It’s almost June aka Pride Month! For health and safety concerns, most pride events will be virtual this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate love in all its forms.
I’m starting a group called the Rainbow Dragon Squad to focus on LGBTQIA+ fantasy fiction and I’d love for you to join us in our first ever reading challenge! I’ve suggested some prompts for each day but they’re not required. If you know any great fantasy books with LGBTQIA+ characters, please share them with the hashtag #PrideFantasyReadingChallenge so we can all find more to add to our TBR lists! Read on for an explanation of the prompts.
Week 1: Rainbow
We all love beautiful cover art! Let’s add some color by sharing our favorites. Here’s some suggestions to get you started:
- Rainbow stack: a stack or any other configuration of books that create a rainbow
- Red cover: a cover with a red background or otherwise a large amount of red
- Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, etc.: challenge yourself to see how many different colors you can find!
Week 2: Characters
This week is all about showcasing characters who identify anywhere in the LGBTQIA+ spectrums of sexual preference and/or gender identity.
- Favorite couple: are there two characters that you love seeing together? Tell us about them! (Or triad/throuple, or any other romantic grouping…)
- Gay character
- Lesbian character
- Trans/genderqueer: transgender, nonbinary, genderfluid, genderqueer, etc.
- Bisexual/Pansexual character: anyone attracted to more than one sex
- Aromantic/asexual characters: Aromantic is not interested in romantic relationships, asexual is not interested in sexual relationships. Could also include demisexual/gray-sexual.
- Intersex characters: any character born with a physical variation of sexual characteristics. It’s rarely discussed in any fiction but I know there is at least one fantasy novel with an intersex character out there! (Check out my review of Fear the Wolf by Andrew Butcher.)
Week 3: Intersectionality
Fantasy books that touch on other topics of diversity (as well as LGBTQIA+ issues) including gender, class, race, or ability.
- Queer people of color: racial/ethnic minorities
- Disabled/differently abled
- Mental health
- OwnVoices: highlighting books that are written by people who are in the community they’re writing about
- Working class/poverty
- Religious minority
Week 4: Genres
Try to share books in a variety of subgenres in fantasy. I see a lot of talk about diversity in contemporary/urban fantasy but people claim that it’s “unrealistic” in any other time period/setting. Let’s show that LGBTQIA+ characters belong in every part of the fantasy genre! If your favorite isn’t here, feel free to share it!
- Epic/high fantasy
- Heroic/adventure/sword and sorcery/etc.
- Fantasy romance
- Steampunk/gaslamp/any other historical/alternate history
- Comic fantasy
These four weeks cover 28 days but there are two more days in June. Feel free to fill in with any other topics you’d like to share. Also, you could share a fantasy book that has a major theme about coming out, questioning sexuality/gender, gay rights, or anything else that’s been left out. Most importantly, have fun!
Stay tuned for more events hosted by the Rainbow Dragon Squad!