20 LGBTQIA+ stories with upbeat endings

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Black Mirror season 3 production still. Photo: David Dettmann/Netflix

Discover these inspiring and enjoyable works of fiction that show a world of love and acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community.

What exactly is a “gay story”? For most people, it’s probably something terribly dramatic. You know: lots of angst and societal rejection, with a fraught coming out scene. Shocked family members. Alienated friends. Longing looks out of a rain-streaked window at an unrequited love. A look at the history of fiction featuring LGBTQIA+ people has some pretty downbeat works in there on average.

Does it always have to be this way, though? Even in times where homophobia was more rampant than it is today, gay people still managed to be happy. Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West liked each other so much that Woolf wrote a whole novel (Orlando) about Sackville-West. More on those two later.

Meanwhile, Walt Whitman appears to have developed quite a few happy relationships with other men despite the significant handicap of living in 19th century America.

Even Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States and the person every historically-minded feminist quotes on their Facebook page, was probably somewhere in the LGBTQIA+ acronym. She had a 30-year relationship with journalist Lorena Hickok that many interpret as romantic.

Happiness doesn’t have to be unattainable

It should make sense that fiction reflects reality. Alas, that means there are plenty of works out there that reflect an obviously homophobic agenda. For example, the lesbian pulp fiction that was popular in early to mid-20th century America was lousy with the male gaze and sad endings. Many of these novels are also pretty bonkers. This could count as either a plus or a serious demerit, depending on your mood and point of view.

But, on the bright side, there are also many works of fiction that show a world of love and acceptance for the LGBTQIA+ community.

This isn’t to say that sad stories don’t have their place. It’s just that they don’t have to be the rule, either. Though, pretty please, can we at least get rid of the awful “bury your gays” trope? Anyway, read on for 20 of the most affirming and enjoyable works of LGBTQIA+ fiction.