18 very gay and very good books you should read this Pride Month

Pride Month is officially here and that can only mean one thing: time to load up your reading list with stellar queer stories.

Of course, you should be mixing gay books into your to-be-read pile no matter what time of year, but this month, as you celebrate Pride, queer books can be the perfect way to explore the breadth and diversity of the LGBTQ community.

Fortunately for anybody looking for a great gay read, the book world is filled with a bevy of queer stories of all genres.

Whether you’re looking for a meditative poetry collection about queer identity and mental health, a deep dive into the New York City’s ballroom culture in the ’80s and ’90s, a comic about a group scouts who find themselves plagued by supernatural creatures at camp, or a coming-of-age story about a shapeshifter who is navigating life and dating, there is a queer book out there for you.

Here are 18 very gay and very good books you should read this Pride Month.

You’ve never read a coming-of-age story like this. Paul Takes The Form of a Mortal Girl details the adventures of Paul Polydoris, a student in Iowa City who studies queer theory. Oh, and did we mention that Paul is a shapeshifter who can change from Paul to Polly at will. On the surface, it’s an absurd sci-fi premise, but Lawlor uses it to deftly explore gender, identity, and the way we form relationships with other people as well as with ourselves. 

Joseph Cassara’s The House of Impossible Beauties takes a deep dive into New York City’s ballroom culture in the ’80s and ’90s by following a group of characters, each who enter the scene for a different reason. But what stands out about the book isn’t just the novel’s vivid portrait of the past, but also Cassara’s breathtaking and unforgettable characters who are all trying to find their way.

Andrew Greer’s 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Less starts off with a character in crisis: our protagonist Arthur is a struggling novelist, feeling existential as he approaches his 50th birthday, and, to make matters worse, he’s just received an invitation to his ex-boyfriend’s wedding. Instead of despairing, Arthur says „NOPE“ and instead embarks on a haphazard literary world tour. But what sells the book is Greer’s resounding heart and humor, making this tale of romantic misadventures as funny as it is earnest.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit follows Joanna „Jo“ Gordon, an out teen who is suddenly pushed back into the closet when her evangelical father remarries, moves their family from Atlanta to Rome, Georgia, and asks Jo to hide her queer identity for her senior year. The only problem is Mary Carlson, the sister of Jo’s new friend in Rome, who Jo is falling for. The result is a heartfelt novel about coming out and discovering young love. Also, shout out to the infinitely charming title of this book!

You’ve probably seen explores feels universal and extremely relatable.

Under the Udala Trees is a book about star-crossed love. The novel follows the life of Ijeoma, a young girl who, at the start of the book, is sent away from her family in order to stay safe during the Nigerian civil war. While away, Ijeoma meets Amina, another girl also separated from her family. The two begin a brief relationship… only to find out that their love is forbidden. What follows is a beautiful novel about love and hardship as Ijeoma is sent home, forced into an unhappy marriage with a man, all the while grappling with her attraction to women.

Don’t forget to add a bit of poetry to your reading list this Pride Month! If you’re looking for a collection to start with, check out sam sax’s collection madness. The poems in this collection cover everything from sexuality to mental health to culture and heritage, but what shines through and connects each of these threads is sax’s incredibly thoughtful and evocative prose.

If there is a hidden gem of queer lit, it’s ReleaseMrs. Dalloway somehow feels nostalgic and charming as Patrick Ness outlines one teen’s struggle to define himself.

If the Babadook has taught us anything, it’s that Pride is not complete without a little noir. To that end, if you are looking for a darker read this month, make sure you check out Caleb Roehrig’s Last Seen Leaving. The book is a coming out story masked as a mystery thriller about Flynn, the primary suspect in an investigation when his girlfriend January disappears. Flynn’s answers about his life with January don’t quite add up… but maybe that has less to do about January and more about the secret that Flynn is keeping.

Nevada offers a thoughtful look at identity and the trans experience.

Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen

If you’re looking for some comics to check out this Pride month, be sure to check out Lumberjanes the perfect Pride Month read. 

