Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gay in YA

There's a bit of a controversy going on right now about the role of gay characters and gay relationships in YA fiction.

http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/genreville/?p=1519

http://www.dystel.com/2011/09/de-gaying-ya/

Personally, I'm comfortable with gay characters and gay relationships portrayed the same way straight YA characters and relationships are. But I also can see why agents and publishers might think it could hurt sales in the heartland. And I like the idea that it's out there, available, for people who DO want to read stories with gay characters. People are free to write what they want without fear of being censored or persecuted. And people are free to NOT read it, as well.

Many years ago, I did a fundraiser for Lambda Legal (a nonprofit that provides legal protections to members of the GLBT community). I got the most vitriolic, nasty, and poorly spelled hate mail I have ever seen.

So I think it comes down to this: the people who would be most offended these days may well be the least likely to be reading books in the first place.

What do you think?

3 comments:

LS Murphy said...

I'm fine with gay characters in young adult books. But that PM blog has to be taken with a grain of salt. If you haven't seen the response from Joanna Volpe, it's worth a read.

http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2011/09/guest-blogger-joanna-stampfel-volpe.html

As for gay characters, The Mortal Instruments book by Cassandra Clare has gay characters. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray has a gay character. So does Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson & The God Box by Alex Sanchez just to name a few.

There are gay characters in YA and they aren't going anywhere and shouldn't.

Jennifer L. Armentrout said...

I think the issue was that there are too few gay YA leading characters. Most are all side characters, but rarely ever the main protagonist.

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