Pride Picks: From the Screen to the Page, Stories That Illuminate and Celebrate LGBTQ2+ Life


'Six Feet Under' has long been praised as having television's first realistic portrayal of a gay man. Michael C. Hall (l) and Mathew St. Patrick, pictured in 2008, played a couple in the hit HBO series. Photo: Everett Collection/Canadian Press

From Pulitzer Prize winners to Oscar-winning performances, these portraits of LGBTQ2+ life and love should be at the top of your must-read and must-watch list. 



Andrew Sean

Andrew Sean Greer‘s wonderful satire – which won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize (lauded as “a generous book, musical in its prose and expansive in its structure and range, about growing older and the essential nature of love” – follows the misadventures of middling novelist Arthur Less. When on the eve of his 50th birthday, Less receives an invitation to his ex-boyfriend’s wedding, he’s desperate not to attend. “You can’t say yes – it would be too awkward – and you can’t say no – it would look like defeat.” Less decides that a world tour to all the B-level literary engagements he usually declines presents a suitable excuse – but finds much more than an escape from his romantic past on his travels.



This 2010 romantic dramedy about a man reflecting on the life and death of his father is based on the coming out story of director Mike Mills‘ own dad, who announced he was gay at the age of 75 – just five years before his death. The film follows septuagenarian Hal Fields (Christopher Plummer) who, after his wife of 44 years dies of cancer, explores life as an openly gay man. While Hal becomes active in the local LGBT community and finds love with a much-younger man, his son Oliver (Ewan McGregor) grapples with the turn of events – and later becomes a caretaker to his ailing father. After its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Plummer received numerous accolades for his performance, including an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.


The Line of Beauty

Alan Hollinghurst

One of the most exquisite LGBT-themed novels ever written, Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty  won the 2004 Man Booker Prize before being adapted into a captivating, three-part series by the BBC two years later. While actor Dan Stevens would find international fame as the Downton Abbey heir Matthew Crawley, it was his turn as Line of Beauty’s sexy lead Nick Guest – a beautiful, young gay interloper in London high society in the Thatcher ’80s – that made him a superstar in Britain. Combining class, privilege, love, sex, drugs and politics, this page-turner made The Guardian‘s 100 Best Books of the 21st Century and should definitely be read before turning to the series.


The Price of Salt

Patricia Highsmith


Many of Patricia Highsmith‘s 22 novels are known for having a gay subtext, and her hugely popular Ripley thrillers have a homoerotic slant that is more implied than implicit. But the lesbian writer’s 1952 sapphic opus, The Price of Salt, is not subtle. Knowing that it would shock her fans – her debut novel, Strangers on a Train, published the year before had been adapted by Alfred Hitchcock and was playing in cinemas nationwide – Highsmith used the nom de plume, “Claire Morgan” to tell the story of two women enjoying a grand romance. Decades later, it too would be made into a movie, Carol (2015), by director Todd Haynes and starring Cate Blanchett as the elegant, mink swathed Carol Aird, a married socialite who falls in love with a young shopgirl, Therese Belivet (Mara Rooney).


The City and the Pillar

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal’s classic post-World War Two novel follows handsome Jim Willard, a young athlete in late 1930s Virginia, more interested in his tennis game than women. When he and best friend Bob Ford take a camping trip, and Bob gripes about how hard it is to get laid, the two men wind up having sex – and repression and longing ensue. An absolute scandal when it was first published in 1948 – newspapers and magazines refused to review it, and Vidal was forced to write under a pseudonym for years – The City and the Pillar is now regarded as a landmark of gay literature. A groundbreaking challenge to stereotypes, Gore’s protagonists are athletes and army men, a pointedly masculine rebuff of the era’s “pansy” tropes. Taking aim at America’s puritanical views on sex, between men in particular, the book considers the damage that prejudice does to individuals and society. Gore dedicated it to Jimmie Trimble, his first love who “smelled like honey” and died in WWII at 19.


Six Feet Under

This groundbreaking HBO series has long been praised as having television’s first realistic portrayal of a gay man, and the HBO show’s celebration of non-traditional families earned it three GLAAD awards. At the heart is Michael C. Hall’s nuanced embodiment of David Fisher, a repressed, sexually conflicted middle child and third-generation funeral director. Initially, conservative and closeted, David hides his love for his boyfriend, Keith, from his friends and family, and later we see his rocky road to reconciling his homosexuality with his personal life and religious beliefs. Once he gets it together, settling down and adopting children with Keith, they are presented as the ideal – not the show’s neurotic, contentious heterosexual couples. 


Leading Men

Christopher Castellani

Set in the 1950s, Christopher Castellani’s 2019 novel reimagines a glamorous summer soiree on the Italian Riviera – hosted by Truman Capote and attended by Tennessee Williams and his longtime paramour Frank Merlo – where a chance encounter with a mysterious beauty changes all of the characters’ lives forever. The New York Times gushed that Catellani “creates a world inhabited largely by young, charming gay men…that casts a spell from the start…with writing that has some of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s opaline poise.” No wonder the book caught the eye of Oscar-nominated director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name, Challengers) who signed on to produce the film version.



Glennon Doyle

“This book will shake your brain and make your soul scream. I’m so ready for myself after reading this book! It’s as if I just flew into my body for the very first time,” raved Adele of this 2020 memoir by patron saint of female empowermentGlennon Doyle. Spending seven weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and making Reese’s Book Club, it opens with the line, “Four years ago, married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” The former “progressive Christian” charts the end of her 14-year marriage after she met soccer hall of famer, Abby Wambach, at a 2016 book party – a love-at-first-sight encounter that saw Doyle recalibrate her entire existence and tie the knot with Wambach a year later. As she says, “The braver we are, the luckier we get.”


Mona Of The Manor

There’s no better way to cap off this list of perfect Pride Month picks than with the unexpected 10th book in the Tales of the City collection by Armistead Maupin. The icon of gay literature returns to the denizens of 28 Barbary Lane for the first time since 2014’s The Days of Anna Madrigal – which he said would be the last. Set in the ’90s, the recently published surprise encore shifts the narrative from California to the Cotswolds, with Anna Madrigal’s daughter Mona now widowed (after the death of her titled gay husband) and living with her butler, Wilfred, who she’s adopted as her son. With the characters ensconced, at Easley, the grand estate Mona inherited, comedy ensues. As The Guardian puts it, with Mona, Maupin riffs “on the eccentric lord of the manor figure: a weed-smoking, fiery-haired diva who, by her own admission, tends to bring a water cannon to a gunfight.” 


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