LGBT memoirs for the pride month

Memoirs from our wonderful friends who've risen above the discrimination.
When We Were Outlaws
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When We Were Outlaws

by Jeanne Cordova

About the book:  A sweeping memoir, a raw and intimate chronicle of a young activist torn between conflicting personal longings and political goals. When We Were Outlaws offers a rare view of the life of a radical lesbian during the early cultural struggle for gay rights, Women’s Liberation, and the New Left of the 1970s. Brash and ambitious, activist Jeanne Córdova is living with one woman and falling in love with another, but her passionate beliefs tell her that her first duty is “to the revolution” –to change the world and end discrimination against gays and lesbians. Trying to compartmentalize her sexual life, she becomes an investigative reporter for the famous, underground L.A. Free Press and finds herself involved with covering the Weather Underground, Angela Davis; exposing neo-Nazi bomber Captain Joe Tomassi, and befriending Emily Harris of the Symbionese Liberation Army. At the same time she is creating what will be the center of her revolutionary lesbian world: her own newsmagazine, The Lesbian Tide, destined to become the voice of the national lesbian feminist movement.By turns provocative and daringly honest, Cordova renders emblematic scenes of the era—ranging from strike protests to utopian music festivals, to underground meetings with radical fugitives—with period detail and evocative characters. For those who came of age in the ‘70s, and for those who weren’t around but still ask ‘What was it like?’ –Outlaws takes you back to re-live it. It also offers insights about ethics, decision making and strategy, still relevant today.With an introduction by renowned lesbian historian Lillian Faderman, When We Were Outlaws paints a vivid portrait of activism and the search for self-identity, set against the turbulent landscape of multiple struggles for social change that swept hundreds of thousands of Americans into the streets.


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  Sweet Tooth
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Sweet Tooth

by Ian McEwan

About the book:  2015 International Book Awards Winner in Non-Fiction: Gay & Lesbian“A gifted writer, Anderson is...delightful in his irreverence, and astutely aware of himself and his particular perspective. His observations are often laugh-out-loud funny and will leave readers with the desire to...keep turning the pages...” —Publishers Weekly review for Anderson, author of Tune in Tokyo and Sweet Tooth What’s a sweets-loving young boy growing up gay in North Carolina in the eighties supposed to think when he’s diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? That God is punishing him, naturally.This was, after all, when Jesse Helms was his senator, AIDS was still the boogeyman, and no one was saying, “It gets better.” And if stealing a copy of an x-rated magazine from the newsagent was a sin, then surely what the guys inside were doing to one another was much worse.Sweet Tooth is Tim Anderson’s uproarious memoir of life after his hormones and blood sugar both went berserk at the age of fifteen. With Morrissey and The Smiths as the soundtrack, Anderson self-deprecatingly recalls love affairs with vests and donuts, first crushes, coming out, and inaugural trips to gay bars. What emerges is the story of a young man trying to build a future that won’t involve crippling loneliness or losing a foot to his disease—and maybe even one that, no matter how unpredictable, can still be pretty sweet.


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Lust & Wonder: A Memoir
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Lust & Wonder: A Memoir

by Augusten Burroughs

About the book:  The instant New York Times bestsellerLust: 1. intense sexual desire or appetite2.a passionate or overmastering desire or craving3.ardent enthusiasm; zest; relish.Wonder: 1. something strange and surprising; a cause of surprise, astonishment,or admiration2. the emotion excited by what is strange and surprising; a feeling of surprised or puzzled interest, sometimes tinged with admiration3. a miraculous deed or event; remarkable phenomenonFrom the beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author comes an intimate look at the driving forces in one man’s life.With Augusten's unique and singular observations and his own unabashed way of detailing both the horrific and the humorous, Lust and Wonder is a hilariously frank memoir that his legions of fans have been waiting for. His story began in Running with Scissors, endured through Dry, and continues with this memoir, the capstone to the life of Augusten Burroughs. Funny, sweet, alarming, and ultimately, moving and tender, Lust & Wonder is an experience of a book that will resonate with anyone who has loved and lost and loved again.


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The Other Side of Paradise: A Memoir
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The Other Side of Paradise: A Memoir

by Staceyann Chin

About the book:  Staceyann Chin has appeared on television and radio, including The Oprah Winfrey Show , CNN, and PBS, discussing issues of race and sexuality. But it is her extraordinary voice that launched her career as a performer, poet, and activist. Here, she shares her unforgettable story of triumph against all odds in this brave and fiercely candid memoir..No one knew Staceyann’s mother was pregnant until a dangerously small baby was born on the floor of her grandmother’s house in Jamaica, on Christmas Day. Staceyann’s mother did not want her, and her father was not present. No one, except her grandmother, thought Staceyann would survive. It was her grandmother who nurtured and protected and provided for Staceyann and her older brother in the early years. But when the three were separated, Staceyann was thrust, alone, into an unfamiliar and dysfunctional home in Paradise, Jamaica. .Told with grace, humor, and courage, Chin plumbs tender and unsettling memories as she writes about drifting from one home to the next, coming out as a lesbian, finding the man she believes to be her father, and ultimately, discovering her voice. .


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I'm Just a Person
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I'm Just a Person

by Tig Notaro

About the book:  One of America’s most original comedic voices delivers a darkly funny, wryly observed, and emotionally raw account of her year of death, cancer, and epiphany.In the span of four months in 2012, Tig Notaro was hospitalized for a debilitating intestinal disease called C. diff, her mother unexpectedly died, she went through a breakup, and then she was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. Hit with this devastating barrage, Tig took her grief onstage. Days after receiving her cancer diagnosis, she broke new comedic ground, opening an unvarnished set with the words: “Good evening. Hello. I have cancer. How are you? Hi, how are you? Is everybody having a good time? I have cancer.” The set went viral instantly and was ultimately released as Tig’s sophomore album, Live, which sold one hundred thousand units in just six weeks and was later nominated for a Grammy.Now, the wildly popular star takes stock of that no good, very bad year—a difficult yet astonishing period in which tragedy turned into absurdity and despair transformed into joy. An inspired combination of the deadpan silliness of her comedy and the open-hearted vulnerability that has emerged in the wake of that dire time, I’m Just a Person is a moving and often hilarious look at this very brave, very funny woman’s journey into the darkness and her thrilling return from it.


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City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and '70s
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City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and '70s

by Edmund White

About the book:  Groundbreaking literary icon Edmund White reflects on his remarkable life in New York in an era when the city was economically devastated but incandescent with art and ideas. White struggles to gain literary recognition, witnesses the rise of the gay rights movement, and has memorable encounters with luminaries from Elizabeth Bishop to William Burroughs, Susan Sontag to Jasper Johns. Recording his ambitions and desires, recalling lovers and literary heroes, White displays the wit, candor, and generosity that have defined his unique voice over the decades.


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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

by Jeanette Winterson

About the book:  "Magnificent . . . A tour de force of literature and love."—Vogue"Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is raucous. It hums with a dark refulgence from its first pages. . . . Singular and electric . . . [Winterson's] life with her adoptive parents was often appalling, but it made her the writer she is."—The New York Times"[Winterson is] one of the most daring and inventive writers of our time—searingly honest yet effortlessly lithe as she slides between forms, exuberant and unerring, demanding emotional and intellectual expansion of herself and of us. . . . In Why Be Happy,, [Winterson's] emotional life is laid bare . . . [in] a bravely frank narrative of truly coming undone. For someone in love with disguises, Winterson's openness is all the more moving; there's nothing left to hide, and nothing left to hide behind."—ElleJeanette Winterson’s bold and revelatory novels have earned her widespread acclaim, establishing her as a major figure in world literature. She has written some of the most admired books of the past few decades, including her internationally best-selling first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents, that is now often required reading in contemporary fiction classes.Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a memoir about a life’s work to find happiness. It is a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a religious zealot disguised as a mother who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the dresser, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in a north England industrial town now changed beyond recognition; about the universe as a cosmic dustbin. It is the story of how a painful past, which Winterson thought she had written over and repainted, rose to haunt her later in life, sending her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother. It is also a book about other people’s literature, one that shows how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life raft that supports us when we are sinking.Witty, acute, fierce, and celebratory, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a tough-minded search for belonging—for love, identity, home, and a mother.


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S/He
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S/He

by Minnie Bruce Pratt

About the book:  This brave memoir chronicles Pratt’s struggle to overcome the repressive traditions of Southern womanhood and live her life honestly. It chronicles her youth, her marriage, her eventual decision to come out as a lesbian, and her life with transgendered activist and author Leslie Feinberg.Minnie Bruce Pratt is the author of We Say We Love Each Other, Rebellion, Crime Against Nature, Walking Back Up Depot Street, and The Dirt We Ate.


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Bettyville: A Memoir
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Bettyville: A Memoir

by George Hodgman

About the book:  “The idea of a cultured gay man leaving New York City to care for his aging mother in Paris, Missouri, is already funny, and George Hodgman reaps that humor with great charm. But then he plunges deep, examining the warm yet fraught relationship between mother and son with profound insight and understanding.” —Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home  NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERFINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD   When George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, he finds himself—an unlikely caretaker and near-lethal cook—in a head-on collision with his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and will. Will George lure her into assisted living? When hell freezes over. He can’t bring himself to force her from the home both treasure—the place where his father’s voice lingers, the scene of shared jokes, skirmishes, and, behind the dusty antiques, a rarely acknowledged conflict: Betty, who speaks her mind but cannot quite reveal her heart, has never really accepted the fact that her son is gay.   As these two unforgettable characters try to bring their different worlds together, Hodgman reveals the challenges of Betty’s life and his own struggle for self-respect, moving readers from their small town—crumbling but still colorful—to the star-studded corridors of Vanity Fair. Evocative of The End of Your Life Book Club and The Tender Bar, Hodgman’s New York Times bestselling debut is both an indelible portrait of a family and an exquisitely told tale of a prodigal son’s return.   “A remarkable, laugh-out-loud book . . . Rarely has the subject of elder care produced such droll human comedy, or a heroine quite on the mettlesome order of Betty Baker Hodgman. For as much as the book works on several levels (as a meditation on belonging, as a story of growing up gay and the psychic cost of silence, as metaphor for recovery), it is the strong-willed Betty who shines through.” —The New York Times


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Memoirs
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Memoirs

by Kimberly Rae Miller

About the book:  For the "old crocodile," as Williams called himself late in life, the past was always present, and so it is with his continual shifting and intermingling of times, places, and memories as he weaves this story.When Memoirs was first published in 1975, it created quite a bit of turbulence in the mediathough long self-identified as a gay man, Williams' candor about his love life, sexual encounters, and drug use was found shocking in and of itself, and such revelations by America's greatest living playwright were called "a raw display of private life" by The New York Times Book Review. As it turns out, thirty years later, Williams' look back at his life is not quite so scandalous as it once seemed; he recalls his childhood in Mississippi and St. Louis, his prolonged struggle as a "starving artist," the "overnight" success of The Glass Menagerie in 1945, the death of his long-time companion Frank Merlo in 1962, and his confinement to a psychiatric ward in 1969 and subsequent recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, all with the same directness, compassion, and insight that epitomize his plays.And, of course, Memoirs is filled with Williams' amazing friends from the worlds of stage, screen, and literature as heoften hilariously, sometimes fondly, sometimes notremembers them: Laurette Taylor, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Elia Kazan, Marlon Brando, Vivian Leigh, Carson McCullers, Anna Magnani, Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor, and Tallulah Bankhead to name a few. And now film director John Waters, well acquainted with shocking the American public, has written an introduction that gives some perspective on the various reactions to Tennessee's Memoirs, while also paying tribute to a fellow artist who inspired many with his integrity and endurance.


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Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser
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Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser

by Rita Mae Brown

About the book:  When Rita Mae Brown writes, people often end up laughing out loud.  So naturally, when the bestselling author of Rubyfruit Jungle, Venus Envy, and the Mrs. Murphy mystery series writes about her own life, it's a hoot, a rollicking ride with an independent, opinionated woman who changed literary history--the first openly lesbian writer to break into the mainstream.  Now, in Rita Will, she tells all...and tells it hilariously.It is often said that the best comedy springs from hard times.  And Rita Mae Brown has seen plenty of those.  In this irresistibly readable memoir, she recounts the drama of her birth as the illegitimate daughter of a flighty blue blood who left her in an orphanage.  The sickly baby was quickly rescued by relatives eager to adopt her but afraid she would not survive the long journey home.  Her determination to live, and shock everyone by doing it, has become a metaphor for her entire life.Though raised by these loving adoptive parents and a wacky host of other interfering kin, Rita Mae Brown learned early on to be tough and to speak her mind.  It was her refusal to be anything but herself that often brought her the most trouble.  Here she tells of her tempestuous relationship with her adoptive mother, the mythic Juts of the novels Six of One and Bingo, who called her "the ill," for illegitimate, whenever she lost her temper, and who swore she'd introduce Rita Mae to the social graces, including the dreaded cotillion, even if it killed them both.Here, too, Rita Mae reveals how her headstrong support of social causes almost cost her a hard-earned education and her outspokenness in the early days of the women's movement got her drummed out of NOW, and how the release of her first novel, the scandalous classic Rubyfruit Jungle, made her an overnight phenomenon--the most famous openly gay person in America--and took her from the heights of the New York Times bestseller list to the surreal playhouse that is Hollywood.Through it all, Rita Mae has drawn strength from her profound bond with animals, from her abiding affection for the South and its native tongue, and from the great passions of her life.  She writes with close-to-the-bone honesty about woman-woman love...including her love-at-first-sight relationship with a popular actor and her headline-making romance with tennis great Martina Navratilova.  With her trademark humor, she unflinchingly bares her own flaws, flouting public opinion yet displaying the unflappable good sense that shows through everything she writes.A look into a woman's mind and a writer's irrepressible spirit, Rita Will is quintessential Rita Mae Brown--a book that feels like a kick-your-shoes-off visit with an old friend.From the Hardcover edition.


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Bumbling Into Body Hair: A Transsexual's Memoir
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Bumbling Into Body Hair: A Transsexual's Memoir

by Everett Maroon

About the book:  A comical memoir about a klutz’s sex change, Bumbling into Body Hair shows how a sense of humor – and true love – can triumph over hair disasters, resurrected breasts, and even the most crippling self-doubt.


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