Five Ways to Write Better LGBTQ Book Reviews

Gay Is OK

  1. Mention gay characters, especially if they are vital to the story. It’s okay to use the words “gay” and “lesbian” and “bisexual” and “trans.”

  2. Stop using the word “homosexuality,” especially if it’s part of a list of “possibly objectionable content” that contains things like incest, underage drinking, and suicide. Gay folks are not a problem, we’re not illegal (well…), and there is nothing wrong about being gay.

  3. Authors shouldn’t get extra credit for including gay and/or trans characters. If you find yourself saying, “This book was awful, but at least there is diversity!” rethink your thought process. Gay and trans folks deserve books that are just as high quality as books featuring straight characters.

  4. Use proper pronouns. If the book contains a trans character, write about them using the pronouns THEY prefer, even if they don’t use those pronouns at the beginning of the book.

  5. Use the name the character uses. Don’t use their given name, and definitely don’t write about them with a hyphenated name, like Bob/Alice. If a trans woman goes by Alice, use Alice.

What else would you add?

9 Comments

Filed under GLBTQ, Guide to Reviewing GLBTQ Books, Lists

9 responses to “Five Ways to Write Better LGBTQ Book Reviews

  1. THANK you for point three! That is my pet peeve. Why should I have to accept sub-par fiction because I’m gay? Look at Sarah Waters or Jeanette Winterson. My standards should be just as high as straights’!

  2. “Authors shouldn’t get extra credit for including gay and/or trans characters.” YES!

  3. I’ve caught myself doing #3 more than once, and it’s really annoying. Le sigh.

  4. Thank you for this. After reading your post I went and edited a review where I didn’t use the word “gay” for absolutely no reason other than thoughtless privilege. I appreciate the reminders <3

  5. I love this. And I totally cringe every time a reviewer uses “homosexuality”. It sounds so medical and old-fashioned.

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  7. Jade

    Great article!! It’s hard not to give credit to books for including LGBT+ characters, especially when it seems like we have to reach to find representation. But you are absolutely right. We deserve quality just as much as anyone and we shouldn’t be giving people cookies they don’t deserve!

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