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I never thought I’d find love — queer books helped me realise it was possible


Kevin Tyler Norman and the books that helped him

‘I really wanted to read about queer people living their life, not struggling through it.’

Growing up, Kevin Tyler Norman loved books. He struggled with fairytales, however, as they only ever depicted happily ever afters involving a prince and a princess — and never with two princes.

This, coupled with a lack of LGBTQ+ stories available during his formative years made him fearful that being queer meant he would never find love. 

In the books he had access to, queer people were relegated to sidekicks, never getting to be the protagonist. And in real life, friends at his all-boys catholic school who were questioning their sexuality ‘refused to embrace it’ due to their religious upbringing. 

Kevin, who identified as a Non-denominational Christian at the time, had been a part of his local church for several years, enjoying the sense of community it provided. But he knew he needed to step away from it in order to be true to himself.

It made for an incredibly lonely, and difficult time at the end of his teenage years, right as he was ready to come out. 

‘I felt like no one understood me,’ the content creator from Los Angeles, California, told Metro.co.uk. ‘I was the only one of my friends that had grown tired of pretending and decided to accept [my sexuality].’

‘I had no one to talk to, but I’d always loved reading, so I started trying to find every gay book I could get my hands on, but at the time they weren’t very easy to find. 

‘There was no section at the bookstore dedicated to queer fiction. I had to scour the internet. Google became my best friend.’

Kevin’s LGBTQ+ book recommendations:

Metro.co.uk asked Kevin which books he’d recommend for anyone who might be struggling with their sexuality, or preparing to come out. These were his top picks:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

All Boy’s Aren’t Blue by  George M. Johnson

And for anyone who is interested in reading queer literature more generally, Kevin recommends:

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

Rainbow History Class by Hannah McElhinney

Black Girl, Call Home by Jasmine Mans

He continued: ‘Most of the queer books back then were extremely traumatic and heartbreaking, like Giovanni’s Room.

‘I kept finding stories where the struggle was coming out, but I really wanted to read about queer people living their life, not struggling through it.’

Kevin, who was 20 when he came out, persevered with his search and eventually was able to find hope thanks to young adult novels like Openly Straight by Konigsberg, Hero by Perry Moore, and Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

‘These books had a real impact on me because they were my first real introduction to Queer media,’ he recalls. ‘It was the first time I followed the story of someone who represented myself, and it was refreshing to be the …read more

Source:: Metro

      

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