You want to put WHAT in my YA?
GLBTQ books started out as pulp fiction passed around after WWII much like you might have snuck around to read the Harlequin romances your mom had stashed away in the bedroom. From there, they moved to small presses and self-published works. Large publishers released books with gay and lesbian characters, but it was much like Brandon from the movie Easy A: a side character, easy forgotten, and often not necessary. And unlike Brandon, who got his dancer in the end, all of the gay and lesbian characters had a bad end – death, madness, loneliness – no one got past the first kiss. It wasn’t until John Donovan’s “I’ll Get There, It Better Be Worth the Trip” (1969) that someone survived, and even then, it wasn’t really the fairy tale of happy ever after. It was as if publishing decided that mainstream wasn’t ready for GLBTQ population to have their Disney Cinderella ending, so it shouldn’t be published.
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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