I’ve seen this discussion more and more often, and before too long, I knew my side. After seeing Jen’s feature of #DiversityBoost on her blog The Bookavid, I was prompted to sort out my thoughts, and try to put them down.
So, without further ado, here’s my thoughts and opinions on why diversity matters, and how I plan to do my part.
Looking for diversity in books never really occurred to me when I first started reading. I was still young, convinced of who I was, and picking of each and every book I could think of. Yes, then I was snooty towards certain people who chose certain books over the ones I was reading.
In all honesty, my middle school library didn’t have that much variety. It was the same old children’s books, nothing special or noteworthy. Sure, I found a few of my favorites there, but I was never blown away with any of them. When I got into high school, though, these topics started surfacing. Because they deemed me old enough to hear about gay and lesbians in books, or because these topics were actually finally coming to light, and being debated?
However it happened, it drew my attention straight away. I realized who I was and who I wasn’t, and as I picked up each new book, I connected deeply with these characters labeled as “weird” or “different”. And even though they were given these harsh descriptions, I still sympathized with these characters. When I heard about books that had characters like me, I jumped at them, wanting to devour those pages to know that I wasn’t weird, that I wasn’t a freak that only found solace in paper pages and fictional characters.
Which, honestly sounds hypocritical, because that’s exactly what I was doing.
Except, if someone is writing about these topics-If someone is writing about a LGBT+ character as if they were anyone else-then doesn’t that mean that it’s more than just a fictional character on thin paper that I’m relating to? I’m relating to the author’s ideas, and their opinions and them. I’m not alone.
It’s normal. I’m normal.
So what would have happened if I never found that solace?
I’m not ashamed to say that I’m on antidepressants, and that I still suffer with severe depression. To feel that alone, all the time, especially if I never found someone and something to relate to and to find comfort in, I probably wouldn’t be here.
To say these diverse reads saved my life isn’t an exaggeration.
That’s why diversity is important. It can save lives. It can give a revelation to a young kid, still confused on who they are. It can give someone some comfort to know that they aren’t weird or different for the color of the skin or the gender of the people(s) they love. It can tell someone that it’s not unheard of to not have a gender, to have multiple genders, or just to switch genders. It’s normal. You’re normal.
Which is another reason why I’ve decided to start doing Aimal’s feature on their blog Bookshelves and Paperbacks called Diversity Spotlight Thursday. It’s a feature that has you answer three prompts: a diverse book you’ve read, a diverse book on your tbr, and a diverse book being released soon! I can’t wait so start this!