Learning Through Literature: LGBTQIA+ YA Literature as Activism in the Netherlands
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This thesis will argue the importance of LGBTQIA+ Young Adult literature in improving the acceptance of queer identities in the Netherlands. Through analysis of three case studies, this thesis will show that themes such as coming out, transphobia, and queering stories can positively impact Dutch people’s way of thinking about the queer community. In Chapter One, I will explore the Dutch self-identity as progressive and how it conflicts with facts about LGBTQIA+ oppression in the Netherlands. Chapter Two will analyse literature on using Young Adult novels in a classroom setting and how LGBTQIA+ Young Adult literature can help teenagers become more openminded. Chapter Three looks at Becky Albertalli’s Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in order to establish the importance of discussing identity formation and the relation between sexuality and gender performance. Chapter Four will use Kacen Callender’s Felix Ever After to argue the importance of transgender representation in Young Adult literature and to discuss whether labels are necessary and to whom. Chapter 5 will discuss the representation of queer fanfiction in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, arguing that fanfiction could be employed in order to help teenagers connect to queer messages in literature. These chapters support the conclusion that LGBTQIA+ YA literature could provide the Netherlands with the opportunity to ensure the Netherlands continues to make progress when it comes to LGBTQIA+ acceptance.