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23 LGBTQ+ Books To Read In 2023
23 LGBTQ Books to Read in 2023 495 400 CJ Bourque

23 LGBTQ Books to Read in 2023

23 LGBTQ+ Books To Read In 2023

23 LGBTQ Books to Read in 2023

By Leo Kirkham

Finding a good book is no easy feat. But whether it’s gray and rainy or shining and bright, this list of 23 new releases in 2023 books will help you get through your day with a smile on your face. Books with autistic representation are marked with an asterisk (*).

In this book inspired by modern Egyptian history, Nehal is a young woman who desires to pursue an education in elemental magic. However, her father’s debts force her into an arranged marriage with a man who is in love with another woman, a bookseller named Giorgina. Giorgina is an earthweaver with uncontrollable powers who participates in the Daughters of Izdihar, a radical women’s rights group. As tensions rise with a neighboring nation and war looms in the background, Nehal and Giorgina must struggle to earn and keep their freedom.

Young adult, fantasy

Available January 10, 2023

In this Parent Trap-style story, Edward and Billy are long-lost twins living vastly different lives–one as a prince, one in rural Montana–until a chance reunion in NYC brings them together. This story of growing pains and new beginnings is kicking off our year with a royal start.

Young adult, contemporary

Available January 10, 2023

An Armenian-American woman is thrust into a month-long event series called “Explore Armenia” by her mother, who is pressuring her to find a husband. But it’s not the mom-approved doctor or engineer who catches her eye, it’s a woman named Erebuni. As the closing event looms and her whole family will be there, her worlds – proudly Armenian, proudly bisexual – are about to collide.

Adult, contemporary, romance

Available January 31, 2023

Nova, the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High, is found murdered. Her best friend, Duchess, is determined to expose the killer, who she believes is the beautiful, wealthy, and white popular girl who wanted the crown for herself, Tinsley McArthur. Duchess’s father is the first Black police captain in Lovett, and he falls behind the blue line and lets Tinsley walk. In order to prove that Tinsley is guilty, Duchess is going to have to get close to her.

Young adult, mystery

Available January 31, 2023

A play on the classic novel, Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg , Hijab Butch Blues focuses on a queer hijabi Muslim immigrant who is surviving her coming of age by drawing strength from the Quran.

Nonfiction, memoir

Available February 7, 2023

Another spooky read, She is a Haunting tells the story of a young Vietnamese girl, closeted to her estranged father, visiting him for a month in his French colonial house he is renovating. She wants to get in and get out of the house with the college money her father has promised her, but the house has other ideas. She keeps waking up paralyzed and covered in insect legs, haunted by the ghost of a bride who gives her one warning: don’t eat.

Young adult, horror

Available February 28, 2023

Val and Lanie, eighth graders in a mysterious small town, experience a ghost sighting. After a run-in with the school’s queen bee (and Lanie’s former friend), they accidentally summon the Ojja-Wojja, a demon connected to the town’s dark history. With all hell breaking loose, Val, Lanie, and their small group of friends must save the town.

Graphic novel, horror, mystery

Available Mary 7, 2023

From the author of Love & Other Disasters comes a story about two men hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. In a grumpy-meets-sunshine rom-com, these two men must make decisions about their journeys – on the trail and off.

Adult, contemporary, romance

Available March 7, 2023

At a scholarship dinner for her prestigious school, Waverly witnesses a brutal murder, followed by a global blackout. Waverly, her crush, and her friends must navigate through a maze of elevators, secret passageways, and back rooms to escape the masquerade ball and survive the night.

Young adult, mystery, thriller

May 9, 2023

The Season 9 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race combines memoir, queer theory, and history into a stunning manifesto of drag.

Nonfiction, memoir, illustrated

Available April 4, 2023

As a writer at a queer magazine, Liz is not thrilled to learn that a new minority investor, Daria, is making big changes at her firm to cut costs. Daria is also critical of Liz’s writing, but just when Liz thinks she’s going to get herself fired with a mouthy comment, she spends more time with Daria and gets to know her soft side. Against her better judgment, Liz is feeling chemistry between them. Where will they go from here?

Adult, contemporary, romance

Available April 25, 2023

In this sci-fi retelling of Pinocchio, a human raised by a robot learns of his father’s dark past, and their family is suddenly on the run from authorities. To save his robot father from being deprogrammed, Victor must make decisions about what love and family means.

Adult, sci-fi, fantasy, fairytale retelling

Available April 25, 2023

Freshly out as gay to herself, and an overachiever, Margo is determined to master her gayness. In exchange for history tutoring, Abbie gives Margo Zimmerman “Queer 101” lessons. But as they spend more time together, Margo starts to realize she doesn’t want just any girl – she wants the girl.

Young adult, contemporary, romance

Available May 2, 2023

For Percy Jackson fans, this new book features the side characters and gay couple Nico and Will in a book of their own. Filled with mythology and adventure, this is a don’t-miss for fans.

