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6 LGBTQ+ books by local authors to read right now

Gain insight into the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore by cracking open these books by local authors

Cam Khalid
Written by
Cam Khalid
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There's no one way to express sexual identity, but there's no better way to hear the voices of the marginalised through books. These powerful and inspiring books demonstrate the enormous range of the LGBTQ+ experience in conservative Singapore, from facing family rejection to being bullied in school. From brilliant prose poems to fast-paced memoirs to fictional page-turners, these books have the ability to open up a myriad of worlds – either relatable or new – to the reader. Here are the ones to read this Pride Month.

RECOMMENDED: The best online LGBTQ+ events to celebrate Pride in Singapore and how the LGBTQ+ community is staying connected

I Will Survive edited by Leow Yangfa
Photograph: BooksActually

I Will Survive edited by Leow Yangfa

Understand what it's like to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer in Singapore through 21 real-life stories. This collection of stories shows how the LGBTQ+ community brave through family rejection, abusive same-sex relationships, transgender experiences, discrimination in school, and more, ultimately surviving extraordinary circumstances.

I Will Survive ($19) is available at BooksActually.

The Invisible Manuscript by Alfian Sa’at
Photograph: BooksActually

The Invisible Manuscript by Alfian Sa’at

One of the most outspoken and critical voices in Singapore, Alfian Sa'at takes you on an eye-opening journey with his clever wordplay in The Invisible Manuscript. Here, he translates his thoughts, memories and confessions into a collection of poems and prose that chronicle the intimate challenges experienced by the triple threat (poet, writer and playwright), as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Singapore. 

The Invisible Manuscript ($16) is available at BooksActually.

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SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century by Ng Yi-Sheng
Photograph: BooksActually

SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century by Ng Yi-Sheng

Read the unique experiences of 15 individuals including a mother of gay sons, a government scholar, a poly student, and a hearing-impaired man in this anthology of unabashed honesty. The inspirational stories are written in light, clear prose, and are paired with photographs taken by Alphonsus Lee. The new reprint is updated with fresh material including a new interview by Ng Yi-Sheng, and a new foreword by the editor Jason Wee.

SQ21: Singapore Queers in the 21st Century ($19) is available at BooksActually.

Straws, Sticks, Bricks by Cyril Wong
Photograph: BooksActually

Straws, Sticks, Bricks by Cyril Wong

See the world through Cyril Wong's eyes as the poet remarks, instructs, exclaims, and curses at a world long settled into its desire-ridden forms. His observations on working life, the delusions of family life, and the paradoxes of lust and love are brilliantly crafted into prose poems that leave a lasting impression from start to finish.

Straws, Sticks, Bricks ($16) is available at BooksActually.

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Glass Cathedral by Andrew Koh
Photograph: Epigram Books

Glass Cathedral by Andrew Koh

It's no surprise Glass Cathedral bagged the Singapore Literature Prize Commendation Award – its sensitive portrayal of homosexuality in conservative Singapore is a landmark in local literature. The acclaimed novel was part of a small wave of drama and fiction that feature LGBTQ+ themes in Singapore during the early 1990s.

Glass Cathedral ($17.90) is available at Epigram Books.

Mobilizing Gay Singapore by Lynette J. Chua
Photograph: NUS Press Singapore

Mobilizing Gay Singapore by Lynette J. Chua

For years, gay activists have been fighting for equality and justice in a state that turns a blind eye to their rights to seek the protection of their civil and political liberties. This award-winning book charts the history of the gay rights movement in Singapore through in-depth interviews with gay activists, observations of the movement's activities, government statements, and media reports. It also highlights what a social movement looks like under these circumstances, and how activists amplify their voices and gain support in changing perceptions while keeping away trouble with the state.

Mobilizing Gay Singapore ($34) is available to purchase from NUS Press Singapore.

Celebrate Pride Month

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