11 Books About Unapologetic Queerness and Radical Justice-Seeking

Content Note: Several books on this list use the slur “Faggots” in their title. All are own voices.

At the start of lockdown, I joined a Trans Discord chat. We share political education resources, help each other access trans healthcare, play D&D, have a book group reading Marx’s Das Kapital, share book and movie recommendations, and generally keep each other company through isolation. It was this group that introduced me to Larry Mitchell’s book The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions. I read it, listened to an audiobook of it, and read it again. It sunk into me and left me wanting more books with a similar vibe. Books about unapologetic queerness, with an edge of radical justice seeking. Books about the surreal magic of a Queer culture that rejects respectability.

Fiction

The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions by Larry Mitchell

Part fable, part manifesto, this is the story of faggots, queers, queens, fairies, women, and women who love women finding ways to survive in the world of men. A fairytale offering an urgent critique of patriarchy, capitalism, and assimilation.

Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin (Spring 2022)

Trans women scavenge for estrogen in a post-apocalyptic world where cis men have become literal monsters. Missing a dose puts them at risk of slipping into monstrosity, but they must also flee a faction of cis women who see them as a dangerous threat.

Faggots by Larry Kramer

A fiercely satirical and touching story of one man’s desperate search for love inside the gay ghetto.

Other books by Larry Kramer include Reports from the Holocaust: The Story of an AIDS Activist and his play The Normal Heart.

She of the Mountains by Vivek Shraya

A retelling of Hindu mythology that explores embodiment and the dangers of policing sexuality and gender, this illustrated novel weaves a love story between a man and his body.

Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars by Kai Cheng Thom

The coming-of-age story of an Asian trans girl who runs away from her parents’ abusive home in a rainy city called Gloom. She finds her true family in a group of trans femmes, but when one of them is murdered she must join them in a vigilante fight against transphobes, johns, and cops.

Children’s Fiction

Goblinheart: A Fairy Tale by Brett Axel

In this picture book, Julep insists on growing up to be a goblin, not a fairy. Their family comes to accept Julep as a goblin and supports their physical transition.

Nonfiction

Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

As Gay culture becomes absorbed into consumerism, what are the possibilities for a defiant faggotry that challenges assimilation to create something dangerous and beautiful?

Other books by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore include Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity and That’s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation.

The Stonewall Reader Edited By The New York Public Library

Focusing on the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969, the five years before, and the five years after, this anthology collects the remarkable voices of the activists who spearheaded the modern queer rights movement. Includes writings by Sylvia Rivera and Ernestine Eckstein.

Poetry & Theatre

Angels In America by Tony Kushner

With a surreal mix of Manhattan gay scene, angels, ghosts, and the echoes of McCarthyism, this two-part play is an iconic (and Pulitzer-winning) examination of AIDS and homosexuality in 1980s America.

Feed by Tommy Pico

A poetry collection full of questions and the reconciliation of wild inconsistencies. A jaunty walk through a New York City park questioning the differences between being alone and being lonely.

Femme In Public by Alok Vaid-Menon

Nonbinary poetry dreaming about what it would look like to truly celebrate trans femininity in public. What if we didn’t have to destroy our femininity in order to survive?

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