Middle grade, fantasy

Available May 2, 2023

From the Stonewall Honor-winning author of Like a Love Story comes a story of three boys from separate generations of an Iranian family – one in 1939, one in 1978, and another in 2019 – each of them battling a unique challenge with their identity, sexuality, and intergenerational trauma.

Young adult, contemporary, historical fiction

Available May 9, 2023

Valentina arrives at her childhood summer soccer camp only to realize that her soccer rival, Leticia, is now her co-captain, and college scouts will be watching their skills as a team. Will they be able to put aside their differences and work together?

Young adult, contemporary, romance

Available May 9, 2023

In this young adult rom-com, Dylan wants to win the mooncake-making competition to support his family, but when distraction Theo shows up and asks him to be his fake date to a wedding in the Hamptons, can Dylan follow his heart and save his family’s business?

Young adult, contemporary, romance

Available May 16, 2023

Warnings: sexual assault

Ariana, a queer autistic girl, is a victim of sexual assault at a high school party. When an unlikely group of students emerges determined to expose the truth and defend Ariana, this brave and heart-wrenching story turns to one of friendship and camaraderie when it matters most.

Young adult, contemporary

Available May 23, 2023

The famous actor came out as trans in 2020 and plans to release his memoir this year. He wrote in his book announcement, “Books have helped me, saved me even, so I hope this can help someone feel less alone, feel seen, no matter who they are or what path they are on.”

Nonfiction, memoir

Available June 6, 2023

Set in 1990s India, a young gay man runs away to escape his father’s threats to send him to a conversion camp. He joins a street theater troupe, playing the role of humans and gods, men and women, and he finally starts to feel like himself.

Adult, literary fiction

Available July 11, 2023

This book follows a middle school girl dealing with a Crohn’s disease diagnosis and the discovery that she is queer. With humor and honesty, this book is perfect for your middle schooler or for anyone willing to revisit those painful years.

Middle grade, contemporary

Available August 1, 2023

In this Romeo & Juliet retelling, a queer teen boy in Verona, Italy harbors a secret from his family: he only likes boys, and he doesn’t want to marry a woman to uphold his family’s “honor.” One night, he sneaks into a Capulet party with his cousin and meets Valentine, the sweetest, most beautiful boy. A tender romance begins as the conflict between the Montagues and the Capulets rages on, and Romeo and Valentine are in danger of losing each other forever.

Young adult, historical fiction, Shakespeare retelling

Available August 22, 2023

In late 1800s London, a transgender boy with autism and the ability to commune with spirits falls ill and is sent away to a boarding school, where the ghosts of missing students begin asking him for help.

Young adult, horror, historical

Available September 5, 2023

Looking for fun, social programming for a teen or young adult, visit Kaleidoscope’s events page here.

Interested in therapy?  The Help Group’s Lumina Counseling has appointment availability throughout the week and weekends, both in-person and online. To learn more, visit Lumina Counseling’s website here.

Our Bodies Are Already Ready by Jay Baldwin
Our Bodies are Already Ready 495 401 CJ Bourque

Our Bodies are Already Ready

Our Bodies Are Already Ready by Jay Baldwin

Our Bodies are Already Ready

By Jay Baldwin

Summer is upon us, which for many of us brings up images of splashing in the ocean, relaxing by the pool, and soaking up the sun. But every year right before summer, the inevitable shadow is cast upon this otherwise bright season. “Are you beach body ready?” the ads ask us. “Get yourself ready for bikini season!” From magazines, to diet ads, to many other kinds of media, the message is clear: Only certain kinds of bodies are acceptable, desirable, and appropriate for summer, and if we don’t have one of those kinds of bodies, we need to get them “ready”

The Ideal Body Type?

The “ideal” body type in our culture is typically one that is white, cisgender, thin, and able bodied. Messages like this are rooted in patriarchy, misogyny and racism, and have perpetuated a great deal of harm toward people of all genders. Queer and trans bodies, which have been historically othered and positioned as less than compared to their straight and cisgender peers, are impacted by these messages in very specific ways. Not only is there pressure to “get one’s body ready” from an aesthetic standpoint, there is the actual process of moving through the world and buying a swimsuit that can be very challenging for many LGBTQ+ folks, particularly transgender, non binary and any individual – trans or cisgender – who is gender non conforming.

Swimwear can perpetuate the Gender Binary

Swimwear and bathing suits are almost always gendered pieces of clothing that perpetuate the gender binary – the idea that there are only two genders (men and women) and that there are “acceptable” or assumed ways that boys/men and girls/women will dress. They also emphasize certain body parts that can cause trans, non binary and gender non conforming individuals to experience gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is term that describes unease, discomfort or anxiety – sometimes severe –  that a person may have because of a mismatch between their biological sex characteristics and their gender identity. A day at the beach or the pool, one that we associate with fun, carefree times, can be a deeply uncomfortable experience, or one that is avoided altogether, for anyone who cannot find swim wear that is comfortable, affordable and affirms their gender identity and expression.

