For my class in collection development, I have been assigned to pull together an LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, & Questioning/Queer) collection for teens in a public library. I was amazed at the number of resources I found on this topic, as well as with the quantity of current fiction being produced with LGBTQ characters and themes. For all the political chatter these days on what lifestyles get a stamp of approval, it was refreshing to see “alternative lifestyles” are gaining a healthy voice in the youth conversation.
Major writers of LGBTQ teen fiction include Melinda Lo (Ash, The Huntress, and Adaptation), David Levithan (Boy Meets Boy; Will Grayson, Will Grayson), Julie Anne Peters (Luna, Keeping You a Secret), Alex Sanchez (Rainbow Boys), Ellen Wittlinger (Parrotfish, Hard Love) and Brent Hartinger (Geography Club, Shadow Walker).
Books: Reviews, Awards, & Lists
AfterEllen.com features “Your New School Library,” a monthly review of teen fiction with strong female or lesbian/queer characters. “I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell do I Read?” is an award-winning blog devoted to “gay teen books, culture, politics, GSA info…& more!” Librarian Daisy Porter’s QueerYA website is dedicated to her reviews LBGTQ teen fiction and a fantastic resource.
The ALA gives out Stonewall Book Awards for LGBT fiction each year. The award specifically for youth and teens is the Stonewall Book Award-Mike Morgan & Larry Roman’s Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award. Just look for the seal:
Additionally, the ALA puts out an annual Rainbow Book List of “quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content, which are recommended for people from birth through eighteen years of age.” There is also a bibliography for gay teens on their website.
More lists can be found by Library Journal (“The Library Don’t Have a Closet: 19 Graphic Novels for Gay & Lesbian Pride Month”), scholar/librarian Christine Jenkins has put together a YA LBGTQ bibliography, and there is an extensive list with cover art on the West Bend Community Memorial Library Page.
Dan Savage & Terry Miller’s It Gets Better Project is an amazing online community aimed at supporting LGBTQ teens, largely through its YouTube video series.
Alex Sanchez has provided an excellent collection of links for gay teens on his own website.
Melinda Lo put together statistics on YA LGBTQ lit that is very interesting to read. I’d also like to mention a 3-post series by Teacher Librarian 2.0on building a school library program for LGBTQ students and an illuminating post by geeklove-sam with tons of useful links to lists, authors, and LGBTQ publishers & bookshops.