Introduction

In honor of LGBTQ History Month, we’re highlighting some of our favorite queer nonfiction comics! The titles highlight a range of queer identities and experiences, and we hope you find one-or more!-that resonates with you.

A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities

Mady G

Cover Image

This techno-color pocket-sized guide is a great introduction to understanding gender and sexuality and navigating the world as a person under the LGBTQAI+ umbrella. This graphic novel answers questions like what "queer" means, what is gender, what is gender identity and gender expression, and what is sexuality? It also addresses the basics of what a healthy relationship should look like between two people of any orientation. This title is a great resource for both individuals who may be trying to figure out their own identity and those trying to understand the LGBTQAI+ experience better.

Appeals to

Anyone looking to learn more about the LGBTQIA+ experience

Creator Identities:

Queer |

Gender Nonconforming |

Main Character Identities:

Queer |

Trans |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Be Gay, Do Comics

The Nib

Cover Image

Though not the first of its kind, this is a well-built anthology of queer stories covering important moments in LGBTQ+ history, personal stories from the contributors, and jokes or satire stories, all at varying lengths, so some may be only a page while others are upwards of ten pages long. As usual with anthologies, not every story may be for everyone, but there's probably at least one story for everybody in here.

Appeals to

Anthologies are always great for people who prefer shorter stories or don't have time for longer options, and this one is especially great for those kinds of readers since it's such a mix of topics and lengths. Otherwise, this would likely appeal to readers of queer fiction comics such as Supermutant Magic Academy or Stone Fruit.

Creator Identities:

Black, Fijian-American, Puerto Rican |

Asexual, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Queer |

Gender Nonconforming, Genderqueer, Intersex, Nonbinary, Trans |

Main Character Identities:

Asexual, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Queer |

Gender Nonconforming, Genderqueer, Intersex, Nonbinary, Trans |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Bride Was a Boy

Chii

Cover Image

Chii, a transgender Japanese woman, chronicles her transition, relationship, and eventual marriage in this adorable manga..

Appeals to

The Bride Was A Boy strikes a good balance between cute and informative; Chii is open about her experiences transitioning in Japan and the story of her relationship with her eventual husband. With plenty of heartwarming moments (aided by Chii's cute chibi artwork) and frank discussion of trans and LGBT topics, this will appeal to readers looking for a sweet love story or a story about the experiences of Japan's queer community.

Creator Identities:

Japanese |

Trans |

Main Character Identities:

Japanese |

Trans |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Fine

Rhea Ewing

Cover Image

In a quest to figure out their gender identity, Rhea Ewing begins to interview others about their definitions of gender and their experiences expressing themselves fully in American society. The result is a compelling documentary-memoir graphic novel that will spark a gamut of thoughts and reflections about gender in the world in which we live.

Appeals to

Readers interested in exploring gender through others' eyes will find much to enjoy here.

Content Notes

Brief discussion and portrayal of homophobia, transphobia, racism, depression, and suicide

Creator Identities:

Bisexual |

Trans |

Main Character Identities:

Bisexual |

Trans |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Gender Queer

Maia Kobabe

Cover Image

Maia Kobabe went from a free-wheeling childhood that largely ignored gender, but with puberty came unwelcome changes and an increasing number of questions. It would take many years for Kobabe to find answers to eir questions, the words to describe eir feelings, and a growing community of friends. Now e works to educate others, even when standing in front of a classroom and explaining eir pronouns feels terrifying.

Appeals to

This is absolutely a great choice for anyone who has felt like their gender falls somewhere outside of the binary; Kobabe's experiences may resonate and provide answers. But it's also a well-written comic and story of eir life, making it great for fans of narrative nonfiction because the comic is drawn clearly and easy for people new to comics to follow.

Content Notes

There is some nudity, but not sexualized. There's also discussion of discomfort with sex and acts relating to gynecology.

Creator Identities:

Queer |

Nonbinary |

Main Character Identities:

Queer |

Nonbinary |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

How to Be Ace

Rebecca Burgess

Cover Image

Rebecca is navigating a lot as a young adult: college, the job market, and her mental health. She also struggles to figure out why she does not seem to fall in love like other people. She discovers asexuality, and things start to fall into place.

Appeals to

Asexual readers will likely find validation in Rebecca's discussion of her experience with romance and the development of her relationship. Readers curious about asexuality and asexual people's experiences will find this an interesting look into life as an asexual.

