So, the first one is about how LGB people are currently presented in YA lit.
Stereotypes are everywhere, and this is true for every demographic of everything. They’re set in people’s minds, and it’s really hard to avoid them. TV Tropes has a lot of lists of tropes, or conventions, revolving around the LGBTQ community in general and bisexuality and gender bending. A quick look over, I’d guess that about a third of these are very common stereotypes, in general or in YA literature.
I asked about bad presentations of LGBT people in literature. I’m really glad that most people couldn’t think of specific examples, because it means that there can’t be that many in prominent literature. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some, because there almost certainly will be, but still.
There are some certain stereotypes that come through particularly. Suzanne says “I have been mildly annoyed by certain gay characters being presented as super emotional to the point of melodrama as this is borderline stereotyping.” Charlie says “Usually the side characters are gay, and if that's so, they're very camp and flamboyant. If it's a main POV character, they are always closeted until they fall for just that one person. The gay best friend trope is so over used and so easily ruined.” I’ve seen a couple of times in teen fiction the “all gays are promiscuous” , but the one I see most is the “camp best friend” one.
The thing that often gets me when reading LGB fic is that sexuality is the one of the first things presented about a character. In very explicit terms. For example, Boy Meets Boy, there’s chapter 2 which says “Paul is definitely gay”, and then in other books that I don’t have to hand there’s things to that effect. And I don’t mind that so much, but the fact that it’s presented as a defining thing. Sexuality does not define a person. I’m sure for any character introduced this way, you can find a much more interesting thing about them than the gender of who they fall in love with.
That presenting first of sexuality, I find, comes across mainly when the person in question is a secondary character (by secondary, I mean not the main one, nor the POV). I get that secondary characters don’t need quite the detail of a main one, but my thoughts are put nicely by Rie as “usually when they are main characters they are portrayed in a realistic fashion. When they are secondary characters they are a joke, a plot device, or a stereotypical version of themselves.”
Overall, whether a character is main or secondary, sexuality is often one of the facets of them that is most focused on. I understand the reasoning for this when a book is generally about this, ie a coming out story, but for when it isn’t the plot, I don’t see why. Luckily, we’re moving away from this slightly, and I hope representation will continue to improve in the future.