Fiction with LGBT characters and stories are making their way into every section of your local bookstore.
By Jessica Vella
A lot of novelists-straight allies and LGBT-are focusing on both straight characters and LGBT characters with no labels attached. Homosexual characters used to be avoided in fiction because they were seen as being too controversial. Now there are fewer labels surrounding LGBT in fiction and more and more authors are including different types of sexuality.
Barbara Winkes, the lesbian fiction author of Autumn Leaves and its sequel Winter Storm, lives with her wife in Quebec, Canada. Winkes says that she feels that everyone wants a character they can connect with on a personal basis, someone they can see as themselves.
“A lot of people, not just LGBT, but everyone wants to be represented and reflected in the characters, in what they go through and what they achieve. I think that it’s an important part in moments to see your path reflected,” Winkes says.
Brian Katcher, an LGBT ally and author of Almost Perfect, a book about a young boy and his relationship with a young transgendered woman, is new to writing LGBT novels and he says that LGBT characters should be written as able to do anything straight characters can do.
“More and more often I see LGBT characters in books holding up banks, fighting zombies, and defusing nuclear devices… in other words, the same thing everyone else in the book is doing,” Katcher says.
Katcher says that he writes his books for teenagers and he hopes his novel makes an ally of his teen readers like writing it made an ally out of him.
“LGBT rights have become my cause, something I truly believe in,” Katcher says. “My books are for teenagers. I’d like it if people who never thought much about being transgendered gave Almost Perfect a read, it might open their eyes (to understanding transgendered people).”
Laura Preble is another author new to writing books about the LGBT community. Her novel is called Out and is about a mirrored world where everything is exactly like ours except that homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuality is persecuted. Preble says that there are multiple reasons behind her novel Out, like her stepson.
“My step son, who’s now 20, came out when he was in the eighth grade, so that’s coloured a bit of what I’ve done. All throughout his adolescent years I saw firsthand things that happened to him,” Preble says. “As a parent, a writer, and a teacher I had three different prisms to see his experience through. When it happens to your own kid, you see it differently. Like why do you not see how great this person is? That spurred me even more to want to do this, to get it done and to get it out there.”
Preble says that when the idea came to her she just had to write it to see if it would help people understand where the LGBT community is coming from.
“How would people feel if they were in that position? If I could write a book that could put people in that world then maybe they would get it, maybe they would see why it’s wrong to punish someone for who they love,” Preble says. “The straight person who’s very anti gay would read it and go I see how it would feel like if I couldn’t love who I wanted, then that would be successful.”