A new study reveals the power of first feeling and hearing about LGBTQ + people
The usual literature has a history of underrepresentation of LGBTQ + characters, choosing not to include them and focusing on heteronormative characters. Despite this, there is a history of LGBTQ + literature dating back to ancient Rome and Greece, it is simply rarely taught. For example, did you know that same-sex partnerships are found in Homer Iliadof Plato Symposium and Shakespeare Twelfth Night AND The merchant of Venice?
A new study by the biography writing service StoryTerrace has found that 65% of those in the LGBTQ + community say that reading stories they can relate to has a positive impact on their mental health. 49% also said they felt lonely and isolated because they rarely heard about people going through the same things they were.
Interestingly, it was not just reading similar stories that made a difference, the study also found that writing had a positive impact, with 48% in the community saying that writing creatively about their experiences allowed them to understand themselves better. 34% also noted that the diary has been the most helpful aid to their mental health to date.
Being seen in the mainstream media is essential, but so is being heard through writing. Gay author Roger Moreau wrote his life story with StoryTerrace and says it means a lot to him to be able to share his story, “Writing a manuscript of my life growing up in such a personal way and not being able to find the words to do it together, to have it written now in a way that makes me feel understood is amazing. ”
In response to the representation of LGBTQ + people in literature, Moreau says we have come a long way.
“When I was a teenager, it was rare to see a gay character on television. If you have seen a gay character, he is mostly portrayed as something negative. It was either the person who was sick and dying of an illness or was the victim of homosexual attacks. Today, there is so much acceptance and support – I absolutely love reading the LGBTQIA + memories and stories of someone overcoming adversity. It shows that there is hope and to move forward, no matter what you are going through in life. “
LGBTQ + memories and stories to explore
Most beautiful by Meredith Talusan
This memoir explores Meredith’s life, from being a child sitcom star in the Philippines to an award-winning writer. Discussing the topics of love, being ostracized, and gender, this is a touching memory to add to your list.
We have always been here: A bizarre Muslim memory by Samra Habib
From growing out of fear of her security in Pakistan to facing new challenges as a refugee in Canada, Samra writes about experiences of racism, religion, art and sexuality.
Being gay by Will Young
Best known for winning Pop Idol, Will takes us back to his early years to discuss inner shame, low self-esteem and what helped this memory.
In Their Shoes by Jamie Windust
Calling for non-binary self-acceptance and self-celebration, Jamie’s book discusses fashion, dating, mental health, and the challenges the trans community faces.
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Now a well-known Netflix series, the graphic novel series Heart stopper follows a love story for gay youth, with gay, bisexual, trans and asexual characters.
On a Sunbeam by Tillie Warden
Another graphic novel to enjoy, In a ray of sunshine takes you on a science-fiction journey exploring deep space and long-lost love.
Furies Invisible Heart’s by John Boyne
Exploring identity, home and family, this novel follows the protagonist Cyril Avery from 1940s Ireland to the present day.
If you are struggling with your mental health and you are in the LGBTQ + community, you can use the Counseling Directory to find a counselor.