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  • Writer's pictureEleka

Queer Graphic Novel Memoirs

Explore a spectrum of stories with these queer graphic novel memoirs. These stories, all written and illustrated by LGBTQ+ individuals, take root in their discovery of their queer identities. Often reflecting on their childhoods and teenage years, the books follow them into adulthood where they gain understanding and acceptance of themselves and their journeys of self-discovery. Graphic novel memoirs can be a wonderful way to better comprehend someone’s story through their words accompanied by their artistic style and give readers a better sense of their individuality. All these stories feature queer coming of age tales that celebrate an array of perspectives.

*Maia Kobabe uses Spivak pronouns (ey/em/eir).

Gender Queer: A graphic Memoir by Maia Kobabe, delves into eir life growing up as a gender diverse kid as ey explore eir relationship with eir gender and sexuality. An introspective coming of age story, Gender Queer follows Kobabe from childhood to teenage years and into adulthood, reflecting on the signs that ey were always a queer kid and how euphoric it feels to find words that match how we feel or have always felt. Gender Queer won an Alex Award from the American Library Association in 2020.

In Fun Home, Bechdel explores her emotionally neglected childhood first growing up in a funeral home and then a Victorian mansion under perpetual restoration by her father. Slowly, she exposes the cracks in her father’s thoughtfully designed façade of his picture perfect family. When the story shifts to Bechdel’s socio-political awakening in her young adulthood as she finds space in the queer community, she also learns of her father’s long kept secret. Through unflinching narration, Bechdel tells the story of her life and relationship to her father and family as she comes of age and finds parallels between her out and open life as a lesbian college student and her dad’s secret life he hides behind period-appropriate wallpaper. Bechdel draws comparisons from classical literature to her family’s life and discusses complex relationships and complicated people.

This memoir follows Laura Gao who spent her early childhood in Wuhan, China. Everything changes when her family moves to Texas. Messy Roots tells the coming-of-age story of a child of immigrants growing up, trying to fit into what it means to be American, finding her own intersectional and queer identity, and facing the complexities of culture and individuality. Because of Wuhan’s publicization during the Covid-19 pandemic, Gao also discusses anti-Asian racism and discrimination. Beautifully illustrated, the pictures and pages wonderfully reflect the mood throughout the story.

In Welcome to St. Hell, Hancox reflects on his teenage years as a closeted trans kid growing up in a small English town called St. Helens. The book features a young Hancox and his friends and their adventures in their little town. It also shows how Hancox’s friends and family accept his transness as he patiently waits for them to fully understand. Throughout the story, Hancox also creates clever dialogue between his present-day self and teenage self to show how little information he had about the queer community growing up. Although the graphic novel presents as humorous and lighthearted, it also reveals heavy topics like transphobia, homophobia, and eating disorders.

How to be Ace is about Burgess’ life growing up asexual in a culture steeped in sex and sexuality. Burgess discusses the confusing period growing up when they felt everyone around them was getting crushes and they could care less. They talk about how they always thought they would grow into attraction as they got older, but never did and how they came to terms with their asexual identity after pushing themself to pursue relationships despite their extreme anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. How to be Ace speaks on mental health, asexuality, and growing up against the norm.

You can find more titles on the SHARE Mobile Library app or check out eBooks & eAudiobooks on the eResources apps found on the Books & More section of the library's website. Discover more reading recommendations on the CPLD blog and follow social media for even more news and updates on new and upcoming additions to the library.

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