The theme for this year’s LGBT+ History Month is “poetry, prose and plays” and throughout January, you have been sharing your recommendations with us. It was wonderful to receive so many responses, and even more wonderful to see the thoughtful explanations that went along with these.

This first blog highlights items we currently hold in our collections, along with personal thoughts of those who submitted the recommendation. This means you can hop over to the Library and borrow these immediately – if someone else hasn’t beaten you there, you can request to see it next.

Use Library Search at the Library website to find out where these books are on the shelves.

Maurice – E M Foster

“I read this during my A-levels and it opened my mind to the subtleties and nuances of love, especially when society forces it into secrecy. It was a complete contrast to the wildness of lustful teenage relationships that I was surrounded by at the time. Painfully beautiful and also beautifully painful.”

“For my dissertation subject I chose Forster’s unpublished oeuvre which includes a range of gay narratives, including Maurice, (a novel) and a host of short stories. The publication of Maurice was suppressed during Forster’s lifetime, the denial of publication was therefore a denial of Forster’s own sexuality by a hostile social climate. This element of silence and suppression pervades the narrative itself. Personally, I long struggled with any attempt to come to terms with my own sexuality, which I am still building upon, which is reflected directly by this novel and by Forster’s own life. Maurice is important to me for the personal connection I was able to make with the novel. It is also written beautifully with moments of real literary flare which make it a pleasant read outside of the LGBTQ+ elements.”

Held in the Brotherton Library.

Fun Home – Alison Bechdel

“Regularly spoken about in the same breath as Art Spiegelman’s Maus and just as powerful, this book redefined my relationship with my sexuality and my family.”

Held in the Brotherton Library.

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves – edited by Laura Erickson

“This is a compilation of writings by trans people covering a multitude of personal and lived experience. People often forget about the “T” in LGBT+ and yet people identifying as trans may be more ostracised and vilified than any other minority in society.”

Available online via Proquest.

Angels in America – directed by Mike Nichols based on the play by Tony Kushner

“This was an adaptation by Tony Kushner of his own play which deals AIDS in the 1980s and still feels very relevant today”

Held on DVD in the Laidlaw Library.

Curing Queers – Tommy Dickenson

“Through personal accounts the book Curing Queers reveals a history of mental health nursing and psychiatry which is often not known about – the involvement of mental health nurses in the use of ‘conversion therapy’ in treating men who either self-identified as being homosexual or had been convicted of at the  time illegal homosexual acts in attempting to ‘cure’ their homosexuality.”

Available online via VleBooks

Bent – Martin Sherman

“An important play about the treatment of LGBT+ communities in Nazi Germany, especially the abrupt end to the freedom of 1930s Berlin.“

Held in the Brotherton Library.

Yes, you are trans enough – Mia Violet

“An extraordinary tale of gender transition. Mia describes how she came to understand that she is trans and how she then responds in order to live an authentic life. Every trans person’s story is unique, but this book brings out some of the many issues facing trans people in the UK today and it is important that many people read it, across society, so that we can become a more caring and understanding society. It is also highly recommended for trans people or those wondering if they are trans, because of its central affirming theme. Yes: You are trans enough. Reading this book has been part of the story of my ongoing transition.”

Held in the Language Zone.

Other recommendations also included

The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

Howl – Alan Ginsberg 

Both of which are held at the Laidlaw Library.

There are also a number of events you can join in with across the University, in support of LGBT+ History Month and led by the LGBT+ staff network. These are open to all staff and students. View the full events catalogue at the Equality Policy Unit website.

Look out for our second blog, highlighting items we don’t currently hold, early next week.