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Experts Tell Us the Best LGBT Books For College Students

This article showcases our top picks for the Best LGBT Books For College Students. We reached out to industry leaders and experts who have contributed the suggestions within this article (they have been credited for their contributions below). We are keen to hear your feedback on all of our content and our comment section is a moderated space to express your thoughts and feelings related (or not) to this article This list is in no particular order.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

This product was recommended by Will Peach from WillPeachMD

Although not considered a typical work of the LGBT canon, The Left Hand of Darkness deserves its place for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it has important things to say about androgyny and the limitations of “gender-based thinking” on cultures that are completely alien to it. Secondly, it helped open up readers like myself (or other fans of sci-fi) that would have otherwise never thought about the broader ramifications of ambisexuality and emotional sensitivities surrounding it. As a straight white male reading this for the first time at the University of Miami, I was floored. Never had I read a book so challenging and thought-provoking in the genre. The beautiful narrative, interposed with otherworldly imagery, really opened my eyes up to LGBT fiction and its capabilities. As a future doctor (and returning college student), I see its value now more than ever in helping me better understand the wider spectrum of sexuality and where science sometimes fails to explain it. Le Guin is an underappreciated treasure!

Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

This product was recommended by Mahnoor Khurram from Note To The World

I’m recommending this book because it is a much lighter take on the dynamics and problems of LGBTQ+ romances. It normalizes such issues, highlights wholesome friendships and brings a fresh, unique perspective.

Brown White Black by Nishta J. Mehra

This product was recommended by Mandy Shunnarah from Off the Beaten Shelf Book Blog

Brown White Black is a loving portrait of a queer family where each person in the nuclear family is a different race. Mehra’s moving descriptions of wanting to protect her Black son from a world that demonizes and vilifies Black men and boys, as well as helping her Brown family understand and accept her are full of nuance and will stay with you long after reading.

Exile and Pride by Eli Clare

This product was recommended by Mandy Shunnarah from Off the Beaten Shelf Book Blog

Eli beautifully blended his experiences as a trans man with cerebral palsy who grew up in a town rife with environmental depletion together into an unforgettable cohesive narrative. Exile and Pride is intersectionality: the intersection of queerness, disability politics, ecofeminism, socioeconomic status, disabled sexuality and more. There’s simply no other book like it.

Happy Never After by J James

This product was recommended by Jessica Harris from Austin Macauley Publishers

Robbie is looking for love in all the wrong places, or at least, in all the wrong men. Determined to wise up and find the courage to move on eventually finding happiness on the beautiful island of Bali

Step Up by Ash Beckham

This product was recommended by Ashley Sandberg from Triple 7 Public Relations, LLC

Known for her unique voice, intrepid, relatable and intrinsically comic style, and powerful guidance, Ash Beckham’s TEDx Talk “Coming Out of Your Closet” became a fast viral sensation. In “Step Up” she shares a new vision of inclusive leadership challenging us to embrace a different vision of leadership – to stop focusing on external authorities and start reclaiming our own ability to create change. “What we need most are everyday leaders,” she writes. “We need people to step up and be the change they wish to see in the world. Anyone can do it. YOU can do it.” This is a critical, remarkable message for college students who ARE the leaders of both today and tomorrow. Ash shares her message with passion and humor that will inspire them to be the inclusive, everyday leaders we need.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This product was recommended by Eden Cheng from PeopleFinderFree

This is a lovely book that I was completely encapsulated by as I completely ran through it in one night. And while I initially thought it would just be another typical romance novel about how the First Son of the United States ends up romantically involved with the Prince of England, the book actually ended up being much more profound than I expected it to be. The depiction of their love for each other was written so well that it does well to incredibly elevate the novel from light to gut-wrenching. It also explored a wide variety of issues from sexuality, grief, queer history, politics and even included pop culture references, all of which did well to contribute to a well–crafted and entertaining read about two men holding on to love, despite the odds.

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