Books play an important role in our lives. By opening a book, we open a magical passage that transports us to another world. Sometimes those worlds are fantastical and fictional, other times they're still fictional, but very grounded in reality. And there are even times when the book and the world it metaphorically transports us to is nonfiction, but the journey is still its own kind of magic. If you're looking to immerse yourself in stories about and by the LGBTQ+ community, there are plenty of books just waiting to transport you. What's more, the 2021 slate of new books includes a great selection of LGBTQ+ books, both fiction and nonfiction.
From memoirs, to collections of essays and poetry, to accounts and investigations into historically significant movements, LGBTQ+ books coming out in 2021 run the gamut. That makes sense, of course, since the stories of the LGBTQ+ community are unique and varied and impossible to capture in a single kind of story or from a single perspective. But the point is that no matter what you're looking for and what kind of read you're in the mood for, there's bound to be a brand new LGBTQ+ book on the horizon, just waiting to fill that void in your life (and your reading list). Bookmark this list so you can refer to it throughout the year, any time you're in the need of a brand new read.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below1Outlawed by Anna NorthCourtesyNow 58% off $11 AT AMAZON
Set in an alternate history where women are tried for witchcraft if they can't have children, this western follows Ada, a woman who is forced to flee when she can't get pregnant with her husband. Ada ends up joining a mostly-female gang of outlaws (I'm resisting the urge to make a girl gang joke here), led by a charismatic, nonbinary figure known as The Kid.
Release date: January 52The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr. CourtesyNow 37% off $17 AT AMAZON
This novel, which has been compared to the beautiful writing of Toni Morrison, is about the forbidden union between Isaiah and Samuel, two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation.
Release date: January 53Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters CourtesyNow 11% off $24 AT AMAZON
This groundbreaking novel, which expertly weaves together issues of gender, sex, and relationships, focuses on three women—both trans and cis—who find themselves in the position to raise a baby together.
Release date: January 12 4The Girls I've Been by Tess SharpeCourtesyNow 30% off $13 AT AMAZON
This YA book is about a young girl (whose mom has made a career of scamming criminals) who ends up in a hostage situation alongside her ex-boyfriend and current girlfriend. Awkward, right? Millie Bobby Brown is set to star in (and produce) the film version, which will live on Netflix.
Release date: January 265Everybody (Else) Is Perfect: How I Survived Hypocrisy, Beauty, Clicks, and Likes by Gabrielle KornCourtesyNow 33% off $11 AT AMAZON
In this collection of essays, the former editor-in-chief of Nylon candidly discusses the challenges of navigating the New York media scene as a lesbian and, in the process, provides a roadmap to other marginalized people working to make their way in industries that don't have a history of embracing them.
Release date: January 266Black Boy Out of Time: A Memoir by Hari ZiyadCourtesyNow 26% off $18 AT AMAZON
This moving memoir is about Ziyad's experiences growing up Black and queer in America and explores what it's like to reunite with the past and come of age in your own way.
Release date: February 17100 Boyfriends by Brontez PurnellCourtesyNow 23% off $12 AT AMAZON
This collection of short, slice-of-life stories about queer men takes readers on a journey that includes stops in a variety of places, from gentrified bars in Oakland to farm towns in Alabama, but they all share Purnell’s unique and fearless point of view.
Release date: February 28The Queens' English: The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Phrases by Chloe O. DavisCourtesyNow 28% off $16 AT AMAZON
This gorgeously illustrated glossary features more than 800 words and phrases created by and for queer culture, and acts as a guide to the LGBTQ+ community's contributions to the English language.
Release date: February 29Milk Fed by Melissa BroderCourtesyScribnerNow 36% off $17 AT AMAZON
In this novel, Rachel, a woman with a not-so-great relationship with food, takes a detox from her strict diet—and communication with her mother, who's responsible for it—at the suggestion of her therapist. During her detox, Rachel becomes increasingly drawn to Miriam, a woman who works at the local yogurt shop.
Release date: February 210Love and Other Poems by Alex DimitrovCourtesyNow 15% off $14 AT AMAZON
This intimate, beautiful collection of poems, complete with lines like "to be queer / is a way to forgive life," is a must-read.
Release date: February 911Gay Bar: Why We Went Out by Jeremy Atherton LinCourtesyNow 23% off $22 AT AMAZON
In Gay Bar, Jeremy Atherton Lin examines the history of gay bars and the impact that their closings may have throughout the gay community.
Release date: February 912Let's Get Back to the Party by Zak SalihCourtesyNow 54% off $12 AT AMAZON
Set in 2015, just weeks after the Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, this novel focuses on high school art teacher Sebastian Mote, who is single and lonely and envious of his queer students, who get to live their truths in a way he couldn't as a teen. When he runs into an old friend, Oscar, at a wedding, he sees it as the potential for a second chance and a new life.
Release date: February 1613Tempest: Poems by Ryan MeyerCourtesy $13 AT AMAZON
This collection of poetry, the followup to 2018's Haunt, explores themes of fear, hope, and self-identity.
Release date: March 114Honey Girl: A Novel by Morgan RogersCourtesyNow 32% off $12 AT AMAZON
When 28-year-old Grace goes on a girls' trip to Vegas to celebrate completing her PhD, the weekend ends up being wilder than expected when Grace drunkenly marries a woman she just met—and uproots her life to follow her new wife to New York.
