Coming-Out Stories (ft. Becky Albertalli, Abdi Nazemian, & Jason June)
Play • 28 min
Books help young people wrap their minds around who they are, how they fit into the world and give them the language to demand the world make space for them. Queer Young Adult books can guide young readers through the myriad of experiences of coming out in different contexts and cultures. And, love stories can help young gay kids imagine themselves into meaningful adult lives and into fulfilling relationships that validate, nourish, and sustain them. In this episode, three authors of queer YA books share their personal coming-out experiences, which they later translated into their character’s coming-out journey, and share the impact reading queer YA books can have on generations of gay kids in developing their personal agency.

To learn more about Becky Albertalli, Adbi Nazemian, or Jason June’s books, visit

Do you have a story about how a classic book changed your life? Tweet @readingpod or email us at Learn more at And, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts.

[1:00] In 2015, Becky Albertalli published the award-winning novel about a gay teen, Simon vs. The Homosapien Agenda.

[5:02] Author of Like a Love Story, Abdi Nazemian describes how coming out today is different than in decades past.

[9:00] Part of Abdi’s personal coming-out story is similar to his character's experience in Like a Love Story.

[10:40] In Jay’s Gay Agenda, Jason June wanted to move the main character past his coming-out story.

[12:03] Without a thriving gay community, love, romance, and sexual experiences can be out of reach for gay teens as Jason June explores in Jay’s Gay Agenda.

[16:18] After Simon vs. The Homosapien Agenda was published, a storm of criticism led Becky to come out publicly in an essay.

[21:22] Becky, Abdi, and Jason discuss how being able to relate to queer characters in books matters.

[22:28] Authors share their favorite reads in the Queer Young Adult book space.

Continue Your Journey:

Becky Albertalli
Abdi Nazemian
Hey Jason June
@ReadingPod on Twitter


“Oftentimes when we’re taught history, we’re taught we learn history, so as not to repeat it. And as I was writing the book, I was like, but what if we flip that? And we teach the reverse of it, which is, let’s study the history that we do want to repeat. Let's study ACT UP. How did they form, how did they actually create such a monumental change in the world? How did the queer community come together when everyone turned their backs on them?” — Abdi Nazemian, Author, Like a Love Story

“We need to explore the magic and the complications and all the layers of getting to be queer and what that means.” — Jason June, Author, Jay’s Gay Agenda

“When you are trying to write about an experience that looks different for every person it’s hard to definitely say something is right or wrong but I wanted it to feel authentic.” — Becky Albertalli, Author, Simon vs. The Homosapien Agenda
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