In my writing I try to include characters that aren’t white Anglo Saxon Protestant men. I try to write about people of color and with different backgrounds.
Right now I’m researching writing gay characters because I don’t feel confident about the four characters I’ve written so far that have been homosexual. This is an unfamiliar territory for me to be honest.
- Writing Gay Characters
- Writing the LGBT Community
- Beyond the Closet: Writing Gay Characters
- The Critical Media Project
It’s given me ideas about rewriting the male character I’ve most recently written. I think I can more confidently write Rupert. I wasn’t sure about his character but now I think I understand him better. This character in particular I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head around. It’s hard enough to write the opposite gender, but writing Rupert was an even larger challenge for me. Writing lesbian characters was naturally easier, and the last male character that I wrote was much easier for me to write for some reason.
Why have I chosen to write LGBTQ characters? Because realistically they make up part of our society and will add an element of realism to the society that I’m creating. Because they’re an underrepresented group of people and that’s something that should be remedied.
I know that women are underrepresented in media, so I wonder how much more so for LGBTQ people. I’ve had a hard time finding statistical data regarding this, which leads me to believe that it hasn’t been amply studied. Or I’m just not looking in the right places.
Will I get it “right” in my books? Probably not. I probably won’t make every reader happy. I’m not perfect and the characters I’m writing about aren’t perfect either. What’s important is that I’m making an effort for diversity in my books.
We need diverse books because people come in all shapes and sizes. Books should be written about people who fit all shapes and sizes too, but they’re not. Books are written about what sells and what sells fits a formula. Booksellers have an idea of what is salable and that’s what is released onto bookshelves when there is a great mass of books — good or ill — that never makes the cut. We need diverse books because books are an evocative salve to the reader, cathartic to the soul filling a void. I believe that different genres fill different needs for readers. We seek romance or mystery, fantasy or horror and so fill our hearts with these books. We need diverse books because the vastness of humanity has many voices that all need to be heard.
I end with these words:
“We are a gentle, angry people, and we are singing, singing for our lives…
We are gay and straight together and we are singing, singing for our lives…
We are a gentle, loving people, and we are singing, singing for our lives.”
— We Are a Gentle, Angry People, Holly Near, 1979