In celebration of May 17, which is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, I’m joining the annual blog hop (find out more here) designed to create awareness and celebrate all things QUILTBAG. Each blog is holding a giveaway so you’ll want to visit them all for a chance to win some great prizes.
I apologise for the delay in ‘proper’ content for this blog hop. A hectic week and weekend is a poor excuse I know, so here is my belated contribution to this event…
Recently, I’ve had various iterations of an article about diversity in Young Adult literature published on numerous blogs (You can read that here or here if you’re interested). While this article generated a lot of positive discussion and a call for change in the type of characters presented as heroes in books for teens, one comment cropped up time and again. That authors are afraid to write QUILTBAG characters.
This is a very different type of homophobia. While the authors ‘afraid’ of writing QUILTBAG characters aren’t actually anti varying sexualities, they are still afraid of broaching this subject in their books. The term ‘homophobia’ has come to embrace a number of negative attitudes towards QUILTBAG people, it’s literal meaning, however, means having a fear of homosexuals. Some authors are quite literally homophobic and oddly, for the right reasons.
The right reasons being that many authors are afraid of misrepresenting a certain sexual preference or sexual identity, they’re afraid of exacerbating negative portrayals, of playing to stereotypes and of offending people. The most oft cited issue by authors is ‘If I write a gay guy who’s a jerk, will readers think that I as an author think all gay guys are jerks?’ Herein lies the tragedy. Until authors can overcome this fear of portraying QUILTBAG characters as anything other than completely human – gay guys can totally be jerks, lesbians can be bitchy because we’re all human irrespective of our sexual identity – we’ll be waiting a long time for a lesbian Katniss or a gay Harry Potter.
I believe in equality, which means that as an author I am going to write characters who are authentic human beings irrespective of their race, gender, sexual identity, appearance or disability. My plea to authors, especially of Young Adult books, is to write authentically and if the gay guy in your story happens to be a jerk well then that’s just life.
To visit all the other blogs participating in the hop this year, just click on the link below: