Skip to main content

Pride Month 2017 - Why Representation is Important



Hello everyone! How fitting it is that this year's anniversary of same-sex marriage being legalized in the U.S. falls on Monday, one of my posting days! (And if you didn't know that it was the two-year anniversary, well I guess you know now!) Last year I made a list of some good books with LGBTQ representation, and I will include a list at the end of this post, but to shake things up a bit I thought I'd quickly discuss why representation is important in the media, specifically in books. After all, this is a mainly bookish blog.

(If you would like to view last year's post, click here.)

First of all, what is representation? Well, it's exactly what it sounds like. It's the inclusion of people with sexualities and/or genders outside of heterosexuality and the gender binary. It's having a gay character or a trans* character and showing readers that, "hey, LGBTQ people do exist" and "hey, not being cisgender or 'straight' is okay".

(There's also the whole issue about good and bad representation, but that deserves a whole other post on it's own. I'll get to it another day.)

Representation can make all the difference to a reader whose community of people around them is not accepting or not as open-minded. It can finally make a reader become comfortable and okay with who they are, or at least make them safer in what might seem a not-safe world.

One thing that I think most readers can agree with is that something that makes a good book is being relatable. And for those in the LGBTQ community, being able to identify themselves in these characters is everything. Representation is great and important for readers of all ages but I know that it is also extremely important for representation to be present in kid and young adult books. For younger readers who, like I mentioned before, might feel trapped or unsafe or possibly unsure or swayed by what their peers might say, or are just beginning to explore their gender and sexuality.

In addition to these points, representation can raise awareness. After all, books can make things come alive, from stories set hundreds of years ago to what-if stories of the future. Because books hold this incredible power to actualize and establish the seriousness and reality of events, it is so incredibly important for LGBTQ representation (as with any representation for minorities) to be present.

And, sure, maybe you knew that it's okay to be a part of the LGBTQ community, or you're an ally rather than a member. But one of the ideas behind the significance of representation is that it's normalizing being LGBTQ. The idea is that, the more representation that the LGBTQ community receives in the media, the less uncomfortable and foreign these identities will seem to people. And I really don't know any other way to say this except for that being LGBTQ is normal and perfectly okay.

In the end, representation matters because the LGBTQ community is a part of life. And if these movies and shows and books that we're enjoying are supposed to show us the truths about life, then why should the LGBTQ community be excluded from it? After being hidden for so long and only relatively recently coming into the realities of more and more people, it's important for the LGBTQ community to not just be another political issue or "thing" that's just "there". It's important for the LGBTQ community to get proper representation and to be heard.



(Here's that list of books that I promised! I'm only going to include ones I've read, which unfortunately isn't a lot. Not to mention the fact that I know I'm forgetting a good amount. Includes books with any LGBTQ content. SLIGHT SPOILER WARNING!)

  • Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
  • Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Gavin
  • Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
  • Rumble by Ellen Hopkins
  • How Many Letters Are in Goodbye? by Yvonne Cassidy
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  • In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
    • (NOTE: Representation very small, although I do believe it normalizes being gay a good bit.)



And that's the end of this post! I know that Pride Month's ending but I'm glad I was able to sneak this post in. If you have any recommendations for me I would be thrilled to hear them! Happy Pride Month, everyone!


Comments

This Month's Popular Posts

Quotes: Audacity

As some of you may know by looking at my posts on our social media page (@readingisinevitable on Instagram), I am currently reading Audacity by Melanie Crowder. It is a beautiful book written in free verse, and follows the life of Clara Lemlich, a female Jewish immigrant who came to America in the early 1900s. (For the full summary of the book, click here.) I absolutely love books written in free verse, or any type of poetry, in fact! This book is so lovely that I have decided to dedicate a whole post to some of my favorite quotes or parts! (Note: I am only on page 294, and there are 366 pages, not including the extra content at the end of my local library's copy.)

Navigating Bookstagram - Stories & Tips From a Small(er?) Account - SFS

Hey everyone! Stressful weekend, but I still managed to get this blog post together for you. Hopefully a March 2017 Reflection will be coming up soon on Friday, one of the new changes to the posting schedule, but I have a somewhat busy week ahead of me, so we'll have to see what happens. (If you missed the details back in mid-March, then be sure to either check out the post here or visit the posting schedule page by clicking the tab above.) For now, though, it’s time to do another installment in the Navigating Bookstagram series, also know as the NBSTFSA series (I’m just kidding; no one says that). Today I will be covering shoutout-for-shoutouts. Ah: sfs’s, as they’re sometimes called. What are they? They’re exactly what they sound like: When one account shouts out another account in exchange for a shoutout from them. But what I specifically want to talk about today is entering shoutout-for-shoutout contests.

First of all, what is a shoutout-for-shoutout contest? (Warning: This i…

Book Review: The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes

Title: The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes
Author: Anna McPartlin
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Reviewer: Julia


I can't believe how amazingly wonderful this book is. I can't believe that I put off reading it for so long. (I've had the book sitting with my other TBR books for at least a year now.) This book is beautiful and so well written, and it snagged at my heart, bringing a few tears to my eyes.

Denik's New Layflat Softcover Notebooks - Review

Hey there everyone! If you've seen our bookstagram recently, you would know that we got some amazing new Denik notebooks! Now if you've never heard the name "Denik" before then I think it's time that you know, and after you read this post go check out their website, okay? (They actually came out with a new website design, too. It's amazing.)

Denik is so much more than just a notebook/sketchbook-selling company. The word Denik describes the whole community and cause that surrounds the company, a "grassroots, artsy-eclectic bunch", as it is so beautifully described on their website. The designs displayed on the covers of their products are made by artists around the world, no matter who they are or where they come from. With the income from the notebooks and sketchbooks they sell, Denik gives some to support these artists and to build schools for children around the world. The whole idea that Denik is built upon is that, together, art and people can …