Content Notes

Depiction of mental illness and acephobia

Creator Identities:

Asexual |

Main Character Identities:

Asexual |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

I'm a Wild Seed

Sharon Lee De La Cruz

Cover Image

In this engaging, vibrant graphic novel, Sharon Lee De La Cruz describes her experience embracing her queerness as a woman of color under oppression.

Appeals to

With its concise, thoughtful discussions and vibrant, often humorous images, I'm A Wild Seed will appeal to readers looking to read about the intersection of queerness, race, and oppression.

Content Notes

Homophobia; racism

Creator Identities:

Black |

Queer |

Main Character Identities:

Black |

Queer |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

The Fire Never Goes Out

ND Stevenson

Cover Image

A look into the life of ND Stevenson, spanning from teens into early 20s, as he grappled with facets of his identity and career. The comics are from that time in his life, pieced together to form a narrative with notes and additions to give context, adding to the emotion of each moment. It's beautiful, sad, and hopeful, in a truly human experience.

Appeals to

If you're looking for an unusual autobiographical comic, pick this up! Not only is it just a portion of the author's life, but it's created using comics drawn in those times, so there's no distance of time to make things smoother. This is also a great choice for fans of Nimona or She-Ra and the Princesses of Power that want to know more about the creator of those series.

Creator Identities:

Queer |

Nonbinary, Trans |

ADHD |

Main Character Identities:

Lesbian |

Gender Nonconforming |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

The Times I Knew I Was Gay

Eleanor Crewes

Cover Image

In this graphic novel, the author shares their experience of coming to terms with their sexuality and coming out as gay (to themselves as much as to other people). In a black and white pencil style this title shows that coming out is not always one big event that changes your life forever, but a slow process where you slowly strip away everything others have told you that you should be in order to find your true self.

Appeals to

Lovers of graphic memoirists like Lucy Knisley will love this down-to-earth graphic memoir.

Content Notes

Discussions of eatting disorder like behaviors

Creator Identities:

Gay, Lesbian |

Main Character Identities:

Gay, Lesbian |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

  • Megan

    | She/Her

    Features Writer

    Megan earned her MLIS from Simmons College and is currently the evening librarian at Bay State College in Massachusetts. She satisfies her voracious appetite for graphic novels and manga through regular visits to her local public libraries and puts her love of graphic novels to good use by adding to Bay State’s collection whenever possible. Megan maintains a personal blog, Ferret with a Strobe Light, where she discusses awesome books she’s read lately. When not engaged in reading or library work, she likes running, drinking tea, and working on her own stories and art.

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  • Tayla

    | She/Her Branch Librarian

    Features Writer

    Tayla Cardillo (she/her) is the Branch Librarian of the Oaklawn branch of the Cranston Public Library in Cranston, RI. She is also a member of the ALA Graphic Novel and Comic Round Table and the chair of the Rhode Island Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee. She completed her MLIS at the University of Rhode Island and her B.A. in English at Rhode Island College. Tayla has known that she wanted to be a librarian since she was 17 years old. When not doing library wizardry, she enjoys playing tabletop games and cosplaying.

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  • Shannan

    | She/They Teen Services Librarian, San Antonio Public Library

    Features Writer

    Shannan waffled between English professor and librarian as career choices for all of college; eventually librarian won. She is a Teen Services Librarian with the San Antonio Public Library. When not running TTPRG games for their teens or teaching them how to bake, she's doing what she can to promote comics to anyone who will listen. At home they're likely deep in the middle of their latest cosplay project or watching B movies with her husband, while generally pushing the cats out of the way.

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  • Martha

    | She/Her Youth Services Librarian, William Hall Branch of the Cranston Public Library

    Features Editor

    Martha Boksenbaum is Youth Services Librarian for the Youth Services Librarian for the William Hall Library of the Cranston Public Library. She purchases graphic novels, comics and anime for children and teens, and runs a manga and anime club for teens. She has served on ALA’s Graphic Novels and Comics Roundtable (GNCRT) Conference Committee and is currently a Member-at-Large for the GNCRT. She has also served on YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Selection Committee. She works every day to champion graphic novels, manga and anime from her small library branch, and tries to keep up with the amazing number of comics being published today.

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