21 LGBT Biographies or Memoirs You Should Read Now

From German counts to Utah cave-dwellers, there's something for every reader on this list.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

August 13 2012 12:29 PM ET

Every Step You Take: A Memoir by Jock Soto (Harper Collins, $24.99)
Jock Soto is an acclaimed gay dancer who rose from nowhere to ballet fame and for two decades (1985–2005) was a principal dancer for the New York City Ballet. Born to a Navajo mother and a Puerto Rican father, Soto learned Native dancing as a child, but it wasn’t until he was 10 that he first saw — and fell in love with — ballet. Yet, by his mid-teens, he was living on his own in New York City and dancing with the New York City Ballet.

In Every Step You Take, Soto, now teaching at the School of American Ballet, writes about his career, his creative process, his Native American heritage, and his gay identity. Although he isn’t as talented a writer as he is a dancer, his overreliance on cliches doesn’t prevent this from being an enjoyable and inspirational read.  (HarperCollins.com)

Jim Flint: The Boy From Peoria by Tracy Baim and Owen Keehnen (Prairie Avenue Productions, $29.95)

Jim Flint is a gay Chicagoan best known as founder of the Continental Pageant System. After a stint in the Navy, Flint opened the drag club Baton Show Lounge and became known as Felicia, the baton-twirling, roller-skating queen of Chicago. He went on to own the Redoubt leather bar, head the Chicago Knights motorcycle club, found the Windy City Athletic Association, and run (in 1987) for the Cook County Board of Commissioners as an openly gay candidate.

This is the second biography of an icon from Chicago’s LGBT community authored by Tracy Baim and Owen Keehnen of the Windy City Times (following Leatherman: The Legend of Chuck Renslow), a duo who seem to be singlehandedly documenting Chicago’s queer history, one book at a time.

The 500-plus pages include 400 photographs and places Flint’s life story within the broader historical context of LGBT Chicago. “It was an opportunity to capture a larger history,” explains Keehnen. “With Jim, that story includes the trans world, gay sports world, political world, activist world, bar culture, [and] pageantry world.”  (Amazon.com)

August Farewell: The Last 16 Days of a 33-Year-Romance by David G. Hallman (Rising Star/iUniverse, $16.95)

After his partner of 33 years was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, David G. Hallman only had two weeks to say a final farewell to the love of his life. In this moving memoir, Hallman recalls those painful last days and shares anecdotes from the three decades they spent together, traveling internationally and running a bread-and-breakfast in Canada. David Hallman has written six nonfiction books and is the author of the just-released novel Searching For Gilead, which reads as a thinly veiled memoir of his and his partner’s time working with the World Council of Churches. This video is all the enticement you need to read both of these very worthy books. (iUniverse.com)
 

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