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Learning About Diversity @ Your Library

A list of books and other resources in the Northern Highlands Collection.

LGBTQIA+ History & Issues

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual people have been part of the human family forever, dating back to ancient times. The movement for full equality under the law and in society is more recent. While the first American gay rights organization was founded in 1924, and many date the foundation of the modern LGBTQ+ liberation movement to the Stonewall Uprising in 1969, same-sex marriage was not legalized in all 50 states until 2015. The struggle for full equality in employment, education, and housing continues to this day, in the United States and around the world. 


                            The resources in this LibGuide can help you understand the language, history, issues, and experiences of LGBTQ+ people.

The videos, podcasts, websites, articles, and other information are a sampling of the resources available in your school library and online

Fiction is included because literature helps readers understand others' perspectives. Click on the tabs to explore the collection. This list will grow, so if you have suggestions about resources to include, please share them! 

What Are All Those Letters For? What Do Those Words Mean?

Confused about all the letters? Not sure what some of these words mean? Uncertain about the differences among the categories? Not to worry! Here are some resources to help.

How Are All These Identities Related to Each Other? 

NOTE: This is Sam Killermann's FOURTH iteration of this graphic since he created the first one in 2013! Our understanding of this topic is developing and changing rapidly. In the future, this model may look different! Education is a lifelong process. The graphic links to Killermann's website, where you will find even more useful content about gender and sexuality.


Founded in 1973, PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) is a large organization that supports LGBTQ+ people and their families. Their very helpful PFLAG National Glossary of Terms demystifies the sometimes confusing and ever-evolving language about sexual orientation and gender. Currently, this glossary defines 142 terms! If PFLAG's list is a little overwhelming, try this Glossary of Terms from the Human Rights Campaign that defines 29 of the most common terms.  Founded in 1980, the Human Rights Campaign fights for full legal and social equality for LGBTQ+ people. Their glossary aims to make it easier for allies to engage in conversations about LGBTQ+ issues without worrying about using unintentionally offensive words.

Books About LGBTQ+ Issues and Lives

Cover ArtYour Rights As an LGBTQ+ Teen by Barbra Penne; Patrick Renehan

Text and color illustrations explore rights within the LGBTQ community, and the fight for social, ethical, and legal freedoms for minority groups.



Cover ArtThis Book Is Gay by James Dawson; David Levithan (Introduction by); Juno Dawson

A funny and pertinent book about being lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer, transgender or just curious - for everybody, no matter their gender or sexuality Former PSHCE teacher and acclaimed YA author Juno Dawson gives an uncensored look at what it's like to grow up as LGBT. Including testimonials from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, this frank, funny, fully inclusive book explores everything anyone who ever dared to wonder wants to know - from sex to politics, how to pull, stereotypes, how to come-out and more. 

Cover Art

The Gay Revolution by Lillian Faderman

The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle chronicles the struggle for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights in the United States from the 1950s to the early 21st century.



Cover Art


Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum

An exploration of the Stonewall Riots and the national gay rights movement that followed.



Cover Art

Safe Is Not Enough by Michael Sadowski

Highlights how educators can make schools more supportive of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) student's development and academic success.



Cover ArtQueer by Kathy Belge; Marke Bieschke

Teen life is hard enough, but for teens who are LGBTQ, it can be even harder. When do you decide to come out? Will your friends accept you? And how do you meet people to date? Queer is a humorous, engaging, and honest guide that helps LGBTQ teens come out to friends and family, navigate their social life, figure out if a crush is also queer, and challenge bigotry and homophobia. Personal stories from the authors and sidebars on queer history provide relatable context.


Cover ArtTomorrow Will Be Different by Sarah McBride; Joe Biden (Foreword by)

A memoir of American LGBT rights activist and political figure Sarah McBride that weaves political and cultural milestones into her personal journey as a transgender woman.




Cover ArtBecoming Who I Am by Ritch C. Savin-Williams

Explores identity and sexuality as told by today's generation of gay young men through a series of interviews with teens and men in their early twenties and offers a contemporary perspective on key life milestones.




Cover ArtBeyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin

" Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves."


SoCover Artme Assembly Required by Arin Andrews

The author details what led him to undergo gender reassignment surgery as a high school junior, sharing the challenges he faced as a girl, the changes he experienced once his transition began, and his relationship with a transgender woman.




Cover ArtSpinning by Tillie Walden (Illustrator)

An autobiographical comic of ten years in the life of cartoonist, Tillie Walden, focusing on her time as a figure skater.




Cover ArtGender Queer: a Memoir by Maia Kobabe

"...Maia's intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity--what it means and how to think about it--for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere."


FCover Artun Home by Alison Bechdel

An unusual memoir done in the form of a graphic novel by a cult favorite comic artist offers a darkly funny family portrait that details her relationship with her father, a historic preservation expert dedicated to restoring the family's Victorian home, funeral home director, high-school English teacher, and closeted homosexual.



Cover ArtHow We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones

"Written from the crossroads of sex, race, and power in America, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir and a haunting reflection of the nation as a whole"




Cover ArtHunger by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world.



Cover ArtThe Imitation Game by Jim Ottaviani; Leland Purvis (Illustrator)

In graphic novel format looks at the life of eccentric genius, Olympic-class runner, groundbreaking theoretician, and mathematician Alan 


Cover ArtAll Out: the No-Longer-Secret Stories of Kick-Ass Queer Teens

"Seventeen of the best young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens. From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, this collection of short stories crosses cultures and time periods to shed light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten."


Cover ArtAnnie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

Liza begins to doubt her feelings for Annie after someone finds out about their relationship, and realizes, after starting college, that her denial of love for Annie was a mistake. Originally published in 1982, it is the first young adult novel featuring a positive representation of a same-sex relationship and is one of the most frequently challenged/censored books in the U.S.



Cover ArtAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz; Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.




Cover ArtAsk the Passengers by A. S. King

Imagining that she is sending love to passengers in airplanes flying overhead, Astrid Jones, a teen from a small town torn by gossip and narrow-mindedness, struggles with her family's dysfunction and hides her love for another girl.




Cover ArtCemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Yadriel, a trans boy, summons the angry spirit of his high school's bad boy, and agrees to help him learn how he died, thereby proving himself a brujo, not a bruja, to his conservative family.




Cover ArtHow Beautiful the Ordinary 

Presents twelve stories by contemporary, award-winning young adult authors, some presented in graphic or letter format, which explore themes of gender identity, love, and sexuality.




Cover ArtIf I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Amanda Hardy only wants to fit in at her new school, but she is keeping a big secret, so when she falls for Grant, guarded Amanda finds herself yearning to share with him everything about herself, including her previous life as Andrew.




Cover ArtOpenly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Tired of being known as "the gay kid", Rafe Goldberg decides to assume a new persona when he comes east and enters an elite Massachusetts prep school--but trying to deny his identity has both complications and unexpected consequences.




Cover ArtThe Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons

"Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother, and a David Beckham in training. He's also transgender. ...When a discriminatory law forces Spencer's coach to bench him after he discovers the "F" on Spencer's birth certificate, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even though it would mean coming out to everyone-- including the guy he's falling for."



Cover ArtWill Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green; David Levithan

When two teens, one gay and one straight, meet accidentally and discover that they share the same name, their lives become intertwined as one begins dating the other's best friend, who produces a play revealing his relationship with them both.

Where to Find More LGBTQ+ Books


The Rainbow Book List Since 2008, the American Library Association has curated an annotated list of the best new titles for children and teens relating to LGBTQ+ topics. Scroll down toward the bottom of this link to find the 2021 list of young adult non-fiction, fiction, and graphic literature.

LGBTQIA Teen Lives This section of the EBSCO NoveList Plus database features new and popular teen fiction titles featuring LGBTQ+ characters and situations. Click on a book that looks interesting, and you'll see recommendations for similar books on the right hand side of the page. You can also search for books by title or topic, or browse different genres in fiction and non-fiction. (Database password required from outside of school.)


Media About LGBTQ+ History & Issues

Legal Issues & Organizations
  • American Civil Liberties Union
    "The ACLU works to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people can live openly without discrimination and enjoy equal rights, personal autonomy, and freedom of expression and association."

