YA LGBT Books discussion

58 views
Book Related Banter > Why are there so many adult LGBT groups/books?

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by chillin (new)

chillin (angrychill) | 5 comments Seriously! I, as a young queer person, feel especially repelled by so many age-restricted LGBTQA+ reading groups which would usually offer an opportunity to finally find more representation of myself in fiction and connect with similar peers - but instead of open doors, I'm met with a big, flashing red sign saying "NO ONE UNDER 18 ALLOWED" with a bouncer on the door!

Is this an issue with the readers, with the authors, or society itself?

I know that a lot of authors and books love fetishizing same-sex relationships because of the erotic appeal, and that a lot of books deal with pretty heavy subjects in regard to discrimination - but is everyone unable to simply tell a lesbian love-story with a happy ending, where the Main Driving Issue™ is NOT "she's x, she's y, and she's gay - a fact that she has to hide"?

Not to mention - heterosexual and homosexual aren't the only kinds of orientations that exist! There's bisexual, pansexual and asexual people, as well - and for those in the gray spectrum, there's demiromantic, aromantic, heteroromantic - you name it.

EVEN THEN, when will we get a trans lead?

So... why? Why is almost every single title in the LGBT book category an erotic M/M novel, where the main point of a character is to Be Gay but also to Hide Being Gay From Everyone? Perhaps it's simply an issue of not looking hard enough, but it seems that those types seem to the most popular, so...

I just.. Really want a normal romance that isn't overly-sexual, or only composed of a cis gay white cast, or full of badly-pulled cliches and tropes.

Ok, I think... That's everything that I wanted to say. Pardon all the Random Capitalizations and occasional spelling error (English is not my native language!) - I just joined Goodreads and already I'm feeling peeved beyond tomorrow. But anyhow, I'm really curious if anyone would respond to this. Please don't kill me.

*trans - may also refer to transgender, nonbinary, agender, questioning, genderfluid, bigender, etc.

And I, uh, this is my first post here, so I hope everything is alright and according to rules...? If not, I terribly apologize and won't do the same mistake again!


message 2: by Sammy Goode (last edited Oct 18, 2017 06:01PM) (new)

Sammy Goode | 5380 comments Well, first let me say that the idea of LGBT Novels began in the m/m realm so to answer the lead question I'm betting that's why there are so many groups focused on m/m. But I also know that just in the last year we have begun to see many more rainbow genders begin to sprout novels. Matthew J Metzger and Robin Reardon come to mind as authors who have focused attention on not only transgender but asexual and gender fluid characters who are the focus of their novels.

I think Kaje and others here could definitely offer up some great lesbian heroine themed novels that this group has read and enjoyed.

As far as the age thing I'm thinking since English is not your first language you might not be from the United States. Unfortunately, many of the LGBT groups here are driven by members mostly situated in the United States and because of that you'll find age restrictions on those groups basically because of content which includes a lot of pictures and sometimes videos that would not be allowed to be viewed by someone under the age of 18 in the US. Often times, an age restricted group is operating under the rules and restrictions of either Goodreads or the country in which it originated and not necessarily because they want to necessarily restrict younger teenagers etc. from being in a group. That's not to say that there are groups who do want to restrict who could be in them but again, that's their choice.


message 3: by chillin (last edited Oct 18, 2017 01:52PM) (new)

chillin (angrychill) | 5 comments Sammy Goode wrote: "Well, first let me say that the idea of LGBT Novels began in the m/m realm so to answer the lead question I'm betting that's why there are so many groups focused on m/m. But I also know that just i..."

Thanks for your input! But for the last bit it seems especially weird to me - is it illegal in the USA to be a part of/talk about LGBT+ issues or something? I see no reason (other than the books containing sex- which I mostly complained about in the OP) for people to keep minors out simply for being an LGBT+ gathering.

I might be missing something though, I'm pretty tired.

