Here are five of the books I've read in the last year. One (Requiem), represents the entire series. Which means seven.
I've read seven books in the last year that have GLBT characters in them.
Of these eight, two were written expressly ABOUT GLBT characters and their lives. The other five had GLBT characters in the books, although the books themselves did not follow these characters as main characters.
In total, I wasn't expecting GLBT characters in five of these books. I was super amazingly pleasantly surprised to find these GLBT characters, and their presence made me think.
That YA authors are adding GLBT characters to their books, not as a statement or a main character, but as a friend, someone who we see and we get to know and we fall in love with even as their story arch doesn't make or break the main characters? This feels like progress to me.
Only in the Delirium series (represented here by Requiem) is there a conversation about the character's being GLBT, and what the main character thinks of it. And this is a dystopian series where the main character has been raised in an extremely closed and structured environment, and her commentary on the GLBT characters serves to show how she has realized just how gross and wrong her upbringing truly is.
In Every. Other. Case. the GLBT characters are just ... there. In the same way that every other character is just ... there. No discussion needed. No precursor to meeting the character. No questions about the legitimacy of the character.
This is NOT something I saw growing up. This is not something I saw much of in my 20s. This is something that has begun to occur only in the last few years.
IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY!
And yes, we need more books where the GLBT characters take center stage. Of course we do. My students need to be able to pick up books and have the main characters be GLBT and have there be no questions.
SO much still needs to be done. But these books? And their characters? Feel like victories to me.
Books Featured (affiliate links):
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Delirium Trilogy Collection Lauren Oliver 3 Books Set (Delirium, Pandemonium, Requiem) by Lauren Oliver
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia