Read @seananmcguire books.
Read @seananmcguire books.
Read @seananmcguire books.

Probably my favourite author right now, and the one who resparked my love of fantasy.

As a child, I adored fantasy. I never had a particular sense of belonging in it, but I could imagine myself
existing in it. I generally didn't imagine myself going on the adventures with the main characters, but rather going on my own adventure or going on the adventure but by myself. I preferred it that way. Regardless, I believed I could exist in fantasy worlds / stories.
As a teen / young adult, I realised I was LGBT+ (being trans is especially relevant), disabled, and neurodivergent. Fantasy stopped being a sanctuary as I realised how much marginalisation it upheld, how many harmful ideas and how much erasure. I couldn't imagine myself in those
worlds, in those stories, anymore. It was horrible. The places I'd turned to for escapism had turned out to be places I'd need to escape from, because they were, in too many ways, just more of the same. No amount of dragons cancels out transphobia. No amount of flying broomsticks
matters if there's not a single wheelchair to be seen. I was invisible in the one place I'd felt like I might be seen, or a plot device in the one place I'd felt like I could be a protagonist.

When I was about 20, I read Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire.
The main character is asexual (not my exact sexuality, but LGBT+ rep, which still helps) and there's a wholesome trans character.
Suddenly, I was seen. I existed. I was (an important) part of the story.
On top of that, it was a darn good story well told. So I felt like I existed,
in a story that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Without that book, it would likely have taken me a lot longer to get back into fantasy, and reading in general. That was the spark that gave me hope and told me to look for more books like that, told me that they did in fact exist.
It still took me a while to read more of the Wayward Children series, because of various Life Stuff. But when I did, I found more characters who represented parts of me. And I've just found out that there are mermaids who use wheelchairs in Seanan's October Daye series.
This is the first time since my naive-about-myself childhood that a writer has consistently made me feel like I could exist in their stories. I won't say it means the world to me. It means worlds. Plural. That are suddenly open to me. As I am.
Because I read Every Heart A Doorway, I realised that stories with characters like me did actually exist, I wouldn't just have to write them myself (still plan to do that too). So I went in search of more, and found more. I wouldn't have done so otherwise, because I'd given up.
Conventional fantasy makes no space for people like me, except as pitiable side characters or villains (characters who will probably get killed off) or as a tragedy (because obviously that's all being disabled is).
Seanan McGuire does. So please,

read @seananmcguire books.
And I'd like to thank @spazgirl11 for her piece in Uncanny Magazine, titled 'Part of That World: Finding Disabled Mermaids in the Works of Seanan McGuire' for inspiring this thread. Reading that piece made me realise I had to talk about this too.
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