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Empowering LGBTQ+ Self-Improvement and Wellness Books

Susie Dumond

Senior Contributor

Susie (she/her) is a queer writer originally from Little Rock, now living in Washington, DC. She is the author of QUEERLY BELOVED and the forthcoming LOOKING FOR A SIGN from Dial Press/Random House. You can find her on Instagram @susiedoom.

Running Press

From amanda lovelace, the bestselling author of the princess saves herself in this one, comes an accessible guide to welcoming magic into your life, perfect for beginner witches and the magic-curious alike. This inviting beginner’s guide shows that magic doesn’t have to be fancy, time-consuming, or one-size-fits-all. With simple explanations, twenty all-new inspiring poems, words of encouragement, magical journaling prompts, and more, this book sweeps away the gatekeeping and offers you the tools needed to begin building a strong, long-lasting practice focused on self-love.

We’re here! We’re queer! And we need some goddamn time for self-care! Are you looking for nonfiction books from queer authors to help you live your best life? These nine empowering LGBTQ+ self-improvement and wellness books will give you the inspiration and advice you need to thrive. We’ve got books on transformative self-love, dealing with discrimination in the workplace, sparking creativity, searching for answers through travel, and even keeping your house tidy. Whatever you’re looking for, I hope these books help you find just what you need.

Self-help is a complicated genre. Wellness isn’t one-size-fits-all. One person’s life-changing advice could be considered trite, inaccessible, or downright dangerous to others. Especially as a queer person, I find some bestselling self-improvement books to be disappointingly heteronormative and cisnormative. My idea of a good life certainly doesn’t involve a husband, three kids, and a power suit to help me get ahead in the office. But that shouldn’t stop me in the pursuit of inspiration for a better life. These LGBTQ+ authors understand that success looks different for different people, and self-care must be attuned to each individual self. These books also make great gifts for queer friends facing big life questions. Let’s dive in!

cover of Falling Back in Love with Being Human

Falling Back in Love with Being Human: Letters to Lost Souls by Kai Cheng Thom

Sometimes loving ourselves better starts with a lesson in loving others. Kai Cheng Thom believes that every human is sacred and intrinsically beautiful. But as a Chinese Canadian trans woman living in a racist, transphobic, post-pandemic world, Kai Cheng found her trust in the goodness of humanity waning. This collection of poetry and inspirational musings was her way of searching for and restoring her love for life and other humans. It’s a gorgeous, moving book that will help you find hope and beauty in dark times.

cover of Seen Heard and Paid

Seen, Heard & Paid: The New Work Rules for the Marginalized by Alan Henry

Whether you’re looking to be more productive in your career or facing discrimination in the workplace, journalist Alan Henry has just the book for you. Henry has reported on technology and productivity for years, but as a queer Black man, he found a lot of common “hacks” (like blocking off work time on your calendar or limiting checking emails) were viewed differently when he utilized them. In Seen, Heard & Paid, Henry shares research on the challenges people of marginalized identities face in the workplace, advice for managing up and responding to microaggressions, and real talk about when it’s time to leave your toxic job.

The How by Yrsa Daley-Ward book cover

The How: Notes on the Great Work of Meeting Yourself by Yrsa Daley-Ward

One of my favorite things about being queer is the perspective it gives you on what society tells us is “normal” and the freedom we have to eschew those expectations. Poet, artist, and LGBTQ+ activist Yrsa Daley-Ward is also interested in the ways society tries to mold us into familiar shapes and how we can break those molds. In The How, Daley-Ward helps readers dig deeper to find their own unique inner selves and empowers them to live more authentically every day. It’s a beautiful celebration of individuality, with passages and meditations you’ll return to again and again.

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¡Hola Papi!: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul Brammer

John Paul Brammer has earned a reputation as a hilarious and heartfelt LGBTQ+ advice columnist. But his own young adult years were far from perfect, and sometimes make him wonder what right he has to offer advice to strangers. These essays are a combination of responses to some of his most commonly received questions and reflections on his experiences growing up as a queer mixed-race kid in Oklahoma. If you’re looking for a book to make you laugh and inspire you to live your best and most authentic life, ¡Hola Papi! is the one for you.

cover of Life Isn't Binary

Life Isn’t Binary: On Being Both, Beyond, and In-Between by Meg-John Barker and Alex Iantaffi

We’ve long been told that our society is organized into a series of strict binaries: man or woman, straight or gay, young or old, right or wrong. But life is never so simple, and finding space to exist outside of the binaries can be transformative. In this book by two nonbinary authors, gender and sexuality theory is explained in clear, approachable terms. But it’s also about so much more than queer identity. Life Isn’t Binary also explores how breaking out of binaries can make for healthier and happier relationships, communication, emotions, and more.

cover of Manifesto On Never Giving Up by Bernanrdine Evaristo

Manifesto: On Never Giving Up by Bernardine Evaristo

Bernardine Evaristo is a wildly impressive writer with dozens of awards, fellowships, and honors for her work in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism, theater, and more. What does it take to be that prolifically creative? You’ll find out in Evaristo’s inspirational memoir Manifesto. From growing up as one of eight children in a Nigerian-British family to discovering her queerness to fighting her way through barriers in the publishing industry, Evaristo’s story is powerful, moving, and beautifully written in her inimitable voice. And for creatives, it’s the perfect guide to persevering in your art, even when the odds are stacked against you.

cover of A Dirty Guide to a Clean House

A Dirty Guide to a Clean Home: Housekeeping Hacks You Can’t Live Without by Melissa Dilkes Pateras

You may recognize Melissa Dilkes Pateras as “the TikTok laundry lesbian” who creates hilarious viral videos with tips for keeping house. In her book, A Dirty Guide to a Clean Home, you’ll find so much more than instructions for folding fitted sheets. From brilliant cleaning advice to inspirational organizing techniques to instructions for DIY home repairs, it’s a funny, approachable guide to adulting and managing a cleaner, healthier home.

cover of How to Live Free in a Dangerous World: A Decolonial Memoir by Shayla Lawson

How to Live Free in a Dangerous World: A Decolonial Memoir by Shayla Lawson

Travel is an impactful way to learn more about ourselves and the world we live in, but traveling while queer can come with many complications. Add to that being Black, disabled, and assigned female at birth, and international travel can become particularly perilous. But journalist and poet Shayla Lawson has found many rewards in their travel, despite the risks. In these thought-provoking essays, Lawson shares some of the wisdom and insights they’ve gained in adventures through Egypt, Mexico, the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, and more. Lawson uses the places they’ve visited to creatively unpack issues like gender, relationships, chronic illness, racism, and privilege.

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Who Is Wellness For?: An Examination of Wellness Culture and Who It Leaves Behind by Fariha Róisín

The wellness industry is booming and worth an estimated $5.6 trillion in 2022. But where does it come from, and who is it for? That’s the question Fariha Róisín, a queer Bangladeshi Muslim writer, is interested in exploring. Róisín started to notice that many of the aspects of her South Asian culture that had once marked her as an outsider were now being marketed to white people, by white people, as luxury items that could help them live a happier, healthier life. In this book, she explores how we got here, who is excluded from the self-care industry, and how we can make wellness accessible for all.

We hope these empowering LGBTQ+ self-improvement and wellness books helped you find some great books to add to your TBR! You might also enjoy:

25 of the Best Self-Improvement Books to Read in 2024

9 of the Best Gentle Self-Help Books

24 Life-Changing Healing Books