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Why We Still Need Coming Out Stories

Ever since Loveless came out, I have been thinking about the complaint about coming out stories, and I have a lot of thoughts about it. Before we get very far, I just want to specify that I am asexual, and I use the label “queer”. For me, I just feel like it’s a better way of labeling the community from the purpose of wording and inclusion.

First off, I want to make it very clear that I am Team Coming Out stories. I understand that there are a lot of them, but there are really just a lot in a specific category. Most coming out stories are centered around gay or lesbian characters even though it’s something that queers of every sexuality and gender do. From that point, I do agree that there needs to be some variability in the story.

But the other queers still don’t have that luxury of having those stories. In general, there are less of these characters anyway so that could be a potential reason why there just aren’t many coming out stories for aces and other people. When these characters exist, they tend to be side characters instead of the main character. For example, Summer of Salt includes an aro-ace side character. When they are main characters, they usually have figured their sexuality out like Zoey from Sawkill Girls or Millie from Her Royal Highness. Whatever their role is, they usually have figured their sexuality out already.

There is something so personal about reading a coming out story that I think is so beneficial to any queer person because the period we go through of questioning our sexuality is such a complex time that really forces us to think about ourselves and our feelings in ways that doesn’t really happen when you’re out. It makes us so much more aware of why we feel and do the things we do. When you are questioning your sexuality, you’re aware of everything you around you and your thoughts around them because you have the deep feeling that something is different. It makes you also pay attention to the world around you because you start to realize that the world you were forced to live in is not the world that you belong in.

Coming out is such a fundamental experience for every queer person that the lack of these stories is really harmful to those who aren’t being represented within them. Not having coming out stories for most members of the queer community is depriving them of the opportunity to fully see themselves being represented inside and out. By saying that we don’t need coming out stories, you are erasing the experience of those who haven’t seen themselves in these types of stories. It is an experience that every queer person has yet you are denying them the chance to see that very common experience.

Saying that we don’t need coming out stories is actually asking for is more diversity in your queer books. And I agree with that. We need more of a balance of stories that aren’t based on trauma, but with that, coming out stories don’t need to be traumatic either. Bullying in general is a large feature of especially YA queer literature, but those aren’t always even in coming out stories. There need to be more stories about queer joy. You can still be happy while discovering yourself and your sexuality/gender. It’s a thing.

What we need are more positive queer fiction, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t still need coming out stories. What we need is a balance in the content of the queer fiction.

Published by alyssathebookvagabond

A 22-year-old college student with a restless heart and equally restless brain

3 thoughts on “Why We Still Need Coming Out Stories

  1. This is such an eloquently written post! I think you voiced so many great points. There definitely should be a balance between queer books in order to get the most of realistic representation as possible. Especially because books are where we go to escape, it’s really nice when we can find relatable characters who speak to us, who are like us, to offer more perspective. Really great discussion, and I hope in the near future, we can see more books that fully embrace all different kinds of representation in real ways.

    Liked by 1 person

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