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8 LGBTI (auto)biographies you need to read this year

8 LGBTI (auto)biographies you need to read this year

Alexander McQueen took his own life in 2010, nine days after his mother died

The LGBTI community has its very own host of icons and heroes – some sung, some unsung.

From iconic fashion designer Alexander McQueen to one of the most influential black lesbians we know, here is a short and sweet list to get you started on your recommended reading.

And we promise you won’t regret picking up any of these books.

Quentin Crisp

From his youth onwards, Quentin Crisp defied the rules.

He lived his life, marked by an unhappy childhood, outrageous youth and a London life which turned him into a gay icon, with courage and humor – and his memoir has it all.

Sharply witty, with plenty of the writer’s famous sardonic humor, The Naked Civil Servant is riotous and full of Crisp’s trademark charm.

Sue Perkins

In her memoir Spectacles, Sue Perkins takes readers on a humorous whirlwind of life stories.

There’s drama, there’s laughter and there might be the odd tear, or two, or five. Just like Perkins, it is brilliantly clever, but it also reveals a lesser seen side to the presenter.

One that aches, and longs, and makes you feel likes you start to get to know Perkins just that little bit better.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a book by and about one half of the iconic Great British Bake-Off presenting team – the other of cours being Mel Giedryoc – without addressing the real question we all have been asking ourselves: Is Mary Berry actually a real person?

Alexander McQueen

From his humble begginings in the East End to the glitz and glam of his high society life, Blood Beneath the Skin unveils Alexander McQueen in a new light.

Although the note saying it was written with help from the McQueen family might sound like there will be some euphemism, rest assured: there’s no sugarcoating.

In fact it’s incredibly honest and allows you to take a look at how McQueen rose to fame – and the price he paid for his success.

Virginia Woolf

It’s hard to pick just one biography about Virginia Woolf, given she is one of Britain’s most lauded and influential authors.

But Hermione Lee’s attempt at unraveling Woolf’s life story might just be one of the best reads on the famous author’s life.

Written with rich detail and unafraid of delving deep into Woolf’s life and lovers, Lee draws a moving portrait of an exceptional writer and a ‘radically sceptical, subversive, courageous feminist’.

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry’s life has been so eventful, it doesn’t even fit into a single book – his current autobiography count sits at three.

And while it’s easy to start with the most recent addition, More Fool Me, we’d still recommend Moab Is My Washpot.

Written by a younger Stephen Fry, it touches on his life in private school, 200 miles from home, in a coming-of-age story full of love, misery, expulsion, imprisonment and a number of catastrophes.

All written in Fry’s trademark, witty style, it’s hard to put down (and will want to make you reach for part two).

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde, one of the most influential black LGBTI activists of our time, called Zami: A New Spelling of My Name a biomytography.

And it is a little bit of everything: autobiography meets history meets myth, all used to tell Lorde’s story.

Her beautiful prose takes you from her childhood in Harlem to living through Pearl Harbor to Lorde’s experiences as a young woman in Greenwich Village of the 50s.

But it’s also a story about the women who made Lorde, about the women she loved in whichever way, and a brilliant excursion into lesbian feminism in New York.

Boy George

Young Boy George wanted to be like Shirley Bassey (no, really). Grown-up Boy George has become a global LGBTI icon, known for his elaborate make-up and his gender-defying dress sense as much as for his musical success.

Take It Like a Man looks at all the ups and downs in his life, from shooting to fame to falling from grace once fame, and drugs, took over his life.

And just like Boy George, it’s witty, sharp and extraordinary.

Ryan Sallans

Second Son: Transitioning Toward My Destiny, Love and Life is a trans mans’ coming-of-age story. Exploring Ryan’s transition, from a body-obsessessed child – which drove him into an eating disorder – to a loving fiancé.

It’s a story about overcoming struggles with yourself, with your family and, ultimately, about finding love.