We tell stories for many different reasons: to entertain our readers; to tell them something new about themselves; to record history in an accessible way. Why should LGBTQ+ stories be different? Why do they need telling?
When we talk about LGBTQ+ stories, what do we mean? We mean stories where LGBTQ+ people, everyone under the rainbow banner, is recognised. Throughout history, LGBTQ+ people have played historic roles. Stories need to reflect that.
For a lot of people, LGBTQ+ stories are simply about romance or sex. But there is so much more to life than that! We are doctors, soldiers, spies, supermarket workers, office workers … even book editors!
Throughout history, LGBTQ+ people have played historic roles. Stories need to reflect that.
Accurate representation matters. It matters because for too long we were side-lined in books, relegated to the role of the “gay best friend”.
Stories need to reflect that diversity in the community. Growing up, under section 28, I missed out on some excellent role models. I missed out on the realisation that LGBTQ+ people are everywhere because it wasn’t spoken about and I couldn’t read about it.
That’s not to say that LGBTQ+ romance books aren’t important. But, sadly, it’s often the only experience people have of LGBTQ+ representation And that’s why LGBTQ+ stories are so important. They inspire a new generation. They help people to realise that, just because they have a feeling, it doesn’t limit them, it doesn’t stop them, it doesn’t mean that they cannot be what they want to be.
Tell stories that:
- show LGBTQ+ people positively
- show LGBTQ+ people are everywhere and are successful
- show LGBTQ+ are more than their sexuality
- show LGBTQ+ people it’s okay, it gets better and they can be proud of who they are
Books and stories can inspire and educate. Handled sensitively, a story with a diverse LGBTQ+ cast can show how the world can be.
That’s why LGBTQ+ stories are important.
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