50 Essential Works of LGBT Fiction

Some gorgeous books in this list. I’ve only read a few, just added others to my wishlist. The big one that jumps out is Dhalgren – I read a lot of Delany in my late teens and you never forget his writing. Not sure I’d recommend it as a ‘good’ book but it possesses the power to paint a different colour into your mind.

My ‘The Calgary Chessman’ series has major supporting characters who are gay, although the protagonist of the first two books is a heterosexual female. The relationship between the men forms the primary sub-plot, which grows in importance as the series progresses, however both characters have complete lives of their own, and both play a major role in the plot, irregardless of their orientation. That’s how I believe it should be – our sexuality is a vital component of our lives, but it’s not the only focus. LGBT characters have the same right as any others to be believable, and to lead full lives. Mine would never let me get away with less!


Here’s the thing: “LGBT” is not a genre, but if you walk into any big chain bookstore, you’ll likely to find a “Gay and Lesbian” shelf in the literature section. Works of fiction that heavily feature queer themes are often ghettoized, only placing an unfortunate stigma on indelible pieces of writing that, while attracting a small group of readers, only serves to alienate others. While we’re still waiting for queer literature’s mainstream acceptance — The Great Gay Novel, if you will — there have been numerous novels and plays published in the last century that have illuminated the multifaceted queer experience among a diverse, wide-reaching community. While this list is no way a definitive canon of the best in queer literature, it does include some essential works that can provide entertainment, introspection, and comfort to those who identify as queer or straight.

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