The Best Books About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity For Tweens

Jun 22 2021 - 3:00pm

Being a tween is weird. At this preadolescent age, you are still mostly a kid, but your body is starting to change [1] (or will soon), and you are curious about the next phase of life. I remember asking my mom to tell me exactly where I would grow hair and telling her the first time I read about kissing in The Saddle Club and how it made me feel things.

And while sex positivity has definitely come a long way over the years, sexual orientation can still be confusing for many tweens, especially because LBGTQ+ relationships aren't often taught about in schools [2]. Parents should never assume their child's sexual orientation or gender identity [3]. Let them know that one of the things that's normal to think about at this age is who they are attracted to and how they identify.

Remember, sexual orientation is about who you're attracted to [4] and want to have relationships with. This includes being gay, a lesbian, heterosexual, bisexual, asexual [5], pansexual [6], and more. On the other hand, gender identity is about who you are — men or women, genderqueer, transgender, nonbinary, and more — and doesn't necessarily correlate with the sex assigned at birth. To help your tweens understand more about this topic, get them one of these books on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Free to Be Me by Dom & Ink

Encourage tweens to journal their thoughts with this pretty Free to Be Me: An LGBTQ+ Journal of Love, Pride, and Finding Your Inner Rainbow [8] ($14) journal from Dom & Ink. This journal is designed "for anyone 13 to 103" and features rainbow-colored pages packed with LGBTQ+ activities and advice. Learning is always more fun when you can color, read quotes from dancing drag queens, and celebrate being yourself!

The ABC's of LGBT+ by Ashley Mardell

Whether your tween is questioning their own gender identity or sexual orientation, or they just want to learn more about being an ally for others, The ABC's of LGBT+ [9] ($16) by Ashley Mardell is a fantastic resource. Mardell, a blogger and YouTuber, answers questions about gender identity, gender dysphoria, and more.

Trans+ by Katherine Gonzales, MBA, and Karen Rayne, PhD

The award-winning Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You [10] ($16) by Katherine Gonzales, MBA, and Karen Rayne, PhD, is an inclusive, uncensored guide for teens who are transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, or gender fluid. It answers questions in an open and honest way and includes stories from teens who've been there.

LGBTQ by Kelly Huegel Madrone

LGBTQ: The Survival Guide For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens [11] ($16) by Kelly Huegel Madrone explains LGBTQ+ terminology and rights, gender and sexual identity, coming out, getting support, and more. It's everything tweens, teens, and their allies need to know.

Queer by Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke

If you're looking for an engaging book that's fun and helps LBGTQ+ tweens and teens at the same time, check out Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide For Teens [12] ($14) by Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke. It tackles diverse topics, including how to figure out if your crush is also queer, challenging bigotry and homophobia, navigating your social life, and more.

A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson

Looking for a way to understand gender-neutral pronouns? A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns [13] ($7) from Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson is for you! This short comic guide explains what pronouns are, why they matter, how to use them, and what to do if you make a mistake.

Beyond the Gender Binary

LGBTQ+ rights advocate Alok Vaid-Menon "deconstructs, demystifies, and reimagines the gender binary" in Beyond the Gender Binary [14] ($9). This book takes their own experience as a gender-nonconforming artist to show that gender isn't black and white.

All Out Edited by Saundra Mitchell

Seventeen young adult authors across the queer spectrum contributed to All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages [15] ($11), edited by Saundra Mitchell. These beautiful and diverse stories are historical fiction for tweens and teens, featuring LBGTQ+ characters. It's a fun, exciting, and positive read.

A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by Mady G and J.R. Zuckerberg

For kids, everything is better in cartoon form! A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities [16] ($9) was written by cartoonists Mady G and J.R. Zuckerburg. The duo guide readers through the basics of the LGBTQ+ world through informative comics, interviews, worksheets, examples, and more. It's fun and educational.

Gender Identity Workbook For Teens by Andrew Maxwell Triska, LCSW

Figure out who you are through writing prompts, quizzes, activities, advice, and information in the Gender Identity Workbook For Teens [17] ($14) by Andrew Maxwell Triska, LCSW. Tweens and teens will learn more about what gender identity is, how to express themselves, the right language to use, and more.

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