I was 8 years old when I first realized that human sexuality wasn't so simple.

It was March of 1982. Soul singer Teddy Pendergrass had just gotten into an accident in his Rolls Royce that left him paralyzed. A transgender woman was his passenger. An issue of Jet magazine with an article about the crash sat atop a glass table at the home of my father's friend. They seemed to be in disbelief that a masculine singer like Pendergrass might have had a relationship with a woman who was born a man.

It turns out sexuality is seldom a straightforward matter, and the young adult fiction books that Jonathan Alexander, a scholar of queer literature at the University of California, Irvine, recommends for LGBTQ Pride month all explore the complexities of human sexuality.

This week we also liked articles about Mike Pence’s shining moment, the grassroots mojo of Starbucks workers and Tumblr’s rise, fall and rebirth.

Jamaal Abdul-Alim

Education Editor

The past decade has seen a flurry of young adult fiction written from a queer perspective. Aurelie and Morgan David de Lossy / Getty Images

Summer reading: 5 books on the joys and challenges of LGBTQ teen and young adult life

Jonathan Alexander, University of California, Irvine

A scholar of queer literature takes a closer look at five books that are pushing the envelope on society’s understanding of LGBTQ life.

Two political conservatives, Greg Jacob, former counsel to Vice President Mike Pence, and Michael Luttig, a retired judge who was an adviser to Pence, testified to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack . AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Jan. 6 committee hearings show what went right, not just what went wrong

Jennifer Selin, Wayne State University

Coverage of the House Jan. 6 hearings focuses on what went wrong that led up to Trump supporters’ laying siege to the US Capitol. A government scholar looks at what went right, both then and now.

Attendees pray during a worship service at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Anaheim, California, on June 14, 2022. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The history of Southern Baptists shows they have not always opposed abortion

Susan M. Shaw, Oregon State University

A scholar writes about how the Southern Baptist Convention’s views on abortion changed during the 1980s, when a more conservative wing seized control of the denomination.