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6 Books Written by Queer Authors That Duke Students Should Read

6 Books Written by Queer Authors That Duke Students Should Read

6 Books Written by Queer Authors That Duke Students Should Read

Duke University has quite a bit of work cut out for them, as some of their Christian students have not only refused to read Alison Bechdel’s lesbian graphic novel/memoir Fun Home (a choice off their optional summer reading list), but they’ve even made enough of a fuss about it that it’s now national media news.

eye roll

One of their students, Brian Grasso, had a lot of thoughts:

“I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it.”

“Duke did not seem to have people like me in mind,” Grasso told the Duke Chronicle. “It was like Duke didn’t know we existed, which surprises me.”


We’re not trying to throw Christians under the bus here, we’re just pointing out that Grasso clearly missed the lesson on loving thy neighbors (and perhaps even loving thy enemies, if he would go as far to likening the LGBT community to enemies of Christians). Even secular people know the basic action that is involved in loving your neighbors and enemies (or trying to be a open-minded, non-hypocritical human), is reading up on them. We’re looking at you Duke students. It’s actually Christian of you, to read their literature.

cat reading

So in addition to reading Fun Home, we think these queer authored books should be added to the Duke reading list.

1. Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg

stone butch blues

Written by transgender activist Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues tells the story of Jess, trying to understand her gender identity in the unaccepting landscape of mid-century America. Finding solace in the coworkers she meets at the factory she run away from her home to work for, Jess becomes exposed to femmes and butches, and begins to uncover who she really is.

2. The Beebo Brinker Chronicles by Ann Bannon

beebo brinker chronicles

Lesbian pulp fiction written from ’57 to ’62, when Ann was living as a married housewife with children and trying to reconcile her sexuality. Her stories (the Chronicles include 5 works) are taught in many Women’s and LGBT courses, and it is, or should be on every well-read lesbian’s bookshelf.

3. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Rubyfruit jungle

When Rubyfruit Jungle was published in 1973, it shook the nation for it’s (then) suggestive prose of lesbianism, and has been hailed as a very important coming of age lesbian story. Plus, she coined the term, "Rubyfruit Jungle." Just guess what that could mean. It’s incredibly obvious.

4. Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters

Tipping the velvet

Historical fiction is a favorite on summer reading lists, and this book set in 19th century England, which tells the story of a woman who falls in love with a male impersonator (aka drag king), is the perfect piece of literature to highlight topics like love, self discovery and feminism.

5. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

oranges are not the only fruit

This is another coming-of-age story, written by british lesbian author, Jeanette Winterson, published in 1985. This story is semi-autobiographical novel, that touches upon family dynamics, religion and relationships and it was turned into a BBC show, so you can watch the show after you read the book!

6. Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller

patience and sarah

Based on real-life painter Mary Ann Willson, Patience and Sarah follows Mary, living in a Boston marriage with her partner “Miss Brundage.” These women who lived under the guise of being two single females living together, reveal the tension and reality of how limiting it was to be themselves during the turn of the 19th century.

Even if you aren't a Duke student, it's probably a good idea to buy all these, and bury your nose in a book!

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Briana Gonzalez

<p>A proud, queer, Latina, identical twin with a penchant for brash humans and things that make me cough laugh.</p>

<p>A proud, queer, Latina, identical twin with a penchant for brash humans and things that make me cough laugh.</p>