Over the last month, we at AfterEllen have documented and followed the sad story of the Cape Henlopen School Board in Delaware and its obsession with The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Elaine Atwell most recently described the twisted ending to the story, where the board decided to nix the entire reading list that Cam Post had been included on, and where it was revealed that the reason behind the whole brouhaha actually was because of fear of lesbians.
In reaction, there are a few things you can do. If you happen to know any teenagers in Delaware, you can encourage them to enter the essay contest about Cam Post, sponsored by the National Coalition Against Censorship and other free speech groups. Winners get cash money! Essays are due September 1st, and the winners will be announced during Banned Book Week, September 21st through the 27th.
You can also read more books. Reading more books is always the solution when people tell you that you shouldn’t. Since this school district is really determined to not have its teens read about lesbians, well, I only felt it my duty to give the teens of the world even more choices. I present to you now a list of every YA book in history that contains lesbians.
…With some caveats, of course. Any list that purports to contain “every” something “in history,” as I just did, can never actually fulfill its promise 100%. I chose to only include books that were published by mainstream publishers (along with a few reputable smaller presses, like McSweeney’s and Arsenal Pulp). I made this decision based on the fact that I want these to be books that teenagers can, ideally, find relatively easily at their local public or school library. For the purposes of this list, I’m also counting only lesbian or bisexual characters, and including books that are explicitly published and marketed as YA. Links are included for books we’ve reviewed on AfterEllen in the past. Any quotes are taken from the books’ official blurbs.
Here are your lesbian literary teens, in chronological order.
● Happy Endings Are All Alike, Sandra Scoppettone (1978)
● Hey, Dollface, Deborah Hautzig (1978)
● Annie on My Mind, Nancy Garden (1982)
● Am I Blue? Coming Out From the Silence, edited by Marion Dane Bauer (1994)
● Good Moon Rising, Nancy Garden (1996)
● Dare Truth or Promise, Paula Boock (1997)
● Kissing the Witch, Emma Donoghue (1997)
● The Necessary Hunger, Nina Revoyr (1997)
● The House You Pass On the Way, Jacqueline Woodson (1997)
● Girl Walking Backwards, Bett Williams (1998)
● The Year They Burned the Books, Nancy Garden (1999)