I know it sounds corny, but books have always been that small doorway into another person’s shoes when you’ve worn out your own. When I started actively seeking inclusive books, I was ecstatic to finally find stories that mirrored my narrative, were the complete opposite of my narrative and all that’s in between.
I believe 2013 was the year I actively sought out f/f romance books, and at the time it didn’t bother me that a majority of them featured only white couples. I think I was just excited to read stories where women were in love with each other regardless of how they identified, but since I was reading a lot of YA and NA romance that featured people of color in them, I wanted to see more f/f books that reflected the cishet-m/f books I read.
I want more than anything to see two women of color learn from each other, love each other, and help shape the views of their possibly problematic upbringings because being a PoC doesn’t automatically mean we know and understand each other completely.
For example, I grew up in a home where we identified as both Black, but Latinx as well. I wish that meant that I grew up in an incredibly woke and inclusive household, but if I said that I’d be lying. I come from a family who would bleed tears if you mis-cultured them, but that will refer to any Asian person as Chinese. Or misgender(or flat out use an offensive term) a trans person, and sees mental illnesses as “White people problems”. Even in a loving home, there’s a lot of hostility from the generation before us. You want to be “woke” but it almost always requires unlearning from your first teachers.
I know other PoCs who can relate to this even though they’re afraid to admit it. It’s not easy constantly having to correct family, especially when you come from cultures where you’re supposed to respect the wisdom of those who paved the way for you. Sometimes it is a lot of wasted energy to convince people that came before you, when they’re so stuck in their ways. It’s exhausting, and sometimes the time it takes is better spent on someone willing to learn.
But to steer away from the family conversation, like most Black girls, you learn very quickly where society has ranked you regarding desirability. I think if it hadn’t been for the surge of recent books featuring Black main characters in the last few years, I would’ve never thought it possible for a Black girl to be the object of someone’s desire or value(value and desirability are two different things, and way too long for this post).
While m/f is getting better with representation with sistas(colloquial for Black women), I’d love to see f/f show the same initiative especially with another woman of color. Not to say this is wrong, but a lot of interracial romance focuses on white person + person of color= interracial. It’s not rare, but it’s not supported as much when f/f feature two women of color.
A reconnection with a former friend lead into a conversation about her admitting the only women she wouldn’t date were Black. Ironically she could date a Black man, but a Black woman was totally off limits (needless to say, that friendship dissolved).
I tripped it off as just a “preference” back then, but it was then I started feeling Black women struggle in a lot of spaces where they should be more inclusive. Not that I’m saying fiction is the only place to build from or an end-all-be-all to ending racial tension, but it’s a better start than not starting at all.
I want to see a woman of color appreciate another woman of color’s brown or black skin when the entire world is telling them not to. I think we need to bridge the gap between cultures, because being a person of color doesn’t excuse you from having problematic thoughts about another person of color’s culture. I see more white people learning their views can be problematic but never PoCs with another fellow PoC.
I want more f/f that reflects my experience or culture(or other PoCs), because a lot of queer culture depicted is from a white gaze, and brown and black folx have a unique queer culture that we don’t see portrayed in fiction at the same rates.
I want to see more f/f with women of color where they have disabilities, have different spiritual beliefs, or don’t have traditional coming out stories. I want to see more women of color enemies/rivals to lovers, more women of color in office romances and women of color in celebrity romances too!
The list could go on if I let it, but most of all, I just want to see more women of color. Period.
About the Author:
G.L. Tomas is a twin writing duo and lover of all things blerdy, fearless and fun. When they’re not spending their time crafting swoon-worthy heroes, they’re battling alien forces in other worlds but occasionally take days off in search mom and pop spots that make amazing pasteles and tostones fried to perfection.
They host salsa lessons and book boyfriend auditions in their secret headquarters located in Connecticut.
We specialize in New Adult, Young Adult, Romance, and Fantasy! If you love QWoC, inclusive religious, racial, socio-economic, cultural, LGBTQ+, and size(and everything we forgot to mention) representation, check our books out =D
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