For trans, non binary and gender non conforming youth who are just coming into their identities and their bodies, this can be a particularly vulnerable time as we head into summer. These youth may be in various stages of coming out and/or in gender transition. They may wonder “Is it safe to present as my chosen gender in a swimsuit? Will I be able to use the correct changing room without being harassed? Will I be misgendered if I wear one kind of bathing suit versus another?”

Affirming Support can make all the difference

If an LGBTQ+ child or teen needs support and help finding a bathing suit, an affirming adult can make all the difference. Let the LGBTQ+ youth in your life know that you know this is not an easy experience, and that they deserve to feel comfortable and happy in their bodies, no matter what they are wearing. It is also important to emphasize that you understand that clothing has no gender, and that they are not obligated to wear anything that gender norms dictate they “should”.

Fortunately, there are now many gender inclusive companies that make swimsuits for LGBTQ+ youth and adults that are comfortable, high quality and gender affirming.

10 Best Places To Buy Gender Inclusive Swimwear has wonderful reviews of many companies that make swimwear for all bodies, genders and gender expressions, and is a refreshing departure from companies that only sell outdated “men and women” swimwear.

This summer, I want to say to the LGBTQ+ community, we’re already ready! We were ready long before anyone told us that we should look, think and act according to harmful and quite frankly ridiculous standards, and we’re waiting for everyone else to catch up. The time is now. May we celebrate our queer and trans bodies, in all their uniqueness, strength and diversity, and shine just as bright as the summer sun.

What Does It Mean To Identify As Non-Binary? 495 401 CJ Bourque

What Does It Mean To Identify As Non-Binary?

What Does It Mean To Identify As Non-Binary?

If you watched the Sex And the City reboot titled, And Just Like That, then you saw the character Charlotte learn that her 13 year old child Rose now identifies as non-binary and wants to be called Rock. Charlotte is at first utterly baffled but then decides to learn all she can about what it means to be non-binary. At the series’ end, Charlotte is completely supportive of her child.Some viewers of the show found Charlotte’s journey very relatable, while for others this may have been the first time they learned about people who identify as non-binary.

What does the term non-binary mean? Non-binary can mean different things to different people. For some, being non-binary means they don’t identify as exclusively male or female. Other non-binary people may have a fluctuating gender identity or identify as nongendered. If your child identifies as non-binary, then the best way to understand how your child defines themselves is to ask your child how they personally define non-binary.

To further explain, when a baby is born, the doctor assigns the gender as male or female based on external anatomy. However, as the child grows up, the gender assigned at birth may not align with how the child feels internally. We now know that gender is a social construct, meaning children are socialized to behave in ways that align with society’s expectation for what is “male” or “female”. Some children feel strongly that their assigned gender does not fit with who they are as a person and those people identify as transgender. And some children feel that they are both male and female genders, or neither gender, or maybe that their gender changes. These people identify as being on the non-binary spectrum. Other terms for non-binary are genderfluid, genderqueer, or agender. How a person feels about themselves is very unique so there is no way to look at a person and know how they identify.

When your child declares that they are non-binary, it is a normal reaction to feel scared or confused. Some parents feel a sense of grief for the loss of what was and find it challenging to move to a place of embracing their child for who they are now. If you find yourself struggling, you can seek support and counseling from Kaleidoscope’s therapeutic services or join with other parents of non-binary children in a safe environment such as Kaleidoscope’s free monthly Parent Support Groups.

Although parents may feel overwhelmed when their child shares that they are non-binary, parents should do their best to respond to their child in a non-judgemental  and compassionate manner. It is important to remember how brave their child was to share their authentic self with their parents, and how confusing it must be for them as they travel this journey of self-discovery.

Parents should focus on being their child’s support team and to be there with love and affirmations. Tell your child that you love them and accept them unconditionally. Let your child take the lead. Ask what pronouns they prefer and if they are comfortable with their name. If they decide to use a chosen name and different pronouns, make every effort to use them.

A parent’s support can give their non-binary child the secure foundation for their healthy development. Parents can demonstrate love and support by showing interest, asking questions and trying to learn all they can about their child’s identity.  For example, ask your child if they would like your help with advocating regarding any school related issues, such as their new name added to the school’s roster of students.

One issue that can be difficult for parents is when their child informs them that they no longer want to be called by their “deadname” which is a term for the name given at birth. Some parents find it painful that their child loathes the name that they spent time choosing and bestowed with love. But their child may feel that their deadname represents the pain they feel when forced to be in a gender category that doesn’t feel “right” to them. Selecting a new name signifies a fresh start and the hope of a more content sense of self. When a parent uses the name their child prefers, it signals acceptance and love, and the understanding that your child is who they want to be.

All parents want their children to lead happy and fulfilled lives. By following their child’s lead, by demonstrating affirmative support, and by loving their child unconditionally, parents of non-binary children are helping to chart their path toward a happy life.