Release date: February 2315untold: defining moments of the uprooted edited by Gabrielle Deonath and Kamini RamdeenCourtesyNow 31% off $14 AT AMAZON
This collection of 32 stories from emerging writers explores the South Asian experience in the U.S., U.K., and Canada through deeply personal accounts of immigration, mental health, sexual orientation, gender identity, racism, colorism, religion, and more.
Release date: March 216Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon GreenCourtesyNow 13% off $24 AT AMAZON
If you're a fan of true crime and LGBTQ+ history, then Last Call, which digs into the story of a serial killer who stalked gay men in the '80s and '90s, has to be added to your reading list.
Release date: March 917Black Girl, Call Home by Jasmine MansCourtesyBerkleyNow 33% off $10 AT AMAZON
In this collection of poetry, Mans explores the complications of mother/daughter relationships, and writes poems dedicated to people like Michelle Obama. "Dear First Lady, / I watched as my 4-year old cousin / Sat in the mirror, / placed my grandmother’s pearls / around her neck and said, / “Do I look like Michelle Obama?”
Release date: March 918Sarahland by Sam CohenCourtesyNow 16% off $20 AT AMAZON
This collection of stories about different women named Sarah, and all of them are fighting against some societal norm. For example, one Sarah loves Buffy (as in the show), and uses fan fic to work through romantic obsession.
Release date: March 919In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World by Pádraig Ó TuamaCourtesyNow 12% off $18 AT AMAZON
Pádraig Ó Tuama's memoir draws on the Irish saying, "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live," and explores themes of Celtic spirituality, belonging, and sexual identity.
Release date: March 2320She's Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy HeardCourtesy $18 AT AMAZON
This YA thriller, inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, is a sexy exploration of the intersections of love, art, and power. In it, Veronica, a photographer struggling to find inspiration, falls hard for a mysterious dream girl named Mick, and finds herself pulled along on an adventure that includes a fire, two murders, three drowning bodies, and more.
Release date: March 3021My Shadow Is Pink by Scott StuartCourtesy $18 AT AMAZON
This beautiful, rhyming children's book—inspired the author's own child—about gender identity, self acceptance, equality, and diversity is about a protagonist who likes princesses, fairies and other things that are "not for boys" and has to learn, with the support of his parents, to embrace the "shadow" that society makes him feel he needs to hide.
Release date: April 122Leaving Isn't the Hardest Thing by Lauren HoughCourtesyNow 40% off $10 AT AMAZON
Cult survivor Lauren Hough's collection of essays covers the many identities she's had as an adult—from an airman in the U.S. Air Force, to a cable guy, to a bouncer at a gay club.
Release date: April 13 23Malice by Heather WalterCourtesyNow 44% off $15 AT AMAZON
This retelling of Sleeping Beauty truly flips the tale on its head. Aurora, the titular sleeping beauty, finds herself drawn not to a prince, but to Alyce, a probably-evil, undeniably powerful fairy who is feared by the townspeople.
Release date: April 1324Between Perfect and Real by Ray StoeveCourtesyNow 22% off ORDER IT
This YA book follows trans student Dean Foster as he struggles with when to come out to everyone—including his girlfriend, Zoe—who thinks he's a lesbian. He considers waiting until college to come out, but when he's cast as a nontraditional Romeo in a production of Romeo & Juliet at school, Dean realizes how important it is that everyone see him as who he really is now—and not just on stage.
Release date: April 13 25Kate in Waiting by Becky AlbertalliCourtesyNow 32% off $13 AT AMAZON
This is a classic rom-com waiting to brighten your spring reading list. Kate and Anderson are lifelong BFFs who share everything—including crushes on the same guys. Normally, it's not an issue, but when their latest crush turns up at their school, things get ~dramatic~ and their friendship is tested.
Release date: April 2026Cool for the Summer by Dahlia AdlerCourtesyNow 37% off $12 AT AMAZON
Yes, this book does have a title that it just so happens to share with a Demi Lovato song, but this story isn't about a singer. It focuses on Lara, a teen who has been crushing on her school's It Guy, Chase, for years. When he finally notices her back, however, things get complicated when her summer fling, Jasmine, transfers to her school, tugging her heart in two directions.
Release date: May 1127The Guncle by Steven RowleyCourtesyNow 20% off $21 AT AMAZON
This hilarious and heartwarming novel from the author of Lily and the Octopus is about a formerly-famous gay sitcom star who finds himself the guardian of his young niece and nephew after the tragic loss of their mother.
Release date: May 2528Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 by Sarah SchulmanCourtesyNow 33% off $27 AT AMAZON
Schulman's latest book is a thorough history of ACT UP New York, a group of activists who fought back against all the different groups and systems that were furthering the AIDS crisis. The book is based on tons of interviews and offers an in-depth look at what grassroots advocacy can actually achieve.
Release date: May 1829The Engagement: America's Quarter-Century Struggle Over Same-Sex Marriage by Sasha IssenbergCourtesyNow 39% off SHO PNOW
This lengthy book (like, it's LONG, people) delves into the history—including the people and court cases—that led to the United States Supreme Court's landmark 2015 decision legalizing same sex marriage, and the changing attitudes of people throughout the country on the issue.
Release date: June 130Hola Papi: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul BrammerCourtesyNow 35% off $17 AT AMAZON
Popular LGBTQ+ advice columnist John Paul Brammer brings his signature wit and humor to this book of autobiographical essays.
Release date: June 8