Today, we haveSuzanne van Rooyen, Zoe Marriott, Charlie Morris, Illjolras, Sean Cummings, Ashley Chunell, Ria Bridges,Alfie, Rie, Caitlin, Megan, and Harriet. talking about how LGBT literature can affect people in real life in either positive or negative ways.
Do you feel LGBTQIA people can relate to characters they find in literature?
Harriet: Yes. We all LGBTQIA or not, can relate to any character LGBTQIA or not. We normally relate to their experiences or how they view ideas and such, not what sexual orientation they are (unless you relate to them in that way.)
Suzanne:Another tricky question to answer. I'd like think yes but it totally depends on how that character's being portrayed. The more stereotyped, the less likely I think people will be able to relate to the character.
Illjolras: yes, mostly
Charlie : Personally I've yet to read a character I think 'oh that could be me, I get that!' Although I've had my eyes opened to the experiences of others. I think the only way this can improve is for more content to be available by more writers.
Megan: I think so. More so now, I think. There are loads of varied LGBTQIA in YA lit now and I think that's good and I think everyone can find someone to relate to.
Caitlin: I hope so. I wouldn't want to speak for others but I hope so.
Sean: Reading is purely subjective but because there isn't much of it out there then yeah, it's hard to relate to.
Ashley: I'm sure a lot of people can and I hope people are able to relate to my gay characters in "A Melody in Harmony." Even if there are people who relate to the bigots in the book, hopefully as they read the story, they become enlightened and touched by the love my two main characters share.
Rie: There isn't a wide enough range of LGBTQIA characters for everyone to find a character they relate to, but I'm sure some have found characters they relate to.
Alfie: Not always, no, because authors insist on moulding the sexual sides of characters to completely unrealistic lengths
Ria: Too broad a question to answer. In some ways, that's like asking is straight and cisgendered people identify with straight and cisgendered characters. Sometimes, but it depends on the character and the person.
Does LGBTQIA literature help LGBTQIA people?
Zoë: This is a tough one to answer because - so far - I seem to be straight and cis-gendered (although I reserve the right to take that back at any point if my understanding of my sexuality changes, for example if Mila Kunis ever returns my calls). And I can't speak for anyone who isn't me. I do know that reading about and empathising with QUILTBAG characters is what made me realise I needed to be actively engaging in as much ally work as I could; and I hope that as a result I've made my tiny corner of the internet and literary world a better place for people who aren't straight and cis-gendered. So.
Ria: I think it does. Greater exposure often leads to greater acceptance. And it can be very heartening to read about characters who think the same way you do, who experience problems that you do. It makes you feel less alone in the world, and like there's someone out there who gets it.
LH: If it helps even one person then that's a good thing.
Alfie: Sometimes, it depends how well the characters are presented.
Ashley: I hope it does, if it's written right. If it focuses on equality and fighting for love, like "A Melody in Harmony," I'm sure it helps people of the LGBTQIA community.
Caitlin: Again, I hope so. I know reading about characters who are similar to, and going through similar situations to myself has always helped me.
Megan: Probably. I'm not LGBTQIA but I think it does. It probably makes them feel more equal and more accepted. And I think they can be really inspirational - for LGBTQIA and for those who aren't.
Charlie: I believe so. It gives a sense of not being alone, that there are others going through similar thought processes and emotions.
Illjolras: yes, definitely
Harriet: "Certainty. Morals can be learnt, ideas can be taught, understandings can be broadened. That's just how literature works (it isn't just LGBTQIA literature!)