It’s been ten days since the original “Say Yes to Gay YA” post went up, and a lot has been said and done since then. Probably the best of the wrap-up posts is Cleolinda Jones’s. If you’re attempting to explain the whole conversation to someone who wasn’t in on it from the start, that’s the link to send them.
I also wanted to note a couple of other link lists, one by holyschist and one by qian, that highlight some long, thoughtful posts on QUILTBAG representation in YA and related matters. Once you’ve caught up on the general conversation, take some time to read those posts, especially the ones by oyceter and Alaya Dawn Johnson.
Finally, crucially, Malinda Lo has done an absolutely heroic job of compiling statistics on queer characters in U.S.-published YA fiction. The most depressing stat is the one that’s been quoted a lot elsewhere, but it bears repeating:
Finally, according to Harold Underdown’s YA Books Are Booming–but not That Much, there were approximately 4,000 YA titles published in 2010. That same year, only 11 LGBT YA titles were published. That amounts to 0.2% of YA books. That fraction is frankly too small to make a pie chart out of.
The numbers aren’t much better for this year. If we assume no growth and stick with 4,000 YA titles, we have 25 LGBT YA titles within that, which amounts to 0.6%. That means:
Less than 1% of YA novels have LGBT characters.
So we have our work cut out for us. I hope readers, writers, agents, publishers, librarians, booksellers, and critics will take a serious look at these numbers and the outpouring of support for YA with QUILTBAG characters, and will collaborate on creating wonderful books featuring queer teens–including books that aren’t “issue books”, including books where those queer teens aren’t white cisgender American boys, including romances with happy endings–and getting them into the hands of anyone and everyone who might appreciate them.