16 of the Best LGBTQ+ Travel Books

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

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


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

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

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’

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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