Every year in June, Pride Month is celebrated to acknowledge the important achievements and contributions of the LGBTQIA+ community all over the world, celebrate love in all forms, and encourage people to be their truest, most authentic selves. Part of that celebration is uplifting books by LGBTQIA+ authors, especially in the Latinx community, who are often underrepresented or left out of the conversation when it comes to queer representation. But LGBTQIA+ Latinx authors have been writing queer stories and about queer issues for decades, and it’s way past time to be diversifying our bookshelves with unique storytelling. This is by no means an exhaustive list but is a good starting place as you start to add more LGBTQIA+ stories by Latinx authors to your bookshelf. Read on to learn more about 16 books by queer Latinx authors that center and uplift LGBTQIA+ experiences.
Café Con Lychee by Emery Lee
Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore
Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore follows two nonbinary teens growing up nearing a magical lake that’s supposedly made of half-air, half-water. Bastián Silvano and Lore Garcia are the only ones who know it to be true, as Bastián grew up in the above world and the one beneath the lake, while Lore has been to the underwater world once and was forever changed. But when the underworld begins to rise to land, the divisions between air and water start to fade away, revealing Bastián and Lore’s secrets along with everything else. To stop it and save themselves, they will have to work together despite their silence for the last seven years.
The Luis Ortega Survival Club by Sonora Reyes
If you loved Sonora Reyes’s debut novel The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School, you’ll love their newest book, The Luis Ortega Survival Club! The novel follows Ariana Ruiz, a selectively mute autistic bisexual girl who is used to feeling invisible in her high school, even with her bold style. So when she’s noticed by popular senior Luis Ortega, she finds herself drawn to him and all of his charm and charisma. But things take a turn when they have sex at a party that she didn’t consent to but she also didn’t say no.. Rumors about her promiscuity start to spread and when things are at their worst, she receives a mysterious note in her locker, leading her to a group of her classmates who have also been victimized by Luis. Together, they’re determined to take him down but even between her growing crush on a girl named Shawni and her own problems at home, it will be up to Ari to ultimately reveal the truth.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas follows Yadriel, whose Latinx family has yet to accept his gender identity due to their traditional beliefs. Determined to prove his skills and identity as a brujo, he decides to perform the initiation ritual, summon the ghost of one of his cousins who was murdered, and set them both free. But the spell instead summons the ghost of bad boy Julian Diaz, who is just as determined to find out how he died and satisfy his greatest desires, refusing to just be cast aside. Trapped, Yadriel decides to help Julian, so he can become a brujo and Julian can move on to the next life. But he soon realizes that it won’t be as easy as he imagined. Because the more time the boys spends together, the harder Yadriel realizes it will be to let Julian go for good.
Ander & Santi Were Here by Jonny Garza Villa
Ander & Santi Were Here by Jonny Garza Villa follows Ander Martínez, a nonbinary Mexican American teen who lives a sheltered life in their neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas where his family has a taquería. But they’re excited to go beyond this life to art school and later, hopefully become a muralist. To help with the transition and push them to focus on their murals, their family “fires” them, which seems like a great idea until they meet their family’s new hire, Santiago López Alvarado. They quickly fall for each other, helping each other understand their identity as a person and artist. But when ICE agents threaten Santi’s security and livelihood in their new home, everything begins is at stake including their love.
Mariposas: An Anthology of Modern Queer Latino Poetry edited by Emanuel Xavier
Edited by gay activist and poet Emanuel Xavier, Mariposas is an anthology featuring poetry from queer Latinx poets. Exploring themes of race, politics, dreams, family, class, and pride, the collection features queer Latino poets mostly from the U.S. (two are from Argentina). You can expect an array of voices, 17 to be exact, sharing their experiences ranging from students to professors and everything in between. Though the perspectives are that of gay men, there is a universality to some of the topics they touch on as well as issues like homophobia in the Latinx community which is rarely addressed despite its prevalence.
Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz is the highly anticipated sequel to the award-winning and beloved novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which followed two boys falling in love in a border town. This time around, readers follow Ari in his senior year of high school as he is learning to be as his authentic self with Dante by his side. Out of nowhere, he finds himself making new friends, fighting back against bullies, and speaking up, all while falling harder for Dante. But when Ari experiences a sudden loss, he is faced with the decision to protect the life he’s built.
