An annotated list compiled for the Rainbow Round Table’s Advocacy & Resources Committee. The list’s author is Kestrel Ward, and it was compiled in October of 2021. Note, some items may be explicit and not suitable for children. Descriptions in quotations are taken verbatim from WorldCat. Please contact the RRT Roundtable to report broken links or to suggest new resources.
- Chii. The Bride Was a Boy. trans Beni Axia Conrad. Tokyo, Asukashinsha, 2016. WorldCat
This work focuses on trans issues and the trans experience. Chii-Chan uses her own story of growing up, coming out, and finding love to educate the reader on the realities of life as a trans-woman in Japan. She not only tells her story, but also provides sidebars with everything from definitions of terms to explanations of typical surgeries. Drawn in a typically cutesy manga style, it is a particularly charming and wholesome exploration of trans experiences.
- Coates, Ta-Nehisi, and Brian Stelfreeze. The Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet. New York: Marvel Comics, 2016. WorldCat
While Black Panther may not seem like it would have queer representation, Ta-Nehisi Coates provides significant character representation. One of the major storylines explored in this book follows T’Challa’s sister and her lesbian lover who lead a rebellion together. Their relationship is not explored in detail, but their love for each other is clear on every page that they appear.
- Walden, Tillie. Spinning. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2017. WorldCat
A memoir of figure skating, the main character and author is queer. The story follows her years as a pre-teen in a new town, and her loss of connection to figure skating. During this time, Walden also discovers her own queerness, and experiences both first love and first heartache.
- Stevenson, Noelle. Nimona. New York, Harper Teen, 2015. WorldCat
This story is a fantastical adventure featuring two queer main characters. The titular Nimona is a genderqueer shape-shifter who primarily presents as female but is equally as comfortable shifting into the body of a male. Her associate, Blackheart, is an explicitly gay super-villain who eventually returns to his true love and lives happily. Their queerness is not the point of the story, it’s just a facet of their characters, much like hair color and style.
- Avery, Tara Madison and Jeanne Thornton eds. We’re Still Here: An All Trans Comic Anthology. Dana Point, CA: Stacked Deck Press, 2019. WorldCat
This anthology features a collection of stories by and about trans people of all types. Each individual comic is about 4-8 pages long, and they are all in full color. The stories range from personal experiences by trans authors to SFF adventures featuring trans characters.
- Panetta, Kevin, and Savanna Ganucheau. Bloom. New York: First Second, 2019. WorldCat
A story of two young men falling in love in a bakery. This tale of first love and self-discovery is a sweet romance. The art is done in a dreamy, almost nostalgic style with a color palette of teal and black that enhances the story.
- Maurel, Carole. Luisa: Now and Then. adapted Mariko Tamaki. Los Angeles: Life Drawn, 2018. WorldCat
A sentimental story about self-acceptance and sexuality. The protagonist is a queerwoman whose younger self time travels into the future to meet her. They have adventures in self-discovery together in this science fiction romance. The art is bold and colorful to complement the story.
- Franklin, Tee, and Jenn St. Onge, and Joy San, and Genevieve FT. Bingo Love. Berkeley: Image Comics, 2018. WorldCat
This story of timeless love and loss is very touching. The protagonists are two black women who fall in love as teenagers but are forced apart by their families. When they meet again as older women, sparks still fly. The beautiful full-color panels complement the colorful characters.
- Kobabe, Maya. Gender Queer: A Memoir. Portland: Oni Press, 2019. WorldCat
A touching memoir about the author’s struggles with gender. Eir story is one many gender-nonconforming and queer people can identify with, of feeling different from all their peers. Told in a conversational style, the story draws you in and the art compels you to keep reading.
- Tagame, Gengoroh. My Brother’s Husband. Trans Anne Isshi. New York: Pantheon, 2017. WorldCat
A look at gay culture in Japan. This manga explores the story of a man and his twin brother’s Canadian husband. The brother has passed away, and the husband wants to explore his in-laws’ family. A touching story of family and the ways in which Japan is changing how they view gay people.
- Carriger, Gail, and REM. Soulless. Vol 1. New York: Yen Press, 2012. WorldCat
This manga series is an adaptation of Gail Carriger’s novel series, the steampunk fantasy adventure set in London. The series features several queer characters, including the main character who is attracted to both men and occasionally women. A riotous adventure full of humor and fashion.
