Welcome to Family Equality’s Book Nook, a comprehensive list of the best LGBTQ+ books for the whole family!
Whether you’re searching for your child’s first picture book or a young adult novel that your tween will devour, Family Equality’s Book Nook is a list of our favorite books that represent diverse families in a loving and respectful way.
Check out the search portal below to discover what new LGBTQ+ books you need to add to your at-home, local, or school libraries!
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Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality
The fascinating and very moving story of the lovers, lawyers, judges and activists behind the groundbreaking Supreme Court case that led to one of the most important, national civil rights victories in decades—the legalization of same-sex marriage.
In June 2015, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law in all fifty states in a decision as groundbreaking as Roe v Wade and Brown v Board of Education. Through insider accounts and access to key players, this definitive account reveals the dramatic and previously unreported events behind Obergefell v Hodges and the lives at its center. This is a story of law and love—and a promise made to a dying man who wanted to know how he would be remembered.
Twenty years ago, Jim Obergefell and John Arthur fell in love in Cincinnati, Ohio, a place where gays were routinely picked up by police and fired from their jobs. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had to provide married gay couples all the benefits offered to straight couples. Jim and John—who was dying from ALS—flew to Maryland, where same-sex marriage was legal. But back home, Ohio refused to recognize their union, or even list Jim’s name on John’s death certificate. Then they met Al Gerhardstein, a courageous attorney who had spent nearly three decades advocating for civil rights and who now saw an opening for the cause that few others had before him.
This forceful and deeply affecting narrative—Part Erin Brockovich, part Milk, part Still Alice—chronicles how this grieving man and his lawyer, against overwhelming odds, introduced the most important gay rights case in U.S. history. It is an urgent and unforgettable account that will inspire readers for many years to come.
Love’s Promises: How Formal and Informal Contracts Shape All Kinds of Families (Queer Ideas/Queer Action)
Martha M. Ertman
In Love’s Promises, law professor Martha Ertman delves into the legal cases, anecdotes, and history of family law to show that love comes in different packages—each shaped by different contracts—which family law should and sometimes does recognize. Beginning with Ertman’s own story about becoming part of a family of two moms and a dad raising a child, she then shows that many people—straight and gay, married and single, related by adoption or by genetics— use contracts to shape relationships. These contracts and deals can be big, like vows of fidelity, or small, like “I cook and you clean.” But regardless of scope, these deals can create, sustain, and modify family relationships. Insightful, accessible, and revelatory, Love’s Promises lets readers in on the power of contracts and deals to support love in its various forms and to honor the different ways that individuals contribute to our daily lives.
My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely
Kate Bornstein’s 1994 book of autobiographical theory, Gender Outlaw, drew a line in the sand about the whole boy/girl thing. “Who needs it?” America’s most active transgender activist questioned. Now, in My Gender Workbook, Bornstein has assembled a collage of simple exercises, quizzes, puzzles, and essay questions that systematically break down our ingrained ideas about how women and men—and whoever is in between—should act. Bornstein’s breezy, “Hey, let’s all discover who we might really be” style works to make this potentially threatening material accessible and even intriguing to almost all readers. Just glance down, check out who—or what—you thought you were, and get ready to answer a few questions.
October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard
October Mourning, a novel in verse, is her deeply felt response to the events of that tragic day. Using her poetic imagination, the author creates fictitious monologues from various points of view, including the fence Matthew was tied to, the stars that watched over him, the deer that kept him company, and Matthew himself. More than a decade later, this stunning cycle of sixty-eight poems serves as a powerful, enduring tribute to Matthew Shepard’s life.
Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States
Joey L. Mogul, Andrea J. Ritchie, & Kay Whitlock
Drawing on years of research, activism, and legal advocacy, Queer (In)Justice is a searing examination of queer experiences—as “suspects”, defendants, prisoners, and survivors of crime. The authors unpack queer criminal archetypes–like “gleeful gay killers”, “lethal lesbians”, “disease spreaders” and “deceptive gender benders”—to illustrate the punishment of queer expression, regardless of whether a crime was ever committed. Tracing stories from the streets to the bench to behind prison bars, the authors prove that the policing of sex and gender both bolsters and reinforces racial and gender inequalities.
Rainbow Relatives: Real-World Stories and Advice on How to Talk to Kids about LGBTQ+ Families and Friends
Whether you have your own questions because you’re preparing to come out to your kids, or you aren’t sure how to explain to your kids why their uncle has a boyfriend or why their friend has two mommies, this book can help. With an entertaining and educational approach to educating yourself and your peers about the issues and topics surrounding the LGBTQ+ community, Rainbow Relatives will provide answers to your kids’ questions and help you raise them to be open-minded and accepting adults.
