Q is for Queer Fiction

Queer fiction and LGBT fiction is the same fiction, isn’t it? Otherwise this whole post is wrong. Very wrong. Since LGBT (or GLBT. whichever.) does not start with Q. They better be the same fiction.

So in school, there were classes on queer fiction and other classes (not necessarily on fiction) about things LGBT (or maybe it was GLBT. Can’t quite recall. whichever.).

I wondered than what was the difference between queer and LGBT. I thought they are same thing; it is just that queer is an older word from before the acronym LGBT existed. Doesn’t being queer mean being LGBT? But some teachers are older than other teachers . . .

So then I thought – still think! – that all LGBT fiction, all queer fiction and everything termed gay and lesbian fiction all belong under the same umbrella: LGBT. Is that right? If there are differences, I don’t know what they are. (Someone tell me!!!)

So, I don’t read a lot of LGBT fiction. In fact, depending on how it’s defined, I don’t read any. I have not created a GLBT shelf on my Nook; I don’t feel the need for such a shelf. I do read a few gay romances, but they are LGBT only so far as they star gay characters.

I suppose I think of LGBT fiction as the literary type of fiction. (I haven’t read any at all!!) They kind of books where the sexuality of the characters is a plot point.

The romances I read are not very literary. Neither are the science fiction and fantasy books (some of these masquerade as romance!). Sometimes the sexuality is a plot point, but lots of times it isn’t.

I am thinking of books like the PsyCop series by Jordan Castillo Price (urban fantasy). The Point of Hopes series by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett (fantasy). The Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux. This last one is marketed as romance/mystery and is the only one in which the sexuality of the characters has even a minor impact on plot. (So I think!)

They all star gay characters, all of them in relationships, so romance is a factor in all of them. The PsyCops series was, I think (not sure!), originally published by an erotica publisher, but is presently published by the writer’s own press (she founded her own! Kind of amazing, yes?). The other two are published by companies specializing in gay and lesbian titles (or queer fiction, yes, yes, yes!!!).

It’s just that in my own head LGBT fiction = literary fiction. It doesn’t mean every story with a non-heterosexual main character. I don’t know where I got this idea but . . . am I so wrong, then?

27 thoughts on “Q is for Queer Fiction

  1. I’ve never been sure on what exactly LGBT fiction is, but I know more about the term “queer”. As far as I can tell (and I’m not expert, I just read a lot), LGBT refers to specific labels of sexuality/gender, while the term “queer” is sort of an umbrella for anything not heteor/cis-gender. Many complaints about LGBT are based around the fact that’s it’s only got 4 labels, and misses things like asexuality, pansexuality, agender, bigender, intersex etc. I hope that makes sense 🙂

  2. Interesting post, Sonia. I don’t have any answers for you, unfortunately, so I’m glad Anika did. I stopped by from the A to Z Challenge. Thanks for stopping by my page! I wish you luck as we’re on the downhill side!

  3. I think someone somewhere along the line decided LGBT was more politcally correct-sounding than “queer,” but I think I prefer the word “queer.”

  4. For some reason it took me the longest time to keep the acronym LGBT in my memory, but like Kari, I think it’s a more politically term.

  5. I also believe it’s a PC term, but I haven’t read anything in this genre. Thanks for the interesting post. I learned a few things from your information and the comments.

  6. I’ve also seen LGBTQ, so maybe that’s something else entirely. I’m all for consenting adults to do what they like without my interference; but by the same token, I don’t need to know all the details, either. 🙂

  7. I’ve read books where gender identity is a major plot point and others where it’s not. I sometimes get confused with the acronyms and labels.

  8. You had classes on LGBT fiction? What exactly did you study to get exposure to such classes? I was not even aware of the term until I joined my writing site two years back. I knew what’s gay and lesbian, but I hadn’t heard of LGBT or Queer.

    Then I came in contact with some wonderful people- Gay, Lesbian, Transgender people. I am ashamed to say that before meeting these friends, lesbian and gay was just another species of living “creatures” roaming around. But after making friends and learning about their problems/worries/lifestyle, I have learnt to appreciate the real meaning of these words.

    Although I agree with Anika, I don’t like the word “queer” in itself because it means strange. These people are not strange, just a bit different from us, yet almost similar to us.

    1. Well, the school had classes and I saw them when I was searching for classes to take. I never took any, mostly because they didn’t meet any needs in terms of timing and general requirements. Some of the electives that I took did spend some time on different sexuality, even if they weren’t solely on GLBT.

      And also, I have to say such exposure as that is always going to be the best teacher.

  9. I don’t know much about it, but I’ve never really thought of LGBT as strictly literary fiction — to me it seems more like a trendy buzzword/term.

  10. I’ve actually never heard of Queer fiction, though queer and LGBT aren’t synonymous to me. Queer in my mind is “strange” or “unusual”, not homosexual.

    One of my favorite series is the Lord John series by Diana Gabaldon, but the focus is more on the mystery and not on the gender.

    1. Oh I love the Lord John series too! Yeah, that’s true, though he’s in the closet – well, it would hardly be safe for him to come out – but it’s not a major plot point, yeah.

  11. There is one piece missing actually. Some books are written (or art done) by writers who are openly gay and they involve (or not) gay or lesbian characters into their stories. I can’t seem to find the word that explains that kind of litterature, but I know there is a word…

    Very interesting post! Thank you for your visit on my blog!
    With great respect! A.

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