LGBT History Month 2021

February is LGBT History Month, an annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community’s rich history. The month focuses on the celebration and recognition of LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, as well as other identities such as queer, questioning or intersex) people, increasing the visibility of LGBT histories, lives and experiences.

We selected some great titles from our e-library to help you celebrate the month.


Adult Titles

“Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?” – Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin.

Giovanni’s Room, by James Baldwin

One of the BBC’s ‘100 Novels That Shaped Our World’, Baldwin’s ground-breaking second novel, Giovanni’s Room, tells the story of David, a young American in 1950s Paris, waiting for his fiancée to return from vacation in Spain. But when he meets Giovanni, a handsome Italian barman, the two men are drawn into an intense affair. Baldwin caused outrage as a black author writing about white homosexuals, yet for him the issues of race, sexuality and personal freedom were eternally intertwined.

Borrow now as an e-book or e-audiobook.


Good As You From Prejudice to Pride – 30 Years of Gay Britain by Paul Flynn

In 1984 the pulsing electronics and soft vocals of Smalltown Boy would become an anthem uniting gay men. A month later, an aggressive virus, HIV, would be identified and a climate of panic and fear would spread across the nation, marginalising an already ostracised community. Yet, out of this terror would come tenderness and 30 years later, the long road to gay equality would climax with the passing of same sex marriage.

Paul Flynn charts this astonishing pop cultural and societal U-turn via the cultural milestones that effected change—from Manchester’s self-selection as Britain’s gay capital to the real-time romance of Elton John and David Furnish’s eventual marriage. Including candid interviews from major protagonists, such as Kylie, Russell T Davies, Will Young, Holly Johnson and Lord Chris Smith, as well as the relative unknowns crucial to the gay community, we see how an unlikely group of bedfellows fought for equality both front of stage and in the wings.

Borrow now as an e-book.


Spectacles by Sue Perkins

When I began writing this book, I went home to see if my mum had kept some of my stuff. What I found was that she hadn’t kept some of it. She had kept all of it – every bus ticket, postcard, school report – from the moment I was born to the moment I finally had the confidence to turn round and say ‘Why is our house full of this shit?’ Sadly, a recycling ‘incident’ destroyed the bulk of this archive. This has meant two things: firstly, Dear Reader, you will never get to see countless drawings of wizards, read a poem about corn on the cob, or marvel at the kilos of brown flowers I so lovingly pressed as a child. Secondly, it’s left me with no choice but to actually write this thing myself.

Don’t miss Spectacles, the hilarious, creative and incredibly moving memoir from much loved comedian, writer and presenter Sue Perkins.

Borrow now as an e-book or e-audiobook


My Cat Yugoslavia, by Pajtim Statovci

Yugoslavia, 1980s: a 16-year-old Muslim girl named Emine is married off to a man she hardly knows. But what was meant to be a happy match soon goes terribly wrong. Her country is torn apart by war and she flees with her family. Decades later Emine’s son, Bekim, has grown up a social outcast in Finland; both an immigrant in a country suspicious of foreigners, and a gay man in an unaccepting society. Aside from casual hookups, his only friend is a boa constrictor whom he lets roam his apartment – even though he is terrified of snakes. But one night in a gay bar, Bekim meets a talking cat who moves in with him and his snake. This witty, charming, manipulative creature starts Bekim on a journey back to Kosovo to confront his demons and make sense of the remarkable, cruel history of his family. It is a journey that will eventually lead him to love.

Borrow now as an e-book or an e-audiobook.


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship–the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Borrow now as an e-book or an e-audiobook.


Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai

The setting is Sri Lanka, 1980, and it is the season of monsoons. Fourteen-year-old Amrith is caught up in the life of the cheerful, well-to-do household in which he is being raised by his vibrant Auntie Bundle and kindly Uncle Lucky. He tries not to think of his life “before,” when his doting mother was still alive. Amrith’s holiday plans seem unpromising: he wants to appear in his school’s production of Othello and he is learning to type at Uncle Lucky’s tropical fish business. Then, like an unexpected monsoon, his cousin arrives from Canada and Amrith’s ordered life is storm-tossed. He finds himself falling in love with the Canadian boy. Othello, with its powerful theme of disastrous jealousy, is the backdrop to the drama in which Amrith finds himself immersed.

Borrow as an e-book.


And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts

Extensively researched (Shilts interviewed over 1,000 people), weaving together personal stories with political and social reporting And the Band Played On is a masterpiece of investigative reporting and it led to Shilts being described as “the pre-eminent chronicler of gay life” (‘The New York Times’). And the Band Played On was awarded the Stonewall Book Award, it became an international bestseller (translated into 7 languages) and was made into a major movie in 1993 starring Richard Gere and Ian McKellen. Randy Shilts exposed why AIDS was allowed to spread while the medical and political authorities ignored (and even denied) the threat. And the Band Played On is one of the great works of contemporary journalism, and provides the foundation for the continuing debate about the greatest medical epidemic faced in our time.

