Written by Beth, staff member, Captain William Spry Public Library
There is something very powerful about reading someone's story in their own words. This is especially important when it comes to stories from people in groups that have been marginalized. These memoirs from members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community chronicle their lives in different and interesting ways. From comedic, to musical, to literary, the titles on this list are sure to have something for everyone! These ten unforgettable memoirs will stick with you long after you've put them down.
Cameron Esposito is a comedian, writer, and podcast host. She’s hilarious, topical, and always relevant. In her memoir, Save Yourself, Esposito delves into her past from devout Catholic to out and proud lesbian comic, and everything in between. She covers heavy topics, but the memoir’s overall tone is lighthearted. Candid, thoughtful, and entertaining, you don’t want to miss this one.
We Have Always Been Here
This is the first memoir by the Muslim Canadian author Samra Habib. In We Have Always Been Here, she first chronicles her childhood as one of three daughters in Pakistan. Her family then moves to Canada, and she has to learn to navigate new and different spaces. As she grows up, she has to come to terms with her identity (or identities), how they are woven together to create who she is, and how she can live authentically. From the publisher: “A triumphant memoir of forgiveness and family, both chosen and not, We Have Always Been Here is a rallying cry for anyone who has ever felt out of place and a testament to the power of fearlessly inhabiting one's truest self.”
This is a stunning dual memoir by musical sisters Tegan and Sara. It really is something special, especially if you listen to the audiobook. As adults, the Quinns found old recordings of themselves in their parents’ attic. Songs they’d write and record for themselves. In the audiobook, you can hear these songs in between the chapters. Not only so, but they recorded the songs they found and made an album. Like I said, it really is something special. It’s much more than a gimmick, though. Throughout High School, Tegan and Sara swap chapters telling stories from their teenage lives. Their love of music. Their sexualities, which they kept secret, even from each other. The excitement of first loves and lusts. The pain of betrayals and secrets and lies. Altogether, this is a stunning coming-of-age, and coming-of-stardom, memoir.
A Queer and Pleasant Danger
Kate Borenstein is a gender theorist, performance artist, and author. She is most known for her work Gender Outlaw. A Queer and Pleasant Danger is her unflinching and hilarious memoir that is perfectly summed up by the subtitle: “The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She is Today.”
Love Lives Here
Love Lives Here is the story of family and what happens when you “lead with love.” Knox met her partner was she was young. Soon they had three children and the family she always hoped for. When one of her children was 11, they came out as transgender. Soon, her partner would come out as transgender as well. From the publisher: “Told with remarkable candour and humour, and full of insight into the challenges faced by trans people, Love Lives Here is a beautiful story of transition, frustration, support, acceptance, and, of course, love.”
How We Fight for Our Lives
A coming-of-age memoir, Jones tells of his life growing up as a Black gay man in the South of the United States. Written in both poetry and prose, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning memoir in vignettes. From the publisher: “Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves.”
Life as a Unicorn
Life as a Unicorn is the coming-of-age and coming-out story of Amrou Al-Kadhi. They began as a devout Muslim boy and became a drag queen. By the age of 10 they knew they were gay, and this didn’t sit well with their religious family. From there, Amrou tried to find themself and fit together the pieces of their fractured identity. From the publisher: “Life as a Unicorn is a hilarious yet devastating story of a search for belonging, following the painful and surprising process of transforming from a god-fearing Muslim boy to a queer drag queen, strutting the stage in seven-inch heels and saying the things nobody else dares to.”
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls
From 1960s Hawaii to present day, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is the memoir of a woman who is struggling and mourning the loss of her father. She grew up with extravagance in Boca Raton, Florida. However, she was also a queer, biracial teen trying to find her way with two parent suffering from addictions. From the publisher: "Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is equal parts eulogy and love letter. It's a story about trauma and forgiveness, about families of blood and affinity, both lost and found, unmade and rebuilt, crooked and beautiful.”
A Two-Spirit Journey
A Two-Spirit Journey is the story of Ma-Nee Chacaby’s life as Ojibwa-Cree and as a lesbian. She grew up in a remote Ojibwa community, and suffered abuse, poverty, and alcoholism as the lasting impacts of colonialism. Her adult life was similarly filled with hardship that she struggled through and overcame. An important read, A Two-Spirit Journey, as the publisher says, “provides unprecedented insights into the challenges still faced by many Indigenous people.”
A Cup of Water Under my Bed
A Cup of Water Under my Bed is the lyrical memoir of author and editor Daisy Hernandez as she grows up amongst the women in her Cuban-Colombian family. What they teach her comes from their experiences of migration, race, class, and more. As she explores her sexuality and finds she is bisexual, she must face even more questions. Hernandez tells her story of identity, family, and language alongside explorations of race and immigration. But really, the publisher says, “A Cup of Water Under My Bed is ... a daughter’s story of finding herself and her community, and of creating a new, queer life.”