Diversity is important because it lets us know we’re not alone. So why is LGBTQ fiction lacking diversity? Why should I be expected to relate to white gay men when in reality the issues I struggle with in relation to my queerness also intersects with my gender and race? Why don’t I have a true range of novels to choose from when I want to read about girls like me? Why don’t black trans girls have any?
It’s not about having a character that’s exactly like me. I don’t truly expect anyone to come out with a book about a hella queer and hella ace and hella aro black daughter of Nigerian immigrants who also deals with mental illness and trauma. But asking for a book in which a queer girl is also black and has to deal with the intersection of misogynoir (antiblack misogyny) and heteronormativity shouldn’t be too much. It’s about having stories in which I can understand their lives and that give non-black or non-female or non-queer individuals a chance to understand mine.
Representation is important because it gives us hope that people like us can make it through horrific circumstances. But until all of us have the chance to glimpse that hope, there’s a huge problem.
I Was Made to Believe There’s Something Wrong With Me: Why #BlackLivesMatter in YA Lit – by Nakiya – Black Lives Matter Series on GayYA.org, Day #1