12 Autobiographical Queer Books in India

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Team P3 curates a list of Queer Books in India that include memoirs and autobiographies for you to choose your next read from!

There aren’t many ways to understand something better than to hear it from those who’ve experienced it firsthand. And why just understanding something, you also gain a range of new perspectives when you get to hear new voices, new experiences, and new lives unfolding in front of you.

In our article today, we’ll look at some of the best queer books in India. These memoirs and autobiographies showcase diverse queer experiences with the added context of an Indian setting.

We encourage you to buy books from a local bookstore. If that is not possible, please use the links on the page and support us. Thank you.

And if you think we missed any queer books that should’ve been on the list, comment below and let us know!

We Are Not The Others : Reflections of a Transgender Artivist

Title: We Are Not The Others : Reflections of a Transgender Artivist

Author: Kalki Subramaniam

Publisher: Notion Press

Price: 499

Pages: 166


This is an impactful and emotionally charged book that goes deep into the lives of transgenders in India. Kalki Subramaniam, a prominent transgender rights activist, shares her own experiences and sheds light on the joys, struggles, hopes, and despair faced by the transgender community.

With raw honesty and unwavering determination, Subramaniam showcases the resilience and dignity of transgender individuals, advocating for their rights and challenging societal norms.

This remarkable book not only educates and enlightens but also evokes empathy and compassion, leaving you moved and inspired. We Are Not The Others is a testament to the power of personal narratives in fostering understanding and acceptance.

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A Gift of Goddess Lakshmi

Title: A Gift of Goddess Lakshmi

Author: Manobi Bandopadhyay and Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey

Publisher: Penguin Random House India

Price: 307

Pages: 256


Manobi Bandopadhyay present an inspiring account of a transgender individual’s quest to discover and embrace their true self. The book follows the struggles and triumphs of Manobi, who, despite societal barriers, embarks on a courageous journey to define her identity and achieve milestones.

With honesty and insight, Manobi shares her transformation from a man to a woman, delving into the challenges faced along the way. From questioning her own identity to battling societal prejudices, she comes out as an emblem of resilience and determination. As the first transgender principal of a girls’ college, Manobi’s achievements transcend beyond herself, becoming a beacon of inspiration for her entire community.

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I Am Vidya: A Transgender's Journey

Title: I Am Vidya: A Transgender's Journey

Author: Living Smile Vidya

Publisher: Rupa & Co

Price: 1399

Pages: 144


I Am Vidya: A Transgender’s Journey by Living Smile Vidya is a powerful memoir that looks into the struggles and triumphs of a transgender individual. Through a compelling first-person narrative, Vidya takes us on a journey of self-discovery, throwing light on the harsh realities faced by the transgender community.

The book explores the complexities of identity and the societal constraints that confine individuals to predetermined roles. Vidya’s story of enduring social rejection, emotional and physical hardships, and the ultimate quest for authenticity is a testament to courage and perseverance. This memoir serves as a necessary intervention, advocating for the recognition and fulfillment of basic human rights for all. I Am Vidya is an eye-opening read that will leave a lasting impact on you.

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Straight to Normal: My Life as a Gay Man

Title: Straight to Normal: My Life as a Gay Man

Author: Sharif D. Rangnekar

Publisher: Rupa Publications India

Price: 219

Pages: 232


A deeply personal and courageous autobiography, this book chronicles the journey of a gay man in a society that often denies and suppresses his identity. From his early experiences of confusion and self-doubt to the painful realization that societal norms dictated his life choices, Rangnekar shares his struggles with vulnerability, fear, and depression.

Through his story, he takes us on a rollercoaster ride of love, heartbreak, and the quest for acceptance. His resilience shines through as he confronts the challenges of navigating hate, prejudice, and societal pressure, ultimately finding his own voice and the strength to live authentically. Straight to Normal is a poignant memoir that offers hope and inspiration to those who may be grappling with their own identities.

It is a powerful call for acceptance and understanding, urging everyone to embrace their true selves without fear or shame.

