QUILTBAG, LGBT+ and Queer Friendly Shows

There’s gradually becoming more and more shows with good LGBT+ rep but even so, it’s still difficult for me to find shows. This is because most of the rep comes from contemporary stories, not the sci-fi and fantasy that I love. I have found some, and some generally awesome LGBT+ shows, that I decided to share with you. (And considering that my shows and movies are almost as important to me as my books, you had to know this would happen.)

There are very few shows that I have seen that are as LGBT+ friendly as Sense8. It’s a story about eight people from all over the world that can…well, the Netflix site says: eight people that can telepathically experience each other’s lives. Beyond the amazing rep this is a very interesting show. The rep includes: trans, gay, lesbian and one secondary romance interest that basically says she loves the person not the parts. Oh, yeah, and by the way, there is a canon poly relationship being built at the end of the show! Beyond that, there’s racial diversity and some totally amazing characters. (Trigger warning for the trans character getting misgendered by her mother and the early plot with her concerns her mother wanting to get her lobotomized and her being held against her will at the hospital.)

Even though you probably already know about this show, and it is very much not SF/F, a list like this would not be complete without The Fosters. It’s about lesbian foster mothers and the kids they take in. Rep over the series includes: lesbian, gay, trans and possibly genderqueer. And some people say bi, but I’m not remembering that at the moment. There is also a spinoff/sequel to the series featuring my two favorite characters: Mariana and Callie. (I haven’t started it yet, but I am hoping for some typically awesome rep!)

Legends of Tomorrow is probably one of the queerest and most LGBT+ friendly shows on TV today. (It is also turning out to be quite feminist.) It’s also my favorite show, so you know I recommend it hugely. It’s got amazing cast and characters, and fun stories. It builds on the LGBT+ friendliness of other DC shows – which I would also like to take a moment to mention. The Arrow, (which is where our bi girl, Sara, comes from) The Flash and Supergirl are all worth a watch. Also, if you didn’t know about it, DC will be giving us a Batwoman TV series, featuring out lesbian Kate Kane.

While there may not be a whole lot of LGBT+ rep in The Shannara Chronicles, one of our three main characters (pictured above) is a bi girl and she likes the other two main characters in season one. In season two, she gets a girlfriend.

At the risk of opening a can of worms, I am putting The Magicians on this list. Some people love the show, some people hate it. Same with the LGBT+ rep herein. Personally, I like the show – not to say it’s flawless, because it’s not. If you interested, I turn you loose on all the people ‘yay’ing and ‘nay’ing it and will just say, I like it. (Rep? I think pretty much everyone is bi. Well, okay, several people I think are. And we also get a F/M/M sex scene.)

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Considering I’m primarily active in the book community, you guys probably already know about Shadowhunters, but I couldn’t leave without mentioning it. We get bi rep, gay rep and one of the main secondary characters is asexual. Beyond that, the show is not flawless, but it it such fun.

There are several other shows that deserve a mention for their queerness: Elementary, (which does not have a LGBT+ main character, but does have them in the world – and one episode that actually deals with a poly relationship) Miss. Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, (whose titular best friend is a lesbian) Primeval: New World, (that has a main character that is attracted to the same gender) The Librarians, (which handles a bi girl fairly well, but buys into the toxic masculinity) and Warehouse 13 (which has a couple season each of a bi girl and a gay guy among the main cast).

I would love to know if there’s any shows with awesome LGBT+ rep that you think I missed!

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My Favorite Books with F/F Romance

Why are good F/F romance’s so hard to come by – not even going into the ones that just have it as a secondary plot? I am much less well read in this coupling than I’d like to be so while I’m recommending books with F/F romance to you, please feel free to recommend some to me.

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The Snow Queen’s Shadow by Jim C. Hines

This is book four of a four book series. No, they are not stand alone. Yes, there is a lesbian main character in all four books. No, this is the only one of the four that has a lesbian romance. Yes, this series is totally worth reading for badass ladies and a new take on fairytale retellings.

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Pembroke Park by Michelle Martin

I love historical romances – especially LGBT+ historical romances. This book borrows a lot from Austen and shows a level of knowledge about the Regency era that, while impressive, is not really something I look for in my historical rom’s. That being said, the story is fun and understated and feature’s a heroine that likes dressing as a man. (YMMV if that’s good or bad.)

