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LGBTQ+ Literature “Top Ten” List… Newbies Welcome!

With the great diversity and value of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer-Plus (LGBTQ+) Literature, this Top 10 is just one starting point. The following works range from classical poetry to some of today’s best drama, comedy, and non-fiction. Enjoy!

Audre Lorde
  1. Faderman, Lillian, editor – Chloe Plus Olivia: Anthology of Lesbian Literature from the 17th Century to the Present – Thematically-arranged lesbian poetry, fiction, drama, and essays, featuring dozens of authors from five centuries; 1995
  2. Fone, Byrne R.S., editor – Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature: Readings from Western Antiquity to the Present Day – Almost five thousand years – from the epic of Gilgamesh to the 1990s – of gay male fiction, poetry, drama, and memoirs, with concise historical and literary commentary (outline of the book); 1998
  3. Forster, E.M. – Maurice [link to book resources; name pronounced MORR iss] – A young gay man challenges social, and personal, prejudice to find happiness; 1913 [my review of the 1987 film adaptation]
  4. Katz, Jonathan Ned, editor – Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. – 400 years of LGBTQs in America, revealed through original historical documents and illuminating commentaries; 1976. (Also recommended: Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, edited by Martin Duberman, Martha Vicinus, & George Chauncey — essays on LGBTQs throughout both world and US history; 1990)
  5. Kushner, Tony – Angels in America – Fantastic, romantic, political, hilarious, and deeply moving. Is this multi award-winning two-part epic the best play of the last 75 years? You decide! 1992–1994
  6. Lorde, Audre – Zami: A New Spelling of My Name [link to book resources] – Powerful “biomythography” (fictionalized memoir) of growing up in 1950s Harlem and becoming, in her own words, a “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet;” 1982
  7. Marlowe, Christopher – Edward II [free online] – Mesmerizing verse drama about the connections between politics, sex and power, as seen through the rise and fall of the historical English king (1284–1327) and his male lover; 1592 [my review of the 1991 film adaptation]
  8. Monette, Paul – Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story [link to book resources] – Intense, inspiring story of how the author came out, and learned to love; 1992
  9. Saslow, James M. – Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts – Landmark survey of LGBTQ+ art, and social life, from antiquity to the present; 1999 (winner of two Lambda Literary Awards). UPDATE February 20, 2022 – ‘PICTURES AND PASSIONS’ FREE TO DOWNLOAD: Thanks to the generosity of Prof. Saslow, Pictures and Passions is currently available FREE to download complete as a high-quality, 59MB PDF (may require a free membership in, that also offers thousands of scholarly articles on a wide range of topics).
  10. Woolf, Virginia – Orlando [link to book resources] – S/he lives for centuries, changing genders along the way; 1928
Pictures and Passions by James M. Saslow

* LGBTQ+ Literature Resources

Links to LGBTQ+ Literature resources from both this site and selected external sites. UPDATED! BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) LGBTQ+ Literature.

LGBTQ+ Literature
Jim’s Book Reviews / LGBTQ+ Literature

Begun 1997 / Updated February 27, 2022

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