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Rainbow Hearts: LGBTQ+ Love Stories

NITHAN RAJAPPA

Staff Writer

As the month of love continues, head over to your local library or boot up Netflix on your computer — we have got a ton of recommendations for your upcoming media consumption. Diversifying your TBR and to-watch lists not only exposes you to experiences, backgrounds and identities different from your own, but also helps your peers feel more seen, accepted and understood. For those reasons, and also simply because these pieces of media are phenomenal, here’s LGBTQ+ media recommendations from me and other members of our SMHS community. 

In regards to book recommendations, “The Song of Achilles is top notch,” said Erin Laverman, the president of the SMHS Gender and Sexuality Alliance about the mlm (man-loving-man) “retelling of the Iliad with Patroclus as the main character.” She also recommends two wlw (woman-loving-woman) love stories about main characters working in the movie industry Everything Leads To You and Going Off Script; None of the Above which is about a young girl learning that she is intersex; Some Assembly Required, a trans man’s autobiography; and The Backstagers, a series with ten comic books about a high school stage crew with representation of wlw, mlm, and trans people. Agreeing with Laverman about The Song of Achilles, but adding that “you will cry” if you read it, SMHS Friend of the Library representative Lauren Schweitzer shared some more recommendations: Red, White, And Royal Blue; These Witches Don’t Burn; The Summer of Salt; I Wish You All The Best; and The Lost Coast.

Saying “there’s love in [these books], but also good stories,” our librarian, Ms. McMillan weighed in, contributing the titles, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, described as a “historical fiction adventure of three friends going across Europe together” while one friend has a “secret crush” on another; We Set The Dark On Fire, a dystopian novel similar to The Handmaid’s Tale; Ziggy, Stardust & Me, a novel set during the Vietnam War in which the male main character falls in love with an Indigenous boy after being sent to conversion therapy; Carry On, a fantasy novel essentially like Harry Potter if Harry and Draco had experienced the “and they were roommates” trope and fallen for each other; and Last Night At The Telegraph Club in which the main character, a second-generation Chinese immigrant living in Chinatown, goes to an underground lesbian bar and falls in love with someone she sees there who goes to her high school. 

My own recommendations of books that have not yet been mentioned include Honey Girl, a wlw love story between a Black astrophysicist and a Japanese American radio host; The Henna Wars, a wlw love story involving an Indian American girl and a Black girl having competing businesses for a school project; The Passing Playbook, a mlm love story involving a trans main character and the characters playing soccer; and the series All For The Game (check content warnings), a mlm love story in the middle of a college-sports-and-mafia environment. I’ll Give You The Sun (content warning: SA), a novel on family and art with a gay main character in a mlm relationship, is my favorite book of all time

As the teacher leading last semester’s movie-watching royal time, Mr. King recommended the LGBTQ+ movies Moonlight and Booksmart. An avid movie-and-TV-show watcher, I recommend the movies Freak Show in which a gay student changes schools and stays true to himself, wearing the clothes he wants to wear, while facing homophobic classmates; 3 Generations, which chronicles a trans boy’s relationship with his mom and grandmother; two horror movies (one a classic and the other new) Jennifer’s Body and Fear Street (parts 1 and 3); Single All The Way, Netflix’s first mlm Christmas rom com; and Handsome Devil in which both main characters are mlm, but have a platonic friendship instead of a relationship, showing how LGBTQ+ people don’t automatically date other LGBTQ+ people they get along with. Queerplatonic friendships are just as important as LGBTQ+ romantic relationships. LGBTQ+ TV shows I strongly recommend are Sex Education, The Haunting of Bly Manor, One Day At A Time, Pose, and Gentefied

Pride isn’t just in June; it’s all year-round. Celebrate it this Valentine’s Day too.

Photo courtesy Nithan Rajappa

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