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LGBTQ+ Characters in YA Science Fiction & Fantasy

Gay Pride Flag

On June 28, 1969, members of the LGBT community rioted after police raided a gay bar called Stonewall Inn. The Stonewall Inn Riots proved to be a turning point in the LGBT civil rights movement. In celebration and memory of this momentous event in America, Pride Month now takes place in June. During this month, cities all over the nation host parades, marches, rallies, festivals, and other events to promote respect, equality, and pride for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. In honor of Pride month, and to help spread inclusiveness and representation I have created a list of some adult and YA science fiction and fantasy books that feature or focus on characters that are LGBTQ+.

 

The Steel Remains book cover

The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan

A prophecy states that a dark lord will rise and others speak of the return of a race of demons called Aldrain. Ringil Eskiath (Gil) and his two comrades are all that stand in the way of the dark forces at work. As the reluctant heroes are sent out on a mission to free Gil’s aristocratic cousin from slavery, they will be faced with dire circumstances at every turn.

This book features gay and lesbian characters.

Every Heart a Doorway book cover

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Stories always have children slipping into magical worlds through rabbit holes and old wardrobes, but the stories always end before you find out that when the children come back, they are changed forever. Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is the place that children go after magical lands spit them back out. All of the schoolmates understand the ways they were changed and are seeking a way back to their magical homes but when Nancy shows up, darkness follows her. The students will have to band together to figure out what is really happening.

This book features an asexual character.

Stranger book cover

Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown

After a major cataclysm changed the world, governments collapsed and society drastically changed. As a result, a mutation called “the Change” took over, giving some people superhuman abilities. Los Angeles was hit by the devastation just like every other major city. Now called Las Anclas, it is more Wild West frontier town than major metropolitan area. Ross Juarez is a teenage prospector who comes across an ancient book through his scavenging, and it proves almost deadly. The book holds a power that no one has ever seen before, and there are people that would kill to have it.

This book features gay and demisexual characters.

Luck in the Shadows book cover

Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling

When Alec of Kerry is locked up for a crime he didn’t commit; he is shoved in a cell with Seregil of Rhiminee. Seregil is many things including a spy, rogue, and thief, but he also becomes Alec’s mentor. Alec’s new apprenticeship isn’t all fun and games though, sinister plots run rampant and war is eminent. Alec and Seregil will have to depend on each other if they want to make it out alive.

This book features gay and lesbian characters.

London Falling book cover

London Falling by Paul Cornell

During an investigation, police officers Quill, Costain, Sefton, and Ross come into contact with a magical artifact that gives them the Sight. Now the officers truly know the evils of their city, and are bent on cleaning up their streets from the otherworldly creatures causing issues. However, the monsters aren’t happy about being policed and they will go to great lengths to stop it.

This book features a gay character.

Coda book cover

Coda by Emma Trevayne

The Corp has encoded addictive and mind-altering elements into music, allowing them to control all of their citizens while conduits feed their life energy into the power grid to sustain it all. One such conduit, Anthem, an 18-year-old boy, uses his underground rock band along with its pure, un-encoded music, to escape the trials of his life. But when one of his band members dies, revolution becomes the new song that everyone is singing.

This book features a bisexual male character.

Proxy book cover

Proxy by Alex London

Syd and Knox live in a world of proxies and patrons. Patrons are those that are above the law, while proxies are the ones who pay for any of the patrons crimes. Syd is a proxy and Knox is his patron, which is fine until the point where Knox gets in a car crash that kills someone else. Syd is sentenced to death for Knox’s crimes and the two are forced to flee to save Syd’s life, and try to overthrow the system.

This book features gay characters.

The One Hundred Nights of Hero book cover

Take Me Back by Isabel Greenberg

In Migdal Bavel, Cherry is married to an evil man named Jerome, who makes a deal that if his friend can seduce Cherry within 100 nights, then he will give him all of his property, including Cherry. Cherry works with her maid and love Hero to prevent this from happening. Hero will use all of her skills as a story teller to distract Manfred and save the woman she loves.

This book features lesbian characters.

An Accident of Stars book cover

An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

In an alternate universe called Kena, civil war is brewing. The tyrant Vex Leoden leads an empire that is bent on conquest but not everyone is happy with his plans. When Saffron suddenly finds herself transported to this reality, she finds herself linked to three such people. Gwen is a worldwalker that regrets helping Vex come to power, Viya is his escaped consort, and Zech is the follower of a powerful exile. All four are now being hunted by Vex’s forces, forcing them to seek asylum in a nearby kingdom ruled by the Council of Queens. But safety is fleeting because all four women have a fateful role to play.

