Recommended LGBTQ + Books for IDAHOBIT 2022

 Shelves of rainbow-colored books

Since 2004, 17 May has been the annual International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (#IDAHOBIT). On IDAHOBIT we unite to celebrate gender and sexual diversity and to stand against prejudice and discrimination experienced by LGBTQ + people and communities.

Spectrum is LSE’s LGBTQ + staff network and is here to represent and support staff who are lesbian, gay, bi, trans and of any sexual orientation and gender identity. IDAHOBIT 2022 is a hugely important opportunity to keep up momentum for positive change, despite the difficult times we are facing globally. For # IDAHOBIT2022, members of LSE community have recommended LGBTQ + books to entertain, engage, move, inform and inspire.

One of Them: From Albert Square to Parliament Square. Michael Cashman. Bloomsbury. 2020.

Book cover of One of Them

I picked up this book having seen Michael speak at a local event in East London (where Michael is from). His fantastic aptitude for public speaking translates easily onto the page, making this book an entertaining read. This autobiography provides a fascinating insight into the life of one of London’s most prolific LGBTQ + activists. An extremely moving story, you will laugh, cry and find out that Michael is so much more than just *that* kiss.

Recommended by Amanda M. Gaddes, Deputy Department Manager, LSE Department of Health Policy

Bi the Way: The Bisexual Guide to Life. Lois Shearing. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 2021.

Book cover of Bi the Way

Bi the Way is a really comprehensive exploration of bi experience, combining history, supporting stats and stories of lived experience. When talking about what it’s like to be bi, I often talk about this book and recommend it to people.

Recommended by Graham Snow, Integration Specialist, LSE Data and Technology Services

The Bi-Ble: New Testimonials, Vol. 2. Lauren Nickodemus and Ellen Desmond (eds). Monstrous Regiment. 2019.
 Book cover of The Bi-Ble, Volume 2
This standalone follow-up to The Bi-Ble brings together an intersectional selection of bi voices to explore the often forgotten B in LGBTQ +. These deeply personal essays explore themes of coming out, bisexuality in the media, youth, identity histories, sexuality, biphobia and mental health. Given the wide range of perspectives and themes, most readers will connect with at least one of these moving narratives.

Recommended by Amanda M. Gaddes, Deputy Department Manager, LSE Department of Health Policy

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Arundhati Roy. Penguin. 2018.

 Book cover of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

A central character in The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is Anjum, a transgender woman, born intersex, who revolts against the male features of her anatomy and against a society that divides all things along binary, gendered lines. Much of the book is devoted to Anjum’s struggle against heteronormativity and her radiant vision for an alternative world in which everyone can live as they truly are.

Recommended by Joss Harrison and Vivekah Deerpaul, LSE Phelan US Center

Islands of Mercy. Rose Tremain. Vintage. 2021.

Book cover of Islands of Mercy

Set in Bath in 1865, a young woman working as a nurse becomes involved in a dangerous affair with a female lover. Across the globe an eccentric British ‘rajah’ in Borneo uses his power to shamelessly exploit those around him and indulge his forbidden desires. Both lives become intertwined and the story that unfolds results in a page-turning, brilliant piece of historical fiction. This is an easy read, with wonderful characters, Rose Tremain once again demonstrating her ability to explore the human experience.

Side note: This book also introduced me to the history of the transgressive fancy-dress boutiques of Paris and I highly recommend going down that rabbit hole! Fans of Katie McGrath (you know who you are) may prefer to pick up the audiobook, which she skillfully and delightfully narrates.

Recommended by Amanda M. Gaddes, Deputy Department Manager, LSE Department of Health Policy

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. Becky Chambers. Harper Voyager. 2016.
 Book cover of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
If there was ever an argument to judge a book by its cover, this is it. This stunning debut book by LGBTQ + sci-fi author Becky Chambers follows an interspecies crew on a galactic adventure and is the first of four books covering this epic space opera. Set many years in the future, all concepts of gender and sexuality have been rewritten and the author carefully explores these themes (along with racism and classism) within an entertaining tale of space high-jinks and futuristic fantasy.
I was completely obsessed with this book and devoured all four novels in about two weeks. It is no surprise, then, that this book was included in the win for the 2019 Hugo Award. I can’t wait to read Becky’s next book!

Recommended by Amanda M. Gaddes, Deputy Department Manager, LSE Department of Health Policy

LSE Review of Books thanks to all the members of the LSE community who contributed to this reading list with their book recommendations.

Note: This reading list gives the views of the contributors, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.

In-text image credit: Photo by Agustin Gunawan on Unsplash

Banner image credit: Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash


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