Memoirs are like old photo albums, filled with snapshots of someone’s life.
They’re personal, they’re real, and they have a way of making you feel like you’ve known the author forever.
What I’m trying to say is that memoirs hold a special place in literature, and when they’re about queer experiences, they become something truly magical.
They teach us about strength in vulnerability, joy in self-discovery, and the importance of embracing every facet of our identity.
And, these stories resonate because they’re about love, struggle, growth, and triumph—all the things that make us human.
In this article, I’ll be listing 15 extraordinary LGBTQ+ memoirs that are bound to leave a smile on your face and warmth in your heart.
I promise that these LGBTQ+ memoirs will leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul, and you absolutely need to be seated for this one.
Here are 15 of the best LGBTQ+ memoirs by queer individuals you need to read ASAP:
1. City Boy by Edmund White
In this book, Edmund White talks about his interesting life in New York when it was going through tough times but filled with art and ideas.
He faced challenges in becoming a famous writer, saw the gay rights movement grow, and met famous people like Elizabeth Bishop and Susan Sontag.
White shares his dreams, memories of lovers, and admiration for other writers with humor and honesty, which makes his story special.
This is honestly one of the most honest and vulnerable queer memoirs you have to read at least twice.
2. Punch Me Up To The Gods by Brian Broome
Punch Me Up to the Gods introduces a powerful new talent in Brian Broome, whose early years growing up in Ohio as a dark-skinned Black boy harboring crushes on other boys propel forward this gorgeous, aching, and unforgettable debut.
Brian’s recounting of his experiences—in all their cringe-worthy, hilarious, and heartbreaking glory—reveals a perpetual outsider awkwardly squirming to find his way in.
This funny queer memoir is just the right side of heartache and hilarity – trust me, you’ll love it!
3. The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin
Staceyann Chin’s journey begins in a small Jamaican town, where she faces a fragile start to life.
Her mother rejected her, and her father was absent, so her grandmother became her caretaker until they were separated, leading Staceyann into a challenging new environment.
With determination and intelligence, she forged her path to success.
Now as a celebrated artist, she candidly shares her story, including her struggles, coming out as a lesbian, and the quest for her father.
This memoir is a powerful testament to resilience, told with grace, humor, and bravery.
4. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir delves into her intricate relationship with her father, Bruce Bechdel.
He was a distant English teacher who also worked at the family funeral home, known as the Fun Home.
And, it wasn’t until college, after Alison came out as a lesbian, that she discovered her father was gay as well.
His untimely death left her with lingering questions about their complex bond.
This intimate queer memoir explores the mysteries surrounding her father and the profound effects of their shared secrets.
5. Good Boy by Jennifer Finley Boylan
In “Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs,” Jennifer Finney Boylan, a bestselling author and New York Times columnist, shares a heartfelt memoir about the transformative power of loving dogs.
Through her personal journey, guided by seven remarkable dogs, Boylan reflects on the love we have for our furry companions and how it helps us understand our lives.
She believes that everything she knows about love, she learned from these loyal friends, teaching us to navigate life with humor, courage, and authenticity.
Unique in every way that counts, this is arguably one of the most popular queer memoirs I’ve had the privilege of reading, and I can tell you for a fact that it’s as good as it sounds.
6. Me by Elton John
“Me” by Elton John is his official autobiography, also depicted in the film Rocketman.
From a shy boy named Reginald Dwight, dreaming of stardom in London’s Pinner, to a dazzling pop sensation at twenty-three, Elton’s journey is marked by triumphs and struggles.
He faced setbacks with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, battled addiction, and ultimately found recovery, love with David Furnish, and became a father.
7. I Hope We Choose Love by Kai Cheng Thom
“I Hope We Choose Love” by Kai Cheng Thom is a powerful collection of essays and poems.
It addresses crucial issues in today’s social movements, touching on violence, family, complicity, forgiveness, and vengeance.
Thom draws inspiration from transformative justice leaders like Adrienne Maree Brown and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.
The book urges for nuance in political discourse, advocates for healing alongside calls for justice, and emphasizes the importance of love in challenging times.
8. Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
“Redefining Realness” by Janet Mock is a powerful memoir about her journey as a transgender woman.
