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New Books and Documentaries Explore LGBT Life

Celebrate Pride Month with anthologies, memoirs and more

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, Native Country of the Heart and We Are Everywhere book covers

Penguin Press; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; TenSpeed Press

Looking to refresh your reading list or movie queue in honor of Pride Month? These recently released books and documentaries shine a light on the many facets of LGBT life and history, from the 1969 Stonewall riots and birth of the gay rights movement to personal tales of love, family and self-discovery.

The Stonewall Reader book cover

Penguin Classics


The Stonewall Reader

Edited by the New York Public Library (Jason Baumann)

Dive into the history of LGBT activism before, during and after the Stonewall riots — which took place 50 years ago this month — with this collection of first-person testimonies, news coverage and essays from the New York Public Library's archives. Editor Jason Baumann includes the voices of the drag queens, transgender women, and black and Latino activists whose contributions to the movement have long been sidelined. (Penguin Classics)

The Book of Pride

By Mason Funk

Learn about the lives of LGBT trailblazers in their own words with this anthology of 75 as-told-to interviews. Funk traveled across the country to meet with his subjects, and their identities are as varied as their accomplishments: You'll meet Jewel Thais-Williams, founder of Los Angeles’ famed black disco and gay bar Jewel's Catch One; Evan Wolfson, the lawyer who set the marriage equality movement into motion; and many more. (HarperOne)

We Are Everywhere

By Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown

From the creators of the mega-popular instagram account @lgbt_history comes a book that's not-so-bite-sized. Riemer and Brown's weighty coffee-table book is visually stunning and meticulously researched, presenting full-page photo spreads and detailed captions alongside an in-depth account of the history of LGBT activism from the late 19th century to the present. (Ten Speed Press)

Fiction and Memoir

Native Country of the Heart

By Cherríe Moraga

A mother-daughter relationship is at the heart of this memoir, in which Moraga, a Chicana author, activist and playwright, recounts the life story of her mother, Elvira, who died from Alzheimer's disease in 2005. As Moraga recounts Elvira's story, she examines the forces shaping her own: her lesbian identity, family ties and what it means to live in the world as someone who is “Mexican, mixed-blood, queer, female, almost Indian.” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

By Ocean Vuong

This highly anticipated debut novel from one of America's most celebrated young poets is told in the form of a letter from the narrator, Little Dog, to his mother, Ma. Evocative and heartfelt, the book's unconventional form is a powerful vessel for Little Dog's musings on sexual self-discovery as a gay teenager coming of age in Connecticut in the 1990s and the traumas that haunt his family, which fled Vietnam as refugees, in a new country. (Penguin Press)


Stonewall Forever

This short documentary sums up the successes — and challenges — of the LGBT movement from Stonewall to the present. Interviews with activists ranging in age from 20 to 70-plus make it clear that the legacy of the 1969 uprising is ongoing, and that there’s still much to be accomplished by the next generation of LGBT activists. The video is part of the Stonewall Forever digital monument; you can stream it for free at

Pride Parade and Festival in Salt Lake City

Portal A

State of Pride

From the Oscar-winning filmmakers behind The Celluloid Closet (1995), the seminal documentary that examined representations of LGBT identity in Hollywood, comes an exploration of the meaning of pride to young people today. Travel to three communities in the U.S. — Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Tuscaloosa, Ala. — to meet young people grappling with the coming-out process and their place in the post-Stonewall world. Watch the YouTube Original online.

More for LGBT Pride Month