Romance as a genre wants to become more diverse. Male/male romance’s popularity and the increasing demand for non-normative historical settings have been seen as positive steps towards an inclusive romance readership, but there’s a lot more to romance than men having really good sex with each other (although we still love reading about it).
M/M romance is a part of a larger type of romance—LGBTQ romance, also known as queer romance. LGBTQ stands for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer/Questioning. Queer is an umbrella term for these identities as well as a number of others, including asexual, aromantic, pansexual, and intersex. Queer is a deeply political word that started as a term used negatively against the LGBTQ community and has since been reclaimed to become a more positive term (although that’s a simplification of a much larger history of cultural history with the word).
Under LGBTQ romance, one identity we don’t often see represented is that of transgender characters. Transgender characters are characters whose initially assigned genders (typically as a man or a woman) do not match their actual genders. “Trans” as a term originates from Latin and means “across” or “beyond.” Much like the prefix term, transgender people go “across” or “beyond” their assigned binary gender identities.