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Five Short Stories from YA Anthologies Featuring LGBTQIA2S+ Characters To Teach in Secondary ELA

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Already have your courses planned but want to add some LGBTQIA2S+ representation to your syllabus? Short stories are a great way to incorporate more diverse characters and authors to your classroom. Here are five short stories from young adult anthologies featuring LGBTQIA2S+ characters that you should read to your secondary ELA students! (These stories are honestly great stories that just so happen to be gay 🙂

1. “Legends are Made, Not Born” by Cherie Dimaline from Love Beyond Body, Space, & Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology

In this story a young boy becomes orphaned after his mother dies in an accident and he comes to realize his own resilience through his memories of her and his relationship with Auntie Dave who teaches him about the Two-Spirited people that “held both male and female genders,” as it becomes apparent that both characters are in fact Two-Spirit people.

2. “Your Life Matters” by L.L. McKinney from Color Outside the Lines: Stories About Love

In this story, set during the Black Lives Matter movement, a young Black superheroine puts herself in harm’s way to save her White girlfriend’s father, a racist police officer, forcing him to rethink his views. Aside from this story having Queer representation, the racial and ethical questions and challenges that it addresses are also so important.

3. “Catch, Pull, Drive” by Schuyler Bailar from Fresh Ink: An Anthology

This is a first person narrative about a transgender male athlete who has just come out as trans on Facebook and is facing his first swim practice back. Some of the boys are welcoming while others are not, but he prevails. Make sure to issue a trigger warning regarding some slurs used in the story. Schuyler himself is an internationally-celebrated inspirational speaker, author and advocate for transinclusion, body acceptance, and mental health awareness. You can find his TEDTalk My Story of Perseverance as a Trans Swimming Champion here.

4. “Parker outside the Box” by Ray Stoeve from Take the Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance

In this short story, Parker, who is nonbinary, mentors Xavier, who is trans, for community service hours. During their time spent together, Parker realizes that he has feelings for Xavier and becomes involved in protesting for safe bathrooms for everyone at their school. There are a few swear words used but nothing offensive. 

5. “The End of the World as We Know It” by Sara Farizan from All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages

In this story, two female best friends fall in love right before Y2K. If you’re an elder-millennial like me, you’ll enjoy the references to all things Y2K like Carson Daly and early 2000’s pop stars that you can explain to your students. There are a few swear words used but nothing offensive. Underage drinking is also mentioned. All in all, it is a fun, nostalgic look back at the “apocalypse” that was Y2K and it just so happens to have two female love interests.

These are just a few of the great young adult LGBTQIA2S+ stories your students are sure to enjoy. All of these anthologies contain many other wonderfully diverse stories to check out!

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