Seeing Ourselves: QTBIPOC in Abundance

I’ve always said that my wish for diverse books in the future, especially for LGBTQIA+ books — and even more so for QTBIPOC books — is that there will be so many of them that people can walk into a bookstore looking for the most specific niche and still be able to find it.

I want libraries and bookstores to be overflowing with queer books. I want there to be an option for us and by us with every genre, every trope, and every pairing imaginable. If I’m in the mood for a childhood-best-friends-to-enemies-to-lovers lesbian fantasy, I want to find it! If I’m looking for a trans Chosen One, or a bisexual marriage-of-convenience love triangle, or a twisty polyamorous murder mystery, I want to not only find them, I want to have choices!

I want there to be enough QTBIPOC books out there that they don’t all have to be “important” or “revolutionary.” I want to get past this place in time where everything we write is put on a pedestal simply for daring to exist in white, straight, cis spaces. We deserve to tell our stories in all the shades of the rainbow. I want to read QTBIPOC stories of joy, love, adventure, and longing. But we also deserve to tell our stories of pain, betrayal, angst, and grief — and not only in the context of our oppression! We deserve to have as many options as our white allocishet counterparts.

My biggest hope for the future of publishing is for it to have so much variety that it won’t matter if someone picks up a QTBIPOC book they didn’t love. There should be plenty of other titles to fill that void. I can’t wait for the day when my books aren’t held up as being groundbreaking just because so few of us are allowed to tell our stories. I long for our stories to stand on their own, without heavy expectations placed on them because of our identities.

My only “gay agenda” is to contribute to that abundance as much as possible.

From the May/June 2023 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Diverse Books: Past, Present, and Future. Find more in the "Seeing Ourselves" series here.

Sonora Reyes

Sonora Reyes is the author of the 2023 Walter Honor in the teen category for The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School. Their latest book is The Luis Ortega Survival Club (both Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins).

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