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Recently I have been thinking about how I tag my books, and wondering if I should add more. This is the case with books that focus on or include GLBTQ themes. I started off by asking my Twitter followers whether or not adding a tag for GLBTQ fiction was a good idea, because in my head I do not differentiate between, for example, straight or gay romance threads – a heterosexual focus on love is a romance, and a homosexual focus on love is a romance. To me the genders of the couple are not important in this instance, unless of course the sexuality itself is a focus.

And sometimes, of course, the sexuality of a character is not a major part of the story. For example in Across The Nightingale Floor, the reader can determine that the main character is bisexual, but the author never says it is so and the encounters that occur between the main character and secondary characters are minor events. But my question on Twitter (which I’ve been unable to find since) pointed me to the very same other view I had been considering, as Amy of Amy Reads replied it’s an important tag – people can easily find stories dealing with sexuality if that is what they are looking for.

And that’s the point here. While in a perfect world, or maybe just in the world, I don’t know, GLBTQ stories would just be seen as another book, the fact is that we, as a society, are only just truly accepting differences in sexuality on an official level and it is surely important to make books with characters of those sexualities and life choices a theme, even maybe a genre. While homosexuality has been around since the dawn of humanity, general acceptance of it has not. So a tag is important. And I know from personal experience that I have sought out GLBTQ books myself, both simply because the story sounded interesting, or, for example in the case of my planned future foray into M/M romance, because I specifically want to read more eclectically.

The only question still left in my head is whether being so specific with tags and not just saying “social” or “romance” can have a negative impact: for example that Across The Nightingale Floor – it contains GLBTQ themes, but the vast majority of it is heterosexual and thus a person picking it for the GLBTQ thread would be disappointed. Though at the same time the fact that the author just includes the character’s sexuality as another part of the his personality is also quite refreshing, in the same way that a character on the television in a wheelchair who does not have to explain their history is refreshing.

I suppose it might seem strange that I’m pondering on this in such a way, but acceptance and education, whilst not making a big deal of it in order to make it natural, is what I focus on whenever a taboo subject comes up.

The GLBTQ tag will continue to be part of my labelling when it makes sense in the context of stories, characters, and spoilers.


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