by Malinda Lo, author of Ash
When Amelia asked me to blog about why it’s important to have LGBT-related books for young adults available in schools, I knew I had hundreds of answers. They come to me regularly in my email from readers around the world.
Here’s one: “You gave me someone to connect to, someone who made me feel normal. These attractions I have for girls are not some weird abnormality. … Thank you for the hope and courage you’ve given me and these wonderful characters and stories I can relate to.”
And another: “I read Ash without realizing that it was a lesbian book, but I quite enjoyed it, and then I waited for Huntress to hit the shelves. The books made me feel more comfortable, and I actually came out to my mother after I read Huntress. So. Thank you.”
And one more: “Ash is a character that I feel that I can connect to since I have also been exploring my feelings and my sexuality in the search for my own path, and her strength really makes me feel that I can also choose a life not so easily influenced by the desires of others.”
When I was a teen, I don’t remember reading any books that included gay characters who were normal; who didn’t have to fight for their rights to be who they were. I do believe that if I had had access to LGBT stories when I was a teen, my own coming-out experience would have been much easier. But when I wrote Ash, I didn’t write it to fill the gap in school libraries; I wrote it to fill the gap inside me. I was showing myself that love is love, and being gay is okay. I’m so glad that my books can do that for other readers now, too.