A friend put a link on her Facebook wall to a BuzzFeed post concerning Hermione Granger as a racebent character. The BuzzFeed post, What a “Racebent” Hermione Granger Really Represents, is a good read, but what really stood out for me was a quote the post included from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz. He was speaking to students about his writing and what he hoped to accomplish with it. He said:
You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, ‘Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist?’ And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.
In the quote, from a story about Juno Diaz on nj.com, he’s talking about how he felt growing up as an immigrant in New Jersey, but being unrepresented, invisible, happens to many groups. And it is another reason I felt so strongly, and still do, about having LGBT characters in my book series, Dragonlinked Chronicles, and in as many of my short stories set on Lethera as possible.
In most movies or books or television shows (not all, but in most), non-straight characters either don’t exist at all, or are relegated to small roles or side-characters. I thought it was high time that teens (and adults!) who are not straight had a few mirrors, too, mirrors that reflect them as the stars of the show, as the heroes of the story.
Why? Because who you fall in love with, feeling you were born the wrong sex, feeling your gender isn’t what people assume, none of that makes you a monster. Without mirrors, you might not get to see that.