Showing posts with label lgbtq. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lgbtq. Show all posts

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I Don't Accept Books without LGBT* or POC Representation for Review Anymore & What 2016 Has to Do with That


Maybe you've already seen that I changed my review policy significantly; a couple of weeks ago I decided to completely stop accepting books without any diversity for review.

And there is one hell of a reason for that. 


2016 has already been a tough year for everyone I think. I feel like we're waking up to a new tragedy every day, starting from that one American politician who shall not be named, to Brexit, to the refugee crisis - the world's seemingly completely falling to pieces. 

Maybe you already know where I'm going with this. All these three things (yes, I'm deliberately calling them things) have in common that they are somehow making people more and more afraid of foreigners, other cultures, concepts and people they haven't seen before.

If you don't believe me, I'd like to remind you of what happened at Pulse in Orlando, Florida. Of what happened to Mike Brown, Korryn Gaines, Philando Castile, and most recently Jesse Romero. Marginalized people are deliberately being targeted, murdered, persecuted. It's the most obvious and apparent in the police brutality you've (maybe) seen on the news in the US, and the terrorist attacks in Middle Europe. And don't forget what happened in Japan.

Long story short:
  • I'm the child of an immigrant. 
  • I'm a multiracial person of color. 
  • I consider myself to belong to the LGBT* community. 
  • I'm chronically ill. 
I'm marginalized in many ways and all those tragedies directed at people like me hit close to home. The least I can do is support the movements on social media, tweet about every single POC that gets killed by the police, and - on my good old book blog - boost diverse reads as much as I can. 

I will no longer consider pitches for books that aren't diverse. I'll try to publish as many reviews and recommendations focusing on diverse reads as I can. I'll take any opportunity to help diverse authors out to the best of my ability.

There are lots of books that don't feature diverse characters and aren't written by diverse authors and I'm aware that I may be missing out by declining to review those. But that hardly matters to me and is missing the point.

I know you probably realize this but I'd still like to say it:
  • This does not mean that I hate all books that are only about white and straight and abled and Christian people.
  • This does not mean that I hate all authors who only write about white and straight and abled and Christian people.
  • This does not mean that I think you are a bad person for liking or reading books about white and straight and abled and Christian people.
  • The only thing that this means is that marginalized lives matter


POC, Disabled, LGBTQ*, and otherwise Marginalized people need OUR - YOUR - support now more than ever. And you know what? It's free. 


In the wake of all those tragedies - there's one thing you can do no matter where you are, no matter who you are: You can support diverse creators. 

If you're a blogger, I strongly encourage you to do the same. It doesn't cost you any money or effort. We need diverse books now more than ever, because diverse books show that
  • Marginalized people do have a future. 
  • That Marginalized people can get happy endings. 
  • That Marginalized people can succeed. 
  • That we can live.
I invite you to join me in this, and support the heck out of diverse authors and authors who write about diverse characters. Launch support features! Read more diversely! Share deal announcements and cover reveals and nice reviews for diverse reads! Help diverse authors out.


If you want to make me really happy, please tell me about how you'll be taking initiative. 

Even if it's through sharing posts on social media. Every little bit helps.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hey Authors, Why Is LGBTQ Representation So Hard? | YA Talk



What is LGBTQ*?

LGBTQ* refers to the lesbian/gay/bisexual/trans/queer/and other community.

It basically includes everyone that doesn't identify with the gender they were assigned at birth and/or isn't heterosexual.







What the problem is

If you haven't really paid attention to the lgbtq community before, you probably didn't even know it existed. 
In the common media, all we get is gay representation in form of mostly homosexual men. I mean, there's a token fashion-savvy gay best friend in every romantic comedy movie set in New York. I didn't even know there were such things as pansexuality, asexuality, or even genderqueerness before I dove into the topic after reading David Levithan's "Boy Meets Boy" at university.

And this is the root of the problem. I'm not saying it's your fault if you had/have no idea what all these terms mean. It's not your fault that you've been brought up in a world were everyone is assumed to be heterosexual and identifying as either male or female. 

There are very few books that deal with gender and sex without exclusively being about gender and sex. Most books including LGBTQ* characters are also about coming out. I'm not saying we don't need these, but I'm saying that we need more books that casually feature LGBTQ* characters. 

Why not make your protagonist a bisexual woman? Why not make them indifferent to sexuality or identifying as indifferent to the concept of gender? It sounds far-fetched, but people like this do exist, and there are a lot of them. You'd be surprised as to how many people (even your friends) probably aren't heterosexual. We just assume that everyone is because we are bombarded with white heterosexual characters in all media all the time.

Take a look at popular culture!

Can you name a single super popular book with a main character that identifies as other than straight, or is simply assumed to be heterosexual without needing to mention it? Probably not, if it's not a book about specifically queer issues.

I don't understand what's so difficult about this. You may argue that most writers tend to write what they know about and maybe might shoo away from writing about LGBTQ* characters when they're heterosexual themselves. (Just the fact that I have to pretend for the sake of this argument that every writer is heterosexual is ridiculous...)

Well, I have news for you:

The job of a writer is to make stuff. They make stuff up, and sometimes even base that stuff on real events. If they do, they have to do some research. You can't tell me that someone is able to research everything about 18th century France to write a historical romance, but can't be bothered to do some research on queer issues to make it a novel about an asexual in 18th century France? Well, if you can't do that, you probably shouldn't be a writer. 

I'm not saying that every writer has to write about queer characters, I'm saying that instead of jamming out the 16th  book about a white straight girl falling in love with a mysterious dark-haired poetry-loving semi villain boy, they should try writing about a white gay boy falling in love with that same mysterious dark-haired poetry-loving semi villain boy. 

LGBTQ* people exist and I think they are worth representation just as much as heterosexuals. 


Here are some queer YA reads to get you started:

(links leading to goodreads)

  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (lesbian)
  • Luna by Julie Anne Peters (transgender)
  • Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (gay)
  • Ash by Malinda Yo (lesbian)
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (intersex)
  • Every Day by David Levithan (pansexual, agender)


What are your thoughts on LGBT* reads?

Any recommendations?


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