Born Both: An Intersex Life by Hida Viloria
We The Animals by Justin Torres
We the Animals is the debut novel of Justin Torres which follows three biracial brothers growing up in Brooklyn with a Puerto Rican father and a white mother. Eager and hungry for life, they do everything under the sun together including shielding themselves from their parent’s arguments. As they get older, the narrator finds himself questioning his sexuality, even when it puts his safety at risk. This is a stunning story of adolescence and coming of age that explores chaos, heartbreak, euphoria, family, alienation, and acceptance.
The Mixquiahuala Letters by Ana Castillo
The Mixquiahuala Letters by Ana Castillo is a novel told through a series of letters from Teresa, a writer, to her friend Alicia, an artist, as they move through the world. Though often presented as a story of two Latina friends, it examines themes of gender, sexuality, independence, self-conflict, and different kinds of love through the lens of Latinidad. This was her first novel, which received an American Book Award in 1986.
Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis
Cantoras by Carolina de Robertis is her latest novel that follows five women living under the Uruguayan dictatorship in 1977: Romina, Flaca, Anita “La Venus,” Paz, and Malena. Under this authoritarian rule where homosexuality is both a social and political crime, the women find sanctuary in Cabo Polonio, a hamlet that gives them the freedom they yearn for. For the next 35 years, the women regularly return to from their home city of Montevideo with each other, with lovers, and on their own. But life is not without its struggles and they will have to hold on to each other if they are to have any chance of reclaiming an authentic life.
Fiebre Tropical by Juliana Delgado Lopera
Thrown in the Throat by Benjamin Garcia
Thrown in the Throat by Benjamin Garcia is his debut poetry collection that explores love, immigration, citizenship, family, and growing up both queer and undocumented. Intertwining English with Spanish, the bilingual collection is a stunning ode to life itself even in the face of trouble, fear, cruelty, and a constant need for survival. Readers will fall in love with his vulnerability and brutal honesty.
Life Is Wonderful, People Are Terrific by Meliza Bañales
Life Is Wonderful, People Are Terrific by Meliza Bañales takes place in the ’90s and follows 18-year-old Missy Fuego, a queer punk Xicana who is prone to self-destruction. She’s also a vibrant member of her Xicano community in Santa Cruz and San Francisco in Northern California where she frequently visits punk bars and strip clubs. So when she is offered an opportunity to attend a prestigious university in Santa Cruz on a scholarship, she jumps at the chance, especially as the first in her family to ever leave home. But the scholarship money isn’t enough to live on and quickly she is roped into moonlighting as a stripper to pay bills. Along the way, she meets hippies, neo-nazi skinheads, members of Riot Grrrl, and all kinds of colorful and important people, all while exploring her queerness and discovering the world on her own terms.
Like This Afternoon Forever by Jaime Manrique
Like This Afternoon Forever by Jaime Manrique is really the story of two stories: one, a select number of murders dubbed “the false positives” and two, the story of Lucas and Ignacio, two gay Catholic priests who seemingly betray their faith and become lovers. Inspired by true life events in Colombia involving the drug cartel, the devastation of the Amazon and its Indigenous inhabitants, and the murders of thousands of homesteaders, Manrique places the love affair in the context of displacement and war. Ranging from passion to indifference, rage to commitment, the book follows the two men as they struggle to love each other and face real-life threats and danger from the world around them.
The Truth Is by NoNieqa Ramos
The Truth Is by NoNieqa Ramos is a young adult novel that follows Verdad, a Puerto Rican teen suffering from PTSD after the death of her best friend Blanca in a mass shooting in addition to struggling to meet her mother’s expectations and accept her father’s new marriage. As a result, she’s withdrawing from the world and that includes swearing off love, at least until she meets Danny, a transgender boy new to her school. She begins exploring this attraction and confronting her own queerness neither of which her mom approves of, while finding a new set of friends to help her cope and begin to trust again.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
This acclaimed YA novel came out in 2017 and received critical acclaim for its thrilling and unique story centered on Mateo, who is a gay sheltered Puerto Rican, and Rufus, a bisexual Cuban foster child. They learn they have one day left to live and meet on the app Last Friend and set out on one last adventure. The #1 New York Times Bestseller is a profound journey that takes place in a day but they live as if it’s a lifetime.