Sensitive topics like Gender and Sexuality often seem intimidating when looking for books to read about them. Here’s a list of books spanning women’s position in family structures, LGBTQ relationships, familial reactions to them and gender based violence to give you a head start into this genre.
1. The Dream of a Common Language
Adrienne Rich is an American feminist political poet, essayist who writes about lesbian relationships, their exclusion in society and the domestic duties that prevent women from creating art in her collection of poetry ‘The Dream of a Common Language’.
a touch is enough to let us know we’re not alone in the universe, even in sleep: the dream-ghosts of two worlds walking their ghost-towns, almost address each other.
2. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The main character of this novel grows up seeing the different worlds women reside and how growing up seems to be a choice between becoming an independent woman with an individual’s existence or a sexual object. Esperanza, the main character tries to rebel against the society that treats women as objects but realizes that the only way to do it is to live outside it. This book is a coming of age novel exploring the themes of identity, society, gender, sexuality, femininity and the concept of ‘other’.
SHE WAS A HORSE WOMAN TOO, BORN LIKE ME IN THE YEAR OF THE CHINESE HORSE-WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO BE BAD LUCK IF YOU ARE A FEMALE- BUT I THINK THIS IS A LIE BECAUSE THE CHINESE-LIKE THE MEXICANS, DON’T LIKE THEIR WOMEN STRONG
3. My Father’s Garden by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar
This book deals with a homosexual man’s quest for a bond that stretched beyond lust and greed, his relationships with various men in his life and familial expectations that act as a constant burden on him. He explores his sexual life and love in the first part of the book, friendship and exploitation in the second and his father’s life and hopes for him in the final part. The Hindu calls Sowvendra “one of Indian fiction’s true originals”
4. Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
For a more light-hearted Young-Adult read, Albertalli draws the story of a closeted teen who is pen pals with a guy under a pseudonym ‘Blue’ without the knowledge of his family and friends. A classmate discovers their emails and starts to blackmail Simon. Simon is faced with the exposure of a long-held secret and is forced to confront issues he’d long held at bay. Told with bursts of heartwarming friendship and the discomforts of youth, Simon vs the Homosapiens agenda provides exposure towards gender to young readers through a stirring yet fun plot.
It is definitely annoying that straight (and white, for that matter) is the default, and that the only people who have to think about their identity are the ones who don’t fit that mold. Straight people really should have to come out, and the more awkward it is, the better. Awkwardness should be a requirement.
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
This book is about a 14 year old black girl named Celie living in South America, she’s beaten up and raped by her father constantly which resulting in her being impregnated and giving birth to a girl who was taken away from her. The story continues and Celie meets a woman named Sofia and is amazed by how powerful she is. The book portrays how submissive yet how inspiring and powerful women can be. Celie draws her inspiration from different female characters described in the book which finally end up in her fighting for her own existence and ultimately being free. The Male characters are domineering and have a constant sense of superiority which is the building block of the toxically patriarchal society.
The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.