The Homecoming Game

Olivia Daras, University of Texas at El Paso


What is the first thing you think of when you think of a story or novel about someone who is gay, or on the LGBTQ+ spectrum? The common answer would likely be, a story about the process of a queer person being in the closet, coming out. Are we as writers afraid of telling the stories of LGBTQ+ characters without coming out as the main topic? Is it about money, or is it about telling a story that is meaningful, that allows the LGBTQ+ community a glimpse into a character’s life that looks like their own? By which I mean: are authors afraid of their books not selling if they are not a coming out story, a topic which has been very popular in YA literature? It could be: the trope works, and is something that has made a lot of money in the LGBTQ+ literature scene. But is a person’s sexual identity really that important? Should it be all consuming? Is this the kind of story we really want to keep telling over and over again, or have we reached a point in society where sexuality does not matter, because it is only one part of the many different parts that make up who we are as humans?When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time confused about my own sexual orientation. Growing up in a strict Italian-Catholic household, the idea of a future dating or marrying a woman rather than a man was something I never imagined. Instead, I imagined walking down the aisle of my childhood Chapel in a beautiful white dress, to where a handsome man would be waiting for me. As I grew into a teenager, I started feeling things I had never felt before about girls in my school. Being a child of the technological age, I dove into the internet to research what I was feeling, and had myself convinced at various stages that I was a lesbian. Every day it was something different; lesbian, straight, lesbian, straight — my sexual identity was like a revolving door of denial. The worst part about it was that I felt like I could not tell anyone about the war being waged inside of my mind; I felt painfully alone, confused, and like something was terribly wrong with me.I was a voracious reader as a teenager, and the majority of the books I read were for and about cisgender, straight teenage girls who were hopelessly in love with boys who did not notice them. I identified heavily with these girls and devoured the books, reading one after another like they were my daily meals. Even now as an adult, I love diving into a good Young Adult Novel, although now my preferences are a lot different than they once were. The literature I had access to as a teenager never delved into sexual identity, or showed characters who looked like me. They were straight girls, living straight lives, dating straight boys — a far cry from the characters I needed at the time. So, a large portion of my teenage years were spent in complete denial of an inherent truth I refused to accept: I was (and still am!) bisexual, and that is perfectly okay.

Subject Area

Creative writing|Fine arts|LGBTQ studies

Recommended Citation

Daras, Olivia, "The Homecoming Game" (2023). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30819536.