- Rivera, Gabby and Joe Quinones. America: The Life and Times of America Chavez. Vol 1. New York: Marvel Comics, 2017. WorldCat
One of Marvel’s Teen Titans, America is a queer Latina super-hero. Her story is full of relatable content and action, both for Latinx and queer folks. This is her first solo-title from Marvel, and it highlights one of the first Latina super-heroes ever.
- Saito, Chiho, and Be-Papas. Revolutionary Girl Utena. Vol 1. San Francisco, CA: VIZ Media LLC, 2003. WorldCat
This epic manga series encompasses many queer themes. It centers around a girl who would become a prince and her relationship with the Rose Bride, whose betrothal she wins in a duel. They have many adventures in school together, literally battling the strange student council for the freedom to just be themselves. But Utena’s power to revolutionize the world draws many to face her in duels.
- Walker, Suzanne, and Wendy Xu. Mooncakes. Portland: Oni Press, 2019. WorldCat
A fantasy story featuring two queer protagonists, this is both a romance and an adventure. The art is beautifully colored and cozy-feeling, lending the story a certain “cottage-witch” aesthetic that goes with the storyline. Both the art and the story are what make this one of the best new graphic novels of 2020.
- Kamatani, Yuhki. Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare, Vol 1. Trans Jocelyne Allen. Seven Seas, 2019. WorldCat
A young Japanese boy realizes he has a crush on a boy and contemplates suicide. He is stopped by a mysterious woman named Someone-san, who invites him to a local community center where he finds more people like him. Filled with wonderful characters, this 4 book series is a journey to self-acceptance in a largely homophobic culture.
- Nitta, Youka. Embracing Love Vol 1. Trans Adrienne Beck. San Francisco, CA: Sublime Manga, 2013. Worldcat
A story of two actors falling in love and realizing they are gay, and the many ups and downs of their relationship in late-90’s Japan. Explicit.
- Takei, George; Justin Eisinger; Steven Scott; Harmony Becker; Gilberto Lazcano. They Called Us Enemy. Marietta, GA: Top Shelf Productions, 2019. WorldCat
Actor George Takei’s story of going to the Japanese Internment camps as a child in World War II.
- Bechdel, Alison. Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Worldcat
Artist Alison Bechdel’s memoir about her relationship with her mother, and being gay.
- Tamaki, Mariko, and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me. New York: First Second, 2019. Print. WorldCat
“Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley's dream girl, but Freddy is learning she is not the best girlfriend, so she seeks help from a mysterious medium and advice columnists to help her through being a teenager in love.”
- Ukazu, Ngozi. Check, Please! New York: First Second, 2018. Print. WorldCat
“Eric Bittle may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge.”
- Stevenson, Noelle. Lumberjanes. Los Angeles: BOOM! Box, 2015. Print. WorldCat
“Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripleyare five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have anawesome summer together-- and they're not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!”
- Vaughan, Brian K, Fiona Staples, and Eric Stephenson. Saga: Volume One. Berkeley: Image Comics, 2012. Print. WorldCat
"When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe"
- Weaver, E K. The Less Than Epic Adventures of Tj and Amal. Iron Circus Comics, 2015. Print. WorldCat
"In the span of a single tumultuous evening, Amal calls off his arranged marriage, comes out to his conservative parents, gets disowned, goes on a bender-- and wakes up next morning to find a lanky, dreadlocked vagrant named TJ in his kitchen. TJ claims that the two have made a drunken pact to travel from Berkeley, California to Providence, Rhode Island....”
- Šejić, Stjepan. Sunstone: Volume 1. Los Angeles: Top Cow, 2014. Print. WorldCat
"Two women deal with modern themes of sex, relationships, and fetishism in this erotic romantic comedy.”
- Gillen, Kieron, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, and Clayton Cowles. The Wicked + the Divine: Vol. 1. Portland: Image Comics, 2014. Print. WorldCat
"Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you're immortal, doesn't mean you're going to live forever....”
- Symington, Sabrina. First Year Out: A Transition Story. Philadelphia: Singing Dragon, 2018. Print. WorldCat
“Based on the author's own personal experiences and those of her friends, this intimate and striking graphic novel follows transgender woman Lily, as she transitions to her true self. Depicting her experiences from coming out right through to gender reassignment surgery, Lily's story provides vital advice on the social, emotional and medical aspects of transitioning and will empower anyone questioning their gender.”
- Lockard, Greg. Liebestrasse. S.l.: Dark Horse Comics, 2022. Print. WorldCat
A queer historical graphic novel set during the final years of the Weimar Republic. Available in 2022.
