My Take on LGBT in Literature

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Yesterday, blogger Amanda Rudd posted about her LGBT bookshelf, and the lack of that theme in many YA books, along with it being harder to have books published with that orientation as a focus of the books.  I wanted to voice my opinion here, instead of just commenting on her post.  You can read her original post here, My LGBT YA Bookshelf, which also has another link to a couple other things relating.

I think one thing about YA literature, for one is, most young adults are not reading it.  It is a harder age group to publish in because of the lack of reading.  Having worked at a library, I can honestly say that the Young Adult section was one of the least used sections.  Rarely did anyone check out books from there.  That right there in itself, is a reason why publishers would be leery of publishing a book that might not be as popular as others.  As LGBT is not a majority of the population, it isn’t as popular, obviously.  You are taking a risk to publish within the YA books, and an even greater risk with something that may not make a go.

It is becoming more common to see a LGBT theme in adult fiction, but it still isn’t the norm.  Personally, I do not go out of my way to read books that have that theme, as I don’t fully agree with it.  If the lead characters are of that world, then no, I probably won’t read it.  If there are minor characters in a book that are either gay or lesbian, fine, but it wouldn’t be my main attractor.

Now, I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that would like to be able to read books with that theme, but unfortunately, it isn’t as common of a practice yet.  I think it will take time for it to work its way into fiction.  But in my opinion, the reason it isn’t in YA books is because it isn’t the world’s easiest genre/ age group.

Now, this isn’t the most put together post.  I’m sure I could have delved deeper into the subject, but, as it was only meant to be a comment in regards to Amanda Rudd’s blog, I think it’s long enough.

Check out her original post, and see what you think.

Signing off

~Kate

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One thought on “My Take on LGBT in Literature

  1. Hello, and thank you for taking the time to consider and respond to my post. If I’ve managed to spark a conversation on the issue with anyone than I feel like I’ve done a good job.

    I definitely agree that YA, particularly YA with an LGBT focus, is a small demographic, and that this can have some barring on the number of books printed. However, I don’t think the YA reading group is quite as small as you make it sound. Since the rise of urban fantasy and paranormal romance in YA, the readership has gone up quite extensively. Admittedly, MOST of this readership is female and straight, but not all. I would also argue that it the low readership is often due to a vicious circle: publisher’s don’t publish much YA, or much LGBT YA because people don’t read it, and but young adults might not be reading much YA because many of them (not just LGBT but many other minority groups) do not feel they are represented by the literature, and people (especially people in the 13-19 age group) really want to read books that pertain to them and their experiences, books where they can truly identify with the characters and place themselves in the story. This can’t happen for MANY people as long as the only (or almost the only) things being published are about white Anglo-American, middle-to-upper-class, Christian, straight characters.

    I also agree that LGBT themes are slowly becoming more common in adult fiction, (and that if that’s not your thing, there’s nothing wrong with that), but that isn’t enough. Teenagers have a right to want to see themselves represented in the things they read. It’s one small (and sometimes NOT so small) part of a process of validation in society. And in a society where so many LGBT and minority teenagers are bullied, ostracized, made to feel less important or invisible, and so often commit suicide, showing them that they DO have a presence and a voice within YA fiction at the very least, seems an important step in the right direction.

    And now I will get off my soap box. Sorry for rambling. And thank you again for picking up the discussion. That’s a very important step as well.

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