Books With LGBTQIA Asian Protagonists – #ReadDiverse2017

When I created the original post for #ReadDiverse2017, I promised to provide monthly lists of potential books to read with specific types of representation. I want make specific book lists to make it easier for people to find the books they need. For example, LGBTQIA Asian readers who are seeking fiction with LGBTQIA protagonists can simply Google “Books With LGBTQIA Asian Protagonists” and quickly find what they’re looking for. You won’t be surprised to hear that there are not many book lists dedicated to these specific marginalizations. 

Disclosure: I have not read most of these books. I merely gathered them together for others’ convenience. If you feel any of them have problematic or inaccurate representation, let me know and I will add a note or remove a book if necessary. 

Consider reading some of these books in 2017 and perhaps review them to link-up to #ReadDiverse2017. Because they have LGBTQIA representation, all of the books below will count, whether or not they are #ownvoices. Which brings me to another point — many of these books are written by Asian authors and have Asian protagonists, so they are #ownvoices in that regard. However, it was difficult to determine if all the authors in this list identify along the LGBTQIA spectrum, which means some of the books will not be #ownvoices in terms of LGBTQIA representation. 

The list will grow over time, and I want to make it clear that this is not a complete or exhaustive list. I wanted to provide over 40 books to start off, but as I discover more fiction with Queer Asian representation, I will add them to this post. Feel free to recommend some in the comments and perhaps I’ll add them!

All book titles are linked to Goodreads – click them to learn more about each book! I did not include descriptions of the plot in the interest of making the list as concise as possible. 

Young Adult


Not Your Sidekick – by C. B. Lee 

  • Bisexual, Vietnamese-Chinese MC* – Scifi/Fantasy

Seven Tears At High Tide – by C. B. Lee

  • Bisexual, Chinese-American MC – Fantasy

Skim by Mariko Tamaki

  • Biracial, Japanese-Canadian, lesbian MC – Graphic novel

*MC = Main character

(You) Set Me On Fire – by Mariko Tamaki

  • Lesbian, Asian-Canadian – Contemporary

Blue Boy – by Rakesh Satyal

  • Gay, Indian-American MC – Contemporary/Literary Fiction (All ages)

Money Boy – by Paul Yee

  • Gay, Chinese-Canadian MC


Serpentine and Sacrifice – by Cindy Pon

  • Queer Chinese POV character (MCs best friend), F/F pairing – Fantasy

Huntress and Ash – by Malinda Lo

  • Fantasy, East-Asian, F/F pairings – Fantasy


For Today I Am A Boy – by Kim Fu

A Dark Beating Heart – by Lindsay Smith

The Abyss Surrounds Us – by Emily Skrutskie

  • Queer Chinese-American MC – Science-Fiction


Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel and If You Could Be Mine – by Sara Farizan

  • Lesbian, Iranian/Iranian-American MCs – Contemporary

When The Moon Was Ours – by Anna-Marie McLemore

  • Trans, Pakistanic MC – Magical Realism

A Love That Disturbs – By Medeia Sharif

  • Lesbian, hijabi, Pakistani-American – Contemporary


More recommendations:

A Boy Named Khwahish – by Dee Aditya


Hurricane Heels – by Isabel Yap

  • Queer Filipinx and Japanese MCs – Graphic Novel

Funny Boy and Swimming In The Monsoon Sea – by Shyam Selvadurai

  • Gay Sri Lankan MCs – Literary Fiction/YA (All ages)


The City Of Devi – by Manil Suri

  • Gay Indian MC – Literary Fiction

Kari – by Amruta Patil

  • Lesbian/Queer Indian MC – Graphic novel

The Devourers – by Indra Das

  • Bisexual, Genderfluid South Asian rep. – Fantasy


Under The Lights  – by Dahlia Adler

  • Korean-American MC – Contemporary (New Adult)

