Why lesbian fiction still matters

Here’s a link I’m a week late in posting about.

Over at Mid Leap: Tales of a Wandering Lesbian, Kristin has posted a great answer to why lesbian fiction is still relevant, and who so many lesbians seek out lesbian fiction. Read her response here.

I, obviously, really enjoy reading books with lesbian characters, and Kristin’s response is pretty spot on to why. I’ve been reading books with straight characters my whole life. The vast majority of movies I’ve seen have all straight characters. The TV shows I watch feature almost all straight characters. We all live positively saturated in heterosexual culture. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I don’t need a lesbian character, or even a queer character, to enjoy some form of entertainment, but it’s nice to see that part of me reflected sometimes, especially when it’s something that’s can be so dangerous just to be, just to exist as. I think most people, when they first begin exploring their sexuality or gender expression, naturally look for media that will have characters that have similar struggles, to see how they deal with them. It’s really important for people to be able to see these sorts of characters to know they’re not alone. So I’m not sure we’ll ever stop needing a lesbian fiction genre (broadly defined: I mean any book with a prominent lesbian character, not just lesbian romance), at least not in the near future, because there are always new lesbians coming out, looking for characters they can relate to. Phew, that was long-winded. I’d be glad to know what you all think of it.

Do you still feel like it’s necessary to seek out lesbian characters in media? Why or why not? How did you feel about lesbian fiction when you were first coming out/when you were first coming out to yourself? Has its importance changed since then?

2 Replies to “Why lesbian fiction still matters”

  1. allis

    I think it’s fantastic that lesbian fiction exist.
    When I first came out I remember trying to find books or movies with lesbian characters I could identify to, or just get comforted in the fact that people wrote books with main lesbian characters. I had a hard time to find any at first, so I was overly happy when I discovered Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

    I haven’t read much lesbian fiction, and still don’t read very much, but it’s nice to know it exists. I still have a hard time to find any to be honest and it saddened me in a way. Most lesbian fiction I read or watched, I was able to do so thanks to the Internet. When I go to one of the biggest book shop around here, I’m always disappointed to find they don’t have lesbian books. Or if they do, you have to order them, so it’s the same than via the Internet… It’s a little sad that there isn’t much visibility, but this shop did create some years ago a dvd section for gay and lesbian movies.

    1. Danika the Lesbrarian

      Yes, the first time you find a lesbian book you feel like you’ve stumbled on something so rare and precious, and it’s mind blowing when you find out there are thousands of others! Fingersmith is definitely a good first book to find.

      That is sad. Sometimes you can find some mixed in, but you really have to know what you’re doing and have an encyclopedic knowledge of lesbian authors (Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Anne-Marie MacDonald are ones that you can often find in the general fiction section).

      I definitely agree with you that it’s comforting to know it’s out there. Especially now that I have a couple shelves of them.


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