Okay, this post might not be as to-the-point as the title infers, but I was recently watching In The Flesh (WATCH IT, I TELL YOU. WATCH IT), and whilst marvelling at the wonder of a queer main character in mainstream media of the non-contemporary kind I also wondered: where are the queer main characters in mainstream books of the non-contemporary kind?
Now, I know that there are spec fic (speculative fiction like fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal) LGBTQIA+ Young Adult titles out there, but I want more (I guess I’m greedy). I know it’s great when there are LGBTQIA+ characters in mainstream spec fic books (like Alec and Magnus in City of Bones and its consecutives), but I want more than side characters with a few chapters. I want a novel about a boy who meets and falls in love with a fae boy, or a girl who doesn’t have any kind of sexual or romantic relationship with a character, or a transguy fighting demons. I want that really badly. And I don’t think I’m getting enough of it.
It seems that 90% of the spec fic titles floating around the YA-sphere feature heterosexual cisgender couples, and I am completely and 100% bored with them. I have seen the cis girl falls for forbidden cis guy trope one thousand trillion times. But I’ve never really seen cis girl falls for forbidden cis girl. Or ever seen cis guy falls for forbidden transguy. Or much of anything but cishet couples.
The really sad part is that I am most certainly not the only one thinking this. Whilst LGBTQIA+ YA contemporary titles are increasing in numbers (bless), I am still left casting my line far and wide for the equivalent spec fic titles. Why? I find myself asking. Is it because spec fic readers are confined by heteronormativity and cisnormativity? Is it because agents or publishers looking for spec fic titles are confined by heteronormativity and cisnormativity? Why are mainstream LGBTQIA+ spec fic titles just not really around? I’m not entirely sure, and I guess that’s why this topic has been on my mind for a while. Because I want gay zombies, asexual faeries, pansexual vampires, transgender gargoyles – I want spec fic creatures and characters of all sexualities and gender identities, not just the heterosexual and cisgender ones.
Hopefully one day soon my wants will be fulfilled (I like the sound of this), and I’ll have no need for a long line (where are these fishing analogies coming from? I’m vegan for crying out loud) in order to find my LGBTQIA+ spec fic titles. One day. One day I’ll have my gay zombie book, and I’ll be gleeful.