Hello book bees and welcome to another discussion post! Today I want to discuss, as a queer person myself and from only my perspective and experiences, why I feel it’s important to see LGBT+ representation in books outside of books that are solely about the LGBT+ experience.
For this, I’m talking about books that take place in a variety of traditional genres, such as historical fiction or horror. There’s an entire world of books about the LGBT+ experience that can be defined as mostly “LGBT.” These books are typically discovery stories about finding one’s identity, or coming of age stories. They typically deal with themes of rejection, acceptance, growth, maturity, and found family. While these books are absolutely important and worth reading sometimes, as a queer person, I want stories that don’t focus on those themes.
Casual introduction of LGBT+ characters, be they main characters or minor, tends to excite me in other genres. Especially if their relationships are accepted without much discussion. A fantasy world that doesn’t feel the need to explain how or why LGBT+ relationships came to be accepted is honestly my favorite kind of world.
Personally, as I came to terms with my identity and learned how to navigate the world around me within it some time ago, I’ve moved on from frequently reading coming of age stories. I still enjoy them, don’t get me wrong, and I like to read them (especially around pride month), but I also enjoy just having a plethora of genres to choose from that happen to feature LGBT rep.
This is of course a very subjective opinion. Other LGBT+ people can and do feel differently, and my opinion is not universal. That being said, I think it can be agreed that representation across genres is a good and necessary thing. Alongside our coming of age and exclusively queer stories, we do need representation in fantasy, science fiction, horror, romance, thrillers, and more. Despite jumping at the chance to read most LGBT books I hear about, I can’t list too many books in any particular genre that fit that description.
I’d love to hear from my fellow LGBT+ book bees in the comments. Recommendations? Favorite genres that feature a lot of representation? Particular characters you identify with? Leave it all!