In partnership with Hope in a Box and in commemoration of Pride, we held an LGBTQ+ Lit Contest that asked high schoolers to share how LGBTQ+ representation in books inspired them and impacted their lives. The following is a contest honorable mention story.
Reading LGBTQ-inclusive stories provides young people with the opportunity to look past the single narrative that is so often found in mainstream media and gain some perspective on the experiences of different people.
My favorite LGBTQ-inclusive books are “They Both Die at the End” by Adam Silvera and “What If It’s Us” by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli. These books were not the typical coming out novels but instead focused on the normal lives of these young characters while asking them to question their place in society and their own mortality in engaging ways.
The plots were focused on the typical struggles of being a teenager while factoring in the added struggles and discrimination that often comes with being a member of the LGBTQ+ community rather than the sexualities of the characters which helps draw attention to the fact that we are all more alike then we think.
The stories of characters like Arthur, Ben, Rufus, and Mateo cannot accurately represent the experiences of every single person, but that’s not the point. The point is to create more representation in the media for those who are so often underrepresented and literature so that all people have the opportunity to find a character that they can relate to and find solace in. And luckily, with books that fall outside of the standard narrative becoming more easily accessible to the masses, those beloved characters won’t be alone in providing a voice for the silenced.
Giving people of all backgrounds the chance to read something different will expand their perspective and is the key to creating a more inclusive world where people can love freely. As an ally, I enjoy learning about how to better support members of the community and the presence of inclusive stories in schools gives me hope that more allies will be created.