ADD: "...you'll find age restrictions on those groups basically because of content which includes a lot of pictures and sometimes videos that would not be allowed to be viewed by someone under the age of 18 in the US." So they post inappropriate content, or viewing gay cuddles is for some reason NSFW?


message 4: by Sammy Goode (last edited Oct 18, 2017 05:58PM) (new)

Sammy Goode | 5380 comments Well it's a bit more than gay cuddles I'm afraid. There's also BDSM themed material and definitely some pretty intense porn like material that is x rated. So you see if they allow 13 And 14 years olds on their sight it's problematic that their will be trouble. Also there's always the real possibility of an older person trying for a hook up or even an exchange of personal sexual material on adult sights and since there is no way to know a person's actual age they could end up unknowingly soliciting a minor without the 18 or older rule. Because everyone is, in essence, of a legal age that type of thing is not closely monitored but usually discouraged although much can go on in private messaging within a group. You see now why it might be prudent for adult oriented LGBT sights to limit the age of their participants.


Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~ (linda2485) | 336 comments chillin - It's not illegal to talk about LGBT+ issues. It is illegal to show porn to children, and a lot of those adult groups include threads that share pics, gifs of pornographic nature. Plus, as with this group, many people feel that full-on sex is a no-no for kids, and sex is kind of the standard in erotic books. It's not just M/M though. M/F groups covering books that include sex and that share sexy pics will also be restricted to those 18 or older.


message 6: by Rez (new)

Rez Delnava (rez_delnava) | 582 comments Goodreads is also based in California, so they're bound by the state's laws, one of which makes it a felony for allowing minors to access sexually explicit material of any kind.


message 7: by J.T. (new)

J.T. Hall | 12 comments
Is this an issue with the readers, with the authors, or society itself?


Society itself is the answer, particularly the U.S. where anything sexual in nature must be 18 years and older, because that's considered the age of consent. The groups are required by law to have those kinds of restrictions, sorry!

We're still in the infancy for LGBT literature, particularly non-CIS, so be patient. I think we'll see more and more as time goes on.


message 8: by chillin (new)

chillin (angrychill) | 5 comments I think there might've been a lapse in communication - of course pornography is inappropriate, but the thing I wanted to ask more is --

Why are so many LGBT novels adult-oriented and themed?


message 9: by Ay (new)

Ay  (amazonaute) | 18 comments I guess it’s because we write about ourselves first. Also, as an adult, writing about kids for kids is usually a different process. It might start the same, but the choices along the way are usually different. This is just my opinion though.


message 10: by Kaje (last edited Oct 20, 2017 07:32AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16464 comments Romance writing in general has become frequently at least mildly erotic, so there is a whole huge array of such books out there, both LGBT and straight. Think of 50 Shades which was hugely successful, straight, and very sexually explicit. Sex is popular.

To some extent, the LGBT sex content is more likely to get reported or become an issue for regulation than straight sexual content in books, so books with that content may be more careful to keep it under 18+ wraps. But to some extent, there is also a bit of a tendency to pull readers into the genre of M/M with the heat factor, and then have them stay for the stories. So there is perhaps a heavier lean toward erotic content gay romances. The degree to which inappropriate fetishization occurs is a matter of debate but certainly there is some, but there are also excellent stories in M/M that include some 18+ sex content but where it is important to the emotional storyline.

Also bear in mind that any Goodreads group that may want to discuss even one 18+ book content in any explicit detail is supposed to have an 18+ designation per Goodreads rules. So if you want that option open, you have to set the group to adult. You might be talking about 900 low-sex books, and 10 with erotic content, and the whole group still has to be 18+. And especially with people being more touchy about LGBTQ sex content (and with the popularity of some explicit titles) most LGBTQ groups are going to set up that way so they don't have to worry about it.

For this group to stay public and all ages, Sammy and I have to police the content as moderators - we have removed mention of 18+ books, deleted discussion posts, asked members to tweak creative writing that went over 18 , and very occasionally even had to block members, when the content was not under-18-appropriate. That's more hands-on and decision-making and explaining than some group moderators want to undertake.