This book features aromantic and bisexual characters.

The Thousand Names book cover

The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

Winter chose to dress up like a man and enlist in the Vordanai Colonials to escape her past, never expecting to have to lead. But when chance puts her in charge she will have to lead her men into battle alongside her compatriot Captain Marcus d’Ivoire. It will not be easy though, Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich has lofty goals that reach far into the supernatural realm, that might just drag Winter and Marcus down with him.

This book features lesbian characters.

The Stars are Legion book cover

The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley

The Legion is a bunch of war-torn world-ships floating through space, slowly decaying and dying. Zan has no memory of who she is or how she got with her “family” but they tell her that she is the only one that can save them. She is the key to getting in the only world-ship capable of escaping the Legion. But it isn’t so simple, and many people are plotting to take over the Legion or escape from it. Will Zan and her friends be able to survive long enough to see if her “family” was right?

This book features lesbian characters.

Santa Olivia book cover

Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey

Santa Olivia is the name of a saint and also the name of a deprived little town between Texas and Mexico. Loup Garron lives in Santa Olivia the daughter of a local woman and a genetically-manipulated “Wolf-Man”. Loup inherited her father’s superhuman characteristics, making her a misfit that eventually ends up at an orphanage in the parish church. Bristling at how they have been treated, Loup and the other orphans form a vigilante group to make things better for their town, with Loup dressing up as their patron saint. But they are all playing a dangerous game, which just might get them hurt, or even killed.

This book features a lesbian character.

Labyrinth Lost book cover

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Alex is a bruja (witch) but she hates magic. After she performs a spell to try to rid her of her magic, it backfires and her whole family disappears. She will have to work with Nova, a brujo boy, to get her family back.

This book features a bisexual character.

Of Fire and Stars book cover

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulhurst

Princess Dennaleia is betrothed to the Prince of Mynaria, a country that forbids magic. Unfortunately, Denna possesses a magical gift that she will have to keep a secret. As she is trying to keep a handle on her powers, she is also forced to learn the new customs of her betrothed’s kingdom, under the tutelage of the Prince’s sister Princess Amaranthine. Soon conflicts arise; Denna and Mare find themselves growing closer, and closer, forcing them to choose between their duties and their hearts.

This book contains lesbian characters.

Dreadnought book cover

Dreadnought by April Daniels

Dreadnought was the world’s greatest superhero until he died. Danny was there to see him die, and with his last bit of power, Dreadnought transferred all of his superpowers to Danny. Up until this point, Danny was just a kid trying to keep people from finding out that she was transgender, but with the onslaught of her new powers, her body has finally transformed into what she always wanted it to be. This isn’t the dream come true that she wanted it to be though. Her dad wants to “cure her”, her best friend is acting weird, other superheroes don’t know what to do with her, and Dreadnought’s killer is still on the loose.

This book features a transgender lesbian character.

Wake of Vultures book cover

Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen

Nettie Lonesome was nothing more than a slave until one day when she wins a fight with a dangerous stranger and it changes her life forever. Not everything is sunshine and roses though and there is something haunting her dreams and stealing children. Nettie will have to find out what is happening if she has any chance in keeping her new life.

This story features a transgender bisexual character.

When the Moon Was Ours book cover

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Sam and Miel are inseparable. Rumors abound about the strange duo. They say that roses grow from Miel’s wrists and no one really knows where Sam came from, but even with this weirdness, the Bonner Girls are much worse. The four sisters are said to be witches and no one is willing to cross them. That is until they come after Miel.

This book features a transgender character.

The Mirror Empire book cover

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

A cataclysm is approaching and it is sending the world into an unstoppable war. The kingdom of Saiduan is being slowly decimated and they are desperate to get help from their former slaves the Dhai. The Dhai are fighting their own battles though, trying to hold strong against the inevitable cataclysm. All the while, an orphan, an illegitimate ruler, a young fighter, a half-Dhai general, and all manner of blood mages, priestly assassins, and dangerous rulers will have to fight to survive what is coming.

This book features pansexual characters.

 

Archives of Sexuality and Gender

In honor of Pride month, I'm happy to share with you a brand new resource available to anyone with their library card. 

Interested in researching gender studies? Curious about how the LGBTQ community lived in New York City during the height of the AIDS crisis? Or are you looking for a topic to write about for history class? The Archives of Sexuality and Gender can help! This archive hosts the largest collection available in support of the study of gender and sexuality, enables scholars to make new connections in LGBTQ history and activism, cultural studies, psychology, health, political science, policy studies, and other related areas of research.

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