Hands feature the letters LGBTQIA+ on each finger

Joyfully Queer

| Maple Shade Library

Let’s be honest, books and media have a history of white cisheteronormativity. And for such a long time, the only time you could see queer people on screen or on the page was to witness their suffering. This is thanks to the Hays Code, which censored films from 1934 to 1967. It prohibited not only positive depictions of queer characters, but also relationships between different races. (To read the primary document, check out the Gale Virtual Reference Library through BCLS’s Research & Learn tab!)

The Hays Code also contributed to the “Bury Your Gays” trope, a literary trope in which one partner of a same-gender couple dies. This trope began as a means of having any queer stories told at all, because publishers wouldn’t publish these stories unless they involved an un-happily-ever-after for the queer couple. Even in the 21st century, a time when the queer community is more accepted, this trope persists! (Looking at you, The 100!) And while it is important to acknowledge the violence committed against the queer community as a means of healing and progress, the queer community deserves fluffy romances, joyful coming-of-age narratives, and stories of queer people loving and living and thriving. The queer community deserves happily-ever-afters.

If you need more reading recommendations, you’re in luck! Our librarians are happy to help you find your next read, whether in-person, over-the-phone, or through Book Match, a personalized service that matches readers with suggested books and authors. Lastly, if you love searching for books on your own, give NoveList a try. You’re able to find the perfect book searching by appeal. So, you’re able to narrow down your selections to only books that have LGBTQIA+ characters, but can combine filters such as a specific writing style, pace, or tone.

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