We’re seeking submissions of Young Adult stories with bisexual main characters! We’re looking for main characters ages 14-18 who experience positive character growth though the story.
Please see the information in the poster above or check our our submission guidelines.
See a more complete list of what we’re looking for at the original post. And please, give us feedback if there’s something you’d like to see that we’ve left out.
Or, Here’s an idea!
Instead of making the character’s sexuality the centerpiece, Go pick up a book and read it.
A character’s sexuality isn’t specified, important to the story, or mentioned? They’re Bisexual. Or Asexual. Or Gay. Or undecided. There, that wasn’t Hard.
I get so tired of the LGBT community putting so much emphasis on Orientation that they drown the fact that these are People, As if gender preference in a sexual partner was the only possible thing that can define you as a person.
Most of the people I associate with don’t know my orientation because I keep it on a need to know basis. I also don’t tell them that I prefer lead based solder over lead free, a preference that has an important impact on my everyday life. Or that I prefer a minivan to every other form of automobile. Or that I prefer being Nude at home if at all possible.
Turning a Preference into a ‘Lifestyle’ is what turns People into Stereotypes. Doesn’t matter if it’s sexuality, music, media, or consumer goods. When you make ‘What I like to Do’ into ‘Who I Am’, you’re part of the Problem.
Maybe not to you personally, but it does to me. To a lot of people who identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. To a lot of People of Color. To a lot of people with disabilities. To a lot of people who don’t get a lot of opportunities to see themselves in the media they consume.
Media forms our ideas about what’s beautiful and what’s not. What’s acceptable and what’s not. What’s broken and what’s not. It’s important for people to be able to see themselves in media. It’s important for marginalized groups to be seen in media.
A lot of people who are questioning their sexual/romantic orientation or gender identity use media representation to help figure out how they actually feel. Without books, movies, and television shows showing LGBTQ+ people, they lose that resource.
I don’t know for certain how different my life would have been if I’d seen or read about more asexual characters growing up, but I know it would have changed. I probably wouldn’t have been in my 30s when I figured out I was asexual. I probably wouldn’t have spent part of my later teenage years wondering what was wrong with me.
And if there were more asexual representation in media, I might not encounter so many people who still think there’s something wrong with me. Because that’s the other side of it. Representation not only validates the people being represented, but it affects the opinions of everyone else who consumes the media as well.
And that’s why we can’t pretend a character is gay or bisexual or asexual or questioning or transgender or whatever else they want to see represented, because it’s not the same thing. The benefits that come from actual representation don’t exist if we’re just pretending or arbitrarily assigning a sexual/romantic orientation or gender identity to a character who doesn’t have it assigned in text.
Even if the benefits were the same, pretending just doesn’t work, unless we’re supposed to pretend that minor background characters identify as LGBTQ+. Most main characters talk about their love interests, and while that may leave room to pretend a character is bisexual or pansexual or even an alloromantic asexual, it does eliminate the possibility of them exclusively experiencing same-gender attraction. A lot of main characters in media are shown having sex and experiencing sexual attraction, which means we can’t pretend they’re asexual. Most of them are comfortable with the names and pronouns they were assigned at birth and don’t talk about any body issues beyond weight and pimples, so it’s difficult to pretend they’re trans or agender or non-binary or genderqueer.
And even if there is a main character that doesn’t have any of those issues, when we say publicly that we feel they identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, the rest of the world disagrees with us and tells us that they have to be straight and cis because otherwise it would have been mentioned.
So yes, it actually is hard.
And, by the way, nothing in this call for submission says that being bisexual has to be the defining characteristic of the main character. It has to be a characteristic of the main character. We want books with characters who read like real people who happen to identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. And the book doesn’t have to revolve around them identifying that way either. We want fantasies and mysteries and science fiction and historicals and romances. We want teenagers who go on amazing journeys and teenagers who deal with real life problems. We want characters who are out and proud and characters who are in the closet and characters who are still figuring out who they are. We want characters who are jocks or cosplayers or who love math or science or literature or all of the above. We want characters who do well in school and who don’t and who don’t go at all for whatever reason. We want characters from big families and small families and no family and who find a family.
We want them to be real, not defined by their sexual/romantic orientation or gender identity.
But through all of that, we want the fact that they identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum to be clear. Because you know what? If they didn’t identify as LGBTQ+, there’s a really good chance that fact would be made clear, and we deserve nothing less.
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree! I am writing a character who is asexual, and I have him explicitly mention that he is. I even have him mention some of the issues he’s had identifying as asexual, but it is not the sole centerpiece of the book.
It’s easy to see heterosexuality in books, especially if the sexual attraction to the opposite sex is obvious. Maybe you’re talking about treating it as no big deal, like this guy just happens to be dating a guy and it’s no big deal, but in our society, it still is a big deal. People are still ignorant, prejudiced, and hateful against anything that is not heteronormative. Not to mention we WANT more representation, and so of course we want to be able to talk about our orientations so people can understand.
I see a lot of headcanons going around on Tumblr that mention the possibility of such and such character being asexual, but there is never an explicit mention of it, and I WANT an explicit mention. I don’t want asexuality to be the sole defining factor, but I also don’t want to have to analyze a character to see if he or she is asexual.
People have mentioned the possibility of Katniss Everdeen being asexual, but it’s never even explicitly stated in the book. Only people who know about asexuality would try to analyze this, but people who don’t, who think it’s strange, who don’t think it exists, are just going to assume she’s heterosexual.
So, for me, I want asexuality to be explicitly stated so that those reading books like this can understand asexuality and what it means for that character to be asexual—without it being the sole defining factor, of course.
*Not spoiler* My MC in this most recent book I’m drafting is struggling trying to accept that his boyfriend is dead and has been dead for a year, but he also mentions that his asexuality has caused a few problems along the way in his relationship, especially when he began identifying as asexual in middle school. But he occasionally mentions this throughout the book as it relates to a certain situation he’s in. Otherwise, the entire book revolves around survival and escape, not him struggling to accept his asexuality, because he already accepts it.