11 LGBTQIA+ Audiobooks to Carry You Through Pride 2022 (and Beyond)

By Alexis Gunderson  |  June 20, 2022  | Paste

The last time I curated a Pride-themed audiobook list here in Paste’s digital pages I opened by underscoring the fact that “Reading, at its best, is an act of compassion. And audiobooks, spoken [as they are] directly into your brain, lace that compassion with an intimacy that’s hard to match in any other medium.”

This is true of all audiobooks, of course, and is pretty much the main reason why I recommend audio over paper whenever the book in question captures a voice or lived experience that diverges wildly from that of the person receiving the recommendation. But while the compassion-building intimacy inherent to the audiobook format is valuable across the board, it’s arguably never been more important for those of us consuming pop culture today to make space for the voices—and I mean the literal, recorded voices—of our queer and trans siblings than it is right now, entering this year’s Pride season as we did tacking through increasingly vicious, gleefully genocidal anti-LGBTQ+ political winds.

Not the most uplifting note to kick off this genuinely fun audiobook list, I know! And for the many queer listeners who clicked through to this list, not news, either. But for all readers who are coming to this struggle as allies from outside the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s critical to remember that none of us can defend against what we refuse to acknowledge.

And in that fight, there are worse places to start than with cultivating all the compassion we can.

To that end, please enjoy this list of some of the best Pride-appropriate listens I’ve recently queued up (with a couple of throwbacks from the last few years, for good measure).

As always, happy listening!

Kapaemahu by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson

Narrated by: Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu
Run time: 23 minutes
Audible | Libro.fm | OverDrive | Kapaemahu film

Come for Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu’s beautifully structured retelling of a Hawaiian legend about a quartet of mahu (dual-spirit) healers that was nearly lost to historical bigotry, stay for the dynamically produced soundscape that so effectively layers Wong-Kalu’s bilingual narration with traditional drumming, dramatized ritual chanting, and the sound of the ocean that, should you go sit in the sunshine and close your eyes while listening, you’ll be hard-pressed not to believe you’ve been transported through both time and space.

What’s more, this audiobook doesn’t stop when Wong-Kalu’s tale ends, going on instead to include brief-but-rich endnotes on the writing process behind the multimedia project, the history of the real healer stones, and the context behind the text’s use of Olelo Niihau as the specific Hawaiian dialect in which to tell this iteration of the Kapaemahu story.

See the full list HERE.