For the month of June, pride month has become an important celebration for LGBTQ people. With this celebration comes the need for representation, especially more LGBTQ pride books. Most books characters are straight and very rarely will books have a non-straight character. By the same token, pride month should mention more books that have representation to connect and create a community. Because, without more books with representation, it can lead to stigmatization and leave LGBTQ people out. So, here are a few of the reasons why books are important for recognizing LGBTQ communities.
1. Coming Out
Not only do people struggle with coming out, but also publicly identifying their sexuality can be a hard thing to do. Similarly, having books that mention how a person had the courage to speak out and identify themselves can help others do the same. Books that talk about how to come out can give ideas on how to share this information. In addition, this information in books can help a person decide whether they think the way the character came out would work for themselves or not.
Two examples of books that focus on coming out include Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters and Stir Fry by Emma Donoghue.
2. Youth Advice
At the same time, being young can be difficult. If a parent or guardian doesn’t agree with LGBTQ sexuality it can force a child into the closet and grow self-hatred for how they feel. Books that focus on young people can help a child feel less alone by showing others who have the same struggles. Thus, whether the books are nonfiction or fiction they both serve a purpose to young people. In addition, these types of books could be specific to a type of sexuality so that they could better understand what it means to be a LGBTQ person.
A couple of books about the life of young LGBTQ individuals are Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.
There are still a lot of stereotypes about LGBTQ people. A lot of it comes from misinformation and judgmental people. Significantly, books that are written by LGBTQ people would help end these stigmas. A point often overlooked is the fact that there are less books about different sexualities than there are straight characters. This becomes a problem because people fill in the gaps of their limited information, often negatively. However, if more books with a variety of different sexualities were to be written, this could change the overall outlook.
A book with multiple different sexual orientated characters is Icebreaker by A.L. Graziadei.
If the publishing industry focused on writing more LGBTQ books then more people could come together to share their experiences. Also, with more books people could create reviews or even book clubs centered around pride books. For this reason, pride month is a great way to advertise these books and start clubs focused on these books. Further, at the pride parades people could sell these books and advertise for upcoming book clubs and events. This would celebrate LGBTQ people while also creating more representation in the book industry. Given these points, more specific communities could be created based on books and certain sexualities.
To see more about LGBTQ book clubs, read our article about three in New York City.
When including typical pride books, one genre to consider is nonfiction. For instance, sharing personal narratives in books could be a great way to create more connections between people. Further, this might inspire more readers to publish their own books. Whether it is a personal narrative or a persuasive essay the ideas remain the same. To clarify both these types of books would fight oppression and discrimination from judgmental people. On the positive side, these stories could be powerful enough to start a revolution or change societal expectations about LGBTQ people. Especially since the amount of pride books are still relatively low, this might lesson the majority of straight characters in books.
Two autobiographical LGBTQ book to read are Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson and A Cup of Water Under My Bed by Daisy Hernández.
In conclusion, these are five reasons why the publishing industry should take an interest in pride books. Book sales would also rise because the market would expand in readability. All things considered, chain bookstores could sell these books as well, increasing a profit on the declining interest in reading. In the long run, these changes could impact the future and spark change in what it means to be LGBTQ. Ultimately, there are more reasons on why the industry should shift and focus on publishing more pride books, but these are the most important. Overall, even straight people should go out and read LGBTQ books as it is a great way to celebrate pride month.
FEATURED IMAGE VIA BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY