The YA fantasy I grew up with had a paradox at its heart.
I wanted to be just like the heroes from these books, whose stories spoke to my experiences: feeling like I looked different than everyone else, like I didn’t fit in, knowing that my peers didn’t like or accept me, thinking that grown-ups couldn’t understand why I felt so isolated.
And yet I never once actually saw myself in these books. The heroes of these novels were invariably white, able-bodied, heterosexual, and cisgender. (Fortunately, this has started to change in the intervening years.)
They were also invariably thin. This has not changed very much at all.