So, today, we’re talking about genre and selection. A full post from me on this will come shortly, but for now, here’s the awesome people you’vel event: Suzanne van Rooyen, Zoe Marriott, Charlie Morris, Illjolras, Sean Cummings, Ashley Chunell, Ria Bridges,Alfie, Rie, Caitlin, Megan, and Harriet.
What's your favourite genre for LGBTQIA ?
Suzanne: Science fiction and fantasy. Speculative fiction is one genre where the books tend not to focus on the sexuality of the character, where it's just incidental to the character and doesn't make them any more or less of a butt-kicking hero be they slaying dragons or fighting aliens. That said, I would love to see more LGBTQIA teen heroes in genre fiction.
Ria: Fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction. That's my favourite set of genres in any case. But there are very few LGBTQIA protagonists in YA works in those genres...
LH: I like realistic YA. I wonder sometimes if placing LGBTQIA characters in a more fantastical setting somehow provides a sort of explanation for their sexuality.
Alfie: My favourite genre full-stop is Fantasy. I don't have a specific genre for LGBTQIA fiction, that'd be really quite weird.
Rie: "YA contemp. I would love to see more LGBTQIA characters in paranormal books as it's my favourite overall genre, but it seems most of the time in paranormal books it's still full of stereotypical gay characters.
I'm a huge fan of the show Lost Girl and her sexual identity is skimmed over instead of a deep discussion of what is to be bisexual and I would love to see that more in other types of media."
Caitlin: I like it in all genres. I think I prefer it when it's just, slipped into a genre you wouldn't expect. So like, not a contemporary book that's ABOUT being LGBTQIA but say, a fantasy or a crime book that has those characters in.
Megan: Paranormal. But that's just because paranormal is my fave genre. I also love the historicals and the romances. David Levithan is a fave.
Charlie M: I do like contemporary YA, but am also partial to a good fantasy or sci fi book.
Charlie: Drama, not romance.
Do you feel LGBTQIA teens have a good selection of books today?
Zoë: I kind of hesitate to be speaking on behalf of marginalised teens; I think they get silenced and invisibled enough. All I know is that until the average gay or transgendered or pansexual or questioning teen can walk into a shop and find a book that reflects characters like them in a nuanced and complex fashion without too much trouble, we probably still have an awful lot of work to do. And I don't think they can do that now. There are books out there, beautiful, wonderful books. But they're not prevalent, and they're not necessarily easy to find, with a few notable exceptions.
Suzanne: I think they have a great selection of sexual awakening and coming out stories. There is, however, a lack of stories for teens that show LGBTQIA teens leading normal, happy, rainbow lives where their sexuality is incidental to who they are. We need more LGBTQIA books where the entire story doesn't revolve around the main character's sexual preference.
Ria: A good selection of books in general? Absolutely! A good selection of books including like-minded protagonists who aren't cisgendered and/or heterosexual? Not so much.
LH: It's getting better but there's still taboo areas around sexuality, and I think a lot of these haven't been explored at all. There's a reason Judy Blume is still so epochal in terms of what she wrote about and I think that's maybe because nobody's quite ever done what she did.
Aflie: We have the same selection of books as all teens. There isn't any sort of ""anti-LGBTQIA"" barrier that stops us from purchasing ""straight"" books. Oh, being a minority.
Rie: I think it's improving, but no it's nowhere close to where it should be. Even then it's only improving on the first 3 letters of the alphabet soup. You rarely to never see characters that are transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual.
Ashley: Honestly, no. Like I said before, I haven't seen many PG rated LGBT books that would be good for teens. I kept "A Melody in Harmony" PG with lots of romance and cute moments between two young men, but also tried to focus on equality and shed light on the bigotry that still sadly exists in the world.
Sean: Not at as much as I think is needed and definitely not in genre.
Caitlin: No. I think we always, always will need more diversity in fiction, be in LGBTQIA or racial diversity or whatever. The books ARE out there, but we can always (and should always) have more.
Megan: "Much much better than before. You have historicals, paranormals, contemporaries, romances, funny books, mysteries, coming-out... And in loads of them, being gay isn't the main focus. There are monsters to hunt, mysteries to solve that go beyond just deciding how to come out. It's becoming, I think, more of a norm, you know? Like it's just like having... brown hair or something rather than a thing that's this huge secret or whatever. Of course, that's different in historicals or whatever, where being gay wasn't even recognised as... well, anything. But I like the selection now. I think there's a good varied bunch."
Charlie: Not enough. Although I'm pleased to see at least two more LGBTQIA inclusive young adult books being published in the UK on the 1st ?august. But the percentage of representation, and the skewing of those figures to the white cis male perspective, is worryingly small. I think both public perception and the attitude of publishers and writers need to become less timid when it comes to matters of diversity.
Illjolras: Not at all.
Harriet: "I do know that there are many LGBTQIA fictions out there and even more fanfictions out there. In more recent times, authors are more willing to have gay/lesbian/bi/etc characters. I have seen many appearances of LGBTQIA teens in novels. Even if my desired genre of book may not be LGBTQIA, I do believe that all avid readers suffer from not having a bigger and better selection of books in their favourite book genre. It's not just LGBTQIA teens that are suffering!"