Find Queer / LGBTQ+ Literature, Then and Now: the 21st Century Ages 15-18 on Outschool.

Have you ever wondered if queer/ literature in the USA has an actual history? Sure, you can find books now with all sorts of queer protagonists, and you hear about news reports where libraries and schools have banned queer books, but what has changed since the beginning of this century? Queer literature has exploded, particularly YA literature, and it is no longer easily put in a box. It is now possible to find books that feature protagonists in a wide variety of genders and sexualities in all genres. However, there are still obstacles for queer authors, and we will study how those obstacles have shifted and changed in the first two decades of the twenty-first century.


For this class
we will be covering several topics, and while it is a four week session, we won’t be splitting it cleanly into years. Rather, we will be discussing specific books, reading novels, sections, and samples, and talking about the books that illustrate a number of subjects.

The first two weeks we’ll loosely cover the queer fiction landscape between 2000-2010, with some overlap in topics and years, including:
The shifting of queer literature around the turn of the century
Early queer youth and YA books
The difficulty of getting an agent, or in getting interest from a publisher, for a book with queer protagonists, as well as authors being told to “straighten” their characters because it was too hard to sell books with queer protagonists
The demand by readers for a wide variety of sexualities, genders, and identities in their books
The rise of queer graphic novels and comics


The second two weeks
will loosely cover the queer fiction landscape between 2011-2020, with some overlap in topics and years including:
The evolution of sexualities and gender in queer literature
The rise in youth literature of books with queer protagonists as well as with queer families
The explosion of queer YA literature
Extensive queerness in genre fiction
Queerness in mainstream literature

Throughout all four weeks we will be talking about:
Queer literature in public
Queer books winning mainstream awards
Multiple awards specifically for queer fiction
Queer fiction being integrated into other sections in bookstores
The continuing censorship of queer books

NOTE: While queer literature has existed for centuries in one form or another, this class sequence will focus on literature from 1900 to 2020. In addition, as we will be focusing primarily on the social movement in the United States as shaped by the Stonewall Riots era, a good deal of the books are set in the USA. While the class focus has to be narrow in order to be manageable for a class series, every country has their own queer movement which is just as valid and just as important to learn about.