China Mountain Zhang – by Maureen F. McHugh

  • Biracial, Gay, Chinese-American MC – Science Fiction

Another Word For Happy – by Agay LLanera

  • Gay, Filipino (?), MC – Contemporary


Ninefox Gambit – by Yoon Ha Lee

Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir – by Kai Cheng Thom

  • Trans, Canadia/East-Asian rep – Literary/LGBTQ fiction

Look Who’s Morphing – Tom Cho

  • A variety of Queer rep – Short Stories


The Terracotta Bride – by Zen Cho

  • Chinese mythology, F/F pairing – Fantasy

Seventh Day Of the Seventh Moon – by Ken Liu

  • Lesbian retelling of Chinese folktale – Fantasy

Hungry Daughters Of Starving Mothers – by Alyssa Wong

  • Queer Asian-American vampires! – Fantasy



When the Chant Comes – by Barret Kulanday

  • Queer/Trans rep – Poetry

The Paths Of Marriage – by Mala Kumar

  • Queer, Lesbian, Indian/Indian-American rep. – Literary Fiction

100 Crushes – by Elisha Lim

  • Celebrates Queer/trans/gender-nonconforming Asians and other POC – Graphic novel





A Honeyed Light – by Freddie Milano

  • Indian MC, Filipino love interest

Ball Caps and Khakis – by Jo Ramsey

  • Queer, asexual, Korean-American MC – *Young Adult romance*

Love Bi The Way – by Baahvna Arora

  • Bisexual, Indian MCs


Hold Me – bt Coutney Milan

  • Thai-Chinese bisexual hero, (trans Latina heroine a plus!)

Red Envelope – by Atom Yang

  • Gay, Chinese-American MC

Hard Candy – Amy Jo Cousins

  • Gay, Korean-American MC


At Her Feet – by Rebekah Weatherspoon

  • Lesbian, Korean-American MC

Sated – by Rebekah Weatherspoon

  • Disabled, Bisexual, Korean-American MC

Iced Out – by K. M. Penemue

  • Gay, Chinese-American MC


Upcoming releases: 

More books to be added in the future!


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69 thoughts on “Books With LGBTQIA Asian Protagonists – #ReadDiverse2017

  1. Some corrections: the MC of Serpentine isn’t queer but her best friend is; that character is one of the viewpoint characters of Sacrifice so it’s sort of half/half on queer rep
    and the MC of For Today I Am A Boy is Chinese Canadian

  2. Sometimes I wonder how you can know this much stuff. I love the cover for When the Moon Was Ours – so much so I just bought it. Thanks for the recommendation. Also, what do the “I” and the “A” at the end of LGBTQIA stand for? I am thinking A is asexual, but no guesses on the I. Thanks for educating me :).

  3. This is such a helpful post, Naz! I’d definitely be coming back to this for suggestions- thank you! When the Moon Was Ours and Swimming in the Monsoon Sea are on my immediate tbr, and I do so hope to pick them up soon. Looking forward to your monthly lists!

    1. Omg, I just realized that I wrote “Moon” instead of Monsoon, hahah. Oops, it’s fixed now. Anyway, I didn’t learn about this book until I did research for this. I’d LOVE to read it now! It’s on my 2017 TBR for sure. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

    1. I’m so happy to see people’s positive reactions to this post! I know that finding books with LGBTQIA Asian protagonists is hard to find, so if I can make it easier for one person, then I’ve done my job! I hope to add to the list throughout the year. 🙂

  4. Wow, great list!! Thanks for making it! Many of these are on my TBR. I’ve read Skim, Huntress, and Ash, and can confirm those are all great. Mariko Tamaki’s novel (You) Set Me on Fire also has a queer Asian girl protagonist (her exact ethnicity isn’t specified as far as I remember, but her last name is Lee, which I think indicates Korean or Chinese?).
    Shyam Selvadurai’s books are also really good!! Actually I’d put Swimming in the Monsoon Sea in YA but I think all ages would like it. Elisha Lim, ah their stuff is really good too. So many good books on this list!!
    He Mele A Hilo is by an Asian trans woman who grew up in Hawaii, but it doesn’t actually have any queer or trans content. It’s still a really awesome book though! I loved it.
    I haven’t read Kim Fu’s book, but I have heard the trans rep isn’t great (the author is Chinese-Canadian, but cis). Casey Plett wrote about the book in this article:

    1. I had a hard time knowing what the content of He Mele A Hilo was about, so thanks for letting me know. Since I want this to be books with Queer Asian rep, I’ll switch it for another.
      I’ll also add the article for Kim Fu’s book. Thanks so much!