It highlights her challenges growing up in a diverse yet economically constrained environment. Mock’s determination led her from a difficult adolescence to a successful career in New York.
Love gave her the strength to share her story and become an advocate for the transgender community.
This inspirational LGBTQ+ memoir by a queer individual which accounts for her personal journey is a testament to authenticity and self-acceptance for women today.
9. How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones
“How We Fight for Our Lives” by Saeed Jones is a compelling queer memoir at the crossroads of sex, race, and power.
Jones, a black, gay man from the South, recounts his journey to find his place in family, country, and self.
Through poignant vignettes, he delves into relationships, race, queerness, and vulnerability.
Blending poetry and prose, Jones crafts a powerful narrative, solidifying himself as an essential contemporary writer.
10. Boy Erased by Garrard Conley
Garrard Conley’s memoir, now a major motion picture, explores identity, love, and acceptance.
Raised in a devout Baptist family in small-town Arkansas, Garrard grappled with his sexuality.
When he was outed at nineteen, he faced a difficult choice: undergo church-supported conversion therapy or risk losing his loved ones and faith.
The therapy aimed to “cure” him of homosexuality, but Garrard’s journey led him to confront his true self and seek forgiveness.
This poignant memoir delves into family, faith, and community, showcasing the resilience of love despite adversity, and it was heartbreaking and vulnerable all at once.
11. A Wild And Precious Life by Edie Windsor
Edie Windsor’s memoir, finished posthumously by her co-writer, recounts the remarkable life of an LGBTQ icon known for her pivotal Supreme Court victory for marriage equality.
The book delves into her upbringing, discovery of her sexuality, and active participation in Greenwich Village’s LGBTQ community. Edie’s pioneering work in computing at IBM is highlighted.
Her forty-four-year partnership with Thea Spyer, a Holocaust survivor and psychologist, is a central focus, and the memoir offers insight into Edie’s extraordinary life and the evolution of LGBTQ activism in 20th-century New York.
If you’re keen on diversifying your reading list and you’re in the mood for a book chock-full of intimate reflections, this queer memoir is a must-read.
12. We Have Always Been Here by Samira Habib
“We Have Always Been Here” by Samra Habib is a memoir of her journey to self-acceptance and safety.
Growing up as an Ahmadi Muslim in Pakistan, she faced threats from extremists.
In Canada as a refugee, new challenges emerged, including racism and an arranged marriage.
Now, Samra explores faith, art, love, and queer identity as she embarks on a global quest to discover her true self.
The memoir is a powerful story of forgiveness, chosen and unchosen family, and the courage to embrace authenticity.
13. Life As A Unicorn by Amrou Al-Kadhi
This poignant memoir about Amrou’s journey from a God-fearing Muslim boy enamored with their mother to a vocal, queer drag queen is the best thing you can read right now.
It’s a heart-wrenching yet hilarious tale of their fight for authenticity.
Amrou’s realization of their queerness at a young age brought conflict with their parents.
The interesting queer memoir chronicles their quest for self-acceptance and belonging, navigating a path from their conservative upbringing to confidently strutting the stage as a drag queen, unapologetically speaking their truth.
14. Fairest by Meredith Talusan
“Fairest” is a poignant memoir of a Filipino boy with albinism, tracing his journey from a rural village to Harvard, encompassing themes of race, disability, and gender.
As an immigrant in the U.S., Talusan grapples with identity and belonging.
Navigating privilege and complexities, she emerges as an artist and activist, ultimately transitioning to a woman.
The spellbinding narrative, reminiscent of works like “Call Me By Your Name” and “Giovanni’s Room,” explores love, identity, and life’s complexities.
15. Sissy by Jacob Tobia
This fascinating memoir by Jacob Tobia recounts their journey from being labeled “male” at birth to embracing a fluid gender identity.
Challenging stereotypes, Jacob invites readers to rethink gender norms and advocates for a more inclusive world.
With humor and vulnerability, the book redefines how we understand and navigate gender identity, and this queer memoir genuinely felt like a warm hug.
And, that’s a wrap!
I’ve just listed 15 amazing LGBTQ+ memoirs that shine a light on the challenges and victories that queer folks face.
They’re the perfect reads if you’re in the mood to step into another person’s shoes for a moment.
Please check out the related posts below for more book recommendations and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.