There are quite a few good LGBTQ books that are not mainly about sex. Although to be honest, I seldom remember how much erotic content there is in books, so I hesitate to recommend F/F books like, for example, Gerri Hill to anyone under 18 without checking them (because yeah, I could get in trouble too) We have 293 lesbian YA books on our shelves - many YA are specifically about coming out issues, but some are not. (I know the gay books better than the lesbian.)

However you are absolutely correct that we could use more YA books that simply have LGBTQ main characters without having it be about the fact that they are LGBTQ. And more diversity. It is coming along - we list over 100 trans and over 100 bisexual YA stories, but only 17 Ace, and not enough pan or demi to have shelves for those yet. And definitely more POC main characters. There is a lot of writing and representing to be done.


message 11: by Lexxi Kitty (new)

Lexxi Kitty (lexxikitty) | 13 comments Sammy Goode wrote: "Well, first let me say that the idea of LGBT Novels began in the m/m realm so to answer the lead question I'm betting that's why there are so many groups focused on m/m.

Your comment confuses me. Can you elaborate?

Are you referring back to homosexual lovers being mentioned in ancient Greek works? Not sure what the earliest would be. Hmms. Every time I think I've on to something, I get a 5th century BC date. mmphs. Wait, no, there's a sixth century BC poet. Sixth century BC being the years 600-501. Which I mention because I kept confusing myself. 1931's 'Strange Brother' by Blair Niles (platonic relationship between a woman and a gay man). 1948's 'The City and the Pillar' by Gore Vidal, gay protagonist. 'thirty gay paperback books were published in 1965, and that over a hundred were in 1966'.

Earliest Lesbian works would probably correspond to Sappho who lived 630-570. There's probably something in between Sappho and J. Sheridan Le Fanu, but I, again, think immediately of 'Carmillo', because a group is currently reading it - lesbians and vampires, that one. From 1872. hmm, 1923 'first volume of openly lesbian love poetry in US' - 'On A Grey Thread'. Then, of course, there's 'The Well of Loneliness' in 1928 by Radcliffye Hall, though that's a depressing book. 'First explicitly lesbian autobiography' in 1939 - 'Diana: A Strange Autobiography', by Frances V. Rummell. 1943's Jane Bowles' 'Two Serious Ladies'. 1949's 'Olivia' by Dorothy Strachey (and this one focuses on teenagers). 1950's 'Women's Barracks' by Tereska Torrès (this one also includes a bisexual). 1952's Vin Packer's 'Spring Break'. 1952's 'The Price of Salt' by Claire Morgan aka Patricia Highsmith ('first lesbian novel with a happy ending'). Ann Bannon's lesbian novels (which routinely also featured a gay man named Jack Mann) - 1957's 'Odd Girl Out', 'I Am Woman', 1959's 'Women in the Shadows', 'Journey to a Woman', and 1962's 'Beebo Brinker'.

Earliest bisexual works probably pre-date Aphra Behn, though I thought of her immediately as I'm currently reading a biography about her. She was actively writing in roughly 1660-1689. Well, there might be some stuff before that, so I'll just say she was born roughly around 1637-1643. The more explicit bisexual work, apparently, tended to be more in the poems than in the plays and novels. At least that's what I've picked up so far.


message 12: by Lexxi Kitty (last edited Oct 19, 2017 09:32AM) (new)

Lexxi Kitty (lexxikitty) | 13 comments 'Why is almost every single title in the LGBT book category an erotic M/M novel' -
Of course you shouldn't go just by me, but let me look at my shelves:
I've 1 work on my agender shelf.
I've 5 works on my aromantic shelf.
20 on my asexual shelf.
100 on my bisexual/bioromantic shelf.
3 on my demisexual shelf.
64 on my gay (m/m) shelf (and obviously there's more than 64 such books out there)
600 on my heterosexual shelf as read (I think all read; I'd have to look to confirm)
I've personally read 652 lesbian fiction works (and another 179 on my unread lesbian fiction shelf).
28 on my transgender shelf (and, maybe obviously, maybe not obviously, there's more than 28 transgender works out there).

