Queer literature is a great enrichment – for the LGBTQ+ community and everybody else.
The whole of June was pride month – lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and other Queer people joyfully celebrated themselves and all they have achieved, while at the same time remembering that there is still much to do. Next to pride parades and other events it’s the perfect time to immerge oneself in Queer literature, whether it be a first curious perusal or a visit to an already well-known world.
Queer literature isn’t something that’s only been around for the past decade – let’s just think back to the poems of the Greek poetess Sappho (whose name is nowadays synonymous with Lesbian love stories: sapphic literature), the homoerotic undertones in Oscar Wilde’s ‘The picture of Dorian Gray’ or the main character in Virginia Woolf’s masterpiece ‘Orlando’, who changes his gender as easily as others do their clothes and was inspired by her own love affair to Vita Sackville-West. However, in the last couple of years Queer people have reached a higher level of visibility in the literary world. This holds true for the identities of the authors themselves as well as for the themes and people they write about. On the book market the spectrum of the rainbow shines brightly – be it classics or new releases, romances, historic novels or biographies, crime novels or poetry. We here at novum have identified just some of the reasons for you to take a wander through the world of Queer literature.
Personal and foreign experiences
Many passionate readers know the euphoric feeling, when discovering a piece of their own self or their own life in literature. Literature can bring happiness, offer comfort, make experiences seem important and let you know that you are not alone. Representation essentially means that Queer people see their life, stories and themselves mirrored in literature. This is crucial as many Queer people sadly don’t get to experience an accepting social environment. For many, books are beacons in the night or helpers along the way to finding oneself.
An even more fantastic element of literature is that it can open doors to hitherto unknown experiences. That’s not only thrilling, but also offers a chance to fight preconceived notions (which we all have) and to strengthen empathy. This holds true for people who are not Queer as well as for members of the LGBTQ+ community towards the other colours of the rainbow. Through reading the experience of others we conclude that we are not so different after all. There are many facets we share and can discover through a literary dialogue.
Diversity on all fronts
Queer experiences, identities and lived realities are very diverse. They differ from person to person, as well as along the lines of age, race, socioeconomic context and many other factors. There isn’t one book that could encompass all these realities. It’s important to recognise this diversity and experience it through staying open-minded in one’s personal literary consumption. Fortunately, there is a growing number of books that fight clichés. Books, where the only Queer character isn’t just the best friend who goes shopping with the female protagonist. Books, who feature those who are rarely perceived on a daily basis – like bisexuals, Queer Muslims or those who identify as nonbinary (people who do not fit into the binary of male and female). Those who read books about history will learn that the diversity and complexity of sexual orientation and Gender identity isn’t something that has only been around for the last couple of years. It already existed everywhere around the globe under different names. There are more and more books which feature Queer joy, selflove, community and happily ever afters instead of focusing on pain, marginalisation and persecution (as important as those topics still remain). There are Queer books to make you swoon, cry and laugh. Queer literature is important, diverse and fun!
Which books with LGBTQ+ topics have you read? Which one has moved you especially or has opened up new horizons? Let us know in the comments! Or have you been inspired to write your own Queer stories? Reasons for reading are also good reasons for writing!
Let your hands roam freely over your keyboard!
Your team at novum publishing