⚠️Spoilers for The Henna Wars in the thread below⚠️

One of the gatekeepery things I have been very frustrated by in the queer bookish community is the depiction of people being outed, and how so many people are hyper critical of anyone writing that.
When I was writing The Henna Wars, I was already very aware of this discourse. I already knew the kind of criticism that would be levied at me if I chose to keep the scene where Nishat is outed to her whole school.
In fact, I spent many anxious nights rethinking the whole scene over and over again. When my editor suggested making the scene the midpoint of the book, giving it MORE importance in the story, I was wrought with even more anxiety.
According to many (white) queer people, there are too many depictions of queer characters being outed in the media. According to them, there isn't space for more depictions of this. Because it's traumatic or harmful. There's especially no space for them in books like mine.
Since The Henna Wars came out so many readers have shared their experiences with me, and spoken about how their experiences converged with Nishat's. And yes, readers have specifically spoken about the scene where Nishat is publicly outed to her whole school.
They've shared that it made them feel seen, that it reflected something that they have experienced in their lives, that it is a reality for them that they have never seen depicted before.
The queer community has so much gatekeeping from white queer people that the rest of us are literally fearful of exploring our own realities. We get criticised for writing the truths of what we experience.
Not because it's harmful or bad representation, simply because white queer people have done it before us. And somehow, their experience gets to be universal, they get to be told, they get to speak for us. Ours gets to be criticised merely for existing.
It's fair for anyone to not want to read books where a queer character is outed. So many of us have faced trauma in our lives, and we need to be able to navigate how we face that trauma in fiction we read, IF we want to face it.
But the kind of gatekeeping and "criticism" that qpoc face in this community is unjustified, and incredibly frustrating to have to deal with day in and day out.
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