A good friend of mine recently asked me an interesting question. Knowing that my novel Sacred Band is about a team of queer superheroes, he was wondering if there was anything in the book “for him.”
To be brutally honest, I wasn’t entirely sure how to answer that.
I mean, on one hand, it’s a story about superheroes solving a problem no one else wants to and fighting bad guys along the way. I’m biased enough to think it’s an interesting story, with good characters, and a likeable enough plot that anyone who does like supers could pick it up and enjoy it.
But on the other hand? It’s a queer story, about queer characters, and it doesn’t hesitate to be or balk at being exactly that, without apologies. Characters experience attractions that are same-sex, folks discuss the ways in which identity and orientation impact their experience, and we see some of the problems that face a small team of queer supers determined to be heroes in a world that claims to protect everyone but often leaves “those types” out in the cold.
Thinking about it, there are certainly straight characters in the story, but none of them are major characters. Does that limit the reach of my story? Does it reduce the “accessibility” of my novel? It’s a distinct possibility.
But the way I see it is this: I’ve been reading fiction involving straight, cisgendered males for nigh on three decades now. And I’ve loved those stories, even though their growing-up stories were not mine, their stories of self-discovery were not mine, and their stories of love, romance, and relationships were not mine.
Maybe it’s naive to think that if I’m able to connect with stories that never reflected me in their pages, my story can connect with readers who do not find themselves in its pages.