So it has been awhile since I've updated this, but I have been doing lots of reading, mostly along the same theme. I've been doing a lot of reading for my senior project that I will be doing in the fall, writing a young adult novel featuring a transgender character. So, all of my books in this post in some way will feature a character from the LGBTQ community.
The first is Hero by Perry Moore, which was different because it is a novel about a boy who joins a superhero league, but he has a dilemma because he is gay, and he doesn't know of any gay superheros. While the story line was somewhat predictable, a typical YA LGBTQ novel, it was different in the fact that it could be considered science fiction/fantasy. There aren't many YA novels with gay characters that are set in this genre. I also thought that the author did a good job of presenting the dilemma that many gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual teenagers have, and that is the dilemma of coming out to the friends and family, especially when they know that they might not necessarily be accepted. This is one I would definitely put on your list to read.
The next book, Roving Pack by Sassafras Lowrey, definitely opened my eyes when it comes to LGBTQ teenagers. Set in Portland, OR, it follows the story of a group of teens and young adults that come to a teen shelter especially for queer teenagers, so they have a place to stay if they're kicked out, or just a place to hang out where they can just be themselves. Because the novel was told from the point of view of a transgender teenager, Lowrey did an excellent job depicting their lives. A lot of the time, transgender teenagers have a more difficult time, just because it is harder for a lot of people to understand what they really go through. If more people were educated on this subject, life wouldn't be so difficult for these transgender teens.
The next three books, Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin, Totally Joe by James Howe, and Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez, all were good in the aspect of depicting non-gender conforming characters, but they weren't necessarily stand out novels on their own, though they were entertaining reads. They do a good job in including a lot of different characters, so readers can get the whole picture while reading these books.
Through reading all of these books, it's become more clear to me that if we as a society were more accepting of people who are different than us, we wouldn't feel the need to make sure that characters like LGBTQ characters were included in literature, they already would be. In fact, in a perfect society, we wouldn't need labels at all. People are just people. I think Josh Hutcherson said it well when he said "I'm so sick of saying the words gay and lesbian. It's just people. One day I want my son to come home from school and be like 'Dad, I found this guy, and I love him.' And I'll be like 'Yes, you do, and that's okay.'" We need more people that like this in world. With thinking like that, I believe we will be able to change the world. And yes, it is slowly changing, but not for everyone. At some point, it would be wonderful if the United States could be a place where everyone felt comfortable in their own skin, comfortable enough to just be who they are and not be judged. That may be a pretty difficult goal to achieve, but someday, I think it can happen.