Happy Pride Month! Here’s what we’ve been reading and listening to at TEDxLondon in celebration of our LGBTQIA community this month.
You’re spoilt for choice, as our recommendations include 10 books and 4 podcasts. With such a wide variety, we guarantee there will be something to suit everyone’s taste. Happy reading!
1. The Stone Wall Reader edited by The New York Public Library
This book should be considered fundamental reading. It marks the 50th anniversary since the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, the most significant event in the gay liberation movement and what is considered the impetus for the modern fight for LGBTQIA+ rights in America. The body of this work focuses on the events of 1969 and both 5 years before and after. It highlights forgotten figures who were crucial in the movement, including firsthand accounts, diaries, articles and newspapers magazines that were archived at the New York Public Library.
2. How We Fight For Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones
Jones’ coming-of-age memoir is brilliantly bold and beautiful. It highlights the intersects of being a young, Black, gay man in the south, all while trying to find his place amongst it all. It explores topics such as race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief and the ways we interact with each other as we fight to become ourselves.
3. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Songs of Achillies is a retelling of the epic poem the Iliad, this time focusing on the events leading up to that moment and the friendship between the characters Achilles and Patroclus that develops into something more. When Helen of Sparta is kidnapped, Achilles is sent to Troy to fulfil his destiny. Patroclus torn between love and fear for his friend follows not knowing how the next few years will test everything he holds dear.
4. Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
As a Black lesbian poet and feminist writer, Lorde’s revolutionary writings are famously known for giving a voice to those ‘outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women’. In this collection of prose, she primarily focuses on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and proposes social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her work has had an immense impact on the development of many contemporary feminist theories.
5. All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto by George M Johnson
Journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his life through a series of essays, this memoir intertwines both the adversity and triumphs faced by Black queer boys. While covering topics of gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalisation, consent and Black Joy.
6. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
This novel is full of vivid imagery. Set in the Italian Rivieria, a romance begins to blossom between Elio and Oliver, the postdoctoral student who stays with him and his family. Over the course of the summer, the unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, passion and desire only intensify, as they are on the brink of the one thing they both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. This New York Best Seller has been adapted into an award-winning film, that is equally just as good.
7. Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward
A profound poetry debut. This collection is raw and stark to reflect matters of the heart. Her work draws on her Jamaican and Nigerian heritage and growing up as a first generation Black British woman. As well as navigating the oft competing worlds of religion and desire, this piece focuses on life, the inner self, coming of age, faith and loss. Daley-Ward’s bone resonates to the core of what it means to be human.
8. Swimming In The Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski
This debut novel by Jedrowski has caused a stir for all the right reasons. Set in 1980, Poland, Ludwik Glowacki will soon graduate from university. During the summer he is sent to an agricultural camp where he meets Janusz. Together they spend a dreamlike summer falling in love. But with the summer coming to a close, the two heading back to Warsaw and the harsh realities of life under the Party. They will find themselves trying to survive and ultimately making choices that will tear them apart.
9. Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez
This is a remarkable debut novel by Mendez. Rainbow Milk is set in two different time frames. The 1st, in the late 1950s in Black Country (area of the West Midlands), following ex-boxer Norman Alonso and his Wife Claudette who have recently arrived from Jamaica for a better life. Fast-forward 50 years later and we meet their grandson 19-year-old Jesse McCarthy, who moves to London and falls into sex work, as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of a Jehovah witness upbringing and the legacies of the Windrush generation.
10. The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan
Set in a watery dystopian world, two women are in search of a home. North lives on a circus boat with her beloved bear, keeping a secret that could capsize her life. Callanish lives alone in her house in the middle of the ocean, tending the graves of those who die at sea. As penance for a terrible mistake, she has become a gracekeeper. A chance encounter draws the two magnetically together – and to the promise of a new life. But the waters are treacherous, and the tide is against them.
1. Secret Dinosaur Cult
A live comedy podcast by comedian and author Sofie Hagen and comedian and drag king Jodie Mitchell about daddy issues, trauma, queerness and dinosaurs.
2. Just Break Up
Hosted by best friends duo Sierra DeMulder and SamBlackell, JUST BREAK UP is a podcast about love, heartbreak, and all the relationship advice you don’t want to hear.
3. What The Trans?!
What The Trans!? is a UK-based weekly podcast with news and interviews, made by and for transgender and non-binary people. On this podcast, they fact-check, raise voices from the community, and top it all off with a generous helping of snark.
“Anthems” is a collection of original manifestos, speeches, stories, poems and rallying cries written and voiced by exceptional people, that celebrate and contemplate what it means to be human. Our beauty, our failures, our rich heritage, our rage and our power. Proving that there is more that binds us together than sets us apart.