So - not every single title is an M/M erotic novel in the LGBTIQA+ book category.

--
In terms of groups - the 18+ is probably for the reasons already stated - threads that contain explicit material in the groups.
--
Hmms. Just looked at all the LGBT groups I'm a member of. All but two have an 'adults only' or 18+ comment in group info. The two without those words are this group this thread is in, and https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/... - which just has 'This is a public group. Anyone can join and invite others to join.' (just looked in the group guidelines thread, I do not see, yet, anything about an age restriction; might be something in there in that longish thread).


message 13: by chillin (new)

chillin (angrychill) | 5 comments Lexxi Kitty wrote: "'Why is almost every single title in the LGBT book category an erotic M/M novel' -
Of course you shouldn't go just by me, but let me look at my shelves:
I've 1 work on my agender shelf.
I've 5 wor..."


W-whoa, actually, those numbers scare me -- but, mind sharing some of your favourites and perhaps give recommendations? Anything's fine (as long as it's not explicit sex). And is the agender book any good?


message 14: by Lexxi Kitty (last edited Oct 19, 2017 11:04AM) (new)

Lexxi Kitty (lexxikitty) | 13 comments chillin wrote: "W-whoa, actually, those numbers scare me -- but, mind sharing some of your favourites and perhaps give recommendations? Anything's fine (as long as it's not explicit sex). And is the agender book any good?

The agender one is a side character. In a super long fanfiction (1031 pages) that includes lesbians, bisexuals, and possibly heterosexuals. I forget now if there are heterosexuals in there. I do not specifically recall if it is explicit or not, but I think it is.

So, favorites that aren't explicit -
Only one on my six star shelf (I needed a shelf for 'top tier' that is only reachable by rereading; there are only 4 works on the shelf) that is LGBT is not young adult friendly.

5+ shelf. Let's see. You mentioned novels, so I'll stick to those. Let's see. Drat. I normally skim or skip over sexually explicit stuff, (with the occasionally longish gaze upon such scenes), so making sure a particular book doesn't include something explicit is made tougher. I need to remember to use my 'sexually explicit' & 'not sexually explicit' shelves. I can't find any novel length works I feel safe to recommend from my 5+ shelf. From short works I can recommend:
Asexual fiction: J. Holland's Lost & Found (two main characters, one asexual, other is lesbian; the asexual character gives off young adult vibes; other gives off 'I'm not sure of age' vibes; both main characters are female)
Bisexual fiction: Jae's The Boston Marriage (Gilmore Girls fanfiction, both main characters are college age. I do not believe either starts the story as a lesbian)
Lesbian fiction: Faith Mudge's Humanity for Beginners (though main character is in her 40s)
M/M fiction: Marie Jacquelyn's Puss in Prada (not sure of age of characters, though probably 30+)

5 star shelf Zoe Reed's Breaking Legacies - stars teenagers in a fantasy world. Includes a lesbian romance. The characters face adult problems and I, occasionally, forgot that the main characters were teenagers. I'm about 90% certain that the book is not explicit. - (I asked and found out there's at least one explicit scene).
Short works: The Faerie Godmother's Apprentice Wore Green by Nicky Kyle stars an aromantic asexual in a different fantasy world. Nothing even touching explicitness. Nor, for that matter, romance.
Welcome to Your Afterlife by Stephanie Rabig - stars an asexual cupid (who doesn't like to be touched) mixed up with a bisexual succubus. Another one where I'm closer to 90% certain no sex occurs (graphic or otherwise), but I'd forgotten to include the story on my 'yes sex' 'no sex' shelves.

hmms. Disappointing results.


message 15: by Sammy Goode (new)

Sammy Goode | 5380 comments Ok, first off I was responding more to the "groups" portion of the topic question as I felt since it was mentioned first it seemed to be the main topic for discussion. I have no doubt that lesbian lit and other novels focusing on other than the m/m pairing have been around for centuries. However in my humble and most possibly wrong opinion, Goodreads has not been focused on these more marginalized groups under the rainbow spectrum until much more recently.

