LGBT Characters and their Role in Literature


I was recently reading about the upcoming film adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s fabulous Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda -which I am very excited for- and started thinking about LGBT characters in books.  More specifically their roles in books. I was thinking about how LGBT characters often tend to be the protagonists and the story seems to revolve around their sexuality or gender-identity. Obviously this is a brilliant thing; literature and YA in particular is becoming so much more diverse and are telling stories that perhaps used to be “taboo”.  More people are being represented and that is always a good thing.

However I was also thinking about how there are not as many books that have LGBT characters, either major or minor, whose stories do not revolve solely around their sexuality or gender-identity. I really enjoy it when I’m reading a book and I find out that a character is gay and then it’s almost disregarded, in the sense that it’s just accepted rather than being ignored or the focus of the plot. Again I will say that I don’t think that books that do have that as the focus are bad, absolutely not! But personally I do find that there are very few minor LGBT characters which I think is a shame. I’ve compiled a list of books that do include these types of character and if you know of any other books please do let me know:

The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Next Together by Lauren James

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin

More Than This by Patrick Ness

Hollow Pike by Juno Dawson

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (although this one is slightly debatable)


I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman (honestly, every Alice Oseman book!)

Snotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don’t Care by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung

* * *

There has definitely been a positive shift in the attitude towards LGBT fiction in recent years and I do believe that it can only continue to get better. With more publishers of children’s and young adult books wanting more LGBTQ characters and even children’s TV shows including same-sex relationships. One of my bookish resolutions for 2016 is to read more LGBT fiction, many of the recommendations I will be taking from George Lester’s fantastic video. But if you have any then please let me know!


6 thoughts on “LGBT Characters and their Role in Literature

  1. I’ve always had an issue with males being the only LGBT+ characters, there never many females or at least where I have looked! It’s really frustrating to read about males and not females, its more difficult for us to relate to them as we have different issues relating to LGBT+ community! But I have found two books that are brilliant! Flywheel by Erin Gough, based in Australia 😉 & its about lesbians having difficultly around sexually but focusing on other pressing issues. Also Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield, again gay women its not focused on it at all, except for like 3 sentences.
    All LBGT+ Characters and plot lines serve a different purpose and all are important!

    Wow long rant 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely agree with you, it is so much easier to find male LGBT+ characters in literature. However one of my favourite LGBT+ books (and all of all time) is Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler, although it’s main focus is the main characters sexuality. Have you heard of it before? I highly recommend it if not! I’ll have to check out those two books, thank you so much!


  2. The beginning of your article immediately made me think about More than this, great thing it was on the list 😉 If you haven’t read it yet, I would recommend The Color Purple by Alice Walker!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Reading in the Rain and commented:

    Today I’m reblogging a post I wrote two years ago about the role LGBT+ characters in Literature in response to learning that ‘Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ was being made into a film. Now we’re a week away from the release of the film and I couldn’t be more excited, so it felt fitting to bring this up again.

    Literature and films such as Love, Simon and Call Me By Your Name are so important, and I hope that they can set a new foundation for even more representation: more diverse background characters, more LGBT+ characters that lead the show without it following their ‘coming out story’, and more diverse LGBT+ characters (we want racially diverse and gender diverse rep!). 

I’ve got my ticket booked and will be reviewing Love, Simon in the near future, so keep an eye out for that! 
What do you think? Are you excited to see Love, Simon? 
Let me know in the comments!


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