With an entertaining and motivational account, Bridget Raymundo — username @bridgelikesbooks — uses the platform she has to emphasize LGBT+ and BIPOC characters in all kinds of novels. Her content highlights queer characters in fantasy adventures in a thought-provoking and quirky way.
Here’s what she has to say about her experience:
When the journey of being a booktoker started?
I posted my first video in April, 2020.
What was you aim and determination behind it?
I initially, I joined TikTok for the same reason that I imagine many others did at the time, that is that I was bored in quarantine and looking for a creative outlet. I began to see that bookish content on TikTok was a thing and I felt encouraged to join the community.
Did it (aim) changed with time?
Totally! When I started I was just coming out of a years-long reading slump and really thought that books had become an old passion. A year on I’m pursuing graduate studies and hopefully a career in book publishing. None of those opportunities would have been possible for me without BookTok.
What’s the first book you ever remember reading?
The first book I remember loving was Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon, which is an oddly existential children’s book about this young boy named Harold who continues to create and find different paths despite the hurdles life throws at him. I still read that book from time to time when I need motivation.
Has a book ever changed your life?
I don’t know that a book has ever changed my life, but I’ve read books that have definitely changed my perspective. The series that immediately comes to mind is Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy. That was the first series I read in high school that centred around an Asian, biracial girl and I felt so seen by Lara Jean’s coming-of-age. Jenny Han’s books really helped shape my sense of self and cultural belonging.
What genres do you love?
I’m a total mood reader so I truly do read from everywhere! Obviously, if you look on my page I love New Adult or Young Adult romance and historical fiction. Lately, I’ve been really enjoying comics and graphic novels!
Are there any genres you dislike?
Again, I’m open to most genres but maybe the one I’ve actively avoided is hockey/sports fiction? I know a lot of my mutuals really enjoyed the Check, Please! comics but as a Canadian I think I see “hockey fiction” and just revert to memories of being picked last in gym.
How do you think tiktok play a role in the representation of LGBt+ community?
I think the TikTok community in general has really created a space for LGBTQ+ people to have a voice and find community. LGBTQ+ people definitely don’t depend on TikTok to have queer spaces but it’s nice to feel seen on my for you page. For readers, I think queer BookTok has been such a resource in my life for both community and great LGBTQ+ books. Most of the books I have on my shelves today I found through BookTok!
How can you relate yourself to this role?
I definitely feel an immense sense of responsibility to the following I’ve unexpectedly gathered, knowing that many of them are probably marginalized people like me. I try my best to make an accessible and welcoming space where I’m able. Whether that be researching the ARCs I request, adding captions, and recommending as many diverse stories as I can— it means a lot to me when I see a creator make those small efforts so I try to do the same. My coming out kind of paralleled my finding books again, and so I also try to remind myself that my page is just as much about my journey of self-discovery as it is about helping others find great books.
What change you want to bring to the world?
As I begin to make my way into the publishing industry, a big end goal for me is making the world of book publishing a diverse one. There’s not enough POC or LGBTQ+ people in the industry representing marginalized voices and I’d really like to be an active part of changing that.
What LGBT+ authors would you recommend and why?
The first LGBTQ+ author I encountered a few years ago was Jennifer Dugan, who wrote Hot Dog Girl, Verona Comics, and recently, Some Girls Do. Dugan is really great at writing YA queer romance that’s fun to read and also captures bi experience so honestly. I also really recommend Mariko Tamaki’s Skim and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me. Tamaki makes wonderful, introspective graphic novels about queer Asian characters, and I just adore her work! Lastly, I’ll shout-out my friend’s middle grade novel The Fabulous Zed Watson! by Basil Sylvester and Kevin Sylvester which is an amazing adventure story about a non binary tween.
Any advice for the LGBT+ community for this pride month?
I would say to any young LGBTQ+ person that wherever you are in your journey of self discovery is 100% valid. As someone who hasn’t really quite found a label but is very much a part of the queer community, I constantly feel a sense of pressure or uncertainty, and I just have to remind myself that fluidity is a beautiful thing. We’re human, questioning is a continual experience so it’s important to meet people where they’re at, and stay curious!
Featured image via the gaTor’s eye