Love Wins: LGBTQA in Literature

The recent Pride Day celebration for the LGBTQA+ community and their supporters all around the world has made such a presence that it’s difficult not to think about how queer themes and concerns have become a large part of culture and a topic of discussion. We live in an age where queer communities are able to celebrate and be vocal about their identity and who they love. But queer themes have always been part of culture, albeit muted or suppressed in the past. Instead of the regular long post, this post is a list of websites, pages, commentary, and lists on the rich and long history of queer themes in literature and queer literature, as well as the authors whose own life experiences have helped shape and contribute to it.

The Greatest LGBT Love Letters of All Time – from BrainPickings.org

  • Maria Popova of BrainPickings gives us a fascinating rundown of the love letters shared by famous writers and artists, such as Virginia Woolf and Allen Ginsberg, with their lovers. The post itself provides excerpts of the letters, which are, in their own right, beautifully written and filled with passion. If you’re a fan of these artists and their works, you’ll potentially find connections between their lives and their work. Looking for and reading the letters themselves can be rewarding experiences.

On Bisexual Characters and YA Literatureby Malinda Lo, from her website.

  • Malinda Lo, who is herself a writer of YA LGBT, tackles the issue of – as the title outlines – bisexual characters in YA. Bisexuality itself gets overlooked as, Lo points out, issues tackled are often on the “gay” part of the queer community. Bisexual erasure does happen – bisexuality is often seen as a “watered-down version of gay,” which, Lo says, is problematic. All in all, the post is fascinating, as Lo ultimately asserts that – while each part of the LGBTQA+ has its own problems and its own history – bisexual representation has to overcome certain prejudices and prevailing notions that hurt it.
  1. As a side note, you may also want to look at Malinda Lo’s article, My Guide to LGBT YA,” a rather long list that covers covers issues, writing advice, interviews, and statistics on LGBT YA literature. This list is especially helpful if you want an overview of LGBT YA.
  2. Another side note: I’ve said earlier that Lo herself is a writer, and her works are particularly good and readable. You may want to read her Cinderella-inspired novel, Ash, as well as the follow-up and companion novel, Huntress.

From Problem to Pride: A Short History of Queer YA Fiction – by Daisy Porter, from Malinda Lo’s website.

  • YA has always been a place that tackles queer themes as part of teenagers’/young adults’ coming-of-age and identity formation, although queerness was not always given a friendly treatment. Daisy Porter tackles the history of queer YA fiction, looking at how it started out and listing down the key texts of queer YA, from Nancy Garden’s Annie On My Mind, which was the first major queer YA text depicting a queer relationship in a positive, healthy light, to more recent works and writers, like David Levithan.

Julie Maroh on creating Blue Is the Warmest Color – by Trish Bendix, from AfterEllen.

  • This article is a short interview with the graphic novel Blue Is the Warmest Color’s creator, Julie Maroh. The graphic novel is, of course, the work on which the film directed by by Abdellatif Kechiche, starring Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux.

50 Essential Works of LGBT Fiction – from Flavorwire.com.

  • Finally, if you want to read LGBT fiction, or fiction that tackles LGBT themes, here’s a long list that you might want to check out. Among texts listed here are works by Jeanette Winterson, Yukio Mishima, Alice Walker, and Patricia Highsmith.

 

Do you know other important or interesting works that contribute to discussion on LGBTQA+ literature? Let us know in the comments!

Jillian

Jillian is an English Literature graduate who loves reading science fiction and fantasy, and is a big fan of J.G. Ballard. She is obsessed with coffee, video games, and rottweilers, and keeps herself busy by writing and walking around a lot. She’s currently reading Jeanette Winterson and a lot of YA literature.

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