7 Books That Would be Better With LGBTQ+ characters

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I recently had a conversation with my friend where I said I wanted more diversity in a book, and she asked, “Do you just mean a gay character?” I mean, besides from the fact that queer does not equal gay, I did think about this for a bit afterwards… Why do I want so many books to have queer characters? (Because I definitely do. It’s a priority daydream of mine.) I suppose it is slightly selfish, but it is nice to see parts of yourself in fictional characters, and it’s also weird when diversity isn’t there because…the real world is diverse. Even if all the Valentine’s day adverts on the Tube will make you believe we are all slim, conventionally attractive white straight people. *coughs*

YES. This is slightly a Valentine’s day post, even if I’m a) quite late and b) somewhat cynical towards the date. I thought this post would actually be quite well timed. I’ve been DYING to share my thoughts on books that would be improved by queer characters for ages. (As I said: something I think about frequently). But even though I’m mostly talking about books that feature varying degrees of romance I think it’s also worth noting that I’d really love to see LGBTQ+ characters in books where there isn’t necessarily romance. That is the hope and the dream.

1. The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer SCARLETT BENOIT IS BISEXUAL 2K16. I do like Wolf, but to be quite frank I think Scarlet was also a little in love with Cinder and Winter. Everyone is in practically love with each other. But I like this Scarlett headcanon in particular. (Queer space pirates are my literal dream.) There are four — five counting Fairest — straight couples in this series and it just felt a bit boring for me. :/ I also found it really unrealistic how, like, there weren’t even any minor LGBTQ+ characters such as in Throne of Glass or The Grisha. Hmm. I don’t know if it was Levana’s iron rule, but it would have been super easy to do during a ball scene or something.

2. The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare  Tessa Grey is canonically polyamorous. Tessa Gray is canonically polyamorous. It is literally stated she is in love with both Will and Jem. (Go away, annoying guy who says you can only be in romantic love with one person. Jeez.) Why have such a fight over Jessa and Wessa? Herongraystairs is a way cooler ship name, anyway. 😛

3. The Selection series + The Heir by Keira Cass Well, statistically there’s at least one LGBTQ+ character in every single Selection. (Unless they vet queer people out of the process. Depressing, but also possible.) It’s been a while since I read The Selection itself, but I just finished reading The Heir and I can absolutely say it would have been improved by a plot of Eadlyn realising she was asexual instead. NO, PARENTS, it is not your child’s duty to marry and have children! Maybe you could just leave her alone and get a democracy! Or she could have been a lesbian as well. There were a lot of descriptions of Neena. Or polyamorous, because there is literally a part where Eadlyn says she’s in love with all the boys. Or someone could get mad that only cisgender boys and girls could enter. Any of this would have 100% improved this rather dragging book. (And series. SORRY. It was fun but in retrospect thoroughly irritating.)

4. Wool by Hugh Howie Juliet is a lesbian, and that is all. She fell in love with some random dude over the course of about a weekend and I was very irritated because CUTE SASSY MECHANIC HELLO. Such a wasted opportunity. *shakes head*

5. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling I refuse to believe that every HP character is straight. JK Rowling can say what she wants and I will headcanon what I want. I’m still not really over the lack of queer characters (and also intersectional diversity beyond that) in Harry Potter, because…it’s just so popular? It would have reached such a wide audience. I do realise that there’s maybe more publicity on diversity now than when the series was still being published, though. I am happy about the Cursed Child casting — I think it’s really important to consider different interpretations of characters, and to remember that the movie isn’t, like, the be-all and end-all. Everyone imagines characters differently!

6. Lorali by Laura Dockrill Lesbian mermaids. Bisexual mermaids. Asexual mermaids. Non-binary mermaids. ALL KINDS OF QUEER MERMAIDS J U ST I CAN’T EVEN WITH MY UNDERWATER FRIENDS ALRIGHT. This was such a unique book that I just really wanted it to feature some queer mermaids. (I did just download a lesbian mermaid eBook. I’m quite excited.)

7. The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare This is an MG book. WHY DOES IT NEED ROMANCE? I would have been totally cool if there was no romance. But there is a very boring straight romance that adds nothing to character or plot development. *sighs* I’m now aggressively pretending Cal and Aaron are in love.

are there any books you think would be better with characters? I HAVE SO MANY MOORE AAH. what do you think about valentine’s day? enjoy it?

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34 thoughts on “7 Books That Would be Better With LGBTQ+ characters

  1. You have just made my life. My GOD THIS IS YESSSS.
    I think it would have been better if Luna was a lesbian/asexual, though it was never really mentioned – OH WAIT she married that Scamander dude. PSH. I like books that just CASUALLY mention an LGBTQ character, or books that have them as the main; have you read Lies We Tell Ourselves? It’s really interesting and includes ALL kinds of diversity.
    Why aren’t there many nonbinary-centric books, or books with asexual characters? 😦

    • I adore Luna, and it pisses me off to no end that she had to marry some guy. ARGH. I mean, I do think that discovery/coming out books can be good and necessary, but personally I just want to read book with LGBTQ+ and magic and space and real life. *sighs*
      Yes, I LOVE Lies We Tell Ourselves! ❤ It's actually one of my favourite books. I really hope to see more books with non-binary and asexual characters in the future… (I think Alice Oseman's Radio Silence is going to have an asexual character? I hope I'm remembering that right. I NEED TO READ THE BOOK.)

