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Philanthropy

Andrew Gelwicks Recommends – A List of LGBTQ Books & Resources

Guest writer Andrew Gelwicks shares a list of his favorite LGBTQ books, and recommended resources.

by Andrew Gelwicks

AndrewXRenee

The significance of representation cannot be underestimated. Too many people grow up not feeling seen or represented, and as someone who grew up not seeing gay representation, I know first-hand the psychological and emotional toll this can take.

While there have been tremendous strides in the past decade with more queer representation in films, books, and recently, even politics, there is still room — and a need — for more. 

I’m often asked what some of my favorite books with queer characters or themes are, as well as what resources I trust. I’m honored to be given this space to share some of these.

It wasn’t until I actively began seeking out books with queer characters and themes, that I recognized what a void I had been feeling. I fell in love with characters I authentically related to, felt inspired by others’ struggles and triumphs, and felt seen in a way I had never had before. These books led me to find resources and organizations that were making huge impacts, and their collective mission to help, strengthen, and embolden the queer community inspires me daily.  

BOOKS

THE VELVET RAGE

By Alan Downs

One of the most iconic and influential books in queer literature, The Velvet Rage acted as a major influence in the way I’ve thought about my own identity as a gay man. Downs does an excellent job breaking down the various psychological impacts many gay men face as they grow up, and how they manifest throughout their lives. 

A LITTLE LIFE

By Hanya Yanagihara

One of the most beautifully written and deeply touching novels, A Little Life subtly highlights a gay relationship that doesn’t fit into the traditional stereotypes. Without spoiling anything, I was so touched by how Yanagihara wrote about a deeply loving relationship between two men, and in a way that didn’t overshadow the rest of the story; it simply showcased the love they had for each other. This is a book that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

THIS BOOK IS GAY

By Juno Dawson

This is a light-hearted and delightful read for anyone and everyone – queer or not. Its witty, uncensored chapters are highly informative, while also entertaining. 

THE GILDED RAZOR

By Sam Lansky

Written by one of my favorite writers, Lansky’s memoir is about growing up in New York City with little-to-no supervision, his troubles with drugs, and relationships with other men. While the story isn’t centered around his queerness, his commentary on the psyches of gay men, as well as “relationships” with older men, is striking. 

GAY LIKE ME

By Richie Jackson

Written in the form of a letter from a gay father to his newly-out gay son, Gay Like Me is profoundly moving. Jackson writes to his son welcoming him into his new gay life and explaining all of the wonderful experiences he is about to have. I loved how the narrative of a parent talking to their gay son was written from such a happy, positive perspective, and hope that many other parents — queer or not — will read this as well.

ORGANIZATIONS 

GLSEN

www.glsen.org

Ensuring that LGBTQ+ students are can go to school everyday in a bully- and stress-free environment. 

SOUTHWEST CENTER

www.swcenter.org

Serves individuals touched by HIV/AIDS through prevention, education, client-centered services, and coordinated care in collaboration with community partners.

one n ten 

www.onenten.org

Provides LGBTQ youth and young adults between the ages of 11-24 with empowering social and service programs which promote self-expression, self-acceptance, leadership development, and healthy life choices.

BORN THIS WAY FOUNDATION

www.bornthisway.foundation

Founded by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, the Born This Way Foundation supports young people’s emotional and mental wellness in pursuit of a kinder world.

THE TREVOR PROJECT

www.thetrevorproject.org

Providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ people under twenty-five. Their crisis prevention hotline can be reached at 1-866-488-7386; confidential instant messaging with a Trevor Counselor can be accessed at http://trevorproject.org/get-help-now/; texting with a Trevor Counselor can be done by texting START to 678678; and there is also an international community at http://trevorspace.org/. Each of these services are available 24/7. 

TRUE COLORS UNITED

www.trueccolorsunited.org

Committed to aiding the global crisis of LGBTQ+ homelessness. 

For parents or youth who want a safe, confidential space to speak with someone, there are a multitude of options:

NOTE FROM RENEE:

Andrew’s book, The Queer Advantage: Conversations with LGBTQ+ Leaders on the Power of Identity, will be inspiring youth and adults for years to come. In his book, Andrew interviewed 51 of the most inspiring and successful leaders, including Billie Jean King, Michael Kors, Lee Daniels, Margaret Cho, Dan Levy, and Barney Frank (just to name a few), on how being queer positively impacted their careers and lives. The personal stories these trailblazers share are deeply inspiring and full of hard-won lessons.