Welcome to Family Equality’s Book Nook, a comprehensive list of the best LGBTQ+ books for the whole family!
Whether you’re searching for your child’s first picture book or a young adult novel that your tween will devour, Family Equality’s Book Nook is a list of our favorite books that represent diverse families in a loving and respectful way.
Check out the search portal below to discover what new LGBTQ+ books you need to add to your at-home, local, or school libraries!
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Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality
Why do some people prefer heterosexual love while others fancy the same sex? Is sexual identity biologically determined or a product of convention? In this brilliant and provocative book, the acclaimed author of Myths of Gender argues that even the most fundamental knowledge about sex is shaped by the culture in which scientific knowledge is produced. Drawing on astonishing real-life cases and a probing analysis of centuries of scientific research, Fausto-Sterling demonstrates how scientists have historically politicized the body. In lively and impassioned prose, she breaks down three key dualisms – sex/gender, nature/nurture, and real/constructed – and asserts that individuals born as mixtures of male and female exist as one of five natural human variants and, as such, should not be forced to compromise their differences to fit a flawed societal definition of normality.
She Looks Just Like You: A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood
Amie Klempnauer Miller
After ten years of talking about having children, two years of trying (and failing) to conceive, and one shot of donor sperm for her partner, Amie Miller was about to become a mother. Or something like that. Over the next nine months, as her partner became the biological mom-to-be, Miller became . . . what? Mommy’s little helper? A faux dad? As a Midwestern, station wagon–driving, stay-at-home mom—and as a nonbiological lesbian mother—Miller both defines and defies the norm. Like new parents everywhere, she wrestled with the anxieties and challenges of first-time parenthood but experienced pregnancy and birth only vicariously. Part love story, part comedy, part quest, Miller’s candid and often humorous memoir is a much-needed cultural roadmap for becoming a parent, even when the usual categories do not fit.
Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial
A renowned legal scholar tells the definitive story of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the trial that will stand as the most potent argument for marriage equality Speak Now tells the story of a watershed trial that unfolded over twelve tense days in California in 2010. A trial that legalized same-sex marriage in our most populous state. A trial that interrogated the nature of marriage, the political status of gays and lesbians, the ideal circumstances for raising children, and the ability of direct democracy to protect fundamental rights. A trial that stands as the most potent argument for marriage equality this nation has ever seen. In telling the story of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the groundbreaking federal lawsuit against Proposition 8, Kenji Yoshino has also written a paean to the vanishing civil trial–an oasis of rationality in what is often a decidedly uncivil debate. Above all, this book is a work of deep humanity, in which Yoshino brings abstract legal arguments to life by sharing his own story of finding love, marrying, and having children as a gay man. Intellectually rigorous and profoundly compassionate, Speak Now will stand as the definitive account of a landmark civil-rights trial.
Stuck in the Middle with You: Parenthood in Three Genders
Jennifer Finney Boylan
A father for ten years, a mother for eight, and for a time in between, neither, or both (“the parental version of the schnoodle, or the cockapoo”), Jennifer Finney Boylan has seen parenthood from both sides of the gender divide. When her two children were young, Boylan came out as transgender, and as Jenny transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother, her family faced unique challenges and questions. In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jenny asks what it means to be a father, or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents. “It is my hope,” she writes, “that having a father who became a woman in turn helped my sons become better men”. Through both her own story and incredibly insightful interviews with others, including Richard Russo, Edward Albee, Ann Beattie, Augusten Burroughs, Susan Minot, Trey Ellis, Timothy Kreider, and more, Jenny examines relationships with fathers and mothers, people’s memories of the children they were and the parents they became, and the many different ways a family can be. Followed by an Afterword by Anna Quindlen that includes Jenny and her wife discussing the challenges they’ve faced and the love they share, Stuck in the Middle with You is a brilliant meditation on raising – and on being – a child.
The Door of the Heart
Diana Finfrock Farrar
Tammy and Ed Sloan have been married for over two decades when they suddenly discover themselves on opposite sides of a current social issue – gay rights. Soon, they are horrified to discover that their differences run much deeper. The Door of the Heart is a story of being true to oneself, of marriage and commitment, and of individual responses to change; but in a broader sense, it is a story about how polarization limits the emotional and spiritual growth of individuals and destroys every aspect of community.
