Recommended LGBTQ+ History

By Gay's The Word

Recommended LGBTQ+ History

By Gay's The Word

“Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.” – Barbara Gittings


Nothing Ever Just Disappears: Seven Hidden Histories

Diarmuid Hester

£25.00 £23.75

Before We Were Trans: A New History of Gender

Dr Kit Heyam

£12.99 £12.34

Fire Island: A Queer History

Jack Parlett

£10.99 £10.44

Bad Gays: A Homosexual History

Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller

£10.99 £10.44

The Love That Dares: Letters of LGBTQ+ Love & Friendship Through History

Rachel Smith and Barbara Vesey

£16.99 £16.14

“What this charming, moving and fascinating collection proves is that the [letter] form itself – a scribbled note, a declaration of love, an outpouring of passion, a bitter word – has always been with us.” – Mark Gatiss Including letters written by: John Cage Audre Lorde Benjamin Britten Lorraine Hansberry Walt Whitman Vita Sackville-West Radclyffe Hall Allen Ginsberg

Gay Bar: Why We Went Out

Jeremy Atherton Lin

£10.99 £10.44

An indispensable, intimate and stylish celebration of the institution of the gay bar, from 1990s post-AIDS crisis to today s fluid queer spaces. From leather parties in the Castro to Gay Liberation Front touch-ins; from disco at Studio One to dark rooms in Vauxhall railway arches, the gay bar has long been a place of joy, solidarity and sexual expression. But around the world, gay bars are closing. In the wake of this cultural demolition, Jeremy Atherton Lin rediscovers the party boys and renegades who lived and loved in these spaces.

Deep Sniff: A History of Poppers and Queer Futures

Adam Zmith

£10.99 £10.44

From the Victorian infirmary and the sex clubs of the 1970s, poppers vapour has released the queer potential inside us all. This is the intriguing story of how poppers wafted out of the lab and into gay bars, corner shops, bedrooms and porn supercuts. Blending historical research with wry observation, Adam Zmith explores the cultural forces and improbable connections behind the power of poppers. What emerges is not just a history of pub raids, viral panics and pecs the size of dinner plates.

Sapphistries: A Global History of Love between Women

Leila J. Rupp


Sapphistries combines lyrical narrative with meticulous historical research, providing an eminently readable and uniquely sweeping story of desire, love, and sex between women around the globe from the beginning of time to the present.

Pride: The Story of the LGBTQ Equality Movement

Matthew Todd

£20.00 £19.00

Pride documents the milestones in the fight for LGBTQ equality, from the victories of early activists to the passing of legislation barring discrimination, and the gradual acceptance of the LGBTQ community in politics, sport, culture and the media. Rare images and documents cover the seminal moments, events and breakthroughs of the movement, while personal testimonies share the voices of key figures on a broad range of topics.

No Modernism Without Lesbians

Diana Souhami

£9.99 £9.49

The extraordinary story of how a singular group of women in a pivotal time and place – Paris, Between the Wars – fostered the birth of the Modernist movement. Winner of the 2021 Polari prize.

Not Guilty: Queer Stories from a Century of Discrimination

Sue Elliott and Steve Humphries

£12.99 £12.34

Attitude Magazine's Book of the Month: ‘A powerful new history, nothing short of essential reading. […] The freedoms we enjoy today have been hard-won by real people on the front lines of equality and this book eloquently weaves their stories together. This is our history and we should all know it.’ - Attitude

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women and Queer Radicals

Saidiya Hartman

£12.99 £12.34

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women and Queer Radicals WINNER OF A NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER OF A PUBLISHING TRIANGLE AWARD

Pride: The Inspiring True Story Behind the Hit Film

Tim Tate

£10.99 £10.44

The true story behind the 2014 film Pride, featuring Gay's The Word bookshop...

From Prejudice to Pride: A History of LGBTQ+ Movement

Amy Lame


From Prejudice to Pride looks at the rise and achievements of the LGBTQ+ movement and the different communities, pioneers and stories of heartbreak and courage that have marched alongside it.mPerfect for readers aged 11 and upwards.

Gentleman Jack: A biography of Anne Lister, Regency Landowner, Seducer and Secret Diarist

Angela Steidele

£9.99 £9.49

In this bold biography, prizewinning author Angela Steidele uses the diaries to create a portrait of Anne Lister as we've never seen her before: a woman in some ways very much of her time and in others far ahead of it. Anne Lister recorded everything from the most intimate details of her numerous liaisons through to her plans to make her fortune by exploiting the coal seams under her family estate in Halifax and her reaction to the Peterloo massacre. She conducted a love life of labyrinthine complexity, all while searching for a girlfriend who could provide her with both financial security and true love.

Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England

Neil McKenna


With a cast of peers, politicians and prostitutes, drag queens, doctors and detectives, Fanny and Stella is a Victorian peepshow, exposing the startling underbelly of nineteenth-century London. By turns tragic and comic, meticulously researched and dazzlingly written, Fanny and Stella is an enthralling tour-de-force.