  • Garden State Equality
    Garden State Equality lifts up the diverse voices of LGBTQ+ communities through education and advocacy to advance the movement for equality in New Jersey and nationally. We work tirelessly to ensure the communities we serve experience lived equality.Garden State Equality is the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization in New Jersey, with over 150,000 members.  Established in 2004, we are now one of the most successful statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organizations in the nation.

  • GLAD (GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders
    Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLAD works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation. 

  • Lambda Legal
    The leading national civil rights law and policy center for LGBTQ+ people and those living with HIV/AIDS. Their website provides information about all relevant legal issues and cases in easy-to-understand language.

  • Transgender Law Center
    "Transgender Law Center (TLC) is the largest national trans-led organization advocating for a world in which all people are free to define themselves and their futures. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation."

Resources & Support
    Founded in 1973 as a support group for parents whose children were gay or lesbian, PFLAG is now the largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies.
  • The Trevor Project
    The Trevor project is a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. Crisis counselors are trained to answer calls, chats, or texts from LGBTQ young people who reach out to their free, confidential and secure 24/7 service when they are struggling with issues such as coming out, LGBTQ identity, depression, and suicide.
  • The Advocate
    Beginning as a newsletter in 1967, The Advocate and serve as one of the world’s leading LGBTQ+ news sources. The magazine reports monthly on news, politics, business, medical issues, fine arts, and entertainment. is a source for breaking news and current events in all of those areas.
  • Garden State Equality
    Garden State Equality lifts up the diverse voices of LGBTQ+ communities through education and advocacy to advance the movement for equality in New Jersey and nationally. We work tirelessly to ensure the communities we serve experience lived equality.Garden State Equality is the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization in New Jersey, with over 150,000 members.  Established in 2004, we are now one of the most successful statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organizations in the nation.
    Founded in 1985 in response to bigoted news coverage of the AIDS crisis, GLAAD "rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love." Their Youth Engagement Program provides news and programs for and about LGBTQ+ youth.
  • Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
    Founded by a group of teachers in 1990, GLSEN supports educators and students through curriculum, advocacy, and programs. " But as well as activating supportive educators, we believe in centering and uplifting student-led movements, which have powered initiatives like the Day of Silence, Ally Week, and more." The link above is to the student resources section.



Note: Documentaries are available from a variety of sources, including your local public library, YouTube, PBS, Vimeo, Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, and other streaming services. However, it's important to note that availability is subject to change due to copyright and license issues. These resources are not always available for free.



State of Pride

"Fifty years after the Stonewall uprising, Oscar®-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman and host Raymond Braun travel to three diverse communities – Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama – for an unflinching look at LGBTQ Pride, from the perspective of a younger generation for whom it still has personal urgency."


The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

“When transgender activist and drag performer Marsha P. Johnson was found dead in the Hudson River in the summer of 1992, friends and fellow activists were shocked. But her death was ruled a suicide by New York City police, and the national media paid little attention. Years later, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson explores her little-investigated death while celebrating her legacy as a pioneer, in the 1960s and beyond, of what would come to be called the LGBTQ rights movement. Directed by David France, the Oscar-nominated director of How to Survive a Plague (see below), this documentary also revisits the Stonewall riots, in which Johnson played an integral role.”


"In Kiki, New York City‘s present-day drag ball scene continues many the subjects and themes explored in Paris Is Burning, with today’s youth taking center-stage. Written and directed by Sara Jordenö and co-written by Twiggy Pucci Garçon, a leader in New York’s “kiki” community — an evolution of the ball room scene for a new generation — the joyous film presents this competitive dance world as a safe haven for LGBTQ youth in political landscape that’s changed significantly since the 1980s.” 

L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin

“The Showtime documentary L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin features interviews with lesbian couples who live in conservative areas of the Southern U.S., where they are often subjected to bigotry, homophobia and racism. Produced by Ilene Chaiken, co-creator of the television series The L Word, the film presents a personal look at many of the struggles faced by gay Americans in the 21st century, as devout religious leaders and community members protest the subjects’ marriages and unions.”

