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Found this article very interesting, it raises a good point. Enjoy!
Cassandra Clare, the New York bestselling author of the Mortal Instruments series, has called for more representation of homosexual relationships in Young Adult fiction.
Clare told the teenage visitors to the Hay Festival that publishers turned her award-winning novels down because one of its main characters, Shadowhunter Alec Lightwood, was gay and embarked on a relationship with another young man, Magnus Bane.
“If publishers are throwing up roadblocks to wider representation of different parts of society, then we need to try harder to write books about them,” she said.
Answering a question from the audience, Clare explained that she knew it “would be a problem” to have a gay character in her novels, but that the character Alec developed his homosexuality as she wrote.
“Sometimes characters tell you things about themselves,” she said, “Alec was angry, and I realised he was in love with [his adopted brother] Jace”.
Clare’s books portray the ostracism some young homosexual people sometimes face. Alec is excluded by his people for being gay. After he made his relationship with Magnus public, he inspired other young Shadowhunters to open up about their sexuality.
Magnus and Alec’s relationship is popular with readers of The Mortal Instruments series. During her talk, Clare read from part of the forthcoming Bane Chronicles which detailed voicemail messages that had been left on Magnus’s phone after the end of his relationship with Alec.
Clare admitted that even she found it difficult to remember aspects of the unwieldy universe she had created for her novels, and that she had made a ‘Shadowhunter Codex’ full of “family trees and massive amounts of notes” that she now uses as a research tool.
In trying and discriminatory times, queer literature can portray lives and loves that might otherwise be forced to remain invisible. Stories written by or for the LGBTQ community are, of course, just as varied as ‘heterosexual fiction’. But they also serve a unique purpose: to validate, explore and challenge ideas about same-sex attraction.
Published in 2015, A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers showcases a distant future where humans are a small part of a vast alien population. Within this sci-fi melting pot of cultures, there’s an acceptance of all sexualities, genders and races. Queer relationships are treated the same as any other, transporting the reader to a refreshingly accepting galaxy that we can currently only hope for.
“It’s vital to celebrate works by queer authors”
While Chambers’ novel presents a utopian vision of the future, The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurt reminds us just how difficult life has historically been for gay people in Britain. Set in Eighties London with a backdrop of the Thatcher administration and the looming AIDS crisis, it follows young protagonist Nick Guest as he manoeuvres his way through the hypocrisy and prejudice of the upper classes. Elegant and stark, it’s a book that will stay with you long after you’ve put it down.
Young adult fiction also shouldn’t be ignored when discussing LGBTQ fiction, given that many people first question their sexuality during adolescence. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera tells the story of a Puerto Rican teenager who has just told her family she is gay. What follows is a magnificent exploration of issues such as white privilege, the power of the queer community and the process of coming out.
In a world where people are still persecuted for their sexuality, it’s vitally important to celebrate works by queer authors such as Chambers, Hollinghurst and Rivera. They remind of us all that we’ve achieved in the long march towards equality – as well as how far we still have to go.