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An Accident of stars by Foz Meadows

If you want LGBT+ friendly spec fiction, read this duology! I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is lovely and everything I wanted in a fantasy story. It also features a F/F romance between our main character and one of the secondary ladies. And lots of other queerness.

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Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman

Ms. Glassman is pretty much my go-to F/F romance author and this is without a doubt my favorite book of hers. (Check the other ones out, because there is a fantasy series in there.) This book is cute, Jewish and they bond over fanfiction and pickles. And pride flags. It’s super adorable and short so if you haven’t yet, read it!

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The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

Lesbian, ace, robot romance in a cyberpunk setting. Very, very awesome. It’s short and takes it sweet time getting moving, but once our mains meet, they are great together and it’s such a peaceful, quite little story. (And I do mean little because this is not a long story at all.)

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Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger

Vampires and inventor’s and Ms. C’s usual steampunk shenanigans and hijinks. If you like Carriger, you’ve probably already read this book – if not, for shame – and if you’ve never read anything of hers, it’s silly, irreverent and over the top.

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A Hole in the World by Sophie Robbins

Fun, silly and takes pretty much any and all princess trope and runs with it for all it’s worth. The couple is super cute, but the friends are just as good and just as important to the story. Well, maybe not quite as important, considering our main girl is trying to explain why she can’t be the princess’s prince charming, but still. 😉

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Heart of Steel – Anthology

As this is an anthology it is pretty much all over the place in terms of quality and enjoyment, but each story features F/F in some shape and several of the stories are worth a read.

Honorable Mentions:

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee (though the sequel – that follows a minor character from this one – isn’t very good) and Dreadnought by April Daniels (though the book does have it’s problems and the sequel sounds horrifying) both had their problems, if you’re looking for F/F in YA, you might consider them, as neither was terrible.

Stay tuned next time for when I will switch things up a bit and have a list of amazing shows you should be watching for Pride month!

Thoughts On #ownvoices In the LGBT+ Publishing World (and why I’m iffy about it)

I love #ownvoices. It’s lovely and important and something that I want to see more of. I’m so glad that more authors are #ownvoices and that there is an easy-ish way to find the stories that features characters that are akin to the author.

However, for all that, I’m not sure that #ownvoices LGBT+ representation is exactly the best. Not because there’s anything wrong with it inherently, but because I’ve heard about readers contacting the author to find out if a story with LGBT+ rep is #ownvoices. Which means the reader is asking if the author fits under the LGBT+ umbrella.

Now some authors are out, loudly and proudly. They have their marginalized sexual/gender identity on their Goodreads page, or on their website. I am so happy for those authors because they feel comfortable enough and safe enough to come out online. And I feel like us readers should be honored by that trust.

But there are some authors that can’t safely come out – either because of their society or because of their family. Or they are just not ready to. (And might never be, and that’s okay, too.) Having #ownvoices (and especially the people that contact the author to ask if the book is #ownvoices) makes it seem like us readers are owed the author coming out. Even if they’re not ready. Even if they can’t safely. Even if they don’t want to.

Some of this entitlement also happens with non-LGBT+ #ownvoices questions as well, naturally. But it seems more prevalent in the LGBT+ side of #ownvoices. (Or maybe I just spend more time here.)

I’d also like to mention the fact that I believe sexuality is fluid. An author might have written a story that was #ownvoices at the time – but has since found another label (or no label at all). That does not invalidate the previous book being #ownvoices, but it does suitably muddy the waters.

In short: I like #ownvoices. I will probably note it if the author says the story is #ownvoices. But I will not go ask the author if they fit this marginalization or that marginalization.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in #ownvoices!

Stay tuned for next time when I will be coming at you with a list of books with F/F romance!

My Favorite Books with M/M Romance Not Written By Women

I’m very excited to kick off my Pride month plans with this list. Now, a few quick notes before we get to the recs: Most of these lists are going to be posted in the order I wrote them because I’m not done yet. I hope to have a list up ever Monday and Friday with Wednesday being discussion day. (If I manage to swing a Top 5 Wednesday list, or a Top Ten Tuesday, that might be subject to change, but I don’t plan on posting anything this month that isn’t directly Pride related.) At the end of the month, I will do an ‘in case you missed it’ in case you, well, missed a post. Finally, I love recommendations and this has just demonstrated how under-read I am in certain representations.