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I am Onir And I Am Gay

Title: I am Onir And I Am Gay

Author: Onir and Irene Dhar Malik

Publisher: Penguin Viking

Price: 409

Pages: 288


With unflinching honesty, Onir shares the challenges he faced as an openly gay man in Bollywood, defying societal expectations and pushing boundaries. His unwavering determination and unwavering commitment to his craft shine through every page, inspiring readers to pursue their dreams.


I Am Onir And I Am Gay is an emotionally charged narrative that celebrates hope, love, and the power of self-acceptance. Onir’s storytelling draws you into his world, inviting you to reflect on your own identity and the significance of embracing one’s true self. This memoir is not only a personal account but also a catalyst for important conversations about identity, representation, and the need for greater inclusivity in the entertainment industry.

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So Now You Know: A Memoir of Growing Up Gay in India

Title: So Now You Know: A Memoir of Growing Up Gay in India

Author: Vivek Tejuja

Publisher: Harper India

Price: 225

Pages: 160


With a blend of humor, poignancy, and introspection, Tejuja’s memoir captures the essence of his experience with remarkable honesty. From his childhood infatuation with his best friend Deepak to the impact of Bollywood’s stereotypical portrayals of gay characters, each page is infused with a mix of nostalgia, heartwarming moments, and heartbreaking revelations.


It’s an account of navigating the complexities of sexuality and identity in a society that often fails to understand or accept differences. Set in the backdrop of 1990s India, Tejuja takes readers on an emotional journey through his childhood as he grapples with the realization of being gay.

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Queeristan : LGBTQ Inclusion in the Indian Workplace

Title: Queeristan : LGBTQ Inclusion in the Indian Workplace

Author: Parmesh Shahani

Publisher: Westland Business

Price: 365

Pages: 336


With the landmark reading down of Section 377 by the Supreme Court in 2018, India witnessed a significant turning point in LGBTQ rights, necessitating policy changes across various sectors, including the conservative realm of Indian business. Shahani’s book comes at a crucial time, offering valuable insights and practical advice to companies and individuals seeking to create a more equitable and diverse work environment.


Shahani, drawing from his own personal journey as an out and proud gay man in the corporate world, presents a step-by-step approach to reshaping office culture and advocating for LGBTQ inclusion.


Through interviews with inclusion champions and business leaders, he provides real-life examples of organizations that have embraced diversity and reaped its rewards. By highlighting the experiences of employees whose lives were transformed by LGBTQ-friendly workspaces, Shahani illustrates the profound impact that inclusive policies can have on individuals and the wider society.

Beyond its practicality, Queeristan also serves as an expansive reference book that delves into the history, literature, cinema, movements, institutions, and icons of the LGBTQ community. Shahani seamlessly weaves together research, analysis, and storytelling, creating a comprehensive and engaging exploration of LGBTQ inclusion in the workplace.

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The Truth About Me: A Hijra Life Story

Title: The Truth About Me: A Hijra Life Story

Author: Written by A. Revathi and translated by V. Geetha

Publisher: Penguin India

Price: 254

Pages: 312


From the very beginning, Revathi captures the harsh realities faced by hijras in Indian society. The stares, the intrusive questions, and the physical violations she recounts lay bare the dehumanizing treatment they endure daily. Through her storytelling, she elicits a sense of despair and the longing for a life of dignity that permeates her journey.

Born as a boy but identifying and behaving as a girl, Revathi shares her personal struggle with the deep unease of being trapped in the wrong body. The constant violence and rejection she faces from her family and community drive her to make the courageous decision to flee her village and seek refuge in Delhi with a house of hijras. What follows is a remarkable tale of physical and emotional transformation, as Revathi navigates the challenges, dangers, and triumphs of her path towards self-discovery and love.

The Truth About Me is a moving and raw account that sheds light on the trials and tribulations faced by hijras in Indian society. Revathi’s writing not only exposes the systemic discrimination and violence experienced by the community but also showcases their unwavering spirit. Her journey to find acceptance and create a life of dignity is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of self-acceptance.

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Red Lipstick : The Men in My Life

Title: Red Lipstick : The Men in My Life

Author: Laxmi

Publisher: Penguin Random House India

Price: 242

Pages: 232


From an early age, Laxmi grapples with societal expectations and her own internal confusion. Taunted as girlish, she questions her identity and attractions, eventually realizing that her biological sex does not define her true self. As she shares her experiences of discovering desire and attraction towards men, Laxmi’s honesty is both refreshing and enlightening.