The Gender Creative Child
In her groundbreaking first book, Gender Born, Gender Made, Dr. Diane Ehrensaft coined the term gender creative to describe children whose unique gender expression or sense of identity is not defined by a checkbox on their birth certificate. Now, with The Gender Creative Child, she returns to guide parents and professionals through the rapidly changing cultural, medical, and legal landscape of gender and identity.
In this up-to-date, comprehensive resource, Dr. Ehrensaft explains the interconnected effects of biology, nurture, and culture to explore why gender can be fluid, rather than binary. As an advocate for the gender affirmative model and with the expertise she has gained over three decades of pioneering work with children and families, she encourages caregivers to listen to each child, learn their particular needs, and support their quest for a true gender self. With a foreword by Norman Spack, MD, the director and cofounder of the Gender Management Service clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital, the first US clinic to medically treat transgender children.
The Gender Creative Child unlocks the door to a gender-expansive world, revealing pathways for positive change in our schools, our communities, and the world.
The Last Conception
Passionate embryologist, Savarna, is in a complicated relationship, with two different women, when she is told that she MUST have a baby. Her conservative East Indian American parents are desperate for her to conceive, in spite of her “not being married”. They insist that she is the last in line of a great spiritual lineage. In the process of choosing her lover and having doubts about her ability, or desire to conceive, Savarna begins to question the necessity of biology and lineage within her parents’ beliefs and becomes forever fascinated with the process of conception and the definition of family. Threads of Dan Brown (DaVinci Code), Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Sister of My Heart) and The L Word (TV series) flavor this colorful tale of awakening, romance and mystery.
The Paternity Test
Pat Faunce is a faltering romantic, a former poetry major who now writes textbooks. A decade into his relationship with Stu, an airline pilot from a fraught Jewish family, he fears he’s losing Stu to other men—and losing himself in their “no rules” arrangement. Yearning for a baby and a deeper commitment, he pressures Stu to move from Manhattan to Cape Cod, to the cottage where Pat spent boyhood summers. As they struggle to adjust to their new life, they enlist a surrogate: Debora, a charismatic Brazilian immigrant, married to Danny, an American carpenter. Gradually, Pat and Debora bond, drawn together by the logistics of getting pregnant and away from their spouses. Pat gets caught between loyalties—to Stu and his family, to Debora, to his own potent desires—and wonders: is he fit to be a father? In one of the first novels to explore the experience of gay men seeking a child through surrogacy, Michael Lowenthal writes passionately about marriages and mistakes, loyalty and betrayal, and about how our drive to create families can complicate the ones we already have. The Paternity Test is a provocative look at the new “family values”.
The Reluctant Daughter Bold Strokes Books
A story every daughter will recognize, The Reluctant Daughter depicts the struggles of Lydia Pinkowitz to communicate the realities of her life as a lesbian, as a feminist scholar, and as the woman she has become to her mother Doris. After years of hoping to attain her mother’s love and acceptance while struggling to live a true and honest life, Lydia eventually acknowledges her mother will never really see her. When Doris develops a life-threatening illness, Lydia is forced to make a life-and-death decision of her own: should she make one final attempt to heal her relationship with her mother or simply let her go?
The Right to Be Parents: LGBT Families and the Transformation of Parenthood
Carlos A. Ball
In 1975, California courts stripped a lesbian mother of her custody rights because she was living openly with another woman. Twenty years later, the Virginia Supreme Court did the same thing to another lesbian mother. In ordering that children be separated from their mothers, these courts ruled that it was not possible for a woman to be both a good parent and a lesbian. The Right to be Parents is the first book to provide a detailed history of how LGBT parents have turned to the courts to protect and defend their relationships with their children. Carlos A. Ball chronicles the stories of LGBT parents who, in seeking to gain legal recognition of and protection for their relationships with their children, have fundamentally changed how American law defines and regulates parenthood. Each chapter contains riveting human stories of determination and perseverance as LGBT parents challenge the widely-held view that having a same-sexual orientation, or that being a transsexual, renders individuals incapable of being good parents. To this day, some courts are still not able to look beyond sexual orientation and gender identity in order to fairly apply legal principles in cases involving LGBT parents and their children. Yet on the whole, Ball’s stories are of progress and transformation: as a result of these pioneering LGBT parent litigants, the law is increasingly recognizing the wide diversity in American familial structures. The Right to be Parents explores why and how that has come to be.
More Resources for LGBTQ+ Families
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