16 of the Best LGBTQ+ Travel Books

Not just for people who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community but for all allies and travellers, these books – some fiction, others travelogues and memoirs – shed a ray of light on the queer experience as we journey around the world.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness.

Mark Twain

Taking heed of Mark Twain's famous words, we've rummaged through the travel section of the library to find some of our favourite titles that celebrate the pride, perseverance and experience of the LGBTQ+ community across the globe.

Expect simmering lesbian romances that step up a gear on US road trips, thought-provoking real-life stories from gay men travelling in the Middle East and cult-classic titles that have helped to transform our ideas of gender and sexual identity. Not just for people who consider themselves queer or otherwise, these books - some fiction, others travelogues and memoirs - are for all allies and travellers.

16 of the best queer travel books: the LGBTQ+ reading list that transports you around the world

Queer Intentions

by Amelia Abraham

As the western LGBTQ+ community enjoys unprecedented freedom, this book asks whether same-sex marriage, better visibility and corporate endorsement are really so great after all. In it, Abraham takes readers to LA's biggest drag convention, parties in Turkey's underground queer scene and catches up with a genderless family in Stockholm.


by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Leaving her five-year-old daughter in Kingston, Jamaica, Patsy travels to Brooklyn in search of a better life and love. Instead, she faces the reality of being a Black, undocumented immigrant. Winner of the 2020 Lambda Lesbian Fiction award, this is a portrait of women who don't conform to expectations in a society ruled by race and class.

Giovanni’s Room

by James Baldwin

Weaving together themes of sex, love and shame, Giovanni's Room is a cult queer classic - many of the people and places featured are inspired by the author's experience living in the City of Light. We encounter hustlers and queens, and peep inside the queer cafés and bars of 50s Paris. Like this? Read Tomasz Jedrowski's Swimming in the Dark, in which two men in 80s Poland form a secret bond over an illicit copy of, you guessed it, Giovanni's Room.


by Jan Morris

With a career spanning more than six decades and landmark titles including Venice, Oxford and Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere under her belt, Jan Morris is perhaps one of Britain's best-loved and most prolific travel writers. Published in 1974 - the same year as the First National TV/TS (Transvestite/Transsexual Conference) was held and a time when homosexuality was still considered criminal in parts of the UK - Conundrum is a candid and progressive account of her life, travels and 10-year transition between genders.

Find Me

by André Aciman

Chances are you came across the coming-of-age Call Me By Your Name through the 2017 film starring Timothée Chalamet. Yet the tale started life a decade earlier as a book. Find Me is André Aciman's sequel, which picks up decades after Elio and Oliver meet in Italy. In it, we meet Sami, Elio's father, who undergoes a sexual awakening after a chance encounter.

You Exist Too Much

by Zaina Arafat

Spiriting us between New York, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine, You Exist Too Much follows a Palestinian-American girl as she grows from self-conscious teen to a queer, sought-after DJ with an insatiable "love addiction". It's a story in which we feel the push-pull between cultural, religious and sexual identities and one driven by a longing for love and home.

Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East

by Benjamin Law

Australian Benjamin is a proud, married "gaysian" - but life would have been different had he been raised in Asia like his migrant parents. As he follows his curiosity to the continent, he invites readers to join him as he goes nude in Balinese sex resorts, meets Thai ladyboys at a beauty pageant and takes Indian yoga classes designed to cure his homosexuality.

Gears for Queers

by Abigail Melton and Lilith Cooper

Queer couple Abigail and Lilith don't conform to the stereotypes of most cross-country cyclists. Their bikes are basic, their kit inexpensive and their bodies don't look like Bradley Wiggins' does. This memoir of their journey from Amsterdam to Spain is a tale of prejudice and perseverance as they face physical and social challenges while testing their relationship.


by Andrew Sean Greer

This Pulitzer-winning novel follows the hapless, knocking-on-50 novelist Arthur Less who, on receiving a wedding invitation from his former beau, packs a fuchsia-lined suit and sets off on a cathartic misadventure from Mexico to Morocco, Italy to India and beyond. It paints a satirical picture of the American abroad and a profound rendering of the human heart.

States of Desire: Travels in Gay America

by Edmund White

While LGBTQ+ travel writers precede White, he was among the first to put his sexuality front and centre in this 1980 travelogue. (Three years earlier he had co-authored The Joy of Gay Sex.) Written in the aftermath of the Stonewall Riots, the book takes us beyond the glittering 70s nightlife spots to meet gay cowboys, computer experts and a self-appointed Mormon prophet. Poignantly, States of Desire ends just before the AIDS crisis which would devastate many of the communities through which White travelled. For 21st-century perspective, try Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States by trans author Samantha Allen.

We All Loved Cowboys

by Carol Bensimon

Despite having fallen out, Julia and Cora go ahead with a long-planned road trip through Brazil, and their relationship blossoms into something more than friendship. Originally published in Portuguese, this is a short but moving tale of love on the run, and one for which Granta ranked Bensimon among Brazil's best young novelists.

Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab

by Shani Mootoo

This is a tale of love, loss and acceptance interwoven with themes of gender identity, family and issues around immigration. Jonathan grew up in tree-lined Toronto. Aged nine, his mother leaves. Now grown, he reaches out to find that she has become a well-to-do man named Sydney who lives in Trinidad.


by Virginia Woolf

Published in 1928 at the height of Woolf's career, Orlando was inspired by Virginia's lover, Vita Sackville-West. Bending the concepts of sex and time - this fantastical historical biography spans 400 years, though its gender-swapping protagonist ages but 36 - the novel skirts around explicit descriptions of homosexuality but is replete with queer undertones. Radclyffe Hall's seminal lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness was released (and banned for obscenity) in the same year.

Gay Travels In The Muslim World

by Michael T. Luongo

Homosexuality may be illegal in many Middle Eastern countries, but the LGBTQ+ community still exists. This anthology gives their stories a platform. Crossing national, racial and religious borders while entering war zones, it brings together accounts from some of the region's gay, male travellers in a bid to challenge readers' preconceptions.

To Shake the Sleeping Self

by Jedidiah Jenkins

Our outward travels can spark inner journeys too, and Jenkins' travelogue is a testament to that. On the eve of turning 30, he quits his job to spend 16 months cycling from Oregon to Patagonia with a burning question: what makes life worth living? Travelling across cities and mountains, he reconciles his sexual identity with his conservative Christian childhood.

The Price of Salt

by Patricia Highsmith

Though better known as "Carol" since the 2015 film adaptation, The Price of Salt is a simmering story of a forbidden love affair between aspiring female photographer, Therese and Carol, a suburban housewife navigating a tricky divorce in 50s New York - and their romance blossoms on a road trip west to Utah. When the book was published in 1952, Highsmith used a pseudonym for fear of being labelled a "lesbian-book writer", while the tale made its mark as the first homosexual novel to have a happy ending.

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