With it being LGBTQ history month in America, Roof Beam Reader is hosting a fantastic event surrounding it (find out more here). They challenge us to read as many LGBTQ+ novels as we possibly can, whether that’s about those people or written by those people. Being me, I found that out after I’d planned out my reading for the month, but I was still keen to get involved. So, here are my thoughts on LGBTQ+ literature, film, and tv.
As a bi person, I can definitely see the importance. It’s so nice to see yourself represented in the media, even (maybe especially) if they’re sexuality isn’t a major part of the storyline. For everyone else who fits into a minority (as in, not cis or straight), I absolutely see the importance. It makes you realise you aren’t alone. You’re actually normal, not some weirdo who doesn’t fit into the rest of the world. If you don’t know anyone else like you, it becomes a huge reassurance. As a reader, I find it even more important to see bi characters in books. For so long, I assumed you were either straight or gay, because I’d never been exposed to anything else. To join the blogging world and see so many people promoting other types of characters made me learn so much more about the world.
Here’s the thing, though; I don’t think a show is a failure if it only has straight, cis characters. At least in my experience, a lot of the world fits into those categories. Most of the people I know in real life fit into those two categories, so why shouldn’t media represent that? It becomes a problem, though, when every book/show/movie thinks they don’t have to have any minorities. We do exist, we just aren’t at every corner. It’s important to recognise that we are actually here. Homophobic people get upset because we’re “taking over” they’re favourite media, but until we feel like we’re sufficiently represented, we’re going to keep popping up. I don’t want a bi character to star in every book I read, but I want to be able to name at least one from a book I’ve read. I can think of a couple of gay characters, but I can think of more that I know it real life. I just want these numbers to be balanced, is that so much to ask?
And yes, minority authors are just as important. Because people are discriminated against for who they love, and by picking up their books, we’re saying “I accept you” and “I support you.” For someone who has been criticised for too much of their life, that’s a huge thing to say. Same deal, though; you shouldn’t solely read from queer authors, but you shouldn’t solely read from straight authors. There should be a nice mix, just like there is in real life.
So, there are my thoughts on LGBTQ+ representation! What are yours? And if you know of any great books I should read during October, please let me know! I’d love to be part of this challenge