Specifically, with this list, I’m really kind of disappointed that I don’t have more books to list here. Now, don’t get me wrong, I genuinely love and adore all the books on this list, it’s just a fact that this is a woman dominated genre/subgenre. (I will be pulling together a list of my favorite M/M romances written by women later in the month.)

So, let’s get this list started!

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Zenith by Arshad Ahsanuddin

This is not a stand alone novel. It is completely unsatisfactory as a stand alone novel. As the first in a series though, it is pretty darn awesome. This book is also NOT A ROMANCE. I cannot stress this highly enough as it was the book that changed the working title of this post. There is romance in the book (both a M/M romance and a M/F/M triangle) but the focus is not on the romance. Instead it is on time travel. Which is all kinds of awesome. (And, admittedly, how both of the romances get very messed up because of time travel. Which is still awesome.) So, if you’re looking for LGBT+ friendly sci-fi, time travel and willing to commit to at least four books, read it! (Representation note: it’s not been confirmed or denied, but one of the main characters reads pan to me.)

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The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Yup, even if everyone else hates this book, I kind of adore it. Though I will admit, it’s kind of a strange little book. It borrows from some dystopian world building, spy-thrillers and pretty much any teen CW show. It’s got a compelling main focus and a stellar supporting cast of friends. And, against all odds, that’s what this book is about: friends. There’s romance, don’t get me wrong, but the romance doesn’t save the day. The friends do. Very excited to see more from this author.

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The Christmas Wager by Jamie Fessenden

This is where my heart lays for romance novels (and this one is a romance novel, as opposed to the first two): historical. I love historical romances and this book is such a sweet one. The two guys are best friends, and it really has that friends-to-lovers feeling that I adore. The supporting cast is also wonderful so the only slight drawback is the historical inaccuracy. Far from a deal breaker for me, but I know it is for some people. If you’re looking for a light, fun, low angst historical romance though, this is highly recommended.

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Runebinder by Alex R. Kahler

This book is actually a little difficult to describe. It’s kind of a dystopian, magic-comes-back with zombies. … Yeah, that about sums it up. There’s elemental magic and zombies and romance and fae like creatures and… Well, I’d definitely say just read the book. Also, HUGE bonus points for being a YA where I really, genuinely like the main male character. (Which is why I haven’t read the sequel yet, because we change POV characters.)

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The Doctor’s Discretion by E.E. Ottoman

Another historical romance, this one set in New York City, and following a pair of doctors. While it is a romance, there’s also a lot of attention paid to more serious aspects of our doctors life in 1831: there are two trans characters and one of the doctors is (obviously, if you looked at the cover) black. While they do tackle some serious topics, it’s also a soft romance and I highly recommend it.

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The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang

Now we’re back to books that have romance, but aren’t romances. This is a fantasy story, more about the main character and his relationship to his sister and the (totally awesome) fantasy world that they live in than the romance. It’s short for a novel – 240 pages – and covers a lot of time, but was an interesting story with likable people. (Side note: the author is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns.)

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Spy Stuff by Matthew J. Metzger

This is a slice of life high school story with a very cute and sweet romance. The main character is trans and his love interest has a totally angst free bi-awakening. There’s a lot of talking in this book about being trans, trans problems and long discussions between the romantic couple. What there isn’t is much angst or anything bad happening. (Except the estranged-ish father who is just a bad happening by being alive.) Light, tooth-rotting fluff but so, so cute.

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Hero by Perry Moore

One of the M/M and/or gay novels that seems to be on every single list. Over all, it’s an enjoyable read. But, it’s recommended with caveats. The main character can be unlikable at times. The superhero aspect borrows heavily from Marvel and DC – which is actually a mark for the pro’s side for me, but YMMV. There’s a lot of focus on the dysfunctional relationship between father and son. This is not, over all, a light book, but it was one that I did enjoy.

 

Do you have any books you’d add as recommendations? Stay tuned next time for me talking about #ownvoices authors and rep!