News • June 22, 2020

Executive Director Kendra Johnson Shares Her Favorite Books With NBC OUT

LGBTQ Pride Month arrives this year as anti-racism protests take place across the United States — and beyond. While the events may seem unrelated, activists and leaders at the intersection of these communities say it has become all the more evident that the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights cannot be divorced from the struggle for racial justice.

The gay rights movement and the Black civil rights movement have long been intertwined, as evidenced by the overlap of key figures — including James Baldwin, Pauli Murray and Bayard Rustin — and the fact that Black activists, among them the transgender woman Marsha P. Johnson and the butch lesbian Stormé DeLaverie, are credited with being instrumental during pivotal moments in the fight for LGBTQ equality, including the iconic 1969 Stonewall uprising.

Yet it's not just history that makes it clear how both movements are connected. One of the most powerful demonstrations of their interconnectedness was the Black Liberation march in support of Black trans lives held in Brooklyn, New York, on Sunday. The event drew thousands of people who donned white and chanted "Black trans lives matter." At least 15 transgender people have been killed this year, according to a count maintained by the Human Rights Campaign. In 2019, at least 26 transgender people died because of violence, according to the group, over 80 percent of them Black women.

Amid Pride and protests, we asked Black LGBTQ activists, leaders and writers to share their favorite books about the Black queer experience. Here are their recommendations, which are arranged chronologically by publish date.

To read more, head over to NBC Out!

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