October is many things. Halloween is approaching. Autumn is in full swing. And LGBT+ History is being celebrated throughout the whole month! You know that here at Bookstr, we aren’t necessarily quiet about our support for the LGBT+ community. One way that we’re showing our support is by elevating the voices of creators within that sphere! We’ve talked with Caro of @sanjariti, our Bookstagrammer of the Week, about the importance of LGBT+ representation within the book world.
Our Bookstagrammer of the Week is non-binary and goes by they/she pronouns, and we will be respecting that throughout and ask that you do the same.
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Now, it’s easy to see from Caro’s socials that they’re a proud bisexual, so we felt pretty confident asking them about LGBT+ representation in books.
Which books would you recommend for their accurate/positive representation of characters who are members of the LGBT+ community?
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, No Filter and Other Lies by Crystal Maldonado, Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore, Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera, Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie, and You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson.
We always ask our Bookstagrammers a few things. If you’re wanting to start a Bookstagram of our own, perhaps you’ll find inspiration in these articles.
What inspired you to start your Bookstagram, @sanjariti?
A friend of mine recommended I read Red, White, and Royal Blue, and I fell in love! I wanted to talk about my return to reading and finding a new favorite book, so my friend suggested I start a Bookstagram to connect with more readers in the book community. So, I did! And I’ve never looked back.
Caro has been an active Bookstagrammer since 2019, so it’s safe to say she’s got a good grip on the Bookstagram community. Inspiration can come in many forms, and they say flattery is the sincerest compliment!
Who are some of the LBGT+ Bookstagrammers who inspire you?
I have so many! A few who inspire me the most are Autumn of @autumnintheoaks, Adri of @_perpetualpages_, Andy of @foreverinastory, and Quinn of @theromanticace.
Creating a space for LGBT+ book lovers to find a home in is important. I’ve talked before about how sometimes activism can do more harm than good. Personally, I believe that the best way to be an ally is by uplifting those in the community.
What inspires you to amplify LGBT+ voices? What would you suggest to others who want to get more involved?
What inspires me to highlight LGBTQIA+ voices is my own journey toward discovering my queer identity. If I had had these books when I was in middle and high school, I think I would have unlearned a lot of my internalized homophobia, and discovered these integral parts of my identity from a much younger age. I want to highlight books that I know could change someone’s life, and help affirm their identity and experiences. I would suggest to others who want to be more involved to read, research, and understand what it means to be a safe space or safe person for LGBTQIA+ youth and adults, and also to understand and be aware of any biases they may hold.
Who are the LGBT+ author or authors that inspire you most, and why?
Aiden Thomas, Crystal Maldonado, and Anna-Marie McLemore. They inspire me the most because their stories are what helped me fully come into my identity as a whole, and truly gave the space for me to grow comfortable and love myself for who I am. These authors’ books are spaces for those who are questioning, those who are slowly discovering themselves, and for those who want and need positive representation and validation that who they are, and who they love, matters. I want my platform to be the same inviting, safe space for queer and questioning readers everywhere.
What does your Bookstagram account mean to you?
My account is a space for joy, learning, and growth. Not just for myself, but my followers and fellow readers, too. My reading tastes have evolved since I first started my account, and the conversations, topics, and themes that happen on my platform have changed, too. My bookstagram account is not only a space for social justice, advocacy and education; it is a space for mistakes, questions, and fun. I want my account to be a safe space for readers everywhere – a space where they can be themselves and discover stories that they can connect with.
Having a space where you feel comfortable enough to grow is vital. Let’s end the interview on a fun note!
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I collect Squishmallows and Funko! Pops. My collection may be overwhelming, but they bring me joy!
We sure hope that our readers have been moved to a place of greater empathy through meeting Caro of @sanjariti, our Bookstagrammer of the Week! Be sure to check out her Instagram feed for some immaculate images and energy. Seriously the amount of props and color that covers her pictures are just top-tier.
Check out our previous Bookstagrammer feature, Meirys of @musingwithmeirys, for her take on Latin Heritage Month!