10 Must-Read Books for LGBTQ+ Teens

It’s back-to-school time for many LGBTQ+ students across the country, and needless to say, it’s a pretty precarious time. Many anti-LGBTQ+ laws came into force over the summer, including ones restricting transgender children’s access to restrooms and sports teams, and banning books with LGBTQ+ content. As a result, LGBTQ+ students, especially teenagers, do not have the support they need to explore and validate their gender identity and orientation.

Luckily, there are external resources that students, parents, and teachers can use. GLAAD recently released a counselor to combat book and school censorship. A top tip for students is to take advantage of the Brooklyn Library’s Books Unbanned Program, which gives free eCards to students ages 13-21 anywhere in the United States so they can access their digital library and read books that are being challenged in schools became.

For those who might need some book suggestions, here are ten must-read books for LGBTQ+ teens.

Written by trans youth activists for trans teens, this guide covers topics ranging from attachment to dating to gender dysphoria in friendly, accessible language, and includes accompanying illustrations and words from real trans teens throughout the book. This book aims to be a practical guide for transgender and non-binary teens that will instill confidence and help trans teens feel less alone.

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Next is a creative journal and workbook with coloring pages, journal ideas and practical advice. Using cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques, this thoughtful guide covers topics such as body positivity, coming out, and helping you navigate relationships with friends and family. Whether you are trans, non-binary, or gender elsewhere, this book will help you validate yourself.

Discussing a variety of mental health issues, such as self-harm, eating disorders, and low self-esteem, this self-help book uses cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and assertive community treatment to help LGBTQ+ individuals develop healthy coping mechanisms. Written by a queer mental health practitioner, this book aims to be a resource with strategies that the reader can adapt to their own needs.

Molly Muldoon and Will Hernandez—a writer and illustrator from the ace community—wrote the comic guide to an orientation that often goes unseen. Given that many people are growing up on the asexual spectrum feeling broken because of their lack of sexual or romantic attraction, this book is much needed. In addition to providing validation, this book also serves as a basic introduction to what asexuality is and is not, through comics and text.

This memoir manifesto is a series of essays based on the author’s own experiences growing up as a black queer boy in Plainfield, New Jersey, while also reaching out to black queer boys who may not have the support they which they need. Ranging from childhood through college, the book features candid discussions of good and bad sexual experiences, as well as family and brotherhood.

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See also: Lamar Dawson interviews George M. Johnson, author of All Boys Aren’t Blue.

Felix Love is an artistic trans boy who wants to experience romantic love. When his pre-world transition photos leak out, he must figure out the culprit while examining his own self-esteem and the kind of love he deserves. Through his experiences with others, Felix Love needs to see who and what should determine his worth.

Told from the dual points of view of an African American queer teen named Mabel and a Trinidadian teen named Audre, this book tells the story of two girls finding comfort in each other after separate traumas. With lush, lyrical writing and lovely references to late bisexual icon Whitney Houston, this book has the potential to soothe your soul.

This book is the long-awaited sequel to the 2012 novel Aristotle and Dante discover the mysteries of the universe. While in the first book the title male characters fall in love, this book sees the two managing their romantic relationship in a world that is against them. Despite this, Ari makes new friends and faces enemies with Dante by his side. As Ari copes with a sudden loss, he must find the strength to continue living his ideal life.

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You know how two people pretend to be dating for some reason and end up falling in love? This book takes that beautiful trope and focuses on two girls: Hani Khan and Ishu Dey. When popular girl Hani accidentally turns out to be bisexual, her friends say she can’t be bi because she’s only dated men. As a result, Hani lies and says that she has a girlfriend and now needs to date a girl her friends can’t stand, academic high achiever Ishu.

This book follows a black, biromantic, asexual lead named Alice who, in addition to her girlfriend breaking up with her because she’s asexual, must figure out what she wants to study in college while dealing with a crush on the librarian Takumi and the changes in their friendships deal with Feenie and Ryan. She also has to come to terms with what attraction and romance mean to her as a bi-ass person.♦

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