Last November, Harmony Ink Press attended the Young Adult Library Services (YALSA) Symposium in St. Louis. It was a wonderful weekend where we made a lot of great connections and had a lot of fun.
There was one thing that really stuck with us, though.
One of the panels at the symposium was on LGBTQ Young Adult literature. There were several fantastic speakers, wonderful audience engagement, and lots of interesting ideas presented. The thing that really stuck with us out of all of this, though, was one of the statistics. Out of the thousands of Young Adult books published in 2012 (I believe the number they gave was 3,000), only 55 were going to be LGBTQ.
That’s not even 2%. It’s a depressing number. It means that LGBTQ kids are struggling to find books about people like them. It means that LGBTQ kids who are faced with homophobia or transphobia in their day to day lives don’t have the escape that so many people do. They can’t pick up a book and read about a world where it’s okay to be who they are. They can’t get lost in adventures of people who are like them… because they can’t find them.
We hear a lot about how important it is to have strong female characters in books and movies and television shows. We hear about how we need to show our daughters that they can grow up to be whatever they want to be. And people are listening. There are fantastic books that girls–and boys–can pick up and read about strong female characters who do what they need and want to do without giving up who they are.
And that’s fantastic
But don’t our LGBTQ sons and daughters deserve the same thing? Don’t we want to show them that they can be whatever they want, do whatever they want, without giving up a fundamental part of themselves. Don’t we want to give them characters to relate to… and characters they want to aspire to be like?
We think so. That’s why we started Harmony Ink Press.
Today, May 17, is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, a day designed to draw attention to this important, ongoing issue.
As part of that, we’re participating in the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia, where almost 200 writers, publishers, reviewers, and cover designers of LGBTQ books come together to share the message that being homophobic and transphobic is not okay.
As part of this event, every participant is giving away at least one prize. We will be giving away one ebook of any of our published novels and one digital copy of Waiting for Forever: Choices by Jamie Mayfield before you can buy it. To enter, comment here or on our Facebook post by May 27. Please leave a way to contact you. Winners will be announced & contacted on May 28.