Books for Pride month
Happy Pride month, loves! June is pride month, the month where we celebrate the rights and freedom of the LGBTQ+ community, along with fighting for what (a lot, sadly, in such cruel political times) more there’s to conquer for real equality and happiness.
As an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and a book lover, I thought that maybe I could share some of the books that have helped me become more aware of what it means to be queer, what’s the history of the community, what we fight for. Along with the first experiences of many of my friends and people I follow on social media, books have really helped me to learn and empathize: it is by listening to the stories of people of the community, what they’ve been through, that we can really understand the urgency of their fight against social stereotypes and hate.
So, this month and all around the year, we spread love and awareness.
“God save the queer” by Michela Murgia (2022)
Michela Murgia is one of my favorite writers and activists. I like to follow people that inspire me with their thinking, help me see things from a different perspective. Murgia is a Christian feminist and lgbtq+ ally: she also promotes, with her daily life, a non-monogamous family structure, based on love and not social norms of what’s natural and what’s not. Many times, she has been asked how these things are not conflicting but rather merging into her beliefs and values. As a non-believer, through this book, thanks to Murgia’s analysis of what is the real meaning of many of the Holy Scriptures, I learned that Christianity has got a more open and inclusive view of difference than I thought, it is just that the Church has sometimes mislead us through history, sacrificing real meanings for the sake of patriarchy and power.
“Gender trouble” & “Bodies that matter” by Judith Butler (1990 & 1993)
Judith Butler is considered in contemporary philosophy THE philosopher of queer and identity theories. Moving from Hegel and Michel Foucault, she analyzes the themes of gender, biological sex and identity, challenging the heterosexual hegemony and states the idea that the sex we are assigned at birth is as much of a social construct as our assigned-at-birth gender. Politics impose us to perform our identity, sexual one in particular, sticking to gender stereotypes that we are thought since we are born, even before; changing the system completely is difficult, if not impossible, but what the queer community does is challenge the constructs as so to re discuss what is considered “good”, “natural”, “moral”.
“Sei come sei” by Melania Mazzucco (2013)
I find novels to be sometimes more touching and eye-opening than essays. This book is the story of a young girl that sees one of her two fathers die and the other not being legally able to take care of her ‘cause the law doesn’t recognize him as her natural father. In a country like Italy, and unfortunately many others, where same-sex parenthood is stil seen as a crime against nature and not a right for people that want to build a family based on love and care, stories like this are important as they make us understand how much a law that protects “famiglie arcobaleno”, as we call them in Italy, is urgent and a fundamental human right.
“Scheletro femmina” by Francesco Cicconetti (2022)
Francesco Cicconetti is a writer. What he wrote in his debut novel is the story of his transition, both physical and psychological, the story of how he embraced his true self and identity, between the love of his family, friends, allies, and the cruelty of a part of society. It’s a story of love and pain, a story of surgery and meds but also of becoming your true self and finally finding happiness.
He describes the book like this:
“Love is the protagonist of this book. Well, in theory I am the protagonist, with my transition path and all, but once you reach the end of the book you understand that in practice the true protagonist is love. I have always written of love, that’s the only thing I can do. I like to do what I can do, it makes me happy. […] Inside this book there’s my life: after you’ll read it, we’ll be friends, or it will have been as if you’ve seen me naked. You’ll get to know my family and the things I did wrong. You’ll follow my transitions, how I’ve never told it even on Instagram, not even to the people that have been here ever since before 2017, the year when it all started. The same year that, months after my first session with my psychologist, I opened my laptop and started to write.”
Francesco, and his girlfriend Chiara Pieri, are also one of my favorite couples on Instagram: funny, super stylish and with the cutest dog, Gea. Do you need any more reasons to follow them?
“La lettera d’amore” by Cathleen Schine (1995)
Last but not least, a novel that I’ve loved so much. It’s the story of a librarian, Helen, who one day receives a love letter. Is it for her? Who sent it? A letter so romantic that she becomes deeply involved in its words and needs to know who wrote such beautiful words. I can’t say anymore to keep this spoiler proof, but this story is so beautiful and well written, the message so powerful that you can’t help but love it.
These are just a few of the books that I have read and loved, but one of my friends suggested me to follow @ericervini on instagram: he shares books about queer history, a theme that has been censured for many decades and is now starting to emerge, and more … so don’t walk, RUN to follow him!
And you, do you have any books suggestions for this Pride Month? Please don’t gatekeep your precious titles!
[cover credits go to @milanipride]