- Frances, Rory, and Jae Bearhat. Little Teeth. Providence, RI: Czap Books, 2019. Print. WorldCat
"Whether you're trying to work through communication issues with your partners, or you want to impress that emotionally elusive DJ you have a devastating crush on -- relax, you have come to the right place. A fox girl and wolf boy anchor this collection of stories about a tightly knit yet emotionally chaotic queer community of the fictional Pacific-Northwest city of Woodlands....”
- Nowak, Casey. Girl Town. Marietta, GA: Top Shelf, 2018. Print. WorldCat
"Diana got hurt -- a lot -- and she's decided to deal with this fact by purchasing a life-sized robot boyfriend. Mary and La-La host a podcast about a movie no one's ever seen. Kelly has dragged her friend Beth out of her comfort zone -- and into a day at the fantasy market that neither of them will forget.”
- Searle, Sarah W. Patience & Esther: An Edwardian Romance. Iron Circus Comics, 2020. Print. WorldCat
A steamy period romance between two women in service, one a parlor maid and the other a ladies maid during the tumultuous end of the Gilded Age.
- Leyh, Kat. Snapdragon. New York: First Second, 2020. Print. WorldCat
"Snap's town had a witch. At least, that's how the rumor goes. But in reality, Jacks is just a crocks-wearing, internet-savvy old lady who sells roadkill skeletons online--after doing a little ritual to put their spirits to rest. It's creepy, sure, but Snap thinks it's kind of cool, too.”
- Wang, Jen. The Prince and the Dressmaker. New York: First Second, 2018. Print. WorldCat
“Prince Sebastian hides from his parents his secret life of dressing up in women's clothes as the hottest fashion icon in Paris, the fabulous Lady Crystallia, while his friend Frances the dressmaker strives to keep her friend's secret.”
- Okura, , Coma Hashii, and Jocelyne Allen. That Blue Sky Feeling: Vol. 1. San Francisco: VIZ Media, 2018. Print. WorldCat
"When Noshiro transfers to a new school, he meets Sanada, a loner who doesn't seem to have friends-or want any. The other kids whisper that Sanada keeps to himself because he's secretly gay. But rather than scare Noshiro away, the rumor only makes him more interested.”
- Okura, Leo McDonagh, and Lor Prescott. I Think Our Son Is Gay: Volume 1. Square Enix, 2021. Print. WorldCat
“Now that Hiroki's in his first year of high school, his thoughts are turning ever so slightly to sex and romance and his mom can't help but notice his slips of the tongue when he's talking about who he likes....”
- Konayama, Kata, and Amber Tamosaitis. Love Me for Who I Am: Vol. 1. Los Angeles: Seven Seas, 2020. Print. WorldCat
"Mogumo is a cute but lonely non-binary high school student who just wants a few loving friends. As someone who doesn't identify as a boy or a girl, however, finding people who really understand can be a big challenge. When fellow student Iwaoka Tetsu invites Mogumo to work at an untraditional maid café, Mogumo is hopeful that things are looking up....”
- Kaito, Adrienne Beck, and Annaliese Christman. Blue Flag: 1. San Franciso: Viz Media, 2020. Print. WorldCat
"An unexpected love quadrangle with a dash of unrequited love as two classmates, a boy and a girl, begin to fall for each other when each of their same-sex best friends have already fallen for them.”
- Yoshinaga, Fumi, and Maya Rosewood. What Did You Eat Yesterday?: 1. New York: Vertical, 2014. Print WorldCat
“Part comic, part cookbook. In the narrative, a hard-working middle-aged gay couple in Tokyo come to enjoy the finer moments of life through food.” Also a live-action Japanese language TV show.
- Keika, Hasegawa. Manga De Wakaru Erujībītīkyūpurasu. Tōkyō: Kōdansha, 2021. Print. WorldCat
A Japanese language manga designed to explain LGBTQ+ issues to allies.
- Layne, Aliza, Natalie Riess, and Kristen Acampora. Beetle & the Hollowbones. New York, Atheneum Books, 2020. Print. WorldCat
"Twelve-year-old goblin and witch-in-training Beetle enlists her former best friend, Kat Hollowbones, to help stop Kat's sorceress aunt from demolishing the mall where Beetle's friend Blob Ghost is trapped."
- Oseman, Alice. Heartstopper: Volume 1. New York: Graphix, 2020. Print. WorldCat
Shy Charlie has been bullied for being gay throughout school. He strikes up an unlikely friendship, and later romance with Nick. Nick comes to terms with his attraction to Charlie, and eventually comes out as bisexual. A soft and delightful look at queer experiences in high school.