10 Books for IDAHOT 2016- Reading against Homo-, Trans- & Biphobia


It’s International Day Against Homophobia 2016! Happily in recent years transphobia and biphobia have been included as well. As always, these actions seek to highlight the everyday and structural discrimination and violence enacted against the queer community and personally I celebrate the shit out of these days, even if it’s another day in the year round fight for freedom for all of us! I’m spending most of my time today watching queer shorts, yup that’s basically the event name 😀 But then I remembered I do have a blog that like 5 people read, so here’s a list of my fave LGBTQIA+ books or ones that are still on my tbr. Remember to read them well and read them obnoxiously in the face of parading homophobes! *puts down SJW megaphone*


Dirty River by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Queer femme of color memoir including Canada, migration, disability and anarchopunk!


Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Nigerian civil war, coming of age, falling in love and being a lesbian in one of the most dangerous places to be so openly.

queer brown voices

Queer Brown Voices by eds Uriel Quesada and Letitia Gomez

Personal stories by LGBTQIA+ Latin@ ativists!


Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg

Novel about growing up a butch lesbian in a blue-collar community by awesome activist Leslie Feinberg!

stealing nazreen

Stealing Nasreen by Farzana Doctor

Indo-Canadian novel about identity and belonging and being a lesbian in different communities.

staceyann chin

The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin

Memoir by one of my fave spoken-word performers about growing up a lesbian in different homes in Jamaica and finally belonging and finding her voice.


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

I have so much love for this one! Two boys exploring family and identity and finding each other. Has to be one of the most beautifully written books ever, prepare to cry.

june jordan

Directed by Desire by June Jordan

Epic June Jordan’s epic poetry collection. This is the poetry you need, rooted in race, class and gender analysis and impacted by Jordan’s blazing LGB activism. Yes, I keep this book on my nightstand!


Finlater by Sean Stewart Ruff

Too rarely listed coming of age story about a Black and a Jewish boy in 1970s Ohio. This is about love, friendship and racism and segregation.

janet mock

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

Janet Mock  of #GirlsLikeUs talks about identity, transitioning, New York and finally telling her story. This is on my tbr for this year.

Obviously I left out a ton of amazing works, can’t list ’em all. But: Do let me know your favorite LGBTIQIA+ fiction and non-fiction in the comments!

36 thoughts on “10 Books for IDAHOT 2016- Reading against Homo-, Trans- & Biphobia

        1. Oh so many! Off the top of my hat: Something/Everything by Baldwin, Passing, Whipping Girl, Ascension, Octavia Butler’s stuff, all the queer studies academic stuff I left out, indigenous two-spirit lit, spoken word/poetry by Dark Matter, Salt Roads.

          1. Passing is excellent, and I love this vampire novel in which the main vampire is both black and a lesbian called The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez. The main character was a slave who became a vampire.

            1. Yes Passing is amazing! Ooh so jealous you got.to read The Gilda Stories 🙂 I’m.waiting for the reprint to come out since no libraries here have the book. Glad it’s getting a reprint finally though.

              1. I actually read that book in a college class! It was the something like The Female Gothic. I believe I sold the book after the class was over. I was perpetually broke in college.

                1. Ooh yes I am so looking forward to having a paycheck and spending a bit on books! That class sounds fantastic!

  1. Yay for June Jordan! I love her poetry! Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich are also favorites. I like you list very much and have added a couple to my TBR.

  2. Janet Mock is an incredible human being. She’s so smart and knows how to discuss issues that matter in a nuanced way.
    I still need to get a copy of Dirty River. Love the concept and that cover!
    Thanks for this list. 😀

    1. I really live the stuff she does on Twitter, so looking forward to reading her book!
      Oh yeah the Dirty River cover looks awesome! Strange how I rarely used to read memoirs but woc have turned me onto them. Still have to read it too! It’s graduation reward 🙂 Heh readalong if you want!

  3. I definitely wanna read Under the Udala Trees, Queer Brown Voices and Stone Butch Blues! They sounds amazing. The Other Side of Paradise also seems interesting.
    Ari and Dante is a wonderful book!