Borrow as an e-book.


Love and Resistance Out of the Closet, by Roxane Gay

More than one hundred vivid photographs of the LGBT revolution—and its public and intimate moments in the 1960s and 70s—that lit a fire still burning today. A ragtag group of women protesting behind a police line in the rain. A face in a crowd holding a sign that says, “Hi Mom, Guess What!” at an LGBT rights rally. Two lovers kissing under a tree. These indelible images are among the thousands housed in the New York Public Library’s archive of photographs of 1960s and ’70s LGBTQ history from photojournalists Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies. Lahusen is a pioneering photojournalist who captured pivotal moments in the LGBTQ civil rights movement. Davies, in turn, is one of the most important photojournalists who documented gay, lesbian, and trans liberation, as well as civil rights, feminist, and antiwar movements.

Borrow as an e-book.


Out at the Movies, by Steven Paul Davies

Over the decades, gay cinema has reflected the community’s journey from persecution to emancipation to acceptance. Politicised dramas like Victim in the 60s, The Naked Civil Servant in the 70s, and the AIDS cinema of the 80s have given way in recent years to films which celebrate a vast array of gay life-styles. Gay films have undergone a major shift, from the fringe to the mainstream and 2005’s Academy Awards were dubbed ”the Gay Oscars” with gongs going to Brokeback Mountain, Capote and Transamerica. Producers began clamouring to back gay-themed movies, including I Love You Phillip Morris with Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, Gus Van Sant’s Milk, starring Sean Penn, the feel good British movie Pride and The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch and Carol which is nominated for six Oscars. In this revised, expanded and completely up to date edition, Out at the Movies looks back, decade by decade, at the history of gay cinema, celebrating films which have defined the genre.

Borrow as an e-book.


Binge, by Tyler Oakley

Pop-culture phenomenon, social rights advocate, and the most prominent LGBTQ+ voice on YouTube, Tyler Oakley brings you Binge, his New York Times bestselling collection of witty, personal, and hilarious essays.For someone who made a career out of over-sharing on the Internet, Tyler has a shocking number of personal mishaps and shenanigans to reveal in his first book: experiencing a legitimate rage blackout in a Cheesecake Factory; negotiating a tense stand­off with a White House official; crashing a car in front of his entire high school, in an Arby’s uniform; projectile vomiting while bartering with a grandmother; and so much more. In Binge, Tyler delivers his best untold, hilariously side-splitting moments with the trademark flair that made him a star.

Borrow as an e-audiobook.


Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Colm Tóibín Wallace has spent his summer in the lab breeding a strain of microscopic worms. He is four years into a biochemistry degree at a lakeside Midwestern university, a life that’s a world away from his childhood in Alabama. His father died a few weeks ago, but Wallace didn’t go back for the funeral, and he hasn’t told his friends Miller, Yngve, Cole and Emma. For reasons of self-preservation, he has become used to keeping a wary distance even from those closest to him. But, over the course of one blustery end-of-summer weekend, the destruction of his work and a series of intense confrontations force Wallace to grapple with both the trauma of the past, and the question of the future. Deftly zooming in and out of focus, Real Life is a deeply affecting story about the emotional cost of reckoning with desire, and overcoming pain.

Borrow now as an e-book or an e-audiobook.


Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

The unforgettable debut novel by co-author with John Green of Will Grayson, Will Grayson To be together with someone for twenty years seems like an eternity. I can’t seem to manage twenty days… How do you stay together? Paul has been gay his whole life and he’s confident about almost everything. He doesn’t have to hide his feelings like best friend Tony or even cope with loving the wrong guy like his other best friend Joni. But heartbreak can happen to anyone. Falling in love changes everything.

Borrow now as an e-book.


Reads for Children and Young Adults

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Borrow now as an e-book or an e-audiobook.


Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality. When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. At times heartbreaking, at times triumphant, this memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds.

Borrow now as an e-book or e-audiobook.


Julian Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love

In an exuberant picture book, a glimpse of costumed mermaids leaves one boy flooded with wonder and ready to dazzle the world. While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself?

Borrow now as an e-book.


And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by
Danielle Jawando


Nathan is 15, and his brother Al has just committed suicide. Agonisingly, he and friend Megan try to find out why. Written with such empathy that we too experience the fury, guilt and grief of those left behind. Ultimately a celebration of life.

Borrow as an e-book.


I Was Born for This, by Alice Oseman

Jimmy is finding that a life of fame in a teenage boy band is fraught with anxiety. His voice alternates with that of Angel, a lovely, funny Muslim girl obsessed with the band. Their lives collide as everything changes. Great book for exploring deep emotions.

Borrow as an e-book.

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