Before becoming interested in journalism, I wanted to write a series of young adult books that followed a gay protagonist through his high school and college years. So, like any good writer, I did my research and read what had already been written.
I looked at today’s popular young adult writers, John Green and David Levithan, and I read the book they wrote together, “Will Grayson, Will Grayson.” I read books that earned positive reviews online and were recommended by friends.
By the end of last summer, I had read 12 LGBTQ-themed young adult novels. Of those 12, 10 featured storylines where the protagonist hid their sexuality or struggled with coming out to their friends and family.
This annoyed me, a lot. Even looking past young adult fiction and into literature, LGBTQ-themed works usually have some element of the coming out story.
There is so much more to being gay than the awkward phase of realizing who you’re attracted to. But when it comes to the LGBTQ genre, coming out stories are much too present. The only exception that I saw was LGBTQ magazine. But then that got me thinking, what would fall under the LGBTQ genre that wouldn’t (or couldn’t) be categorized as something else? Do we even need an entire genre for our minority group?
I don’t think we do. Let’s say I write a love story. It can use all of the clichés Nicholas Sparks loves; only the couple is Adam and Steve instead of Noah and Allie. Suddenly it’s moved from the romance section to the gay section.
Yeah, being gay puts you in a minority group. But having your own section at the bookstore, that keeps you there.
Perhaps it shows a general sense of homophobia in society, bigwigs of industries not wanting homosexual plots and characters in mainstream entertainment. Or maybe we do it to ourselves, dividing ourselves to be noticed, to more strongly identify with our culture, gay pride and all that jazz.
The way I see it, on that day in the future where we have equal rights, being gay won’t matter, at all. And I mean that in both positive and negative ways. It won’t be anything special. People will literally not care.
People won’t need to be proud. Gay pride will essentially be over. There will be no reason to be proud because we will be completely and unequivocally equal. Being gay will mean as much as being blonde. In that situation, there will be no need for a LGBTQ genre. I know that’s ridiculous and probably impossible, but I can certainly dream.
Do books, movies and TV shows catered to us need to constantly speak to our struggles? They could just as easily speak to our daily lives. Modern Family does it. John Levithan’s books do it.
Aren’t those stories you would rather watch and read anyway?Contact Eric Ramirez.