In light of the recent events in Orlando, we wanted to pay some kind of tribute to the people who tragically lost their lives who are apart of the LGBTQ+ community. Also we wanted to spark discussion. We have members of the team who are also apart of the community, and we refuse to be scared or silenced by the horrific event. It got us thinking about the stories we’ve read regarding LGBTQ+ characters and how that has impacted us as a person. And it led us to question…
Why are LGBT books so important?
I have always found LGBT books to be interesting. When i first came out and became a part of the LGBTQ+ community, i felt like reading fictional stories about people in that community helped me to come to terms with this change in my life style. I know many others which feel the same way. LGBT books allow people to learn and cope with their feelings on being in an LGBT community where they are not judged by the characters they are reading about (because sadly, there is still some unnecessary discrimination). They help people to learn that there is absolutely no difference in the characters whether they are lesbian, bisexual, straight, transgender, pansexual, demisexual…the list could literally go on and on. These books help people to relate to characters and find similarities with themselves, something that a lot of people find difficult. It’s important to stay educated about the many different types of people in the world, but ultimately know that those people are absolutely no different from each other, we are all just versions of, well, people! LGBT books offer a fair representation of all people from all walks of life, and i’ve personally found them to be the most accurate writing of societies i’ve ever read. More often than not they educate, helping people to understand that this life style isn’t one chosen, but its one that should be accepted no matter what.
Informative, relatable, empathising and important. These are just some of the words that come to mind when thinking about LGBT coverage and inclusion in books. As someone who has grown up in a very accepting environment it hurts and shocks me even more when I see hate and discrimination. However, I understand that these attitudes can also be down to misunderstanding and lack of openly discussing it. So surely providing different outlets that share information and stories is the main way to inform and educate people and open their eyes up to the LGBT community. I am currently reading ‘The Art of Being Normal’ by Lisa Williamson, a book that looks very closely at a transgender. Although I haven’t finished reading this book I can already say that it has given me a much greater understanding of transgender people and that I was instantly educated. Although this book solely looks at transgender people I also feel it is essential to not only encourage books like this to be more widely read, but to also include coverage of the LGBT community in a wider range of books. Through this inclusion it can educate people who weren’t exclusively looking for it, as opposed to those openly seeking a specific LGBT book. I feel extremely passionate about this post and strongly believe that LGBT books are a great way to open up people’s minds and learn, or to even relate to a story being told and help someone through a personal situation.
LGBTQ+ representation is something I strongly believe in. I am proud to be a part of the community and it is always an amazing feeling when you find a book which represents in some way a part of your own identity. It is so important to have all genders and sexualities portrayed in every part of life – especially books, films and television which are all things that we grow up with. To be educated and informed about all genders and sexualities is vital as sometimes homophobia can be due to a lack of knowledge. I’m passionate about fair representation of everyone in the world and it is so important to have both fictional characters and real people to be able to look up to and identify with. By having characters in stories who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, it brings the conversation about equality and acceptance into a bigger, more mainstream area. Not only this, but if you can relate to a character for these reasons, you often begin to understand yourself more as society can stifle differences in people. To know that differences are normal and okay is what is needed to be portrayed in all aspects of life, and books are just one way this can be done.
If you have been affected by anything mentioned in this post or the Orlando shootings, here are some places that you can contact:
LGBT Helpline (UK) – 0300 123 2523
Here are some links you can visit if you would like to know more information about the LGBTQ+ community: