LGBT Literature (Or, My Surprising Lack Thereof)
i… have a lot of books.
bear with me for the pictures, they have a point.
i swear i (mostly) did not post pics to brag.
i just… i buy a lot of cheap used books, alright?
okay, okay. you get the point. books. my life is books. i have a shit ton of them.
seeing as i have a shit ton of them, and seeing as i am Real Queer, you would think that i would have a ton of LGBT literature. i mean, i assumed that i would, when i started idly wondering just how many queer books i have, and decided to pull them out and see.
turns out? not so much. i just *thought* i had a lot of Queer lit.
when i started pulling out books, i used a basic criteria – LGBT literature must be
A. written by a queer person,
B. have a prominent gay character (no books with gay people on like 2 entire pages)
or, C., be about LGBT culture in some way, etc.
i’m sure i’ve missed a few from my collection (and i may have erred on a few i *did* pick out). i haven’t some of these books yet, or it’s been years since i have, in some cases. but still. what i found was disturbing.
i mostly found the usual suspects. Burroughs (duh), Nin, (ditto), and YA books.
in fact… i found that 15 out of 47 total LGBT books on my copious shelves were YA books. that’s over a quarter of them – almost a third, actually (yes, i had to pull a calculator out for that math). sheesh.
i think that this has much less to do with my reading preferences than the dearth of Queer Lit in the adult fiction section – so many LGBT books are about OMG, coming out… and yeah, those stories usually happen when you’re young.
(by the way, MAY I RECOMMEND MALINDA LO if you haven’t read her? especially Ash and Huntress.)
whole stack of YA on the left – good, sure, but basic stories, mostly just stories about the beginnings of figuring out how to be A Young Gay Person.
(quick aside – yes, i think every book in the Outlander series has a gay character in it – but i’ve just pulled the books where a gay character is one of the the main characters, as opposed to a more minor character.)
another usual suspect – The Vagina Monologues.
i only have two books with intersex characters (as far as i know, anyway), and both of them are here (Annabel and Middlesex). i have heard there’s a trans character in Beauty Queens, but i have not read it yet – tell me if i’m wrong, and then i’d likely be minus one LGBT book. other than that, as far as i know, i don’t have *any* other books with trans characters – and i don’t know of any i could be buying, either. (if YOU know of some, PLEASE ENLIGHTEN ME!)
YA and Rice (uh, YUP)
i think Marr’s other book series has some LGBT going on, but i couldn’t remember, so i didn’t pull them – and they would not be the main characters, if so. similarly, i know Rice has got to have some homo going on that i’m forgetting about, but i wasn’t gonna try pulling it by my (hella shady) memory.
…yeah, a book about Stonewall will have gay content for sure.
(another aside – my dad legit I SWEARTA GAWD actually used to know one of the main characters from Midnight – my dad is a gay antiques dealer, so i’m pretty sure you can figure out which one…)
and two complete no-brainers, to round things out!
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.
i thought my collection was diverse as shit… instead, i found a lousy 47 books, out of how many hundreds??? i included pictures, because i think the visual is striking – each photo has all of the books i could find on an entire bookshelf. and you see how many bookshelves i have.
yeah, i feel about this facepalmy about it, too.
there’s a reason that campaigns like #WeNeedDiverseBooks exist.
OF COURSE, this is not a problem of there not being Really Good LGBT authors – OR fantastic LGBT stories. it’s definitely more a problem of queer narratives NOT BEING PUBLISHED, Because Of Reasons. reasons which are bullshit, because i for one could use a few less boring-ass heteronormative, white people-driven stories about shit that’s been written about fourteen bazillion times.
i dunno. this is maybe just a picture-laden not-very-ranty rantypants post, with no point. but i’m not happy. i thought i had LOTSA gay books. turns out, nope. tiny drop in the bucket of my book collection. writing this has given me a minor case of The Sads, and if you are similarly afflicted, here’s a picture of my asshole kitteh to balance shit out.
so. questions, comments, thoughts, QUEER LIT RECOMMENDATIONS??? am i completely missing all the good stuff out there… or is there really that much LACK of representation in literature? i’m gonna go eat
my feelings some fruit snacks. bah humbug.