5 books that helped me learn about LGBT issues

I am far from an expert on LGBT issues, but I’ve been trying for a few years to educate myself. As a feminist, I strive to be intersectional, though I know that I fail and fall into my privileges sometimes. Though I know how important marriage equality is, there are still many more problems that LGBT people face. I don’t think any one is more important than others, and though no one person can fix any of them, awareness is a start for many of us. I feel like awareness and acceptance for each person is a good place to start and then getting a handle on what we can do to improve situations for the LGBT people in our lives and communities and that this should just naturally branch out from there, but I’m usually wrong about these kinds of things.

These books have helped my awareness about what the daily struggle is, what helps, organizations that work to help and the ways that LGBT issues intersect with women’s issues. I’m sure you’ll notice going through the list that most are focused on the transgender community, they were the community that I was least familiar with and therefore needing the most information about.

Between XX and Xy: Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes - Gerald N. Callahan

Between XX and XY takes a look at the biological side of things. I know that biology doesn’t equal destiny but it provides a good starting point on that the world isn’t as simple as two sexes biologically, let alone in any other fashion. It’s definitely helped me argue the point with those who are staunchly in the “biology does equal destiny” camp.

Transgender History - Susan Stryker

Transgender History gives as in-depth a history of the transgender community as documentation would allow it. It begins with cross-dressers in the 1800s and comes to the time of the writing, which was 20hh09. Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community - Andrew Marin

Love is an Orientation asks the Christian community to stop squabbling over whether or not it’s a sin and to focus on the person and their relationship with God. It goes beyond the old “love the sinner, not the sin” mentality and reminds us to not focus on the sin at all but the person and whether or not they desire a relationship with God. He also reminds us that being LGBT is not something that can be “prayed away”. It’s not that simple and not going to help us get to where we need to be.

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity - Julia Serano

Whipping Girl was eye-opening in a whole other way. The book goes into the way we look at feminity and therefore those who “choose” to be feminine when they shouldn’t be and not to be when they should be, according to society. It takes a look at how the women’s movement has continued the trend of turning from femininity in order to be taken more seriously, among other things. Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family - Amy Ellis NuttBecoming Nicole makes the whole issue more personal by making it about a little girl in Maine who just wanted to be able to be herself. I know the cover shows a pair of teens, but the book begins quite early in her life and follows Nicole and her family through many trials.

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