Reading has always been a love of mine but when I was younger, I struggled to find books that had LGBTQI representation. I know books are supposed to take us to other worlds, but the fact that magical creatures and talking animals were more likely to exist in these fantasies then one single gay person was a little disheartening, especially when youre young and coming to terms with your gender or sexual identity. Not only do you have to deal with people invalidating your existence in the real world, but you cant even find people with similar experiences to yours in made up ones. 

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 It wasnt until I was 15 years old that I finally read a book that had an openly gay character. Perks Of Being A Wallflower was all the rage when I was a teenager but before I could see the movie, I had to read the book first. Even though I was still in denial about my sexuality, the character I had the strongest connection to was Patrick. Reading about how Patrick was not only openly gay but also the type of person who always stood up for his friends and was never afraid to make a fool of himself made me want to aspire to be someone like him. Maybe if I had read more books with characters like Patrick during high school I could have become that person much earlier.

Unfortunately, it wasnt until university where I read my second book that featured an LGBTQI character. It was Alison Bechdels graphic novel memoir Fun Home. In the book Bechdel talks about how she properly addressed her sexuality, during her university years which was something I was doing as well. Another similarity Bechdel and I had was we both loved to read, so when she said that reading lots of queer literature helped her accept her sexuality, I decided to do the same thing. 

For the last four years I have been acquiring as many queer books as possible. I have read corny romance books like They Both Die At The End and others that deal with serious issues like The Miseducation Of Cameron Post. I have read books that explore gender identity like HoneyBee and even non-fiction books such as The Glamour Boys which is about of group of Gay British men who tried to warn the British Government about the rise of Hitler. All of these books have not only made me feel seen but have aided me in learning more about myself and the LGBTQI community which I am proudly a part of.   

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