in Motion_ contains both gay and lesbian characters (in addition to a couple bisexual ones and a bunch of straight folks). No trans, I'm afraid. Something to work on!

Also, for those folks looking for genre-specific stuff, they could check out my poly space opera story, "Jump Space", available for free online. In the future, everyone's bisexual! (Okay, no, not really, but everyone in this story is.) http://thoughtcrime.crummy.com/2009/Jump.html

Thank you for the shout-out on your blog! Please accept my apologies for the misspelling, which I've corrected. And thank you for the link and additional details about your books; I'm hoping this can grow and grow!

Oh, also, _Bodies in Motion_ is a mainstream, immigrant lit, novel-in-stories. You might also list my two previous collections: _Torn Shapes of Desire_, _Silence and the Word_. Both mostly erotica, but Silence has a fair bit of SF/F in. And there's my two choose-your-own-adventure erotic novels, _Kathryn in the City_ and _The Classics Professor_.

The Classics Professor is yours? *goes and gets my copy* ...wow, the book designer didn't make your name exactly easy to find. :-(

Well, that one is a little complicated. Penguin originally asked me and Michael Hemmingson to write the two books; partway through the process, they decided they didn't like what Michael was doing. (Personally, I think Michael is a great writer, but it wasn't my call.) So anyway, they paid him a kill fee and cancelled his contract, and then asked me if I'd be willing to use his title / storyline and write the actual book. Which I agreed to do. So to be fair, I'd say the final product is really a collaboration in some sense; it's not a storyline I would have come up with on my own.

That whole process also meant that instead of the four months I had to write _Kathryn_, I had just one month to write _Classics_, which was, umm...a little tense. One might even say rushed. I'm not as happy with the end result as I am with _Kathryn_. But still, I think they're both fun, light reads. I do love the little Cloisters section in _Classics_, but that may be just because I have a weakness of monks' herb gardens and unicorn tapestries.

Thanks for this list! Bookmarked and searching my library's website now.

I really like Staceyann Chin but didn't know she'd written an memoir, so that's especially exciting.

Found this through a rando link on twitter. Very nice! Here are two Chicana writers that I've read if you'd like to add them to your list :)

Cherrie Moraga, "Loving in the War Years", "The Hungry Woman", and any other book she's written.

Gloria Anzaldua - Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza




Some off the cuff suggestions. I don't have access to most of my collection right now, and I haven't checked the Tables of Contents of my anthologies, many of which contain queer PoC.

People should check out RedBone Press, run by Lisa C. Moore (who edited DOES YOUR MAMA KNOW, an anthology of black lesbian coming out stories) which is a press devoted to publishing queer PoC and publishes writers like Samiya Bashir, Sharon Bridgforth, Marvin K. White, etc. as well as lots of important anthologies.

(And not to forget our history, worth looking at titles from the first–but sadly no longer extant–feminist women of color press, Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, founded by Audre Lourde, Barbara Smith, and Cherrie Morraga.)

Larry Duplechan, black gay author of BLACKBIRD, GOT 'TIL ITS GONE, etc.

G. Winston James' collected stories, SHAMING THE DEVIL, is out now from Top Pen Press.

Don Belton, a black gay author who, unfortunately, was murdered a few weeks ago. :-(

Randall Keenan, black gay author, A VISITATION OF SPIRITS, LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD, etc.

Andy Quan is a gay Chinese-Canadian author now living in Australia. His books include SIX POSITIONS and CALENDAR BOY.

Justin Chin, Malaysian gay author of MONGREL, GUTTED, HARMLESS MEDICINE, etc.

Noël Alumit, gay Filipino author of LETTERS TO MONTGOMERY CLIFFT and TALKING TO THE MOON.

R. Zamora Linmark, gay author born in Manila, author of ROLLING THE R's, etc.

Michael Nava, gay chicano mystery author.

Jaime Manrique, gay Colombian author of LATIN MOON IN MANHATTAN, TWILIGHT AT THE EQUATOR, etc.

Lots of poets, too, although I think the original list didn't incluyde them...

Great list. However, two nits:

Octavia Butler doesn't belong on this list. She wasn't queer. I base this statement on my friendship with her.

I do belong on this list. I am. Love, Nisi

Your post has been included in a Linkspam.

(Deleted comment)

Reading comprehension fail!

holyschist

2010-01-21 08:32 am (UTC)

Dur, sorry, I totally did not read your post closely at all. Deleting previous comment.

Anyway, thank you for posting this! I have added a bunch of books to my to-read list.

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