Afro-American black woman reading a book at home by a queer black author

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When policies put limitations on them and businesses shut their doors to them, queer people always had the pen as their last weapon to fight for their rights. From secret periodicals to anonymous authors, the queer community has made sure that their stories and voices were heard – even when the mainstream media didn’t want them to be. Black queer authors have been just as effective of heroes throughout the fight for queer rights as some of the more obvious and public figures. Their books remain important to this day as the ongoing history of the Black queer experience, and education to the public about how to respect the LGBTQ+ community.

Here are books from Black queer authors to read.


Bad Feminist

By Roxane Gay



Bad Feminist is a compilation of essays by political activist and teacher Roxane Gay. The book looks at feminism in recent years with a sharp eye and plenty of humor. It certainly inspires us as a culture to do better. The essays specifically examine Gay’s experience as a queer woman of color who hasn’t always fit into the picture of feminism that society has fed her. Gay describes herself as a “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.”


Black Girl Dangerous: On Race, Queerness, Class and Gender

By Mia McKenzie


In this daring and complex book, queer Black feminist McKenzie takes a look at the layered marginalization that is experienced as a minority, non-conforming individual. She tackles dense topics including class, race, gender and queerness in a way that is digestible and engaging. The book consists of anthology-like entries that originally appeared on McKenzie’s popular website by the same name.



By Danez Smith


Danez Smith is a queer, non-binary and HIV-positive poet. A collection of poems, Homie was inspired by a loss of a friend. The writing explores the pain of being without community in a society riddled with racism, homophobia and xenophobia. Though the topics are serious and gut-wrenching, Smith handles them all with an incredibly sharp wit that somehow keeps you laughing through subjects you never thought you could find funny.


The Stars and the Blackness Between Them

By Junauda Petrus


Author Petrus didn’t come out to her family until she was 30 years old. Some fans of the writer believe her struggle could have been the inspiration for this book about two young women fighting to be together. A touching coming-of-age novel, The Stars and the Blackness Between Them is told in two voices, from the perspectives of two 16-year-old girls who are falling in love in a society that’s determined to keep them apart.


It’s About Damn Time

By Arlan Hamilton and Rachel L Nelson


If you recognize Arlan Hamilton’s name, that’s because this powerful entrepreneur kicked down the doors of the notoriously male-centric Silicon Valley. Hamilton is the founder of venture capitalist firm Backstage Capital. Her book, It’s About Damn Time, is about that very feat, and teaches readers how a gay, Black woman can find her voice in spaces and break into industries that aren’t traditionally welcoming to queer people, Black people or females.


How We Fight For Our Lives: A Memoir

By Saeed Jones

This memoir won the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction in 2019 and tells the author’s own story of growing up as a Black, gay boy in the south. It’s a deeply personal book that covers tumultuous relationships with family, first intimate encounters, flings and many coming-of-age experiences. While it is a memoir, it also artuflly explores themes of race and queerness and how the two interact.

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