“Don’t worry,” we were told at school at the turn of the millennium. “They are more afraid of you than you.” If you’re talking about spiders, it’s a useful reassurance, but what’s the subject at issue here? Lesbian.
His well-meaning but clumsy case fits into the broader pattern of regressive messages at school at the time. At other girls’ schools, cellophane tape may be pressed against various arms and held up if it loses its adhesiveness. The smeared tape was a reminder to “save myself” for a (heterosexual) marriage.
Cut in the 2020s with the progress pride flag (updated rainbow) hanging outside the school. The cynic may be wondering: Which box in the anti-bullying policy checks this?
But other unthinkable things happen. School librarians have pride displays just like bookstores, and young people actually choose titles from them. In fact, they were in the bookstore in the first place, Heart stopper A series with almost no graphic novels or straight characters.
How did we get here? This era of LGBTQ + youth was made possible by the events of 1993 in the Irish context. In history, which was simply “homosexual rights” at the time, 1993 was the year of Victorian law that criminalized male homosexuals. The act has been abolished (thanks, David Norris).But it’s also the year Trinity’s academic Padrake White calls it the first Irish gay. BildungsromanOr a seijin-shiki novel has been published.
The title of the problem is When love comes to town Tom Lennon (author who died in 2002, published only under this pseudonym). Ivan O’Brien, managing director of the novel publisher O’Brien Press, recalls as a teacher, “using his real name probably sacrificed his work.” Here, he may remember that by 2015 he could have achieved this by prioritizing the “religious spirit” over the rights of employees at school.
Emma Donoghue’s Lesbian Coming Out Lennon’s Book Like A Story stir fry The following year, it was published as adult fiction, not specifically for teens, but both are now well suited to the Young Adult (YA) section of the market. Setting up pre-criminalization, it depicts Dublin, where voice Catholic informed homosexual aversion is standard and the fear of being “captured” by Gardai is completely justified.
As a story that comes out, especially for the purpose of enlightening straight readers When love comes to town Officially not radical. American YA fiction has included gay protagonists since the late 1960s, often treating the process that emerges as a “problem” that is resolved by the end of the story. Lennon’s book follows many of the same patterns, but presents a much closer world to Irish readers.
After this, you might expect a streamline of Irish-published material featuring gay protagonists, but that’s not the case. The country hasn’t changed overnight. This was before the divorce was legalized, before the last Magdalen laundry closed, and before the internet was carried on smartphones.
The close relationship with Britain was also a factor. At this point, Little Island publisher Matthew Parkinson-Bennet had the feeling that Irish children’s reading in English was dominated by British books, with notable exceptions. There is a move to publish many Irish books, and as a result, many historical novels. “
It felt like a necessary balance to the emphasis of the British Empire. A book exploring the Irish rebellion and the damage that Britain has done to its closest neighbor came together.This wave including Marita Konron-McKenna’s bestseller Children famine Although the trilogy was an important development for Irish children’s publishing as a whole, many of the modern novels available were still from abroad.
England and Wales denounced homosexuality in 1967, but the Margaret Thatcher administration introduced Section 28, a policy banning “promotion of homosexuality” in schools from 1988 to 2003.Depicting gay relationships in a non-judgmental way — one notable exception is Aidan Chambers Dancing in my grave (1982) However, the closure of the school book club market made it commercially infeasible.
These books existed, but they were few. Lorraine Levis, who is currently focusing on children’s and YA fiction at WH Smith Ireland, recalls: A caring librarian or bookstore. She said this was “relying on early Internet forums and word-of-mouth within the often-feared community,” which was not the case for many who were dominated by “some secrets.” I admit it.
The work of small publishers, including those specializing in gay and lesbian literature (such as Alyson Books in the United States), may be found in independent bookstores and then online. Most of them were Americans. Many of them were terrible. There is still a shortage of Irish-specific content, and even less content has been published in Ireland. Jarras Gregory’s novel featuring a young gay protagonist, snap shot (2001) and GAAY (2005) Outstanding at this point, both published by Sitric (the publisher of Lilliput Press).
However, despite the expansion of both the children’s and YA markets since the late 1990s, thanks to the popular franchise (Harry Potter, Twilight), Irish teenage fiction was largely unaffected by these changes. (In 2004, PoolbegPress published my fifth teenage novel. Good Girls Don’tFeaturing a bisexual heroine, only after a lot of discussion; there is no doubt that the light and “girly” impression influenced here. )
And in the last 10 years, something has exploded. Writer Meg Grehan recalls that “since he was a teenager”, only British or American writers could find Queer YA after that. “But now! There are many more. Queer books by Irish writers have a lot of love and support. It’s a lot of fun to see.”
Grehan’s own titles, including her recent sapphire vampire novel, count among these Baby teeth.. She is one of the few Irish YA writers who have characterized this field by regularly incorporating her relationships with the queer protagonist. Others include Ciara Smyth (romantic comedy), Moïra Fowley-Doyle (magical realism), CG Moore (modern fiction / recollections), Helen Corcoran (high fantasy), Adiba Jaigirdar (romance), Caroline O’Donoghue (city). Fantasy) is included.
Needless to say, all of these writers experienced post-criminalization adolescence and undoubtedly benefited from the increasing number of LGBTQ + representatives in the global media.
The impact of the 2015 Marriage Equality Referendum cannot be underestimated either.Although it did not create a rainbow utopia overnight, as was brilliantly observed in Jarras Gregory. What love looks like (2021), his first book labeled YA — there was another cultural change.
Even ten years ago, LGBTQ + -themed books were unlikely to be promoted in spaces that young readers might visit. But in recent years, as Mary Bridid Turner, a children’s bookstore, points out, LGBTQ +-themed “parents are coming for books.” Often, “explain that type of family” to your child, who has a classmate with same-sex parents. (Of course, it’s new, not their existence, but the openness of different family structures.)
The role of positive expression here is not just to encourage tolerance. British-born Bob Johnston, known to many book lovers as the owner of Gutter Bookstore, said in the shadow of Section 28, “I can never be happy or calm as a gay man. I grew up believing. “Like his own recent Our big dayAs Michael Emberley explained, “At that time, LGBTQ + life was available to show me that it could be as happy, fulfilling, and effective as any other kind of thing. did”.
This picture book on the marriage of same-sex couples after the referendum is worthy of being published by O’Brien Press, moving from Lennon’s rather harsh novel to a fun celebration of love. The “pretty dark future” that Grehan recalls from his young readings across different age groups is complemented by “a more hopeful and happy queer than popping up on the shelves.”
“There’s certainly more to do to provide a positive role model, especially for transgender, non-binary, and bi-use,” says Johnston. It is a familiar refrain in children’s books. The question of who has the right to tell these stories remains a thorny question, especially in the age of our angry-loving social media. Illustrator Margaret Ann Suggs is currently working on a picture book about a family “going home to vote” in a 2015 referendum, worried “Is this my place to talk?” was doing. For her, identifying her position as her ally helped clarify the story and message that “people of all kinds believed it was worth going home and voting.” rice field.
And as this sector of kid and YA fiction expands, it doesn’t bother too much. And free a book or writer from the impossible task of representing a large and diverse community. The question changes from “Why do you have a queer character?” As we approach such inclusion to reflect the world we live in, “Why?”