I love Dystopian and Utopian fiction, I would even say that it might be my absolute favourite genre. Some of my favourites fall within this genre, The Giver, Hunger Games, Uglies, and Divergent. I could go on and on. Something that has really been bothering, especially in those books where the dystopia is hidden as a utopia. The lack of queer* people.
It first really bothered me when reading Hive, in this world they have a complex breeding system. When a girl reaches of age and someone else has died she “marries” a boy from a different sector. Which seems to ignore that some of these people would be queer and unlikely to want to breed.
Again it popped up in Scythe, which I have just recently read for the first time. If we have truly become immortal and can potentially live forever, then what happens to those who are Trans. From the idea that there are still ugly people, one can assume that the nanites cannot alter the physical body. Are Transpeople stuck with an eternity of dysphoria?
Why do we need representation though?
By ignoring this population within these books what you are doing is making your world less believable. You don’t have to make queer people a whole plotline or complex situation.
For example, there is a lot of world-building and explaining the utopia that is Mid-Merica in Scythe. A paragraph or two could have talked about trans people and how nanites can change one’s gender. In this way, you are even adding more richness and complexity to your overall world.
LGBTQIAA+ Is a fastly growing population of YA readers, from those of us who are well beyond the age group. To those younger readers who are growing up in a more vibrant and accepting society. Thus queer topics are not only becoming more acceptable but are thriving. Gone are the days when you had to bury this all in subtext.
Ultimately though when you exclude any queerness in your dystopian and utopian fiction you are telling your queer readers that in your future they don’t exist. You might not think it’s much, but let me tell you we notice us missing. It hurts us and upsets us.
*I use queer throughout this to mean anyone withing the LGBTQIAA+ community. It is a word I am comfortable with as a queer person, I mean no harm to those who find the word offensive.