Demand Queerer Books

Demand Queerer Books

According to a 2011 UCLA study, about 11% of Americans admit to having experienced same-sex attraction. Malinda Lo did some research, and after looking at the statistics, I was shocked to find that only “94 YA books published in 2013 include LGBT main characters or are about LGBT issues.” Since approximately 5,000 YA titles were published in 2013, that means approximately 1 in 50 books contained an LGBT main character or involved LGBT issues.

That’s not even close to representation.

Some people like to argue that publishing LGBT YA isn’t lucrative because cishet readers don’t want to read about queer people. What those people don’t understand is that queer people consume all kinds of media that contains only straight people in it – just as much as cishet people consume it. In my experience, my cishet friends read just as much as my queer friends do – and my cishet friends read queer lit! If LGBT people are expected to consume straight media without complaint, then why shouldn’t straight people be expected to consume queer media?

When interviewing tumblr users about their views on why lesbian fiction is important, Harmony Ink Press’s KT Grant noted that it’s not just important because lesbians exist, but also because “it’s hope for the future and inspiring confidence and teaching teenagers about the world and slowly but surely bringing about change.” Queer media isn’t just important for queer people; it’s important for everyone.

So what can you do about it? Well, you can start off by buying and reading some more queer books. YALSA has a fantastic guide on getting started with all kinds of different genres.

Go support LGBT publishers, too! Harmony Ink Press has a pretty big selection of “positive LGBT YA” books, as does Prizm Books.

Whatever books you read, review them, share them, get other people to notice. Give your favorite YA book to a friend and make them read it. Make them pass on the message.

For publishers, demand matters. Money matters. So the best way to get the Big Six publishers to start carrying more LGBT YA books is to buy LGBT YA books.

The disparity between the number of queer people and the number of books that contain them is reprehensible. We are living in the twenty-first century, and yet we still do not have proper representation of the queer community.

It’s time to change that.

One comment on “Demand Queerer Books

  1. TheFeverDreamer says:

    If I were to make a ridiculous statement, I’d say that every author ought to have a mission when they write: some form of noble goal. Forwarding LGBT rights would be a good choice for that. At the moment I’m erring towards even more taboo territory because I intend to defend paedophiles against public perceptions. We spend a lot of our time calling them monstrous sex offenders but for the most part they aren’t, and they should be treated like normal people because a society of acceptance and openness, whether it is for LGBT persons or paraphiliacs, is going to be a better one for them to live in, even if they are still not allowed to act on their urges. It’s a shame that we think that way, when their inclusion in the DSM-V/ICD-10 is up for debate anyway, and their treatments are exactly the same as homosexuality when it was in the DSM-II: that is to say, nothing really – it’s just the way that some people are. (Also, controversy = free advertising = money, so the publishers should like it) Tl;dr: why stop at LGBT rights when there are plenty of other oppressed minorities that are undeserving of the public vitriol they receive? (Obviously, things have been improving for us non-standard sexualities, but the fact remains that people don’t always treat us as equals) (I should also mention that I don’t identify as a paedophile, in case I gave that impression.)

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