Literature has always been a powerful medium for amplifying voices, sharing stories, and fostering empathy. For the LGBTQ+ community, books provide a way to see their experiences reflected, understood, and celebrated. Canada, with its rich literary tradition, boasts a diverse array of LGBTQ+ authors who have penned works that are both poignant and revolutionary. Here’s a curated list of must-read LGBTQ+ books by Canadian authors that you should add to your reading list.

1. **”Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel**

Though Alison Bechdel is American, her graphic memoir is highly influential in LGBTQ+ literature and has had a significant impact on Canadian readers and authors alike. This memoir explores Bechdel’s relationship with her father, her coming out, and her discovery of his hidden gay life. It’s a poignant, visually engaging read that has resonated deeply across borders.

2. **”Scarborough” by Catherine Hernandez**

Catherine Hernandez’s debut novel is a stunning portrayal of the diverse lives of the residents in Scarborough, a low-income, culturally diverse neighborhood in Toronto. The book features LGBTQ+ characters and addresses themes of poverty, racism, and homophobia, painting a vivid and empathetic portrait of its community.

3. **”The Subtweet” by Vivek Shraya**

Vivek Shraya, a multidisciplinary artist, offers a sharp and insightful look at friendship, identity, and the complexities of social media in “The Subtweet.” This novel follows the relationship between two women of color musicians and delves into themes of art, fame, and the intersecting identities of race and gender.

4. **”Frying Plantain” by Zalika Reid-Benta**

While not exclusively LGBTQ+ focused, this collection of interconnected stories provides a nuanced exploration of the Jamaican-Canadian experience in Toronto. The book includes LGBTQ+ themes and characters, offering a broader perspective on identity and belonging within the immigrant community.

5. **”Jonny Appleseed” by Joshua Whitehead**

Joshua Whitehead’s debut novel is a bold and lyrical exploration of the life of Jonny, a Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer person navigating life in the city after leaving the reserve. The narrative is a blend of Indigenous storytelling and queer identity, offering a unique and vital voice in contemporary literature.

6. **”Small Beauty” by Jia Qing Wilson-Yang**

This novel follows Mei, a mixed-race trans woman, as she deals with the death of her cousin and discovers more about her family’s hidden history. “Small Beauty” is a quiet, introspective story about grief, identity, and connection, with beautifully crafted prose that immerses the reader in Mei’s journey.

7. **”Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer” edited by Stephanie Chambers, Jane Farrow, Maureen FitzGerald, Rahim Thawer, Tatum Taylor, and Ed Jackson**

This anthology offers a multifaceted look at the history of Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community through essays, oral histories, and photographs. It’s an essential read for anyone interested in the evolution of LGBTQ+ rights and culture in Canada’s largest city.

8. **”The Clothesline Swing” by Ahmad Danny Ramadan**

This novel tells the story of two lovers, both former Syrian refugees, as they navigate their new life in Vancouver. Interweaving tales from their past with their present struggles, Ramadan crafts a narrative rich in emotion and cultural history, exploring themes of love, loss, and survival.

9. **”This Accident of Being Lost” by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson**

Simpson’s collection of stories and songs blends Indigenous oral traditions with contemporary themes. Though not exclusively LGBTQ+, her work often includes queer and Two-Spirit characters, offering a complex and layered examination of Indigenous identity and resistance.

10. **”God in Pink” by Hasan Namir**

Set in war-torn Iraq in 2003, “God in Pink” follows Ramy, a young gay man trying to reconcile his sexuality with his faith and societal expectations. Namir, a Canadian-Iraqi author, provides a rare and powerful perspective on the intersection of sexuality, religion, and cultural conflict.


These books by Canadian authors offer a rich tapestry of LGBTQ+ experiences, blending personal, cultural, and political narratives. Whether you’re seeking to understand different perspectives, looking for representation, or simply enjoying well-crafted stories, this reading list will provide you with profound insights and emotional depth. Dive into these works and celebrate the diverse voices that enrich Canadian literature.

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