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LGBT+ History Month 2021

To mark LGBT+ History Month this February we highlight four recently published, exceptional books which inspire and celebrate the LGBTQI community, raise awareness and educate society. And we pick a couple of old favourites that you may have missed and we think deserve a shout out!

LGBT+ History Month is an opportunity to consider the history of gay rights within the civil rights movement, highlight the freedoms that have been won and to promote equality and diversity within our community.

Having begun in the US in 1994 the movement has since spread around the globe. In the UK LGBT History Month is celebrated throughout February to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28 (which prevented Local Authorities teaching the acceptance of homosexual relationships and homosexuality within a school setting).

This year the theme is ‘Body, Mind, Spirit’ and supports the National PHSE Curriculum  There are plenty of resources at including ideas for youth groups, lesson plans, wall charts and loads of online talks and events. 

And you can find plenty of school focused resources here:

Some new and nearly new books we think deserve a special mention are below -- but do scroll all the way to the bottom to find a full collection of LGBTQI books right across the age ranges.

Proud of Me by Sarah Hagger-Holt

A 9+/11+ accessible child-centred story about self-acceptance and the importance of opening up to those closest to you from Sarah Hagger-Holt, who writes sensitively and gives an accurate portrayal of LGBT family life. Becky and Josh are almost-twins, with two mums and the same anonymous donor dad. Josh can't wait until he's eighteen, the legal age when he can finally contact his donor, and he'll do anything to find out more - even if it involves lying. Becky can't stop thinking about her new friend, Carli. Could her feelings for Carli be a sign of something more? Becky and Josh both want their parents to be proud of them...but right now, they're struggling to even accept themselves.

Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson 

Jacqueline Wilson writes about young teenage girls with real understanding, sensitivity and affection, and she’s at her best in the story of Frankie, who finds herself head over heels in love with, of all people, the girl she thought was her worst enemy. In this 11+ / 13+ story, Wilson creates a loving family the support her heroine though and, like so many of her characters, Frankie develops the strength to be honest about who she is and therefore emerges unscathed. Her story is everything you expect from this writer – real, moving and enormously satisfying.

What's the T? by Juno Dawson

Discover what it means to be a young transgender or non-binary person in the twenty first century in this frank and funny guide for 14+ teens, from the author of This Book is Gay. In What's the T?, Stonewall ambassador, bestselling trans author and former PSHE teacher Juno Dawson defines a myriad of labels and identities and offers uncensored advice on coming out, sex and relationships with her trademark humour and lightness of touch.

Have Pride by Stella Caldwell

This 13+ / YA inspirational history of the international LGBTQ+ movement will teach readers to accept and have pride in themselves and others, whatever their sexuality. It details the struggles and successes of LGBTQ+ movements around the world, looking at decriminalisation, the Stonewall riots and their legacy, global Pride movements, the HIV/AIDS crisis and equal marriage. With activist and founder of LGBT History Month and Schools OUT UK, Susan Sanders, as consultant, you can be confident that the information in this essential resource is reliable as well as being engaging and highly readable. 

Proud compiled by Juno Dawson.

Also suitable for 13+ / YA, this is an inspiring anthology of illustrated short stories by LGBTQ+ writers,  shining a light on a kaleidoscopic array of experiences through an equally kaleidoscopic breadth of genres, themes and styles. These are stories of struggle and trouble, passion and promise, with much wit, warmth, wisdom and support shared along the way. And so it seems fitting to leave the last loud, proud, celebratory words to Dan from David Levithan’s queer youth choir story: “You hold your ground. You sing out loud and proud in defiance of all the people who want you to be quiet”.

All the Invisible Things by Orlagh Collins

This authentic YA page-turner about making sense of the whirlwind that is growing-up fizzes with heart, humanity and honest true-to-life experiences. Sexuality, love and friendship are explored in all their giddy complexity as Vetty, Pez and their wider circle of friends try to make sense of the world and their place within it.

Release by Patrick Ness

A gripping, soulful novel about a life-changing day, which will surely change the lives of those who read it. "Where on earth had this day come from? And where was it headed?" remarks 17 year-old Adam as a single day unfurls wave after wave of shattering disruption: first a revelation from his brother, next an ultimatum from his foul boss, then a destabilising announcement from his beloved best friend. Heartbreaking, intense and acutely honest, this YA novel casts a subtle spell of hope.

For more books visit our LGBTQI Literature Collection.

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