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So I just watched the cast reunion of Queer as Folk after finishing my first series rewatch. And some of the stuff they addressed hit me pretty hard from a writing standpoint, because I've been tossing around ideas in my head about my original fiction and whether or not I'll have gay characters or gay leads and whatnot.

As a writer, I know that having gay heroes or heroines brings about a certain audience and it also alienates a certain audience. A lot of people are afraid to consider doing a gay main character because it will hurt sales or will automatically throw the homophobic audience into the Do Not Want category and I will admit that I've tossed that idea around a couple of times myself. I've also thought about my current story I'm working with and how I could incorporate a gay couple or character or whatever dynamic works best into it and I've wondered if trying to do that in a fantasy type of genre is just over reaching--seeing as fantasy automatically narrows your fanbase and then throwing gay in there might just throw the whole thing to the moon, so to speak.

Most of my friends list is homo friendly so you'll all be like "WTF you talkin' bout, Willis" but it is something that we have to consider seriously as writers (not of fanfiction, of course) because regardless of how progressive our country has gotten, there are still people stuck in the dark ages that would hear "Oh there's a gay character in so-and-so book, I'm not reading that bullshit" and there's a loss of a sale right away.

But I think you all know how important representation of the gay community is to me and it's not just in fanfiction but in life in general. My grandmother and my mother and I were talking yesterday about falling in love and changing your ideals and they said "Oh honey, once it happens, you'll see that you'll change your mind about things" and the first thing that always pops into my mind is my support for gay people and how any guy who ever wants to date me will be OK with that or it's not gonna work out (so far that has proven true) so it's important not only in my family and in my friendships but also any relationships I might have in the future. I haven't actually been friends with many gay people (just because I haven't really come across them where I live), but I have been very good friends with some women who identified as bisexual so I've always been immersed in the culture even if it wasn't something I saw in my friends every day so it's always, always been important to me to represent the world as a whole from all walks of life in all things that I do and write and read and I think it's really important that I represent the gay community in my fiction as well as the straight community.

My first story I'm working on has a female lead that is straight, but I am tossing around some ideas for either a male gay couple or a male gay friend or a female friend who has not said that she is gay and falls in love with the heroine. That's all up in the air, of course, as I pile together different characters in my head but I'm definitely interested in including that in the fantasy novel and I'm also interested in writing something about my experiences in the military and how that might be for someone who is closeted (obviously since you can't be open) and I've even considered what might happen to me if they were to snoop into my stuff and find all the gay contraband and think that I am gay or some such stuff. Anyway, the military's stand on homosexuality is one of the things I cringe when I think about and I'm actually hoping I'll get some sort of chance when I join to be apart of trying to change Don't Ask, Don't Tell and it is definitely something I'd like to explore in a story when I'm done with my first one.

I need to get to bed here soon but I really felt like I needed to write something down about all this so I have. I love all of you for being so wonderful and supportive of both the gay community and its representation in literature as you are all inspirations to me and the rest of the world.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 17th, 2010 07:46 am (UTC)
May. 17th, 2010 10:19 am (UTC)

Love this, I agree so hard.
May. 17th, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC)
I agree with this so much.

I've read some YA fantasy books with gay characters as secondary characters. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray, The Mortal Instruments trilogy by Cassandra Clare, Tithe by Holly Black, The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. I just finished Fire by Kristin Cashore and that even had some mentions of the main character being bisexual. And then there's a book I've heard of but haven't read called Ash by Malinda Lo that has a lesbian female lead.

I don't think their gay characters have been extremely harmful of their book sales. They're all still writing and some of them have even made it to the NYT best sellers list and have won or been nominated for literary awards.

If you make them believable, I think people who are against gays will see that there is more to a person than just their sexuality. And I know you're capable of that. :)

Is this the same story you talked to me about before?
May. 17th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
Good for you!!!
Lol im sorry thats random its just really annoys me how people are so anti-gay sometimes!!
AS soon as you mention the word gay they go uh!
Personally im straight but I think everyone should have the right to be happy and get married no matter what.
Hopefully i will see the story soon :P
May. 18th, 2010 07:17 am (UTC)
I go through that every time I make a character. I seem to make a lot of characters who easily fall into 'they can fall for ANYONE' niche, but then when I want to turn it into something I want to publish... Yeah. Take my Sarah Moon character for instance. In the original stories I wrote her in with friends, she fell for her best female friend. Now, I'm considering on her falling for her male Vampire guardian. And yet, all the rest of the characters around her, gay, straight or bi have stayed the same.

I dunno. I'm just blabbering I suppose.
May. 19th, 2010 07:37 am (UTC)
I think it's wonderful that the gay community is so important to you. It definitely is something you should include in some of your writing. I know I will. My thought is, people who like fantasy are usually pretty open-minded anyway so it should be OK to have gay characters in your fantasy work. I do understand it being a hard decision though. That's one of the (many) things holding me back from the script I'm trying to write. I don't know how much to include it. I do want to have a couple gay characters because I think it's important, but I don't want to build a reputation as the lesbian writer. I think as long as you have gay and straight characters, it'll be OK. The point is to represent people of all kinds, right? So just create a bunch of different characters. Gay, straight, black, Jewish, etc. My advice would be this: Start out with just one or two gay characters, and when people respond well to that add some more. Just make sure whatever you do, you're comfortable with it.

Can I ask what kind of gay stuff you have that would make the military question you? Just reading materials and such?
May. 19th, 2010 07:02 pm (UTC)
All my fanfiction and then that story addressing military and Don't Ask, Don't Tell... I think they'd probably have something to say about it. lol
May. 19th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, probably. When do you start? Maybe they'll have gotten rid of Don't Ask, Don't Tell by then. (Doubtful though, they take forever.)
May. 19th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
As soon as possible. I should be in within the next year. Just have to get into shape--so yeah, I don't think that'll be gone quite yet. :/
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )