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  • Karen Frost

There's Lesbian Content Everywhere!

Over Christmas, I took the opportunity to check a few books out from the library. I selected a range of genres and topics, from YA sci-fi to middle grade fantasy to an adult urban low fantasy (zombies). In total, I checked out five books. Wouldn't you know, although I hadn't filtered for LGBT content and was prepared to read five books about heterosexual characters, three of the five books turned out to have lesbian main characters. The middle grade book ("Hunters of the Lost City" by Kali Wallace), for example, had a very subtle but cute romance between its young female protagonist and a girl from another city. The zombie book (I can't remember its title) saw the lesbian protagonist meeting the lesbian leader of a survival gang and tentatively starting a relationship. Even the adult high fantasy ("Obsidian" by Sarah Daley) had a bisexual female protagonist coming face to face with her female ex-lover to find closure.

In the queer female community, we often worry that there's insufficient content to represent us. We're still rooted in the mindset of the early 2000s, when queer content was extremely rare. But if I randomly chose five books and more than half had sapphic content, that tells me the world has changed. This content is no longer rare. It's not a treasured gem we must painstakingly chip out of hard rock. To the contrary, this content is now astonishingly common. And not just in books. I'm currently curating a list of every web series with sapphic content that can be found online, cataloguing this content from around the world. Incredibly, I've found 300 web series so far. And that doesn't even count the short films, music videos, and feature films that have major queer female characters.

It can be easy to fall into the myopia of borders and language, to see progress only as it affects us directly. But in the bigger picture, change is coming--if not like a tidal wave, than at least like a rising tide. What do I mean? Just this weekend, I found a YouTube channel that is translating recent sapphic content coming out of China. The channel has dozens of videos ranging from 20 seconds to over an hour. And this from one of the most highly censored regions in the world! And it's not just China. South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, India--.areas of the world that were once black holes for LGBT content are now slowly coming to life and taking steps toward diverse storytelling.

So the next time someone complains that there's not enough queer content, steer them my way. I have some recommendations of things to watch or read.

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