    1. Yes I adore.Ari and Dante, makes me so happy it got the recognition it deserves.
      Oooh those are all great choices, hope you’ll enjoy them! Chin is such an amazing performer, her.memoir is supposed the be a tough read she had a difficult life, but I’m sure it’s so worth it.

  4. Ok I did not know Aristotle and Dante was a LGBTQIA+ book. I know it’s YA and for me if I know it’s Y A I tend to er look the other way. But now I want to read it!
    Great list.

    1. Yeah I get that, YA isn’t my preferred genre but I have found more.and more books that are great so now I’m a bit more open to reading YA. I’m pretty sure you’ll love Ari and Dante! It’s beautifully written, it’s a love story but not a romance.

    1. That’s so great that you’ve read her other books, I will have the check them out. Which one did.you enjoy most! Thanks for the link, I love the lesbrary, totally missed her being Canadian somehow though 😀

  5. Well my TBR list just grew! Of course, I’ve quickly learned that that’s to be expected reading your blog. 🙂
    I am sooo with you on Aristotle & Dante…my heart just wants to burst every time I think of that book. Off the top of my head, the three books (other than A&D) that popped immediately to mind when asked my favorites were Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters (it made me bawl my eyes out), Hero by Perry Moore (this was a book that caught me totally by surprise in the vastness of my love for it), and The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel (her comic strip collection–which I love both because I so want these characters to be my friends and also because its timeline parallels my own young adult to middle age years…lol, which probably means that it reads like historical fiction to many 😛 ). Oh, and if you like manga, Wandering Son is such a sweet series about a couple of transgender kids. Oh, and And the Band Played On will always be a favorite, despite how heartbreaking it is and just how overwhelmingly infuriating so much of this history is. Okay, and I shall stop now but it’s hard because that was such a good question. 🙂 Thanks for all the awesome sounding recs!

    1. Haha thank you!! It’s only fair since you add so much to my tbr! 🙂 Thanks for the many recs cause I haven’t read any of them and haven’t heard of most of them!! Yes omg I fell so hard for Ari and Dante.and.love how it’s a.love story but one.focused on epic friendship and not stereotypical romance. I need to read all Saenz’ works!
      I love love Bechdel’s stuff but never got to read The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, I’ll have to buy a.copy. I haven’t read any Manga since I think I’ve only seen stereotypical mainstream stuff that turned me off, but I really.want to like it and need to start with the good stuff. Your rec goes on my new manga tbr.:))

  6. Queer shorts – now that sounds like a great name for a story. 🙂
    I’ve heard of “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe”, would love to read that.
    Have you read Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin? It’s set in 1950’s Paris. That’s another one I want to read.

    1. Hahaha yes I love the event name!! Ooooh you have to read it, it is everything everyone says it is 🙂
      Oh I adore Giovanni’s Room and basically all Baldwin’s stuff. Need to read his essays though. Hope you’ll enjoy these books 🙂

  7. JUNE JORDAN. JUNE JORDAN JUNE JORDAN. For a while when I was reading a random poem a day on the Poetry Foundation website, I was discovering new poets, and this was how I discovered June Jordan. She’s so so so so SO good.

  8. Bina, I simply love your posts so much. Thank you for all of your wonderful recommendations, you are helping me so much to expand my reading horizons. I think from this list I will start with Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta, as I just finished a book by a Nigerian author and was so intrigued about learning more, especially about the civil war.

    1. Thank you so much, Ioana!! Right back at ya 🙂 That book is still on my tbr too. That is such an important issue to learn more about and crucially from a Nigerian writer isn’t it!

  9. Wonderful list, Bina! I remember the time when it was just LGBT – now it is LGBTQIA+. I love Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s name – it has Jewish, Hindu, Latin/Spanish and Srilankan elements – such a beautiful and complex name. I want to read Staceyann Chin’s memoir and June Jordan’s poetry collection. They look quite awesome. Thanks for this beautiful list, Bina.

    1. Heh yeah the community is getting more inclusive I think. That’s so cool, Vishy, I had no idea about all these roots of the name, thanks so much for sharing. No idea how you always know so much! 🙂 Glad you liked the list, and hope you get to read Chin and Jordan!

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