As Pride Month, June is for celebrating the LGBTQIAP+ community. It’s a month steeped in history (June was selected due to the Stonewall riots), all about visibility and acceptance. But many people don’t know what it stands for. Today, we’re going to break down each letter of the alphabet soup that is LGBTQIAP+ and share a book recommendation with a character that falls in that category.
L is for Lesbian. Lesbian is a sexual and/or romantic orientation where a woman is attracted exclusively to other women.
We recommend Gridley Girls by Meredith First
Meg, Anne, Jennifer, and Tonya were known as The Group in the rural town of Gridley, California. But when Anne came out to Meg as a lesbian, Meg’s whole worldview was shaken, secrets came out, and trust was betrayed. Years down the line, the group reunites for Anne’s wedding and old wounds come back to light.
G is for Gay. Gay is a sexual and/or romantic orientation where a man is attracted exclusively to other men. This term also colloquially is used to refer to any person who is attracted to people of the same gender.
We recommend Just Like February by Deborah Batterman
To Rachel, there’s no one in the world like her Uncle Jake. When she learns he’s gay, she keeps it secret, even when he gets sick—until she realizes what her discretion is really costing her uncle. Framed by the passions of the ’60s and the AIDS crisis of the ’80s, this novel illuminates the harm that secrecy and homophobia can have.
B is for Bisexual or Biromantic. Bisexual and biromantic are orientations where a person is attracted to people of at least two genders, including their own.
We recommend Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
For anyone who’s ever felt that fandom is family, this is the book for you. Vlogger and actress Charlie is promoting her first movie at SupaCon—a chance to show fans she’s over her very public breakup with her costar, Reese. And perhaps, a chance at love with her long-time crush Alyssa?
T is for Transgender. A transgender person is someone who doesn’t identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. This often includes people who don’t identify within the gender binary—some of those labels may include nonbinary, genderfluid, and genderqueer.
We recommend Supervillainz by Alicia E. Goranson
In this hysterical adventure novel, the transgender protagonists steal the mask of a fallen superhero, are blamed for their death, and are forced to become supervillains. Between fights in dyke bars, car chases, and romance, you’ll find yourself both laughing and crying as they struggle for income, housing, and friendship.
Q is for Queer or Questioning. Not everyone finds a label that fits right away. Many spend much time searching for a term that sits right with them. That is questioning. Queer is a catch-all term to describe anyone who falls in the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum. However, be careful using this term. It was a slur for a long time, and many members of the community still find it derogatory.
We recommend The Infinite Now by Mindy Tarquini
After Fiora’s parents die suddenly, an old man takes her in, despite her family’s reputation for magic. When she foresees his death, she casts her entire neighborhood into a stagnant bubble of time where nothing progresses. In this bubble, she gets to know Benedetta, to whom she feels an inexplicable attraction.
I is for Intersex. Intersex is a person who falls between the sex binary. Some intersex people have secondary sex characteristics of both sexes, and some do not. Some may seem at all ways one sex, but carry the chromosomes of the other. Still others will have an extra chromosome altogether.
We recommend None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio
Kristin Lattimer’s life is perfect. She’s Homecoming queen, a champion hurdler, and has a full ride to her dream school. But when she decides to have sex with her boyfriend, something is wrong. The doctor reveals that Kristin is intersex—and before she has a chance to come to terms with the news herself, the diagnosis is leaked to the whole school.
A is for Asexual, Aromantic, and sometimes Agender. Asexuality and aromantic are orientations where a person doesn’t experience that kind (sexual or romantic) of attraction. These are spectrums; a variety of orientations that experience a low frequency of attraction under certain conditions, such as demi-, gray-, and lith-. Agender is when someone doesn’t identify with any gender. Many agender people prefer to identify with T, since it more closely matches to their experience.
We recommend Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
When Tash Zelenka’s amateur webseries Unhappy Families, based on Anna Karenina, goes viral, her life is turned upside down. And when it’s nominated for a Golden Tuba Award, her cyber-flirtation with a fellow nominee has potential to become real—if only she could figure out how to tell him she’s asexual.
P is for Pansexual, Panromantic, Polysexual, Polyromantic, and Polyamorous. Some people actually list two Ps, separating out polyamorous from the rest of the P-orientations, since it doesn’t quite fit with the grouping. Pansexual and panromantic are orientations where a person is attracted to people of all genders, while polysexual and polyromantic are orientations where a person is attracted to people of multiple genders, but not necessarily all. Polyamory is a non-monogamous orientation.
We recommend The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
This sci-fi novel follows Rosemary Harper, a young woman on a spaceship trying to distance herself from her past. As happens in close quarters, member of the crew become romantically involved—including a polyamorous relationship.
+ recognizes that there are more orientations and genders beyond the ones covered here. There is so much to learn about the LGBTQIAP+ community, and one of the best ways to learn (aside from listening to the experiences of people in the community) is to read.
We recommend The Gay BCs of LGBT+ by Ashley Mardell
This reference guide covers so many more terms in the LGBT+ community than you ever thought there were. The author (who has changed their name to Ash Hardell since publishing) has made a career out of making informative videos online about the LGBT+ community and their experience as a nonbinary bisexual, and decided to make the this edition available as a free ebook.