How to  Survive a Plague

"David France’s How to Survive a Plague follows the activists who made it their life’s work to find treatment for the AIDS/HIV epidemic. Through hundreds of hours of archival footage and interviews, the movie focuses on the founders of the activist group Act-Up, which formed in 1987 in an effort to halt the AIDS crisis. The film chronicles how a passionate group of young people made real change as the U.S. government and drug companies languished in responding to the epidemic. "

Trembling Before G-d

"In Trembling Before G-d, queer members of observant Jewish communities discuss the hardships of coming out in an environment that, in many of their experiences, denies the validity of their identities. The award-winning documentary offers a unique look at people struggling to navigate religious beliefs that don’t sit comfortably with their sexual identities."


More? How about MUCH more?


Check out this incredible resource from Anthony Anderson, a University of Southern California librarian. LGBTQIA Documentary and Selected Feature Films Available in Streaming is a collection of hundreds of documentaries about all aspects of LGBTQ+ life and history, organized into twenty categories. Click the tabs at the top to see the films in each category. The links provided are to streaming services available free to USC students, but many of are also available through other services. 



Throughline: Before Stonewall

In 1969, "a gay bar in New York City called The Stonewall Inn was raided by police, and what followed were days of rebellion where protesters and police clashed. Today, that event is seen as the start of the gay civil rights movement, but gay activists and organizations were standing up to harassment and discrimination years before. On this episode, the fight for gay rights before Stonewall."

Queer America

This 13-episode podcast from the organization Learning for Justice (formerly, Teaching Tolerance) explores the history of LGBTQ+ America. Queer America is an exploration of the history of sexual identity and gender identity in the United States. Designed for teachers, the podcast focuses on how to bring this history into the classroom.

Making Gay History

"Making Gay History (MGH) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that addresses the absence of substantive, in-depth LGBTQ-inclusive American history from the public discourse and the classroom by providing a window into that history through the stories of the people who helped a despised minority take its rightful place in society as full and equal citizens. In so doing, MGH aims to encourage connection, pride, and solidarity within the LGBTQ community and to provide an entry point for both allies and the general public to its largely hidden history." This podcast has nine seasons.

History is Gay

History is Gay is a monthly podcast where two queer nerds use their passion for social justice, history, and storytelling to examine the overlooked and underappreciated queer ladies, gents, and gentle-enbies from the unexplored corners of history. Because history has never been as straight as you think.


Weekly interviews with the most interesting LGBTQ+ people in the world. Recent guests include Laverne Cox, Pete Buttigieg, Roxane Gay, and Brandi Carlile. LGBTQ&A is hosted by Jeffrey Masters and produced by The Advocate magazine, in partnership with GLAAD.



Because these resources are in our school library's online subscription databases, you will need passwords to access them from home. You can find the passwords here

  • LGBTQ+ Rights
    This portal page in Global Issues in Context helps illustrate the state of LGBTQ rights around the world. It provides an overview essay briefly summarizing LGBTQ+ rights issues, plus hundreds of reference, magazine, newspaper, and academic journal articles, in addition to biographies, viewpoint essays, primary sources, images, videos, and podcasts,  The international newspapers are of particular interest, as the state of LGBTQ+ rights is quite different in some regions of the world.
  • LGBTQ+ Rights Movement
    A portal page in U.S. History in Context provides an overview essay briefly summarizing LGBTQ+ rights history in the United States, plus hundreds of reference, magazine, newspaper, and academic journal articles, in addition to biographies, primary sources, images, videos, and podcasts,  Lots to explore!
  • LGBTQIA+ Figures
    A link to biographical portals in Biography in Context about 145 prominent LGBTQ+ people, historical and contemporary, in fields from the world of sports, entertainment, art, business, politics, activism, and beyond.  For each figure, you will find resources such as biographical reference articles, magazines, newspapers, academic journals, images, videos, podcasts, and websites.
  • Anti-LGBTQ+ Discrimination, Bullying, and Violence
    This portal page in the Opposing Viewpoints in Context database deals specifically with anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in the United States. In addition to the usual categories of reference works and articles from periodicals, Opposing Viewpoints provides an extensive list of pro-con opinion essays.