Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. I will entirely admit that I narrowed down today’s list based on the projection of how
loudly I would squeal excited I would be if one of the authors had a new book coming out.
Top Ten Favorite LGBTQ Authors
- Patrick Califia: The first Califia book I read was Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex,which I borrowed on a whim from my college library. It ended up changing the way I see myself, the way I think about sex, and the way I identify with the LGBT community. Later on I read Sex Changes: Transgender Politics, a book that I still use as my go-to recommendation for anyone interested in learning more about transgender folks. There’s even an essay in Sex Changes where Califia analyzes Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues in relation to Minnie Bruce Pratt’s S/He(the book I love most ever) and I pretty much had a brain explosion because of the awesomeness. And in case you doubt me, I just counted my bookshelf and it turns out I own fifteen Califia books, including a couple first editions. He’s kind of a big deal.
- Jack Halberstam: Female Masculinity is one of the most important non-fiction LGBT books ever published. Every time I read a book by Halberstam I know I am going to have capital-t Thoughts and actually have to use my brain and it makes me so very happy.
- Zoe Whittall: I’ve written about how much I loved Holding Still For As Long As Possible and Bottle Rocket Hearts. What I like most about Whittall is that she doesn’t write about Issues, she writes about people. I feel like I know all of her characters, that they could be friends of mine, and after reading dozens of novels with LGBTQ characters that were all about the Issues instead of the actual people those Issues affect, nothing is more welcome.
- Patrick Ryan: His YA novel Gemini Bites, about twins (a boy and a girl) who fall for the same maybe-vampire, was the most original novel I read in 2011. His other YA novel, In Mike We Trust, surprised me by avoiding usual coming-out tropes. It sometimes feels that all YA novels featuring LGBTQ characters follow the same plot (oh no I might be gay! OH NO I MIGHT BE GAY! Fight/homophobic attack/outing followed by careful tolerance by others) and Ryan’s novels stand out for avoiding that plot.
- Leslie Feinberg: Stone Butch Blues: A Novel should be (and in some places is) required reading. If you are afraid you might be a robot, try reading this book: if you don’t tear up even a little, you are indeed a robot. I also highly recommend Transgender Warriors : Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman, a great look at the complexities of gender throughout history.
- Dorothy Allison: You’ve probably know her for her award-winning novel Bastard Out of Carolina: A Novel, an examination of class and violence and strength. I’m also a big fan of her non-fiction work Skin: Talking About Sex, Class And Literature.
- Emma Donnoghue: I appreciate any author who can write sweet romance novels like Landing, a non-fiction examination of love between women in literature, and a mainstream work like Room. I’m always excited to see what direction she’s going to take next.
- Sarah Waters: I don’t love every Waters book the way some people do, but I do appreciate that she is a literary author pretty much writing literary lesbian romance novels. I’m glad she’s around.
- Michelle Tea: I felt Valencia changing me while I was reading it.
- Helen Boyd: There aren’t a lot of non-exploitative books by cis partners of trans folks, so Boyd’s books seemed like a special gift to me when I found them.