When I was a little girl I would sit for hours reading and re-reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Kane Chronicles, The Chronicles of Narnia and every other fantasy novel I could get my hands on. Reading, especially of fantasy literature, allowed me to escape my turbulent home life and let me sink into a world that wasn’t anything like my own. It gave some sense of hope for something more. Now, looking back on everything I read, I realize something that likely made my journey with realizing that I’m gay that much harder: there were never any gay characters. I don’t even think there were allusions to the fact that being gay was even a thing, and every time there was a female character I felt connected to, a too large part of her character arc was falling in love with a male character. For straight and gay girls alike this creates the idea that you cannot be a complete version of yourself without a man.
For a girl who’d never thought of being with a guy romantically without feeling hollow, this idea caused a great deal of internal struggle. I thought that if I ever wanted to be like the female characters I loved and looked up to so much I would have to be straight, that I could never be who I so desperately wanted to be unless I fell in love with a man.
This contributes to a much larger issue of a lack of LGBT representation available to younger kids, but it’s also worrying that writers can create an entire world to their liking, completely separate from anything human, and they choose to not add LGBT people. It’s an ignorance of anything that deviates from the norm in a genre that has nothing normal about it.
As a writer and as a queer person it screams lazy worldbuilding and unoriginal character creation.
However, all hope is not lost for LGBT kids. There are several publishing companies that deal solely in the publication of stories featuring LGBT characters and plotlines, below is a list of five such companies.
Pride Publishing is a part of the Totally Entwined group and only publishes LGBT+ fiction.
LT3 publishes exclusively LGBT romance stories.
Harmony Ink publishes teen and young adult fiction with characters between the ages of 14 and 21 who are LGBT. They are an imprint of Dreamspinner Press, another company which only publishes LGBT romance.
Ninestar is a “boutique publisher of LGBTQA romance, erotica, and literary fiction”.
While not technically a publishing company, QRI is an online directory of LGBTQIA romance fiction, with links to where to purchase books, publishers of LGBT fiction and authors of LGBT fiction.
In a world so quick to admonish and degrade us simply for existing, little wells of acceptance and representation such as books and films with LGBT characters are blessings. It will take time, but things will get better.