Of the approximately 3,700 books we received at the CCBC in 2017, we counted:
- 135 (3.65%) with significant LGBTQ+ content.
- Of these, 21 (15.56%) were #OwnVoices (written by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+). However, this does not necessarily mean that the author's identity aligns with that of the character, e.g. a cisgender bisexual woman could create a transgender lesbian character.
This number (135) includes books with LGBTQ+ primary or significant secondary characters, LGBTQ+ families, nonfiction about LGBTQ+ people or topics, and what we've been calling "LGBTQ+ metaphor" books (more on that in a moment). Here's the breakdown:
- 62 books (45.93%) feature an LGBTQ+ primary character
- 36 books (26.67%) include an LGBTQ+ secondary character without an LGBTQ+ primary character
- 25 books (18.52%) include an LGBTQ+ family
- 9 books (6.67%) are nonfiction (not including graphic novels)
- 3 books (2.22%) are anthologies with significant LGBTQ+ content
- 2 books (1.48%) are LGBTQ+ metaphors
We also took a closer look at the identities of primary characters. We used widely recognized identities in an effort to be consistent in our counting, as terminology within the LGBTQ+ community evolves and changes regularly. We counted queer (but not explicitly bisexual) cisgender women as lesbians, and queer (but not bi) cisgender men as gay. We had a category for transgender characters, and one for the non-binary umbrella (genderqueer, genderfluid, agender, etc.). In a separate category, we counted books in which a character questions their sexual orientation or gender identity.
That being said, of the 62 books featuring an LGBTQ+ primary character, we counted:
- 16 (25.81%) lesbian
- 14 (22.58%) gay
- 15 (24.19%) bisexual
- 3 (4.84%) transgender
- 5 (8.06%) questioning
- 8 (12.9%) non-binary
- 1 (1.61%) asexual
Finally, our total count includes fiction, nonfiction, and picture books. There are very few picture books with LGBTQ+ characters or content. Of those we received, most were about families in general or had secondary or tertiary LGBTQ+ parents. Picture books with gender-expansive characters most often feature a child who was assigned male at birth and likes to wear skirts, dresses, or other clothing traditionally considered to be "feminine." Within the fiction category, few are middle grade titles; the majority are YA.
Of the 135 books with LGBTQ+ content or characters:
- 13 (9.63%) are picture books
- 18 (13.33%) are nonfiction, including graphic novels
- 104 (77.04%) are fiction
Although it is a slow improvement, there are books being published that better represent the vast diversity of identities and experiences within the LGBTQ+ community. In the months and years ahead, we hope to see even more, especially books with LGBTQ+ characters of color and gender-expansive characters, as well as more #OwnVoices stories.
Last updated 6/11/2018
Last updated 6/11/2018