I’ve spoken a bit about this in my Bi Erasure post,, but I wanted to dedicate an entire post to representation because it’s incredibly important. This post won’t just talk about queer representation, but everything in general.
For a lot of people, books are something they grow up with. You start with your parents or someone else reading you books (though I also know some people aren’t that fortunate). Later, if you’re lucky, you get to go to the library, or you can buy books for yourself. Maybe you have a schoollibrary, maybe you have one of these cute Little Libraries in the neighbourhood. For me, I started with Donald Duck cartoons at boardingschool. It was really great, I got the chance to distance myself for a bit.. changing surroundings at six was challenging. Cartoons, and later books, helped me calm down.
At that time, I didn’t think about the characters I read about. Donald Duck cartoons didn’t really portray people like me anyway (or people in general), so that wasn’t really an issue. Books I read when I grew up were usually about white girls. It wasn’t until much later, until I was about 14, that I wanted something different, wanted more. I wanted people that were like me, people had crushes on their friends. Their female friends. And other people who didn’t look like me.. they weren’t represented in my books. It was unfair, even then.
When I became older representation became more and more important to me, but at the same time, more to other people and authors aswell. I found more books that featured queer characters and poc. My country is pretty awesome when it comes to acceptance, queer or otherwise. But somehow.. not in books. Books are still severely lacking here, and even though it’s getting better, I’m glad I mostly read English (if not at all).
These past days during Pride Month, I have talked about and recommended so many amazing diverse books. Books people need to feel at home, like I did when starting boardingschool. Books are important for people to understand who they are. Growing up is hard enough, especially when you’re not the ‘default’ white straight person (not that there is anything wrong with that). It’s always nice for people to recognise themselves in something, feeling inclusive, feeling seen.
Not only is representation important for someone to be seen, it’s also incredibly educational. With diverse characters comes diverse lifestyles. Whily my country is amazing with diverse people, it’s not so with diverse sexual education. I didn’t get LGBTQ+ sex ed at highschool and I don’t know of many people that did. I basically rolled with it. It wasn’t until much later I realised there was so much sex ed for f/f sex. And I did a lot of online research after that. But I know not everyone does that.. they don’t know what sites to trust or what to search for in general. And then a few months ago I read Jack of Hearts (and other parts), which was amazing. Books like that are so so important. I really wish there were more books like this, or just that this books gets out there more.
Another reason why representation matters is that a while back I encountered an instagram story. Someone read Once and Future and thought it contained ‘too many queer characters’. I’m sorry.. I just don’t get it. I’ve spent years of my life reading about straight characters, books and books and books full of just straight characters. And now there is this awesome book and it’s ‘too much’. Just no. It just feels incredibly unfair (don’t worry, I talked to them and they were incredibly unreasonable so I unfollowed them).
Fortunately not everyone sees it this way and there is more and more representation (yay!). If here is anything you want to get off your mind, please let me know. Every voice matters.