Living and Thriving as an Outsider: Queer Memoirs and Essays

Tessa Staff Image

There’s no one way to be queer, and luckily all these writers have published powerful books in the past year about their personal life experiences. One thing that all these books have in common is the feeling of growing up as an outsider – whether to their family, to society, to their self or to “normal” social ritual. Lane Moore and Katie Heaney approach their stories through humor and intimacy, while L. Nichols movingly delves into what it meant to choose truth of self over the beliefs of his family, and Leah Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha offers an accessible, powerful call to action in regards to disability justice and listening to the voices of queer and trans people of color.

How to Be Alone: If You Want to, and Even if You Don't

In this book of personal essay and memoir, Moore’s humor is a foil to the trauma she has experienced. It guides and illuminates her struggles with family, housing, relationships, and work. Moore recounts, through anecdotes, her struggle to be okay with feeling alone in the world, while her stories forge a connection to the reader.

Would You Rather?: a Memoir of Growing Up and Coming Out

In this collection of essays-as-memoir, Heaney recounts her realization in her late 20s that she was gay, and how she dealt with that. Heaney’s recollections and tone are light, humorous and candid, from online dating, the sharpness of hindsight, and loving Harry Styles.

Flocks

Growing up in Louisiana, assigned female at birth, L. Nichols painfully and gradually comes to know that he is trans. In this memoir and graphic novel, Nichols masterfully illustrates his childhood and coming of age as well as his coming into his own.

Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice

A collection of essays informed and grounded in lived experience, Care Work collects Piepzna-Samarasinha’s writings about disability justice – what it has meant in her life, along with the communities and collectives that have sprung up in the recent past, and what it could look like in the future.