I had a YA Saves Sunday post already scheduled for this week, but in light of the Publishers Weekly Post, “Authors Say Agents Try To ‘Straighten’ Gay Characters in YA“, I thought it only appropriate to focus on what this article brings to light…
GLBT YA Literature

I have always had the mind set that as long as you are not hurting one with your beliefs, life style, and/or sexuality, then I don’t care.  If you are not sacrificing animals or hurting people and animals, then why should it all matter?  It goes along with the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.  Would you want someone criticizing the way you live just because they might not understand it or believe in the same thing(s)? I would hope everyone would say No, but we know this is not the case.

Growing up I was pushed into the Catholic Church, where unfortunately I experienced a lot of prejudices against people, races, and even sexuality.  Let me make it clear though, I am not saying that everyone who practices Catholicism is prejudice – this is just what I experienced in my church growing up.  Because I was pushed so hard into the church I decided when I moved in High School, to step back and find my own way in beliefs and ideas.  And while I hold high respect for childhood church and their teachings, I never regretted my decision and have never looked back – I just could not abide by every belief they held.

Unfortunately, one of these beliefs stated that GLBTs is a chosen lifestyle and is basically evil and unnatural.  I  have had some really close friends that were gay, and I cannot imagine being friends with them while believing that they are not worthy of whatever the next lifetime has to offer us or are inherently bad because they are gay. That would make me a hypocrite.

I would like to say that I am surprised that authors, such as Rachel Brown (the author who wrote this week’s PW article), have been asked to change their character(s)’ sexual orientation.  But I’m not surprised.  There are many people who do not understand anything that goes against the “norm” and this in turn scars them.  Unfortunately, it is too common for such people to be unwilling to be more open and understanding.  Some of the best books I have ever read feature gay characters.  I honestly believe that if more people (teen and adult), from all religions and backgrounds, read YA novels that feature Gay characters fears and prejudices would decrease tremendously, and offer a new perspective and understanding. 

My question for your this week:
What are your thoughts on GLBT literature, characters, and/or what GLBT YA Novels have you read and liked/disliked and why?

If you are looking for more GLBT YA Novels here are some of my suggestions:
(REMEMBER: This is by no means a complete list, just a few of my favorites)

Rainbow Trilogy by Alex Sanchez

Jason Carrillo is a jock with a steady girlfriend, but he can’t stop dreaming about sex…with other guys. Kyle Meeks doesn’t look gay, but he is. And he hopes he never has to tell anyone — especially his parents.
Nelson Glassman is “out” to the entire world, but he can’t tell the boy he loves that he wants to be more than just friends.
Three teenage boys, coming of age and out of the closet. In a revealing debut novel that percolates with passion and wit, Alex Sanchez follows these very different high-school seniors as their struggles with sexuality and intolerance draw them into a triangle of love, betrayal, and ultimately, friendship.

The Geography Club by Brent Hartinger   (my review)

Russel Middlebrook is convinced he’s the only gay kid at Goodkind High School.
Then his online gay chat buddy turns out to be none other than Kevin, the popular but closeted star of the school’s baseball team. Soon Russel meets other gay students, too. There’s his best friend Min, who reveals that she is bisexual, and her soccer-playing girlfriend Terese. Then there’s Terese’s politically active friend, Ike.
But how can kids this diverse get together without drawing attention to themselves?
“We just choose a club that’s so boring, nobody in their right mind would ever in a million years join it. We could call it Geography Club!” 

grl2grl by Julie Anne Peters   (my review)

In this honest, emotionally captivating short story collection, renowned author and National Book Award finalist Julie Anne Peters offers a stunning portrayal of young women as they navigate the hurdles of relationships and sexual identity.

From the young lesbian taking her first steps toward coming out to the two strangers who lock eyes across a crowded train, from the transgender teen longing for a sense of self to the girl whose abusive father has turned her to stone, Peters is the master of creating characters whose own vulnerability resonates with readers and stays with them long after the last page is turned.

Grl2grl shows the rawness of teenage emotion as young girls become women and begin to discover the intricacies of love, dating and sexuality.

Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two guys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all. All living their lives as best they can, but all searching…for freedom, safety, community, family, love. What they don’t expect, though, is all that can happen when those powerful little words “I love you” are said for all the wrong reasons.

Five moving stories remain separate at first, then interweave to tell a larger, powerful story — a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up. A story about kids figuring out what sex and love are all about, at all costs, while asking themselves, “Can I ever feel okay about myself?”

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

This groundbreaking book is the story of two teenage girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings. This book is so truthful and honest, it has been banned from many school libraries and even publicly burned in Kansas City.

Of the author and the book, the Margaret A. Edwards Award committee said, “Nancy Garden has the distinction of being the first author for young adults to create a lesbian love story with a positive ending. Using a fluid, readable style, Garden opens a window through which readers can find courage to be true to themselves.”

Here are some other highly recommended YA GLBT reads:
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