6 LGBTQ+ things to read, play, or experience.
The most wholesome novel on this list is about a rural girl pining after her new friend—a modern update of Annie On My Mind, with more of a realistic ending. Phoebe is a farm girl from Maine, who loves photography and goats, and is entranced by the new girl, Melita. Melita is from New York City and moves onto Phoebe’s farm. Their friendship blossoms through fashion and old fairytales. Phoebe falls in love with Melita, but when Melita returns to the big apple before Phoebe can confess. When Phoebe goes to visit, how will Melita react? A solid coming-of-age story about teenage crushes.
2. NiGHTS into dreams… by Yuji Naka, Takashi Iizuka, Naoto Ohshima, SEGA
Yes, that 1996 video game. Nights is the first gender-fluid protagonist in a video game. Did you know that in the story of NiGHTS, they are a stand-in for Lucifer? Wizeman the Wicked is the creator of the nightmare world where all humans go when they sleep and have a nightmare. His two creations, NiGHTS and Reala, are intended to steal power from human dreams. Reala was loyal where NiGHTS disobeyed and misbehaved, imprisoning them in a palace. Fly around some rings and dissociate if reading isn’t your jam right now. This is a shameless ploy to pressure SEGA into making a third NiGHTS game.
Trigger Warning for the rest of the list! It only gets more severe as we go.
Invisible Monsters Remix is an updated version of the original Invisible Monsters. The remix is intended to make that narrative clearer. Shannon McFarland is a model, and she’s successful until she is shot in the face while driving; this ruins her career and her ability to communicate. Shannon meets Brandy Alexander at speech therapy, an eccentric trans woman who quickly becomes her new friend. Brandy encourages Shannon to start a new life and change her name to move on from her trauma. As the book twists and turns, the wedding of Evie Cottrell, one of Brandy’s friends, ends in a house fire and with Brandy shot by the bride. This novel tackles people’s agency over their outward appearance. If this interests you, listen to Panic! At the Disco’s ‘Time to Dance’ as you read. ;)
Tadaomi Shirotami has an obsessive-compulsive disorder and is severely germaphobic. After a fateful fender bender, he meets Riku Kurose, a psychotherapist who is captivated with him. Trying to help Tadaomi, he tells him to write down ten things he’s afraid to do. (a list within a list)
Touch a doorknob barehanded
Allow someone else to touch one of my possessions
Buy a book from a bookstore
Hold the handles on a train
Eat a meal at a restaurant
Shake hands with someone barehanded
Hold someone else’s possession without disinfecting it first
Drink from the same glass as someone else
Allow someone else into my apartment
(initially left blank)
After completing a few of the tasks, a relationship forms. How will this complicate their doctor and patient relationship? Will Tadaomi cope with his OCD?
5. The City and The Pillar by Gore Vidal
One of the first novels to showcase a queer lifestyle in a ‘normalized’ way, and it got Vidal blacklisted from publishing for a few years. Vidal was sure that everyone was bisexual and adamantly angry about the topic until his death. This book has masc4masc energy in the 1940s’. Jim and his high school crush Bob have a sexual encounter that leaves Jim obsessed. The novel follows Jim as he desperately searches for his lover, but it is a tragic reunion. A warning, this book is misogynistic as it portrays feminine people poorly. It is still the perfect I’m in love with straight guy novel, and if you feel that you need to read this right now!
Heavy trigger warning for body horror and assault!! Steer clear if that's an issue for you! This psychological thriller will shock you. Youji Sakiyama, a high school student, spends a few weeks in the hospital. Upon returning to school, his perception of the world around him changes. Strange symptoms plague his body, and Youji begins having hallucinations of amalgamations of flesh and blood that haunt him. As he returns to school, two fellow students, the serious Tetsuo and Zenya, the infamous delinquent, take a surprising new interest in Youji. Youji is determined to figure out his mysterious affliction as nothing and no one is what they seem. Little does Youji know that the more he finds out, the more danger he is in.