5 LGBT Masterpieces Everyone Should Read

By Katherine Waldock

There has recently been an increase in LGBT characters that are included/ star in media, which is a great step for representation. But one of the best forms of entertainment will always be the book, and there have been authors writing excellent LGBT work for decades. Here are a few of my favourites:

  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Read for: a novel that focuses on the beauty of love and friendship in spite of the systematic oppression Cameron Post faces.

The book is set in the 1990s, imagining a girl called Cameron Post living in Montana with her aunt and grandmother after her parents have died in a car crash. Post is sent to a conversion camp after having a romantic relationship with a girl. Not only does the book focus on love, but it also focuses on the strength of friendship. The book is beautiful, documenting perfectly the contradiction between the beauty of love and the perception that a homophobic society has of that love.  

  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Read for: an excellent LGBT crime drama that rivals any you have read before.

Fingersmith is an incredibly famous book that any book lover would know about. Waters is a fantastic author for LGBT fiction, with a particular focus on crime. Fingersmith is set in Victorian Britain, following a thief named Sue Trinder, who, with her family, plans to pose as a wealthy heiress’s maid in order to steal her fortune. The book’s twists make it rare in its complete lack of predictability. The LGBT plotline weaves naturally into the book, which is refreshing in a world where LGBT characters are consistently an afterthought in media. 

  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Read for: a YA style novel that still has relevance to older readers, as well as an interesting look at collaborative writing

David Levithan and John Green teamed up for this book, which is written about two separate teenagers called Will Grayson. Levithan and Green each had a Will Grayson to write the plot for, agreeing that they were to meet at some point in the story, but leaving the rest to each other. One of the Will Graysons is a depressed gay teenager, the other straight, who has a gay friend named Tiny. Not only is the plot great, but the writing style is also so innovative and different from other stories you’d have to read it for yourself to decide how you feel about it.

  • The Color Purple

Read for: a book that tugs at your heartstrings, but teaches you a lot about the world you live in and its oppressive flaws.

This book focuses on sexuality and race as an issue. For this reason among others it sits on this list. Even though it was published in 1982, it is still so relevant as it tackles topics of racism, sexuality and abuse. Celie, a 14 year old African-American girl has grown up in an abusive home, and is pushed into an abusive marriage. The powerful book describes the difficulty black women face in society on counts of their race and gender. It is a must read to gain a deeper understanding of societal oppression’s true effect on minorities.

  • Call Me By Your Name

Read for: a romance centering around two young men, that should instantly be a classic.

André Aciman published this novel in 2007, but it has had a recent spike in interest due to the successful film starring Timothy Chalamét. The book is set in the 1980s and focuses on two young Jewish men (one 17, the other 24). Aciman’s has faultlessly captured that feeling of intense love on the page. Its 1980s setting does not detract from the relatability of the novel as it centers on the difficulties of being gay in an environment that is not comfortable with homosexuality.