Saturday, August 06, 2016 06:00
Retelling August '16 | The Importance of LGBTQIA+ Retellings - Chiara.
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Hello my dear retelling participants. Today I want to show you a really exciting post. I decided to team up with a few other bloggers and let them write guest posts about retellings. One of the first names I had to think of was Chiara from Books for a Delicate Eternity. She is THE blogger when it comes to LGBTQIA+ books, so I was excited when she accepted my offer to write a guest post about it! Here is her brilliant post:
The Importance of LGBTQIA+ Retellings – Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity
There is, as always, a great need for LGBTQIA+ books. Everyone deserves and needs to see themselves in the media they are consuming. Seeing yourself in literature is incredibly important – it can assure you that you are not the only person who feels a certain way, can assure you that you are not ~other~, and can validate your existence and your feelings (and these are just three quick, tiny things that seeing yourself in books can do for someone).
But there is a need beyond just having LGBTQIA+ books in general. There is a need beyond seeing yourself in new stories. There is a need to see yourself in the stories that everyone knows. That you grew up with, but never saw yourself in. There’s a need for LGBTQIA+ retellings.
There are a few that already exist, but compared to cishet (cisgender and heterosexual) retellings, they are sadly few and far between. We need more of these stories that everyone knows and loves to see reimagined time and time again with LGBTQIA+ characters at their heart. So the transgirl can be the one that everyone falls head over heels in love with, so the bisexual prince can find his one true love, so the asexual princess can kick butt and take names. We need these fantastical and traditional and world-known stories to exist for everyone, not just cishet readers.
This year, there are three upcoming LGBTQIA+ retellings, and I infinitely excited for all of them:
First up there is As I Descended by Robin Talley, which is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, with an f/f (female/female) couple at its heart. Macbeth is an incredibly intense and macabre story, and I cannot wait to see how the author brings it to life with a modern twist as well as LGBTQIA+ characters.
Secondly, there is Beast by Brie Spangler, which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I cannot even express how incredibly excited I am for this story. For a retelling of one of the most popular fairytales ever to have a transgirl in the role of Beauty is just amazing. I really hope that she gets her happily ever after in this book.
Lastly, there is Marian by Ella Lyons, which is a retelling of Robin Hood. However, in this version of the tale Robin Hood is a badass girl, and the romance still exists between her and Marian. As soon as I found out about this book I had a MIGHT NEED for it, because badass lady knights are everything, and we totally need more of them.
I really hope that these upcoming LGBTQIA+ retellings get the love and attention they deserve, so that even more are written and published and devoured. If you’re looking for backlist LGBTQIA+ titles to read and support, here they are:
And I Darken by Kiersten White (retelling of Vlad the Impaler’s life, with a gay MC with POV chapters)
Ash by Malinda Lo (retelling of Cinderella – most say this is a lesbian retelling, but personally I read it as bisexual)
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (all girl retelling of Lord of the Flies, with lesbian, bisexual, trans, and queer characters with POV chapters)
Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block (retelling of Homer’s Odyssey with a bisexual girl protagonist – and also the rest of the cast are LGBTQIA+, as well, which is A+)
Lyra by Erica Crouch (retelling of the story of Orpheus, but with two boys)
Mad About the Hatter by Dakota Chase (retelling of Alice in Wonderland where Alice is a guy and falls in love with the Mad Hatter)
If you have always seen yourself in almost any of the books you decide to pick up, it might be hard to understand why this representation is so important. LGBTQIA+ characters are most often found in contemporary stories. And while these stories have great importance (because they can be reflective of the experiences and lives that LGBTQIA+ teens and young adults are living), there is a need for LGBTQIA+ novels in any genre. Including retellings. Retellings are often magical, and fantastical, and you are transported to a different time and place, and it provides a kind of escape in a way that contemporary novels can fail to do. Retellings are often super romantic, with high stakes attached and battles to be fought for this love to happen. Retellings are a reinvention of tales that we grew up watching and hearing, and make them something new to discover, but that still retain the essence that we have always loved.
Cishet readers see themselves in the original fairytales and myths and legends, and also their retellings. What LGBTQIA+ retellings do is take that beloved story that did not represent anyone except cishet characters, and bring them to life for LGBTQIA+ readers. I cannot stress how important it is to see yourself in the books you are reading. And LGBTQIA+ retellings do that, but also do it in a way that makes age old stories new and relatable and representative of the world we live in now. It says to the reader: yes, you can be the princess. You can be the knight. You can be the apple’s eye of the kingdom. Because you are real and worthy and important. You exist.
Do you have any recommendations when it comes to LGBTQIA+ (retelling) books? And how do you feel about this topic?
Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.