26 Triumphantly ’90s Lesbian Book Covers

The ’90s were a particularly special era in design, described by at least one blog as part of one of the “least subtle eras in graphic design history.” Photoshop 1.0 came out in 1990, rave culture and grunge music influence was everywhere, neons and bold bright colors were popping, geometric shapes and zig-zags were making their asymmetrical journeys to our hearts, and everybody was having a damn good time with typography.

Almost all of the books on this list (some of which I own and enjoy deeply) are available on the Internet Library, accessible via archive.org. You can register for free and sign out up to five digital editions of books at once! I just found out about it yesterday and my entire head exploded. All I have left are the hands I am using to type this post.


1990

1991

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999


Are you following us on Facebook?

Profile gravatar of Riese

Riese is the 35-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2452 articles for us.

56 Comments

  1. OMG When I was a teenager I found From Wedded Wife to Lesbian Life for sale at my local library! I think that was also the same day I found the lesbian almanac (though it has a different cover from the one above). I always wondered who owned those books and gave them up.

    I also bought So You Want to be a Lesbian as a joke. I have no idea what happened to it.

  2. All of these books would fit right in with the selection at my undregrad’s twice yearly book sale!!! There was always a surprising amount of 80s/90s era books on lesbian/gay culture, desire, sex, family, some pulp fiction. I may have even seen one or two of these there actually

  3. Oh, to be college graduated, freshly- out-the-closet lesbo booknerd in the Village in the 90s! Life was good. Complicated but good. I worked at what was the largest lgbt bookstore in the country –RIP A Different Light. Helping cute women find books was the absolute best job ever. Sold many of these and met a few girlfriends while doing it!

    • Indeed it t’was, dear one, it t’was. First of all, if they came inI knew they liked or were at least somewhat interested in books.Thus there was a hope they’d be somewhat intelligent and we’d have something to talk about. Score! Then I could guide them to the ones that suited their tastes which meant unleashing the charm offensive to chat them up about what they liked to read and what they were into and “Hey, I love macrame windsurfing, too. Kewl” while slyly getting the relationship status.

      But really the best thing was helping some newly out scared shitless person, find the books that would help them begin to hopefully understand themselves. I loved talking to these folks and usually sent them off with what I called the Starter Kit: some classic novel, maybe a little erotica, maybe a little theory, definitely some comics–Alison Bechdel, Howard Cruse– and a magazine like the Advocate or Curve (RIP). Directed them to the LGBT Center or provided other resources and sent them off smiling. Good good days!

  4. A truly stunning collection here, thanks as always for sharing the fruits of your research with us.

    After spending some time accumulating terrible lesbian sci-fi books of the 90s, I feel this is also a fertile ground for analysis.

    Here’s an example from a book where everyone may or may not be a cyborg, probably is in love with a cyborg, but definitely is a lesbian:

  5. These are so great and the timing is impeccable. I’m currently designing my company’s marketing materials and what better way to insert my agenda than adding some ’90s lesbian book cover inspo?

    I’m also really glad that you added Ain’t Gonna Be The Same Fool Twice, the sequel to my root:

    Somehow one my “hetero” elementary school friends owned this book, let me borrow it, and well… here I am today.

  6. I’ve never read any of these, but does anyone remember Animorphs? I totally felt like Cassie and Rachel had something going on. Then they made that awful TV adaptation, and there was no denying it. I mean Tobias turned into a bird, Jake was related, and Marco had mommy issues. I’m just sayin 😉

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.