First and foremost, this book will help you approach the conversations you need to have and predict what you can expect from them. Author Sudi Karatas tells a variety of stories, such as that of a Mormon woman’s transition from fighting against gay rights to becoming a crusader for them. Also included are the voices of filmmakers, actors, musicians, mental health professionals, and more.
Through Rainbow Relatives, Karatas helps parents support, advocate for, and educate their children, relatives, and family friends
Raised by Unicorns: Stories from People with LGBTQ+ Parents
In recent years, the world has been saturated by endless blogs, articles, and books devoted to the subject of LGBTQ+ parenting. On the flip side, finding stories written by the children of LGBTQ+ parents is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. Now that the world is more accepting than ever of non-traditional families, it’s time to create a literary space for this not-so-unique, shared, but completely individual experience.
In Raised by Unicorns: Stories from People with LGBTQ+ Parents, Frank Lowe has carefully edited an anthology that reflects on the upbringing of children in many different forms of LGBTQ+ families. From Baby Boomers to Generation Z, it features diverse stories that express the distinctiveness of this shared journey and of each particular family. It’s visceral, raw, and not always pretty, but love is always the common thread.
Lowe candidly reveals true accounts of this particular niche of humanity, while simultaneously creating a moving snapshot of the world in which we live. Raised by Unicorns guides the reader through an empathetic journey that is nothing short of compelling and poignant. We’ve all heard the phrase “raised by wolves.” Now we have a window into the complex world of being Raised by Unicorns.
Reproductive Losses: Challenges to LGBTQ+ Family-Making
Although there are far more opportunities for LGBTQ people to become parents than there were before the 1990s, attention to the reproductive challenges LGBTQ families face has not kept pace.
Reproductive Losses considers LGBTQ people’s experiences with miscarriage, stillbirth, failed adoptions, infertility, and sterility. Drawing on Craven’s training as a feminist anthropologist and her experiences as a queer parent who has experienced loss, Reproductive Losses includes detailed stories drawn from over fifty interviews with LGBTQ people (including those who carried pregnancies, non-gestational and adoptive parents, and families from a broad range of racial/ethnic, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds) to consider how they experience loss, grief, and mourning. The book includes productive suggestions and personal narratives of resiliency, commemorative strategies, and communal support, while also acknowledging the adversity many LGBTQ people face as they attempt to form families and the heteronormativity of support resources for those who have experienced reproductive loss.
This is essential reading for scholars and professionals interested in LGBTQ health and family, and for individuals in LGBTQ communities who have experienced loss and those who support them.
Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality
Why do some people prefer heterosexual love while others fancy the same sex? Is sexual identity biologically determined or a product of convention? In this brilliant and provocative book, the acclaimed author of Myths of Gender argues that even the most fundamental knowledge about sex is shaped by the culture in which scientific knowledge is produced. Drawing on astonishing real-life cases and a probing analysis of centuries of scientific research, Fausto-Sterling demonstrates how scientists have historically politicized the body. In lively and impassioned prose, she breaks down three key dualisms – sex/gender, nature/nurture, and real/constructed – and asserts that individuals born as mixtures of male and female exist as one of five natural human variants and, as such, should not be forced to compromise their differences to fit a flawed societal definition of normality.
She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood
Amie Klempnauer Miller
After ten years of talking about having children, two years of trying (and failing) to conceive, and one shot of donor sperm for her partner, Amie Miller was about to become a mother. Or something like that. Over the next nine months, as her partner became the biological mom-to-be, Miller became . . . what? Mommy’s little helper? A faux dad? As a Midwestern, station wagon–driving, stay-at-home mom—and as a nonbiological lesbian mother—Miller both defines and defies the norm. Like new parents everywhere, she wrestled with the anxieties and challenges of first-time parenthood but experienced pregnancy and birth only vicariously. Part love story, part comedy, part quest, Miller’s candid and often humorous memoir is a much-needed cultural roadmap for becoming a parent, even when the usual categories do not fit.
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More Resources for LGBTQ+ Families
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Have an LGBTQ+ book you’d like to submit to our list?
If you know about an LGBTQ+ book that isn’t on our list, but should be—let us know! Use the form below to contact a staff member, and we’ll be in touch about next steps.