LGBTQIA+ History Month

October 08, 2021 | By Baltimore County Public Library

Banned Books Week

October is LGBTQIA+ History Month. First created in 1994 by high school history teacher Rodney Wilson, this is a time to celebrate exemplary people from the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as reflect on their historic struggle for equal rights. This month encompasses many important dates, including:

  • National Coming Out Day (October 11)
  • The anniversary of the 1979 March on Washington to protest discrimination (October 17)
  • Pronouns Day (this year, October 20)

Baltimore County Public Library branches are safe spaces for the entire community. We're sharing some of our favorite books for all ages that celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and recognize and honor its history. 


Children’s Reads

“The Every Body Book: The LGBTQ+ Inclusive Guide for Kids About Sex, Gender, Bodies and Families” by Rachel E. Simon

Want to start having “the talk” with your kid? If so, this book is the perfect place to start! This children’s nonfiction guide provides an all-inclusive exploration of everyone’s bodies and minds, with companion illustrations and descriptions that can even help adults better understand. Celebrate learning with your kids in an important and respectful way.

“Rainbow Revolutionaries: 50 LGBTQ+ People Who Made History” by Sarah Prager

Connect with people of the LGBTQIA+ community from the past to the present! This diverse, intelligent and inviting collection takes readers through the lives of historical and notable people that have paved the way, not only for the LGBTQIA+ community, but for the world as well. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them.

“Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution.” by Rob Sanders

It’s June 28, 1969, and there is yet another police raid on the Stonewall Inn. But on this night, things will be different. With rich, detailed illustrations and narration from the building itself, Rob Sanders’ telling of this historical moment makes this picture book a perfect introduction for children about the Stonewall Inn and the role it served in LGBTQIA+ history. 

Teen Reads

“Last Night at the Telegraph Club” by Malinda Lo

Lily Hu is on the cusp of something new. It’s 1954 in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Her father is facing possible deportation, she is about to graduate to pursue an education in rocket science and she isn't feeling as connected to her old friends as she once did. There are parts of herself that she is just now exploring, and when her new friend Kathleen takes her out to the Telegraph Club lesbian bar, Lily’s life changes in a way she never expected. Malinda Lo’s thorough research is obvious in this poignant coming-of-age novel.

“A Queer History of the United States for Young People” by Michael Bronski

Despite common belief, queer history did not begin in the 20th century, but has been shaping the United States for over 400 years. This book fills in some of the glaring gaps present in most high school history classes. Michael Bronski takes an honest look at the queer history in the U.S. and gives thorough explanations on evolving terminology and social context throughout changing times. This compilation of stories, illustrations and photographs is a must for teens and educators looking for an important perspective on LGBTQIA+ history.

“A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities” by Mady G. (Mady M. Giuliani)

Much like Rachel E. Simon’s “The Every Body Book,” this graphic novel is meant to assist teens with learning more about all people living in a world that is growing and evolving every day. Giuliani’s book goes in-depth on the subject with the use of similes and metaphors, alongside comics, creating an even more fun learning journey.

Adult Reads

“The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America” by Eric Cervini

Frank Kameny is in the right field at the right time: He is a rising astronomer in 1957, right at the beginning of America’s Space Race. But suddenly, he is summoned to Washington, D.C. on suspicion of homosexuality and subsequently fired from his government job. But Kameny is not going to give in without a fight. Kameny’s story is told through personal papers and thousands of declassified FBI documents. Eric Cervini traces the history of the gay rights movement and its intersection with both the civil rights and lesbian rights movements, as well as the continued discrimination toward transgender people, making this a worthy Pulitzer Prize finalist.

“The Oberon Book of Queer Monologues” edited by Scottee

Need a monologue you feel really connected to? Curious about queer and trans theatre? This collection of works features characters and artists apart of the LGBTQIA+ community and acknowledges their influence, both in the past and present, overall forms of art and creative expression.

“Queerstory: An Infographic History of the Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights” illustrated by Rebecca Strickson

This bright, beautiful compilation of queer history is perfect for anyone who wants a fun and celebratory read this month. “Queerstory” includes many colorful quotes, photographs, timelines, charts, a glossary and more for an in-depth depiction of the last 100 years in LGBTQIA+ history.

“Save Yourself” by Cameron Esposito

Follow the true story of stand-up comedian Cameron Esposito, as they take you on the ride of their life! Laugh and cry through this memoir of self-discovery, as Esposito’s open and raw writing takes readers along on a real-life experience of coming out. A comforting reminder that we’re all just trying to figure life out together as we go.

“The Thirty Names of Night” by Zeyn Joukhadar

This work of fiction follows the life of a closeted Syrian American trans boy as he struggles to live out his life as his true self. After losing his mother, finding the motivation and accessible space to paint is even more difficult than before. But eventually, he discovers the work of an artist by the name of Laila Z, and just how closely she is connected to his mother and her work. “The Thirty Names of Night” is sure to be an intimate, vulnerable read about living a life honestly, and learning that we’re all connected someway, somehow.

“This Is How It Always Is” by Laurie Frankel

This is the story of Claude, a 5-year-old kid with big dreams and a set of two loving parents, Rosie and Penn. While Claude’s parents are supportive of Claude wanting and needing to grow up as a girl, they’re hesitant about letting their community, and the world, know too. A book about family, secrets and how we’re all connected by them, “This Is How It Always Is” showcases how good change can be.

Category: Collection and Materials