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Gay and Lesbian Pulp Fiction Goodies for Kitschy Queers

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Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

It’s June, the most wonderful month of the year. Pride month is a time of celebration, of protest, of reflection. It’s a moment to celebrate how far we’ve come and face how far we have to go…and it’s also a time to dial our queer kitschy sensibilities up to eleven.

There’s nothing like the joy of seeing (or being) a newly out queer person decked head to toe in rainbow accessories, wearing a flag like a cape. You can’t be over the top during a Pride celebration: please, add another feather boa to that outfit. There’s something about the excess, the visual overload, the brashness of this aesthetic that is so very queer — but it’s not the only queer aesthetic.

If you, like me, are a kitschy queer, a strategy for all-year-round kitschy queer decor is to get really into gay and lesbian pulp fiction. These 1950s and ’60s paperbacks were trashy, disposable stories about the ~scandal~ of queerness, written as something between soap opera and smut. For the most part, they’re not quality literature — though they’re an integral part of queer literary history. They do, however, have the best campy covers.

I love lesbian pulp fiction. To me, its homophobia is so over the top that it comes back around again into queer affirmation. How can you not be delighted by a book cover that exclaims, “Satan was a lesbian!”? I have a collection that I display face-out in my office, and my house is decorated with lesbian pulp artwork. If you can relate, here are some great gay and lesbian pulp decor and accessories. (Sadly, bisexual and trans pulp is not common enough to turn up anything on Etsy — but I do have a pulp fiction book called My Bisexual 3 Years that I can’t wait to read.)

a framed posted of the lesbian pulp cover A Woman's Woman
Image from ExhibitionPosterShop at Etsy

Let’s start off with some posters to frame and display: here’s a print of the cover of the lesbian pulp fiction title A Woman’s Woman $21+

the cover of The Beefcake Boys
Image from TroveRetro at Etsy

You can also print and frame them yourself, like with this digital download of the cover of The Beefcake Boys. $4

set of six posters of gay pulp covers
PulpArts at Etsy

Or make it a whole gallery wall by printing and framing these gay pulp covers available as a digital download! $11

a notebook with the cover of Satan Was a Lesbian
Image from TheHotwifeClub at Etsy

This is the most infamous lesbian pulp cover, and it’s one I have as a canvas print in my living room — but this Satan Was a Lesbian spiral notebook is also a great choice. $15

a puzzle of the cover of The Killer Queens
Image from HommiPublishing at Etsy

This Etsy store has a variety of gay pulp puzzles, so make sure to browse them all! I decided to highlight this puzzle of the cover of The Killer Queens. $33

a coaster with the cover of The Price of Salt
Image from EmilyLozano at Etsy

Of course, we can’t leave out a classic. This The Price of Salt coaster is perfect for resting a fancy mixed drink on top of. $9

a person wearing a shirt with the cover of Lesbian Queen
Image from BadPriestess at Etsy

You will really send a message in this Lesbian Queen shirt. $28+, up to a 3x.

Image from BuckaroosMercantile at Etsy

Taking a swig out of this gay pulp flask would be an expert-level queer flirting move. $19

a matchbox with the cover of Ladder of Flesh
StirCrazySalli at Etsy

I have a pile of lesbian pulp matchboxes around my house, so I have to recommend this one. $17

a set of four lesbian pulp fiction stickers
EmilyLozano at Etsy

These lesbian pulp fiction stickers are perfect for decorating your laptop or water bottle with. $15

I hope I have helped you to live your best kitschy queer life. You might also be interested in Pride in the Library: Gifts for Readers Celebrating LGBTQ+ People and Books. Until next time, have a great Pride month!