People & Inspiration

In Focus: 'What If It's Us' Authors On Why We Need A More LGBTQ+ Inclusive Media Environment

In Focus: 'What If It's Us' Authors On Why We Need A More LGBTQ+ Inclusive Media Environment

The past few years have seemingly witnessed a number of developments in LGBTQ+ portrayal in the media. If you think mainstream, there are Baka  Bukas (2016); Freak Show (2017); Call Me By Your Name (2017); Love, Simon (2018); Rainbow’s Sunset (2018); and more showing the genre is somewhat thriving, say, in the TV industry.

And then there's literature—something that best-selling authors Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera both think has not had enough progress. “We’re going from very little to some. The scope of stories we have still feels very limited and it only represents a small portion of the queer community,” Adam—the name behind They Both Die At The End, More Happy Than Not, History Is All You Left Me—tells ABS-CBN Lifestyle. Becky, who penned Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda which inspired Love, Simon, adds, “Progress can be really, really slow. I think some people are sort of shy in making that investment or big money behind stories other than about those who are white, straight, able-bodied, and more. There are certain stories that are heavily-favored in all kinds of media.”

[related: In Focus: This Fearless Host-Photog Uses Social Media To Inspire The PH Lesbian Community]

 
 
 
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In What If It’s Us, the international novelists worked together to tell a story about two boys who, despite being polar opposites, still ended up at sixes and sevens on whether the universe is trying to set the two up with each other or put them apart. The book has impacted enough readership it would be a New York Times, USA Today, and Indie Bestseller.

Becky and Adam remain upbeat about living in a world where #LoveWins—and helping normalize queer stories like their YA novel could be a huge step forward. “You have to be aware of the opposition that queer people face, aware of stereotypes, and read tons of stories about queer people because I think that will really open your mind and you can get a sense of what it is in these stories you feel inclined to talk about,” Adam says. For him, queer stories are, basically, stories. “They’re just stories that include queer people. If someone calls it a ‘gay love story,’ correct them. It’s a love story! I think that kind of language is really powerful and that would make it more inclusive.”

Becky, meanwhile, pushes for these same stories to reach the mainstream outlets more—from books and comics to film and TV down to games. “The more different kinds of authentic pieces of representation, the better.”

ALSO READ: Who’s That Charmer?: Count On JC De Vera’s Lana Athena To Turn A Bad Day Around!

Banner image courtesy of National Bookstore

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