The Publishing Post
Same Sex Relationships in LGBTQ+ Literature This Zero Discrimination Day
1 March signals different things for different people. Some might think of it as the first unofficial day of spring. For us at The Publishing Post, it’s publication day. But it is also a day that unites us all across the world, whoever we are and wherever we are. It’s Zero Discrimination Day. On 1 March we celebrate the right of everyone to live a full and nurtured life – and to live it with dignity. Zero Discrimination Day aims to raise awareness of how people can become informed about and promote inclusion, compassion, peace and, above all, movement for change. It helps to create a global movement of solidarity to combat all forms of discrimination.
On Zero Discrimination Day this year, the United Nations (UN) is challenging discrimination faced by women and girls, in all their diversity, to raise awareness and mobilise action to promote equality and empowerment across the globe. Here, we have rounded up our top five books featuring flourishing and thriving same-sex relationships.
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Dowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing cupid ever again. Love and its inevitable heartbreak is the last thing she wants. In turn, she lies to her brother and tells him that her last set-up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to come back to bite her.
Elle Jones, an astrologer behind the popular Twitter account @OhMyStars, dreams of finding her soulmate. But if there’s one thing she knows for sure, it’s definitely not Darcy. She thinks they would be a match made in hell, but perhaps they are actually the match made in heaven she has been hoping for.
In this classic tale of opposites attract, Bellefleur’s latest venture is the perfect offering for a rom-com: funny, playful and with a vulnerability that gives you all the fuzzies you didn’t know you needed. Elle’s fight for her family’s acceptance of her relationship reminds us that although we have come so far, we have much further to go.
Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner
Hollywood starlet Jo is no stranger to the press and the paparazzi. She is photographed making her assistant, Emma, laugh on the red carpet and soon finds herself the talk of the town when the tabloids declare them a couple. The ‘scandal’ couldn’t have come at a worse time, threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie. As the gossip spreads through Hollywood like wildfire, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. The paps are following them outside of the office, co-workers are treating them differently and a ‘source’ is feeding information about them to the media.
The two end up spending more and more time together, getting along like a house on fire and fanning the flames of speculation around their relationship. Emma seems to know exactly what Jo needs and seems to have melted the ice queen, as Jo opens up to her in a way that neither of them expected. They begin to realise that the rumour might not be far from the truth after all...
As Wilsner’s first F/F romance, Something to Talk About has an interesting premise and tackles some serious issues. We certainly hope that Wilsner continues to publish more queer romance in the future.
Fiebre Tropical by Juliana Delgado Lopera
This multilingual debut novel follows fifteen-year-old Francisca’s coming-of-age story as she’s uprooted from her hometown of Bogotá in Colombia, and plunged into the cosmopolitan neon city of Miami. Francisca has a tough time settling into her strange new surroundings, a misery that is only furthered when her mother is swept up in an evangelical church; think abstinent salsa dancers and baptisms for the dead. But there, Francisca meets Carmen, head of the youth group and the pastor’s daughter. As her mother’s mental health deteriorates, Francisca falls head-over-heels for Carmen and grows closer with her, even as their relationship hurtles towards a shattering conclusion.
Delgado Lopera’s novel deals with heavy topics such as migration, queerness and mental health sensitively while maintaining a light-hearted tone. The author’s writing style – Spanglish inflected with a Colombian regional accent – adds an artistic flair to the story that upholds its authenticity and originality.
Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Zoe Baxter has spent the past decade trying to conceive, and after multiple miscarriages and fertility issues she finally finds herself seven months pregnant. But her ‘happy ending’ takes a tragic turn, both robbing her of her baby and destroying her marriage with her husband Max.
She throws herself into her career as a music therapist, using music to soothe burn victims in hospital and to help Alzheimer’s patients connect with the present day. When Vanessa, a guidance counsellor, asks Zoe to work with a suicidal teenager, their relationship progresses from business to friendship and then blossoms into love.
This heart-wrenching novel explores reproductive rights and other social justice issues that same-sex couples face, doing so with sensitivity and admirable courage. It’s intense and gripping, and we could barely put it down.