Wednesday, 22 June 2016
Paperback's Pondering's: LGBT Characters Are More than Just Plot Fillers
Paperback's Pondering's is a weekly discussion when I take a topic and well, ponder about it! This week's topic is about a problem that I've been seeing in YA, and that is LGBT+ characters being added in as plot fillers and not to promote diversity.
I want to start off by saying that what happened in Orlando absolutely disgusted me, so I knew that I wanted to do a Paperback's Pondering's dedicated to LGBT+ people. I am straight, and to my knowledge I do not know anyone close to me who is a member of the LGBT+ community, but LGBT+ rights is something that I stand for so much. It just baffles me that someone who is exactly alike in dignity as me, is denied rights due to who they love. That is why books containing LGBT+ characters really strike out at me, because it gives an amazing image of a strong relationship. However what I don't stand for, are authors putting one LGBT+ character in their books to shake things up a bit, and then have the audacity to call it diversity.
I don't really like calling out authors and books in my posts, so this post will remain in general, but I have a clear picture in my head of a few books I've read where LGBT+ characters needed to be given more recognition. One book that really got on my nerves made a character in a love triangle LGBT+ so that there would be a clear winner. Another had many love interests, and so knocked off a few by making them LGBT+ when there were about 2 chapters left in the novel. I go in thinking it's a wonderfully diverse book, and it turns out to be a simple plot twist.
What annoys me about these books is that once the LGBT+ characters sexuality is "revealed", they are dropped off the face of the earth because they are clearly not needed anymore. They served their purpose of adding a plot twist, and now they are free to go. This is so not cool. If you're going to put LGBT+ characters in your books, please let them stick around for a while.
So why do we even need LGBT+ characters in our books? We need them because they show others that there is more than just straight relationships. There are more than just cis-gender people saving the world. There is a much bigger dynamic of sexuality on this earth that sadly people seem to discount. We need to educate people, we need to enlighten people, and we need to destroy ignorance.
So please please please, authors! When making a character LGBT+, give them the recognition they deserve. Give them a relationship, give them a story, give them a life outside of revolving around the straight main character! Obviously any LGBT+ character is better than nothing, but please show them some more love than they get. And as a straight person, I apologize for the ignorance and hate of some of the people in this world. Love is Love, and it's time for people to understand that.
Emily @ Paperback Princess