Sensible Footwear: A Girl's Guide: A graphic guide to lesbian and queer history 1950-2020

Kate Charlesworth

£17.99 £17.09

Cartoonist Kate Charlesworth presents a glorious pageant of LGBTQI+ history, as she takes us on a PRIDE march past personal and political milestones from the 1950s to the present day. Peopled by a cast of gay icons such as Dusty Springfield, Billie Jean King, Dirk Bogarde and Alan Turing, and featuring key moments such as Stonewall, Gay Pride and Section 28, Sensible Footwear: A Girl’s Guide, is the first graphic history documenting lesbian life from 1950 to the present.

Good As You: From Prejudice to Pride – 30 Years of Gay Britain

Paul Flynn

£16.99 £16.14

A hugely enjoyable poplular-culture social-history of Britian

The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World

Adrienne Mayor


But just who were the bold barbarian archers on horseback who gloried in fighting, hunting, and sexual freedom? Were Amazons real? In this deeply researched, wide-ranging, and lavishly illustrated book, National Book Award finalist Adrienne Mayor presents the Amazons as they have never been seen before. This is the first comprehensive account of warrior women in myth and history across the ancient world, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Great Wall of China.

Love and Resistance: Out of the Closet into the Stonewall Era


This powerful collection—which captures the energy, humor, and humanity of the groundbreaking protests that surrounded the Stonewall Riots—celebrates the diversity of the LGBTQ rights movement, both in the subjects of the photos and by presenting Lahusen and Davies' distinctive work and perspectives in conversation with each other.

Trans Britain: Our Journey from the Shadows

£10.99 £10.44

Over recent years, transgender people have seemed to burst into the public eye: Time declared 2014 a 'trans tipping point', while American Vogue named 2015 'the year of trans visibility'. From our television screens to the ballot box, transgender people have suddenly become part of the zeitgeist. This apparently overnight emergence, though, is just the latest stage in a long and varied history.

The End of Innocence: Britain in the Time of AIDS

Simon Garfield

£10.99 £10.44

A new edition of the award-winning, ground-breaking account of the early AIDS crisis in Britain, featuring a new afterword by the author. With a new introduction by Russell T Davies. WINNER OF THE SOMERSET MAUGHAM PRIZE

Queer: A Graphic History

Meg-John Barker and Jules Scheele

£16.99 £16.14

Activist-academic Meg-John Barker and cartoonist Jules Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel.

Queer: A Collection of LGBTQ Writing from Ancient Times to Yesterday

£25.00 £23.75

A Collection of LGBTQ Writing from Ancient Times to Yesterday, a new anthology of queer writing. Drawing together writing from Catullus to Sappho, from Arthur Rimbaud to Anne Lister and Armistead Maupin, translator Frank Wynne has collected eighty of the finest works representing queer love by LGBTQ authors.

Queer London: A Guide to the City's LGBTQ+ Past and Present


£15.00 £14.25

Celebrating the diversity and innovation of queer individuals in London, both historically and today, Queer London features a range of bars, clubs, shops, Pride events, charities, community organisations, saunas and sex shops that cater to the LGBTQ community.

The Glamour Boys: The Secret Story of the Rebels who Fought for Britain to Defeat Hitler

Chris Bryant

£9.99 £9.49

“An inspiring story of defiant courage - alternately hilarious, triumphant and harrowing. A story about which I knew nothing but which has filled me with admiration for its brave and brilliant participants and for Chris Bryant's superb, suspenseful telling.” – Stephen Fry

And the Category Is.: Inside New York's Vogue, House, and Ballroom Community

Ricky Tucker

£24.00 £22.80

A love letter to the legendary Black and Latinx LGBTQ underground subculture, uncovering its abundant legacy and influence in popular culture. What is ballroom? Not a song, a documentary, a catchphrase, a TV show, or an individual pop star. It is an underground subculture founded over a century ago by LGBTQ African American and Latino men and women of Harlem. Arts-based and intersectional, it transcends identity, acting as a fearless response to the systemic marginalization of minority populations.

All the Young Men: How One Woman Risked It All To Care For The Dying

Ruth Coker Burks

£8.99 £8.54

In 1986, 26-year-old Ruth Coker Burks visits a friend in hospital when she notices that the door to one of the patient's rooms is painted red. The nurses are reluctant to enter, drawing straws to decide who will tend to the sick person inside. Out of impulse, Ruth herself enters the quarantined space and begins to care for the young man who cries for his mother in the last moments of his life. And in doing so, Ruth's own life changes forever. As word spreads in the community that she is the only person willing to help the young men afflicted by the growing AIDS crisis, Ruth goes from being an ordinary young mother to an accidental activist. Forging deep friendships with the men she helps, Ruth works to find them housing and jobs, and then funeral homes willing to take their bodies - often in the middle of the night. Beyond inspiring! Beyond powerful! Beyond amazing!

United Queerdom: From the Legends of the Gay Liberation Front to the Queers of Tomorrow

Dan Glass


United Queerdom evocatively captures over five decades of LGBT+ culture and protest from the GLF to 2020s. Showing how central protest is to queer history and identity this book uncovers the back-breaking hard work as well as the glamorous and raucous stories of those who rebelled against injustice and became founders in the story of queer liberation.

“Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start.” – Jason Collins

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