By Susan Larson

June 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, considered the pivotal point in the equal rights movement for gays.  On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood.  It sparked three days of violent demonstrations.

Members of Milton’s LGBTQ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer), recently asked me to consider a library display in recognition of LGBTQ Pride Month, held annually in June in remembrance of The Stonewall Riots.  In preparation, I asked community members for recommendations, reviewed and updated the library’s collection, and complied this book list.

“Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution” by David Carter
“Riveting…Not only the definitive examination of the riots but an absorbing history of pre-Stonewall America, and how the oppression and pent-up rage of those years finally ignited on a hot New York night.” – Boston Globe
The book is the basis of the PBS American Experience documentary Stonewall Uprising, which you can watch at

“Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation” by Eli Clare
Eli Clare’s Exile and Pride “challenge[s] us to think beyond identity politics. This set of nine interconnected essays defies categorization in its exploration not only of queerness and disability but also of class, race, urban-rural divides, gender identity, sexual abuse, environmental destruction, and the meaning of home.” – The Women’s Review of Books

“Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family” by Garrard Conley
“The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality. When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to cure him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness.” -Publisher Marketing

“Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community” edited by Laura Erickson-Schroth
“This collaboratively written resource guide discusses virtually every aspect of transgender life, ranging from intersectionality and legal issues to health and art. Each chapter, written by transgender or genderqueer authors, incorporates anonymous quotations from respondents to surveys conducted by the editorial staff that demonstrate the diversity in transgender people’s experiences and perspectives. A substantial work for public and academic libraries.” – Library Journal

“The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle” by Lillian Faderman
“In ‘the most comprehensive history to date of America’s gay-rights movement’ (The Economist), Lillian Faderman tells this unfinished story through the dramatic accounts of passionate struggles with sweep, depth, and feeling.” – Publisher Marketing

“When We Rise: My Life in the Movement” by Cleve Jones
In his book, Jones’ chronicles the heartbreak of losing countless friends to AIDS, which very nearly killed him, too; his co-founding of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation during the terrifying early years of the epidemic; and his conception of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the largest community art project in history. -Publisher Marketing

“Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray” by Rosalind Rosenberg
“A fascinating look at the incredible life of Pauli Murray, a mixed-race, transgender scholar, lawyer, activist, priest, and trailblazer who played a pivotal role in the civil rights and women’s movements of the 20th century.” – The Advocate

“Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity” by Julia Serano
“In the updated second edition of Whipping Girl, Julia Serano, a transsexual woman … shares her powerful experiences and observations–both pre- and post-transition–to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole.” – Publisher Marketing

“Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution” by Susan Stryker
“Covering American transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to today, Transgender History takes a chronological approach to the subject of transgender history, with each chapter covering major movements, writings, and events.” -Publisher Marketing

“First Spring Grass Fire” by Rae Spoon
“The trials of growing up queer in a strict Pentecostal family, written by transgender Canadian musician Rae Spoon.” -Publisher Marketing

This edition of Book Bits was first published in the “Milton Independent” on May 9, 2019.  It is reprinted here, with permission.