So, responding to the original query I chose to focus on explaining the age restriction and propensity of M/M focused groups.

I love that folks are giving their favorite books.


message 16: by Sammy Goode (new)

Sammy Goode | 5380 comments Lexi Kitty, my comment about m/m focused books was in direct reference to the groups being predominantly m/m in focus. In other words all these m/m groups chose to focus AND promote authors writing in the M/m genre. It's one of the reasons this YA group was started. There was barely any place someone under the age of 18 or someone who loved and wanted to support YA authors could congregate to discuss novels that didn't have explicit sex or were more erotic in nature.

My hat is off to fellow mod, Kaje, for really pushing our group these last few years to be more inclusive and promote lesbian, asexual, transgender lit to name just a few.

Our group is stronger and more inclusive because of it.

But that's why I said what I said in my first response. Hope that lends clarity.


message 17: by Lexxi Kitty (new)

Lexxi Kitty (lexxikitty) | 13 comments Ah, I see. I thought you were saying that the Goodreads Groups focused on M/M because the first LGBT novels were M/M. But you were going the other way around. The books were M/M because the first Goodreads groups were M/M.

I'm not a member of any of the M/M groups, so I can't look at their dates. I assume that what you say is correct, as I had that impression to begin with. Heh, actually, I can only see when I joined those groups, not the foundation date for those groups. hmms. Well, I know the lists are predominantly M/M, since I keep having to create F/F lists when I want to look for specific stuff, and find almost nothing for a specific topic, except M/M lists for that topic.


message 18: by J.T. (new)

J.T. Hall | 12 comments Before there was "M/M" there was slash, which was mostly fanfiction centered around film, books, and movies and male characters who had really great chemistry together. The slash fanfiction had a huge growth spurt with the Internet, and from that came M/M romance with original characters and plotlines. A lot of slash fans migrated or expanded to include M/M, and thus you had the new groups on Goodreads. And these were mostly adults.

(This is completely separate from the evolution of LGBT fiction which was mostly about the experience of being LGBT, etc. And also separate from the appearance of LGBT characters in other genres like fantasy, mysteries, and so on.)

I think it's only recently that society has felt comfortable enough about gender and sexual identity to write YA novels with LGBTQIA characters, so it's not surprising that there's not a lot here yet for groups. Again, just give it time. I have a feeling it's going to expand rapidly.

Sadly it wasn't all that long ago that the very notion of these books was censored and even illegal.


message 19: by chillin (new)

chillin (angrychill) | 5 comments J.T. wrote: "Before there was "M/M" there was slash, which was mostly fanfiction centered around film, books, and movies and male characters who had really great chemistry together. The slash fanfiction had a h..."

First time I've seen fanfiction responsible for popularizing original lit. (if you take out the Mary Sue one).


message 20: by Lexxi Kitty (new)

Lexxi Kitty (lexxikitty) | 13 comments On the F/F side, there was a massive wave of fanfiction in the 1990s-2000s based off of the tv show Xena. Which included both direct fanfiction using the characters and universe, and original works (uber) that the characteristics of the two main female characters but not set in the Xena universe. And, in turn, these original works made it to being published by small publishers.

More recently it is Devil Wears Prada, SwanQueen (Once Upon a Time - I think that's the name of the show), and Supergirl which has created both direct fanfiction and original works (older woman/younger woman in business setting (Prada); single mother (SwanQueen)). A lot of the published works, at the moment, in F/F land is reworked fanfiction (more Prada, SwanQueen, & Xena - not sure a Supergirl one has been pulled and published yet).

This happens in M/F land as well. 50 Shades of Grey started off as Twilight Fanfiction, which in turn I think started off as fanfiction as well.


Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~ (linda2485) | 336 comments Fanfic becoming original fic is nothing new. Calling it fanfic is. ;)


back to top