I remember the first book I read about queer people, where the queer characters didn’t die. It was Drawing Blood by Poppy Z Brite – a haunted house horror novel. It was such a relief to read at the time. All the fiction I’d read about gay people (and it really was 99% about gay men) was about dying of AIDS or getting beaten to death. The irony of having to go to the horror section to find books about queer people who lived was not lost on me. I remember once buying an anthology, and literally the only story in that anthology that wasn’t about gay people dying was an excerpt from Maurice.
Now there are so many more books where GLBTQ characters get to live, which is great. There’s still a lot more fiction about white gay men than anything else, but there are those stories about there about lesbians and bisexual people and transgendered people and so forth. It’s so nice to see so many romance novels out there that aren’t just about straight people. It’s nice to see stories about members of the queer community getting their happy ending.