Red Lipstick is not just a memoir about Laxmi’s personal journey; it is also an exploration of the diverse range of relationships she has encountered. With unflinching candor, Laxmi unveils the stories of creators, preservers, lovers, benefactors, and abusers who have shaped her life. The book’s racy and dark undertones add depth, providing a glimpse into a world often unseen and misunderstood.


Through Red Lipstick, Laxmi not only shares her personal journey but also serves as a powerful advocate for transgender rights and acceptance. Her narrative challenges societal norms, urging readers to embrace diversity and reject narrow definitions of gender and sexuality.

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No One Else: A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex

Title: No One Else: A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex

Author: Siddharth Dube

Publisher: HarperCollins India

Price: 369

Pages: 380


From a young age, Dube is captivated by an androgynous striptease dancer, seeing reflections of his own identity in her mesmerizing allure. As he grapples with his own sexual understanding, he confronts the harsh reality that being gay in India is fraught with danger and discrimination. Through his unflinching storytelling, Dube sheds light on the hypocrisy, corruption, and brutality that permeate Indian society, particularly in its treatment of marginalized communities.


No One Else is a book of immense importance, tackling issues of oppression and persecution with honesty. Dube exposes the intricate web of challenges faced by individuals deemed “outlaws” in society, including the LGBTQ+ community and sex workers. His firsthand accounts illuminate the struggles faced by these marginalized groups, shedding light on the dire consequences of discrimination and the urgent need for change.

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A Life Misspent

Title: A Life Misspent

Author: Written by Suryakant Tripathi Nirala, translated by Satti Khanna

Publisher: HarperPerennial

Price: 199

Pages: 128


At just sixteen years old, Nirala finds himself thrust into a world of adulthood when his father arranges his marriage and sends him to Dalmau to meet his bride. Despite his limited knowledge of the Hindi language, Nirala is drawn to a peculiar man named Kulli Bhaat, who claims a lineage of bards. Despite societal reservations about Kulli’s sexuality, Nirala’s connection with him deepens, blurring the lines of friendship and attraction.


The narrative takes an unexpected turn as an influenza epidemic ravages the region, leaving Nirala grappling with profound loss. His search for stability leads him to various employment opportunities, yet he finds himself continually pulled back to Dalmau. Meanwhile, Kulli embarks on his own journey, marrying a Muslim woman and becoming an advocate for the untouchables. Their lives intersect in ways that shape Nirala’s identity and artistic path.

A Life Misspent captures the essence of a transformative era in India’s history, where societal norms and prejudices clashed with personal desires and artistic ambitions. Nirala’s memoir not only chronicles the events that shaped his own evolution but also provides a window into the social dynamics and cultural milieu of the time.

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A Small Step in a Long Journey

Title: A Small Step in a Long Journey

Author: Akkai Padmashali

Publisher: Zubaan

Price: 374

Pages: 246


Akkai Padmashali is a force to be reckoned with—a trans rights activist, campaigner, thinker, writer, poet, and actor. In this narrative, she confronts society, demanding not sympathy or pity, but rather acceptance, recognition, and respect. With complete honesty and self-reflection, Akkai shares her experiences, exposing the pain, humiliation, confusion, and insults she endured, as well as the love, solidarity, and joy that shaped her into the remarkable person she is today.


Akkai’s writing serves as a powerful act of resistance, dismantling societal norms and laying bare the complexities of gender, sexuality, prejudice, and privilege. Through her story, she emphasizes that this journey is not hers alone; it is a shared journey that encompasses all of us. Akkai challenges readers to explore the interconnectedness of our personal and political lives, urging us to confront difficult questions and break down the barriers that divide us.


A Small Step in a Long Journey is a necessary and timely memoir that offers profound insights into the human experience. It is a rallying cry for a more compassionate and accepting society, and a reminder that every step, no matter how small, has the power to ignite change.

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Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh doesn't know what to do with his life, so he writes. He also doesn't know what to write, so he reads. Gift him a book if you chance upon him and he'll love you forever.

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