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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

QSR Guest Post: Reading as a Queer Teen

Well, August is almost over, but QSR isn't quite yet!! Our giveaway is still open and we still have a couple more things this week before we're done, finishing up with our final twitter chat on Thursday.

One of those things is this awesome guest post from Kav! Everyone say hi to them!

I’m a nonbinary, biromantic, asexual teen. Basically, I’m as queer as it gets. Growing up, I never really saw that in media, but now, being an active member of the diverse book community, I always know when there’s a new queer release and jump on it immediately. To be honest, that’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Reading queer books, and diverse books in general, has improved my reading life so much that I actually cannot read non-diverse books usually. Reading queerly has not only given me the opportunity to see myself represented, but it has given me the opportunity to learn about others.

On my social media and YouTube channel, I talk a lot about how representation has helped me, how it has made me less alone and more normal. While all of that is true and is important to talk about, I believe it’s also important to discuss how representation has helped me understand others. By seeing stories of people unlike myself, I gain a better understanding of the challenges and triumphs they experience - often in relation to their culture, gender, religion, romantic/sexual orientation, and more. I particularly enjoy reading #OwnVoices - a story written by an author who shares the same identity as the main character - stories of people unlike me because those give me the opportunity to see a personal account of that person’s life. Now, I could choose to read the history books written by privileged people who have no understanding of that person’s life and omits queer history completely, or I could read the underrated YA novels that are both enjoyable and educational and some of the most important pieces of media I’ve consumed.

For example, over the summer, I read Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali, a story about a hijabi Muslim teen who was sexually assaulted. I can relate to zero of those elements, but that book has become one of my favorite books of all-time because of how it taught me about a culture and experience that I’ve never experienced. Now, that wasn’t a queer example, so let’s take another book - We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. We Are Okay is a story that deals heavily with themes of grief and loss and shows a past f/f relationship with blurred lines and no real labels. Again, I cannot relate to those experiences. I have experienced grief in my life, but never of that magnitude. I have never been in a f/f relationship and have never been in a relationship with lines as blurred as that one. Reading We Are Okay gave me the opportunity to see someone else’s story and understand their experiences.

Seeing yourself represented is so important and a privilege no one can take for granted, but so is reading someone else’s story.

Kav is a 15 year old nonbinary, biromatic, asexual, South Indian teen who loves media, books, and social justice. They are frequently active on Twitter and YouTube talking about a combination of book-related and social justice-related topics.

Thanks so much for your post, Kav! We're so glad to have you posting here.

Leave them a nice comment Scouts, okay?

Peace and cookies,

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