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12/21/2014 08:46 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

20 Books That Changed The Way We Felt About Ourselves As LGBT People

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"It's in literature that true life can be found," Nobel Prize-winning author Gao Xingjian was once quoted as saying.

The Chinese novelist and playwright may not have been speaking directly to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, but to those of us in the community, he might as well have been. Widespread representation of LGBT life in literature was present well before Hollywood came to embrace it; scribes like Leslie Feinberg and David Sedaris have been making us laugh, cry and feel all the feelings for decades -- and who could ever forget their first encounter with Armistead Maupin or Oscar Wilde?

We asked our readers to name the books that shaped the way they felt about themselves as LGBT people. While this is by no means a definitive literary list, the responses we received on Facebook and Twitter reflect the community's wit, strength and overall diversity.

Take a look at 20 books that changed the way we felt about ourselves as LGBT people below.

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Books That Changed The Way We Felt About Ourselves As LGBT People
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