Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Sexual minorities in literature; Young adult literature--History and criticism;


This qualitative content analysis study examines the representation of LGBTQ characters in 10 young adult literature published in 2019 in light of rising numbers of self-harm and suicide among youth who identify as LGBTQ. Novels were identified using the WorldCat Online Database and the search delimiters of year of publication, LGBTQ, young adult, and fiction yielded 30 novels. Every third novel was randomly selected, narrowing the sample. Novels were read and analyzed using an initial coding list to consider the following factors: sexual identity, age, socioeconomic status, race or culture, major or minor character, sexual orientation, appearance, permanence of sexual orientation, and relationship status. Results showed that lesbians were well represented while gay and bisexual men, non-binary, and transgender characters were underrepresented. Results also revealed that female characters generally dealt with sexual identity and/or orientation and an additional conflict. Males, nonbinary, and transgender characters generally focused solely on sexual identity and/or orientation and were not occupied with another concern concurrently. This study shows that while LGBTQ YA literature has come a long way, there is much work to be done. Specifically, LGBTQ literature needs more works featuring characters who identify as nonbinary, transgender, males who identify as gay or bisexual as well as characters who are aromantic, asexual, gender fluid, or otherwise queer.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Division of School Library Studies

First Advisor

Joan Bessman Taylor, Graduate Faculty First Reader

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (53 pages)



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