February 26 is National Tell A Fairy Tale Day. I’m hereby declaring it the perfect day to review and refer you all, dear readers, to some great (re)tellings of fairytales, featuring LGBTQ main characters. I once held out hope at the beginning of Once Upon A Time (Network: ABC; 2011-2018) would update the fairy tales and give them much-needed modernizing as both cultural and social commentary. Instead OUAT became a white cishet fest. Dorothy/Ruby and Tilly/Alice (season 7) were presented well after the series knew it was going to wrap and were hardly ground-breaking at that point in the television landscape.
Books, however, have been a delightfully different story (see what I did there? LOL!). The first really good one I encountered was an F/F retelling of The Beauty and the Beast found as a short story in a lesfic collection, Once Upon a Dyke (Bella Books, 2004). The plot involves a hirsute woman leading a traveling circus/carnival as The Bearded Lady and a young woman who falls in love with her.
Another brilliantly recast fairytale is Ash by Malinda Lo (Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009). An update of the Cinderella story, it has a 10th anniversary edition out. This is a “do not miss” seriously beautiful rendering of the tale.
Another Cinderella retelling is Cinder Ella by S.T. Lynn (Lovelight Press, 2016). The story centers around a trans woman in the title role, belittled and deadnamed by her stepmother and stepsisters, Cinder finds acceptance with the Princess of the kingdom at the story’s requisite ball.
Rapunzel got a delightful retelling in a novella titled Braided by Elora Bishop (2012). The girl-locked-up-in-a-tower plot includes a lot of other brilliant changes that almost make Braided feel like an original story. And the author’s writing style makes this an enjoyable read.
In conclusion, everyone deserves to be represented in romance, fairy tales, and every other genre of storytelling. These stories above and more delightfully fulfill that role for LGBTQ. What other fairy tales have you read that have updated these tales with LGBTQ representation? Share links to your favorites in the comments.