Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Importance of LBGTQ+ Representation in Literature

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

Diversifying your reading list is an important rite to understanding experiences besides your own. If we stick to the stories that only we can relate to, we are left with a whole world left for us to explore. This means letting everyone have their say in what “diversifying” their reading list represents to them. Having the means to deconstruct and normalize one’s identity should be readily available to everyone. As mentioned, there are millions of stories to be told, so only having access to a few would make no sense. Queer stories are just as impactful and important as any because they’re a space of solace for closeted queer young people and serve as a way to educate allies and individuals who are not part of the community.

 Queer representation in literature can provide solace for those who are not accepted by their friends and families or who are simply closeted. These novels are used as a form of escapism, allowing queer kids to feel acceptance where they might not feel it in “real life.” These stories of romance and adventure and everything in between normalizes these relationships to those who might not have any examples of queerness in their everyday lives. 

Growing up without these queer stories takes away from experiences that might have helped accept and educate those around you. Not only are these stories exceptionally important for those who are queer, but those who are not can use these stories as a way to educate themselves and those around them who might identify as such. 

Though we have come a long way from having Oscar Wilde as our only queer representation in literature, there is still such a long way to go in terms of diversity and inclusivity in literature. The most popular queer books are about MLM (men loving men), but they are usually written from a white cis perspective, which does not represent a lot of people. But there are some literary works that do provide accurate representation, such as Heartstopper by Alice Oseman: a story that centers around an MLM relationship but still provides an incredibly diverse cast of characters, ranging from bisexual representation to transgender relationships being depicted in the graphic novel. 

Allowing for the normalization of LGBTQ+ narratives in literature allows for this topic to become relevant in the mainstream media, preventing bullying and other types of homophobic violence that stem from ignorance. Finding these stories and diversifying the way you look at queer literature will make it so much easier for all of us in the long run. Happy reading!

Luisa Colón is an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus where they are currently working towards a BA in English Literature with an emphasis on Contemporary Literature. Besides the usual long walks on the beach, she enjoys reading romance novels, updating their bookstagram, and starting (but never finishing) crochet projects.