Diversity in Romance – Guest Post by Alix Hicks

Another guest post today! I am so lucky to have so many talented authors willing to contribute content for all of you to read. And even better, they are all featured in our upcoming anthologies! You can find the details for Love at First Sip and Secrets in a previous post linked below.

And now! On to Alix’s thoughts on diversity in romance and LGBTQ+ representation, thanks so much for joining us Alix.

I used to think of reading and writing as pure escapism. I loved getting lost in worlds different from my own and, more importantly, escaping into someone else’s shoes. They didn’t have to have it great. Hell, their futures could be crumbling around them, but it was really nice to be able to imagine being that person–that guy

A man who didn’t have to put on a binding vest before being comfortable going out in public… or having to worry about putting his life-changing quest or journey on hold, because he had to call his doctor’s office since they forgot to refill his prescription for syringes again, and he can’t very well take his T-shot with the tiny vial of liquid hormones alone. Ya get me? 

It was nice reading, writing, living vicariously, through a male who wasn’t trans…like me.

But over the last few years, as I venture further along in my journey to become the author I aspire to be, I’ve noticed a change. I’m finding that I actually kinda do want to see men like me in fiction. I want to read and write about a trans man being the hero who saves the day, or the villain who shatters everyone’s plans, or the swoony love interest in the predestined meet-cute.

I’ve heard over and over that diversity and visibility are important. And they are. But now I feel like I’m actually getting it–I’m finally understanding what that sentiment means and how I can do better by a group that I directly identify with. 

Storytelling has such a unique ability to bridge differences… to reach people. Through characters, we can humanize and cultivate empathy that’s carried into our own very real worlds and lives. When someone who isn’t trans reads about a trans character, they’re stepping into my shoes, in a way–into every trans person’s shoes. 

And for trans readers, or for any marginalized group for that matter, it’s a powerful thing to see characters–who they can relate to in such a personal way–breaking, and growing, and loving. Because those are all human things. They don’t belong solely to any one type or label. So, I think as a writer, it’s time I start contributing to that representation, and I hope to see many more diverse writers doing the same.     

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