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.