Latinx LGBTQ Books
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Culture

10 Must-Read Books Centered on the Queer Latinx Experience

As we reach the last few days of pride month, we can’t help but think of the talented Latinx writers paving the way for the queer Latinx experience in literature. From poetry to fiction to memoirs, there are several important works amplifying LGTBQ+ stories. With few authors highlighting the intersectional identity of this lived experience, each read is filled with laughter, tears, and snippets of our Latinx culture while integrating the reality of being LGBTQ+.

While each book is entirely different in composition, authors like Jaquira Díaz and Anna-Marie McLemore touch upon the traumatic reality of being queer, whereas Anel I. Flores explores sexuality through the kitchen. Read on to learn more about these books and the varied LGTBQ+ experiences they share.

So Far From God by Ana Castillo

So Far From God by Ana Castillo takes you on each woman’s journey of self-discovery through themes of gender and spirituality. It centers on the lives of Sofia and her four daughters, Fe, Esperanza, Caridad, and la Loca, in a town in New Mexico, called Tome. It has been praised as a Chicana LGBT+ feminist book that looks at how how women are viewed and expected to live in Mexican society.

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia has been described as The Handmaid’s Tale with a Latinx twist that centers on real-life issues including immigration, feminism, and LGTBQ+ love. We Unleash the Merciless Storm is the second half of the dystopian duology following the developing love story between Daniela and Carmen during the political uprising tests their loyalties.

Thrown in the Throat by Benjamin Garcia

Thrown in the Throat  by Benjamin Garcia, eloquently depicts the complexities of queer identity and the emotional turmoil of being undocumented in America. With the use of both Spanish and English, each poem unpacks the intricacy of otherness and will leave you bound to each word.

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Gabby Rivera’s acclaimed and award-winning novel Juliet Takes a Breath follows passionate and charismatic lead Juliet Palante,19, as she sets out on a journey to figure out the whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” life. She leaves the Bronx and heads to Portland, Oregon to intern with her icon and learns about her identity, family and love along the way.

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa is the lived experience of growing up brown, queer, and a woman on the border in Texas. Written in Spanish and English, Gloria Anzaldúa’s semi-autobiography examines the layered ideologies of gender, identity, race, and colonialism through her Chicanx lens.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

They Both Die at the End is a heart-wrenching futuristic story centered on a gay Puerto-Rican character and a bisexual Cuban character that’s all about truly making the most of the little time you have left. It follows the tragic love story of Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio as both learn they will die on the same day. Mateo and Rufus decide to use the Last Friend app and make an adventure out of their last day on earth.

Empanada: A Lesbiana Story en Probaditas by Anel I. Flores

Empanada is a collection of vignettes divided into three sections: Food, Religion and Sex exploring cultural and gender identity. Paloma is a young lesbian learning how to exist in a world where she’s judged for who she wants to love. Author Anel L. Flores wrote the book as a safe place for herself and also as a way to tell LGBTQ+ stories when so few exist. “There are no LGBT books, queer books, there still aren’t books by queer women of color,” she told Porter House Review.

Chulito by Charles Rice-Gonzalez

Chulito is a 16-year-old kid from the South Bronx who is starting to feel more than just friendly feelings toward his best friend Carlos. This coming-of-age book explores the struggles of the dichotomous worlds of machismo and queerness as Chulito struggles with his feelings for Carlos and societal pressures of what it means to be a man.

The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

Through a story of trauma and healing, two teens discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party. The Mirror Season follows Ciela and Lock as they face their truths and regain Ciela’s magical gift for knowing the perfect pan dulce for each customer at the family pastelería. “I wrote about Ciela, a queer Latina girl, because that’s how I identified when I was assaulted. That was my experience. And it’s still part of my experience as a nonbinary survivor,” McLemore told DiverseBooks.org. Trigger warning: Depictions of sexual assault

Ordinary Girls: A Memoir by Jaquira Díaz

Jaquira Díaz’s debut coming of age memoir focuses on her challenging childhood growing up in the housing projects in Puerto Rico and Miami Beach. With little family structure and her battle with depression, Díaz depicts the raw and triumphant journey of becoming the woman that she is today. The book is written in vignettes depicting difficult moments including her battle with addiction to suicide attempts and coming to terms with her own sexual assault. “This is who I write about and who I write for … For the girls who never saw themselves in books. For the girls who love other girls, sometimes in secret,” she writes in the last essay in the book.