In The Atlantic Wire's weekly series Y.A. for Grownups, this week's article, A New Way for Gay Characters in Y.A. examines the way in which the portrayals of LGBTQ characters has increased and diversified in recent years.
The author of the article, Jen Doll, examines recent releases featuring LGBTQ characters and celebrates the fact that they are now being portrayed as multifaceted--not defined solely by their sexual orientation. Doll quotes a number of YA authors including David Levithan, Marisa Calin, and Bill Konigsberg, sharing their thoughts on the changes in the industry and problems that still need to be addressed.
One very important point about LGBTQ YA lit and gender, racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity was made by David Levithan who said: "There's still an imbalance in terms of diversity. It’s not that we don’t want to publish lesbian Y.A. or gay characters of color, but the majority of submissions we get are about middle-class white gay boys. We are actively searching for new voices who can tell different stories. We're not there yet, but not for lack of trying." We're glad to hear publishers are aware of this issue and actively seeking to rectify the problem. So, if you're a writer and have a story about an LGBTQ character of color, or a lesbian who is White, submit it! We need your stories.
You can read the article in its entirety here. Do you agree/disagree with Doll's assertions? Do you think the presentations of LGBTQ characters has positively progressed in YA books in the past ten years? We'd love to hear you thoughts in the comments!