Fun Home is a graphic memoir about coming out and finding love, centered around two people. The book documents Alison Bechdel (who also came up with the Bechdel test), her experience exploring her attraction to women, and the way that her father resisted her identity. But, after Alison’s father is hit by a car and killed, she reflects on his past and realizes that he may have had his own struggles with his sexual identity.

To read Alexander Chee’s essay collection How To Write An Autobiographical Novel is to stand in a hall of mirrors, watching as a single person, and all of the identites that compose them, is reflected from all angles. The essay collection is a deep dive into Chee’s past as he documents his expereinces as a gay rights and HIV/AIDS activist, a rose gardener, a writer, and more. But at the core, the book explores how we use writing to shape who we are and how who we are shapes our writing.

As the title probably suggests, They Both Die At The End is not what we could a „happy“ book. The novel follows a day in the life of two boys, Mateo and Rufus, who get early morning calls from Death-Cast telling them that today is the day that they’re going to die. Though initially strangers, Mateo and Rufus are soon brought together through the Last Friend app, a social network that connects people on their last day alive. But as Mateo and Rufus embark on a quest to check items off their bucket list while they still have time, their friendship grows into something more, ultimately exploring what happens when we fall in love with someone we know we only will have a very limited time with.

Sometimes all you need is a good friend. And that’s where You Know Me Well reveals how our friends can become our greatest lifeline.

The Argonauts  radiates with stunning observations about being queer and in love, making the memoir feel less like a book and more like the perfect rendering of a person’s heart on a page.

Fair warning up front: Don’t Call Us Dead is a devastating poetry collection. But this book is as beautiful as it is painfully raw. Throughout the collection, Smith writes about race, queer identity, and AIDS, with an electrifying amount of passion and care, making this book a must-read for Pride Month.

You may know Becky Albertalli for her novel Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda  reveals that Leah is struggling with her identity too: she’s bisexual and working to muster the courage to come out to her friends. But as Leah navigates her senior year of high school, she realizes that she may love one her friends more than anyone else might expect.

Hold Firm: a bodyguard/daddy series (Biker Daddy Bodyguards Book 1) Kindle Edition

The minute Quinn lays eyes on the bratty boy hunched in the chair, spitting fire and ice at him, he knows why he’s been chosen for this assignment. He doesn’t want to take the job but the boy’s life is in danger. Could Quinn turn him away?Cade doesn’t want a bodyguard at his back 24/7. He works hard and parties harder. But this man isn’t the usual rent-a-suit. He’s six foot five of solid muscle, hard eyes, and a voice which makes Cade want to beg for his the world, Quinn is Cade’s bodyguard. To their friends, Quinn is Cade’s boyfriend. To the suspect, Quinn is Cade’s Daddy…

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 Hold Firm: a bodyguard/daddy series (Biker Daddy Bodyguards Book 1) Kindle Edition

Gay History: Merv Griffin’s Bodyguard of Lies

When Hollywood mogul Merv Griffin died on Aug. 12, queer-savvy media watchers wondered whether notices of his passing would maintain his preference for passing as straight. In recent years, celebrity obituaries have continued the long tradition of burying the departed closet cases in journalistically closed coffins, taking the not-so-secret truth with them to the grave. Singer Luther Vandross, writer Susan Sontag and film director Ismail Merchant had all been accorded the privilege of “inning” by the press, however open a secret their homosexuality had been while they were alive. Nil nisi bonum appears to be the rule for editors, and noting that a deceased famous person was gay certainly seems to count as speaking evil.

In Griffin’s case, though, I was somewhat pleasantly surprised, as The New York Times, The Washington Post all noted in their obituaries that Griffin had been the target in the early 1990s of unsuccessful palimony and sexual harassment suits, both brought by men who claimed that he had done them wrong, though in different ways, and both dismissed in court. Still, these lawsuits brought out into the open, if briefly, what had long been known in Hollywood: namely, that the divorced father of one, and highly visible public escort of Eva Gabor, was also gay. In the years since his legal outing, Griffin was sometimes questioned about his sexuality and always deflected the question with a joke: “You’re asking an 80-year-old man about his sexuality right now! Get a life!” In 2005 he told The New York Times with a sly grin: “I tell everybody that I’m a quatre-sexual: I will do anything with anybody for a quarter.”

