Even though things have improved tenfold for LGBT people growing up today, there's no denying it can still be a very isolating and difficult experience growing up feeling different from everyone else.
Enter Lucy Sutcliffe and her memoir Girl Hearts Girl. You've probably already heard of Lucy from the cute vlogs she does with girlfriend Kaeylyn, but it turns out things weren't always so picture-perfect in her life.
So, in honour of her new book, we asked Lucy to select her Top 10 LGBT characters in fiction, and she's also filmed a lovely vlog answering all your pressing questions, because she's great:
Representation is so important. I was 15 years old when I saw an LGBT person on TV for the first time, and it changed everything for me. Finding someone I could finally relate to was incredible. I had never felt that before. So, without further ado, here are ten of my favourite fictional LGBT characters, in no particular order.
10. Lexa - 'The 100'
I could write an entire book about why I love Lexa. She's a complex, smart, multi-layered character and one of the strongest women on TV. She loves fiercely and fights for what she believes in at all costs – what more could you ask of a role model?!
9. Albus Dumbledore – 'Harry Potter' by JK Rowling
I wish I'd known Dumbledore was gay right from the beginning. JK Rowling only revealed that detail towards the end of the series, and I feel I would have been more attached to him if I'd known. Dumbledore – and indeed the entire Harry Potter series – was a guiding light through my childhood for so many reasons. His belief in the power of love came at exactly the right time for me.
8. Jack Harkness - 'Torchwood'
Captain Jack Harkness was the first openly gay character I saw on TV. I used to stay up late and watch the show with my headphones in, scared that my family would find out. I can't describe the relief I felt, discovering a character like him –someone who was utterly unashamed to be himself. Powerful stuff.
7. George – 'George' by Alex Gino
I adored this book. It features trans protagonist, George, as she navigates her way through finding herself and her identity. She's in middle-school, which is around the age I first started questioning my own sexuality, and for that reason, this book is perfect for school libraries. It's a simple yet beautiful story, and it leaves you wanting to make a difference.
6. Angel – 'Rent'
'Rent' is one of my all-time favourite musicals. Angel is HIV+, and is such a beautiful character to watch come to life on stage. Her portrayal is touching and sentimental, and her funeral always hits me right in the feels.
5. Sophia Burset – 'Orange is the New Black'
Sophia is hands down my favourite character in OITNB. She's sassy and strong, yet caring and gentle-hearted. Her backstory leaves me breathless with emotion and Laverne Cox portrays her beautifully. I'm so glad that trans characters are starting to get the spotlight on TV. It's kind of representation we need more of.
4. Alice – 'The L Word'
Alice is just so damn loveable! She reminds me of myself – scatterbrained, overly-emotional and a little bit mad – and she's simply hilarious to watch on screen.
3. Carol – 'Carol'
I'm in love with Cate Blanchett. That is all.
2. Jude Foster – 'The Fosters'
The Fosters is a fantastically diverse show, and the kiss between Jude and his on-screen boyfriend broke new ground as the youngest gay kiss in TV history. Jude himself is about thirteen when the show first starts, and we watch as he slowly but surely gains the confidence and self-awareness to come out to himself and his family. I just want to give him a hug for being so brave!
1. Ilana Wrexler - 'Broad City'
Ilana is the kind of girl I want to be best friends with. Proudly and openly bisexual, her boundlessly positive and endlessly optimistic personality is so heartwarming, and it leaves you with the biggest smile on your face.
Fab choices, right? Now watch Lucy answering all your questions in the vid below, and go out and grab Girl Hearts Girl in stores now.
Your thoughts on this? Let us know with a tweet @sugarscape or drop us a comment in the box below.