  2. YES TO POLYAMOROUS TESSA! Out of the books you’ve mentioned I’ve only read TID and Harry Potter, and I completely believe she’s poly. It is one of the few love triangles that didn’t bother me – I just wish there was less of a ‘who should I pick?’ problem. Pick both!

    • YAY, I’m glad someone else thinks so! ❤ Yeah, there are so many Jessa/Wessa ship wars and I am sitting here like why cause yourself the pain of choosing? BOTH IS GOOD. *nods* And they’re all just stupidly in love with each other.

  3. I love this post! You make a lot of really interesting points and I totally agree! Diversity needs to become the norm, especially in books with complex casts (like, you can’t make the argument that there weren’t enough girls in the Selection series for some diversity to show up!) Great post 🙂

  4. I haven’t read most of these books but YES TO ALL OF IT. I think the problem is that HP was published like SO MANY YEARS ago and there wasn’t enough awareness of LGBT+ groups at the time? I basically live off Tumblr headcanons for Harry Potter anyhow.

    I think Marvel would be GREATLY improved by a few LGBTQ+ ships 😛

    • Ha, I think quite a few of them are obscure library books. I tend to get very angry at those.
      Yeah, I do think there’s a lot more awareness now — wow, I almost can’t believe Deathly Hallows was EIGHT YEARS AGO. I mean, when I first read them I wasn’t aware of LGBTQ+ representation at all, so. I totally live off Tumblr headcanons as well!
      *cries* Noo, I still have yet to make my way into the Marvel fandom! SOMEDAY I WILL UNDERSTAND. 😛

  5. I feel embarrassed to admit that the lack of LGBT+ characters in books is something I didn’t notice before, but now that I’ve been in the community for a bit of a time I have come to realize how important it is that they are represented. I think a lot of authors are still wary but we are seeing improvements as time goes by.
    I’m in the process of reading The Lunar Chronicles, so I’d be sure to look out for the characters you mentioned. 😀

    • Before I got into blogging and social media, I knew basically NOTHING about diversity and representation in books (of any kind). 😛 It’s something I’m always very glad blogging has done for me!
      Even though the lack of representation in TLC does irritate me, I still enjoyed them! I hope you do as well. 🙂

  6. Pingback: February Favourites! | Twist in the Taile

  7. This post IS LIFEEEEE.

    I am 100% with you on The Lunar Chronicles, though. I’ve only read the first two books, but I also know that there are only straight couples in that series, and it’s just like … really? And it’s the same with the Starbound trilogy. Straight couples at the centre of every single one. And then a mention of an f/f relationship in the third. Which I kind of felt like a: LOOK, there are queer characters in this series!!111! Which I guess is another thing entirely, BUT the point remains. Series with straight couples at the forefront of every book = boring.

    I haven’t read The Infernal Devices yet, but I am pretty sure I will be on the OT3 wagon on that one. Because from what I’ve heard of Will and Jem they’re in love with each other, anyway.

    Ugh, I can’t even really talk about the rep in Harry Potter, to be honest. I’ve only read the first book (and that was when I was a kid), but I don’t think that an author can be all: yeah, this character was gay, I just never wrote it in there. Nope nope nope nope nope nope nop-

    ALL THE QUEER MERMAIDS AND OTHER MYTHOLOGICAL CREATURES. We need them. Like air.

    • THANK YOU FRIEND ❤

      I find it so frustrating, because otherwise I do think it's a great series. The straight couple storyline for every single book doesn't make it more interesting in any way…? Even not having a relationship would have been nice. Oh, I haven't read that series! But that sounds really irritating. And sadly that's still pretty common.

      *nods* They totally are. Like, everyone is in love with each other.

      To be honest, JK Rowling's actions irritate me even more. I think I'd understand if she said "Yes, I can see I needed to include diversity in my books." Or something along those lines. Because (although I don't want to excuse HP) there was a lot less awareness of diversity at the time of writing. *shakes fist* IT DOESN’T WOR LIKE THAT.

      YES QUEER MYTHOLOGICAL CREATURES ABSOLUTELY. Totally my jam.

    • I believe that it was The Witch Sea by Sarah Diemer! But I never actually got round to reading it as I was a little put off by another book by the same author which I didn’t really enjoy. But I think I’ll take another look at it this holiday. I AM STILL SEARCHING FOR MORE QUEER MERMAID BOOKS! I am seriously hoping some are published in the future haha.

  8. Omg!! This is sooo true. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to read about LGBTQ+ characters in a book. I most love them more than the other characters. I totally agree with you on this one, definitely need more diversity man. Have you “I’ll give you the sun” ?

  9. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought there was a (very one-sided) thing with Sybil Mira and Levana. And I kept expecting something to happen with it, but nothing did. I don’t know. It felt very much like how Bellatrix totally has a weird crush-thing on Voldemort and like… no one thinks it’s particularly weird or out of place for straight characters to have this going on in the background.

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