The Associated Press, however, played the game the old way, limiting its obituary to Griffin’s early marriage:

Griffin and Julann Elizabeth Wright were married in 1958, and their son, Anthony, was born the following year. They divorced in 1973 because of “irreconcilable differences.”

“It was a pivotal time in my career, one of uncertainty and constant doubt,” he wrote in [his] autobiography. “So much attention was being focused on me that my marriage felt the strain.” He never remarried.

Merv Griffin’s Beverly Hills funeral was a major Hollywood event, headlined by Nancy Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger and co-starring Larry King, Ellen Degeneres and a host of TV old-timers such as Dick Van Dyke, Jack Klugman and Steve Lawrence. For some, the event was reminiscent of the funeral of another famous tycoon, an occasion that played a key role in launching the controversial journalistic-political tactic that came to be known as outing.

The New York gay magazine Outweek introduced the practice of outing closeted public figures, mostly politicians and show business celebrities who were unwilling to enlist in the cause of fighting AIDS. When prominent publisher Malcolm Forbes died in February 1990, the exposure of his homosexual side was not long in coming. The March 18, 1990, cover of OutWeek showed a photo of Malcolm Forbes on his motorcycle, with the bold headline: “The Secret Gay Life of Malcolm Forbes.” The article, by Michelangelo Signorile, begins with Forbes’ funeral, noting the presence among the mourners of many prominent homophobes — Richard Nixon, William F. Buckley, Al Neuharth — and asks whether they knew “that they were coming to pay homage to someone who embodied what they ultimately detested?”

Signorile concluded his article with a defense of outing Forbes. First, he noted that, “All too often history is distorted,” and the fact that one of the most influential men in America was gay should be recorded. Second, “it sends a clear message to the public at large that we are everywhere.” The third reason Signorile gave was that this story illuminated a choice made by many gay people. In researching the story Signorile tried to interview a gay man who had been close to Forbes and his family, someone who could have shed light on “the real inner workings of Forbes’ mind.”

The Outweek story set off a firestorm of controversy about outing, with most condemning the tactic. The L.A. Times, which also editorialized against outing, named only dead people: Forbes, Rock Hudson, Liberace, Roy Cohn, Terry Dolan, Perry Ellis and Oliver Sipple; Newsweek limited itself to Forbes (reproducing the OutWeek cover photo and headline) and Liz Smith, a “favorite target” of the outers who is quoted as saying, “I may be a gossip columnist, but I do respect the right of people not to tell me ‘everything,’ and I reserve the same right for myself.” The New York Times would refer only to “a famous businessman who had recently died.” Times spokesman William Adler took a hard line, saying that the paper would not print “hearsay” even if the subject is no longer living: “The thinking at the Times is that in most cases an individual’s private sex life should not be the subject of coverage by the newspaper unless the person wishes it to be so,” Adler said. “That perspective extends through their lifetime and even after their death.”Seventeen years later, the situation is vastly different, but celebrity closets remain dangerous journalistic territory, even when their inhabitants are deceased and therefore immune from being libeled. The day before Merv Griffin’s funeral, the Hollywood Reporter, one of the industry “bibles” read by everyone in showbiz, ran a front-page story by regular writer Ray Richmond that began, “Merv Griffin was gay.” Richmond, who had worked for Griffin in the 1980s, went on to note that “Merv’s secret gay life was widely known throughout showbiz culture, if not the wider America.” Richmond made clear why he thought it important to set the record, um, straight about Griffin’s sexuality:

If you’re Griffin, why would you think a judgmental culture would be any more tolerant as you grew into middle and old age? Even in the capital of entertainment — in a business where homosexuality isn’t exactly a rare phenomenon — it’s still spoken of in hushed tones or, more often, not at all. And Merv’s brush with tabloid scandal no doubt only drove him further into the closet.

Gay History: Merv Griffin’s Bodyguard of Lies

Hold Safe: a bodyguard/age play/daddy gay romance (Biker Daddy Bodyguards Book 3) Kindle Edition

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The Lion’s Bodyguard

Gay Crime, 332 SeitenE-Book: 6,99 | ISBN: 978-3-95949-417-5Print: 17,00 € | ISBN: 978-3-95949-416-8

Wenn ein knallharter Staatsanwalt gegen einen russischen Mafiaclan in den Krieg zieht, bleiben ein paar Unschuldige auf der sich der einzige Sohn vor seinem Vater verstecken muss, weil er in Besitz eines brisanten Dokuments ist, wird es gefä diese Männer aufeinandertreffen, wird es brandheiß.

Wer gerne einmal hineinhören möchte: hier gibt es eine Buchbesprechung und Leseprobe von Lisa Skydla

Starstruck

Actress Cassidy „C.J.“ Hayes is famous for her role in The Alchemidens, a fantasy show where she plays a kick-ass heroine. Her rising success has brought her quickly under Hollywood’s glaring spotlight. It also gained her the unwelcome attentions of an obsessive fan who wants more than just an autograph. Aiden Darrow is both a well-respected screenwriter and a writer of lesbian romances. As a big fan of actress C.J. Hayes, Aiden is astounded when the woman of her dreams ends up moving into the house next door to her. Their attraction is undeniable, but Cassidy is understandably nervous about getting too close to anyone. Aiden, meanwhile, is trying to separate reality from fiction because Cassidy is nothing like the character she portrays so well. All through her childhood, Aiden dreamed of a hero to come rescue her, but can she be the hero that Cassidy so desperately needs now?

Hers to Protect

Kaia Sorano is a police officer in the dangerous and gang dominated streets of Chicago. She thinks she’s prepared for anything, but when she responds to a bloody domestic violence call, only to find her high school sweetheart is the victim, she knows she has to find a way to help.

When Adrienne Contreras’s mother moved her to the south side of Chicago at seventeen, she quickly saw her safe life and idealistic love with Kaia replaced with poverty, crime, and violence. Now twenty-seven, Adrienne is dating Gianna, a high-ranking member of a brutal gang. She has the streets figured out, but the first rule is to never talk to cops, even one she used to be in love with.

As their attraction grows into love, Adrienne and Kaia struggle to see past the changes in each other and escape Gianna and the gang, who have threatened both their lives.

Imperfect Truth

Debra Johnson learned a valuable lesson when her pregnant lover left her for a man: Protect yourself at all costs. She made a list of requirements in a lover and uses it as a shield to protect her heart. At the top of her list is openness and honesty.

Alex Reed has to keep the secret of her federal witness protection program or risk her and her sister’s lives. She longs for a meaningful loving relationship but fears exposing a lover to danger.

Alex and Debra meet at a lesbian meet up group with intentions of only finding an event companion. Their undeniable attraction keeps getting in the way of that intention as Debra struggles to protect her heart and Alex her life.

The Seeker

FBI profiler Kennedy Scott battles ghosts from her past, deadly obsession, and the evil that haunts her. The Seeker. Famed Hollywood actress Veronica Ryan arrives at a red carpet event with her wife Shawn. They are the world’s most famous gay couplebeautiful, wealthy, and by all appearances, the happiest couple in the world. But things aren’t always as they appear. And someone is out to dampen the parade. A shot rings out and Veronica finds herself tackled to the ground by security, her wife lying next to her in a pool of blood. Kennedy Scott used to be the best behavioral profiler the FBI had, but she is haunted by a string of child murders no one can solve. A single quoteSeek and ye shall findwas all she had to go on. The case has eaten her alive, and after her own family is threatened by an armed intruder, Kennedy retreats to be with them. But one phone call brings her back into the game. Veronica Ryan needs her help and the path may lead to the one who haunts her. The Seeker.

The 10 Best Bedrooms Positions for Getting It On With Another Guy

If you’re single, how do you prevent awkward and boring sex from ruining chemistry with that really cute guy from Grindr?

If you’re in a longterm relationship, how do you keep the sex fun and exciting with each anniversary? Even the most seasoned casanovas need to know their fair share of sex positions to keep things interesting between the sheets, which is why we’ve put together this handy (and illustrated) guide to the best gay ones.

Before we get started, it’s important to establish some gay sex ground rules:

Now that we’ve got that covered, it’s time to learn more about the best gay sex positions.

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Missionary

A classic position for straight couples, missionary is pretty common for gay partners as well. In this position, the bottom lies on his back with his legs spread apart in the air while the active partner lies on top so the couple is face-to-face. Penetration from this angle allows for intimate eye contact and kissing, and the bottom can wrap his legs around the top to anchor thrusting. While not necessarily the kinkiest position, missionary is great for more inexperienced or vanilla couples. If you slip a pillow under the small of the bottom’s back for extra support, they can lay comfortably without having to strain to keep their legs in the air.

Doggy Style

Another classic gay sex position is doggy style. While potentially less intimate than missionary, doggy style allows you and your partner to explore each other in a new way. Doggy style really puts the top in control, so it’s the perfect position for more dominant tops and submissive bottoms. In doggy style, the bottom gets on all fours while the top kneels behind him. Holding on to the bottom’s hips for support, the top enters the bottom from behind. Penetration from this angle can feel harder and deeper for bottoms, and doggy style can be better for prostate stimulation for some men. Doggy style is good for couples of all experience levels, but it can require extra stamina from tops.

Cowboy

For couples with more dominate bottoms and tops who like to take it easy, cowboy is the ideal gay sex position. In the cowboy position, the top sits or lies back while the bottom straddles him across his pelvis facing forward, either in a kneel or squatting position. The cowboy position gives the bottom control over penetration, which can help to achieve prostate stimulation. The top can also thrust into the bottom from this position, shifting the dynamic between dominate and submissive partner. Cowboy is a good position for couples of all experience levels, but bottoms should be prepared for a workout.

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The Bodyguard

If the traditional horizontal positions have lost their excitement, try a standing position. Standing positions allow both partners an increased range of motion compared to horizontal positions—you can move together, or one can remain still while the other establishes and varies the rhythm. The most classic standing position, sometimes known as “the bodyguard,” is when the bottom faces away from the top and the top enters from behind. For anchorage, the bottom should hold onto a nearby wall, table, or other surface. Because the bodyguard position is more accommodating in small spaces or in the outdoors, they’re great for more adventurous couples who want to take sex out of the bedroom.

Pirate’s Bounty

The flashy name may make this position sound more complicated than it is, but the pirate’s bounty is a must-have in any gay sex wheelhouse. In this position, the bottom lies down his back, shifting his pelvis so that one leg is down and the other is up in the air. The active partner kneels, facing the bottom, and puts the bottom’s elevate leg on his shoulder as he enters him. This angle allows for a deep penetration. If the bottom is flexible, the top can push the elevated leg towards the bottom’s head for an even deeper and more intimate experience.

Spooning

Spooning is one of the most intimate gay sex positions. Both partners lay on their sides, the top on the outside as the “big spoon.” The top enters the bottom from behind, with the bottom’s top leg elevated to allow for entry. For an extra deep penetration, the top can hook his elbow under the bottom’s elevated knee for easier access. This position involves a lot of close body contact, making it a great option for couples looking for an intimate and sensual sexual encounter.

Suspended Congress

For the more adventurous and active gay couples out there, suspended congress is an exciting and erotic challenge. This position is designed to get you out of bed and work on your cardio too. In this position, the top stands and picks up the bottom, who wraps his arms around the top’s neck for support. The top then enters the bottom from this position, holding the bottom’s thighs in his arms to support the bottom’s hips against his pelvis. For extra support while thrusting, put the bottom’s back against a wall or other solid structure. For more fit couple, try a free-standing suspended congress for a real full-body workout.

Arch

While not necessarily the ideal position for less experienced bottoms, the arch position is great for gay couples looking to explore sex from a new perspective. To get into the arch position, bottoms lay face up and lifts his hips upward, while keeping his feet and the back of his neck planted on the floor. The top kneels facing the bottom, entering him by placing his pelvis underneath the bottom’s raised hips. This position requires some serious back flexibility in terms of the bottom’s role, which is why it’s not recommended for the inexperienced, but this angle of penetration can be intensely stimulating and pleasurable for both tops and bottoms.