Monday 23 September 2013

Erasure in Literature

This was meant to be long and eloquent. It stopped being so after the second paragraph. Enjoy.

 Representation has gotten better over the years (I'll do a post about that towards the end of the event) but we've still got a long way to come in terms of full representation of the queer com has a long list of book featuring LGBTQ characters. This list is helpfully sorted out by whether the characters are gay, lesbian, or other. According to Word bullet numbering, there are 108 with gay male characters, 37 with lesbian characters and 12 with trans or otherwise queer chararacters (bisexual characters are included by gender of them and who they endup with). Nearly 3/4 for gay males. 23% for lesbian. 8% for trans and otherwise queercharacters. Literature doesn't feature that many representations of queer characters that aren't attracted to someone of the same gender.

It also doesn't feature many characters who are not attracted to anyone. I can think of one book with a confirmed asexual character, and that's only because I looked it up in general research for this event.

Same goes for genderqueer/non-binary characters.

When we do get queer characters, there's a distinct lack of of people of colour. Sure, we get some, like Magnus from The Infernal Devices/The Mortal Instruments, the main characters of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Kitty from Hollow Pike. But queer representation in teen lit, heck, queer representation in most mainstream literature, is predominantly white, and this needs to change.

Literature doesn't seem to get that being gay and being trans are not exclusive.

Don't get me started on queer erasure in fandom.

Bisexual people don't get that much representation, and when they get it, they get lumped by gender. Even London's only LGBT specialist bookshop, Gay's The Word, doesn't have a specific bisexual section.

According to this tumblr "Random House uses “Gay and Lesbian”, HarperCollins uses “Gay Studies” and “Gay and Lesbian Fiction”, Macmillan uses “Gay and Lesbian Studies”, Simon and Schuster uses “Gay and Lesbian”," (credit here to fuckyeahlesbianliterature), which, while I'm glad means that B and T people don't waste time looking there for things relating to them where they're not there in the LGBT tag, pretty much sums up the lack of full queer representation.

So, yes. This has been me summarizing what I haven't seen in queer lit. I haven't read every single book featuring queer characters (and I don't intend to), but of the selection I have, and of what a non-detailed google search tells me, there are some key things that we're missing.

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Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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