  5. Wonderful post Naz! I will be referring back to it, I think this is the 100th time i’ve said this today but…I wish WordPress would allow bookmarking or saving of posts. I LOVED When The Moon Was Ours, such a beautiful story. Not Your Sidekick, Skim, and Ash are now on my TBR 😉 Thank you for always sharing your wealth of information on diverse reads 😉

  6. Thanks so much for putting this amazing list together Naz! I’ll definitely pick up a few more of these titles in the future.

    I haven’t read it yet but I just came across The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu, which is a SFF short story with a gay Chinese mc (own voices in relation to both intersections) –

    I was also going to link the Casey Platt article on For Today I Am A Boy (which I’ve linked to my review) but good to know someone has already shared it.

    1. For an alternative perspective on For Today I am A Boy, see these reviews by other trans* individuals: (S. Bear Bergman)

      I believe it is necessary to see alternative opinions before this novel is cast aside from one negative opinion. While her opinion should be taken into account, Plett’s opinion shouldn’t be the only opinion that matters.

  7. Naz. Wow. How do you even get all this information?! I am so impressed. And this list will help me a ton. I can’t wait to read When The Moon Was Ours and Not about Sidekick. But s ton of these are new to me, as well. So many books to read, so little time.

  8. What a lot of time you’ve put into this. Bloggers and readers everywhere thank you!!

    A few of these are on my list already, but there are a couple more that have caught my eye. My daughter has just recently read Skim, and she seemed to like it – it only took her a day to read it. I meant to read it when she was done, but it had to go back to the library. Next time!

  9. I’ve ead and enjoyed some of these, but am happy to add so many new ones to my TBR. Thanks, Naz! Which one is closest to the top of your reading stack right now?

  10. This has brought joy to my heart, Naz! I am like planning out my entire reading life right now because ahhhhhhh! Okay, as you can tell I am super excited and super thankful you took all the time to put this together. Amazing.

  11. This is an amazing list! Thank you. If you’re looking for books featuring LGBTQIA Indian-Americans, I recommend Rahul Mehta’s Quarantine. It’s a collection of short stories (I reviewed it on my blog in 2012).

  12. This list is epic!! <3 So many books I have yet to read and it will come in handy for my goals of reading more Asian(Am) and LGBTQIA+ lit, yay! Not your sidekick was so great, I'm glad there's gonna be a sequel/spin-off.

  13. Oh, yay!! Finally, a thorough Asian LGBT+ book list! When the Moon Was Ours was phenomenal and has earned its place as a favorite of mine. I gave up on reading “A Love That Disturbs” after getting through about half of the book because of the poor writing style and some of the decisions the characters make. Thank you for this list! I’ll be referring back to it when looking for books to read.

  14. Thank you so much for including Ball Caps and Khakis on this list! One slight correction, though; Ball Caps and Khakis is YA, not romance. (The main character is 16, and while he has a crush on another boy, there’s no relationship.)

  15. HEY, NAZ! *waves*

    I cannot believe I haven’t been following your blog. *smacks forehead*

    This is such an important and informative post. I’ll have to check these titles out!

    Hope you’re good. I haven’t seen you on Twitter lately.

    1. Hi, Kevin! Thanks for stopping by 😃 Yes, my blogging and Twitter time have been severely cut back by my new job and personal life. It’s been a rough past few weeks but things may go back to normal soon, I hope. I miss my blogger for friends for sure! You’ll know when I’m officially back because you’ll see me around all the time, haha.

  16. Hey! This is what I get for not visiting your blog for so long. I’ve missed it and I’m catching up on your posts now. Hope the new job is going well. Just a heads up, Sara Farizan’s novels are pretty problematic: If You Could Be Mine is transphobic and homophobic, and Tell Me Again is supposedly biphobic (I haven’t read it). Just thought I’d let you know. Otherwise, this is a great list! Off to read the rest of your posts!

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