When I was around thirteen years old I remember badly wanting a leading gay character in the books I was reading. I had Harry Potter and Twilight and the dragon-riding Eragon but I still didn’t have any fictitious gay role-models. It brings me no small amount of joy to see that this hasn’t remained the case. Here are 5 authors who have created amazing works with LGBTQ characters:
If you haven’t read The Darkest Part of the Forest then put down your coffee and biscotti, head to your nearest bookstore, and get it. Not only does Black bring the faery world crashing into our own reality in a truly unique and engaging way but she does it by making one of the leading characters gay. I won’t ruin the ending but he’s not the only LGBTQ character in the book. If you think you know how this story is going to end, think again. Black’s skillful manipulation of the age-old fairytale results in an adventure that is breathtaking, fresh, and much needed in the 21st century.
Ash: Lesbian Cinderella. That’s not the name of Lo’s first novel but rather the premise, and it’s nothing like the Disney movie. If that hasn’t hooked you yet then consider that of the four or five novels that Lo has put out, all have received national recognition for the Lesbian and Bisexual themes that are woven throughout her magnificently written stories. Ash and Huntress are two of her first novels and are sure to earn a honored place on your shelves.
If you haven’t heard of Cassandra Clare by now then you must have been living under a rock...buried under a mountain...on a different planet. Clare put her first novel City of Bones on the New York Times Bestsellers List and has lived on that list with just about every novel she has pumped out since. The world of demons and angels she’s created makes for a backdrop of tension for fan-favorite lovers, Alec and Magnus. Though not the main character Magnus has appeared in some incarnation or another may of Clare’s novels and series. Your mission: get the Mortal Instruments series, finish it immediately, start watching the TV series Shadowhunters, and dive into her other series!
If I had a month to talk about Libba Bray’s writing I’d only scratch the surface of how much I love it. Specifically the Diviners, the Lair of Dreams, and The Devil Will Break: they will terrify, infuriate, sadden, and enlighten you. In her prolific series Libba manages to keep us entertained with individuals granted superhuman abilities, while tackling issues such as gender, race, and sexual orientation. Fall in love with the gay dreamwalker Henry in her first book and laugh, cry, and rise again with him in her second. I won't even tell you what happens in the third...Get. Them. Now.
Proxy was the very first book I read with a gay character as the lead where the focus was on the story rather than his sexuality. By the end I was so overwhelmed with emotion--because of the phenomenal writing, the story itself, and finally realizing my dream--that, after a bout of confused crying, I did something I’d never done before; I emailed the author. The advice I received from him launched me on the path of LGBT activism and my own desire to craft works with strong gay characters. His dystopian novel featuring a gay boy of color isn’t just recommended; it’s required.