Writing And Diversity
LGBT people are part of our diverse world. So, as writers, we must try really hard to avoid stereotypes while writing diverse characters. Happily, it’s the need of the hour in the industry – so if we write better diverse characters, then we have more chance of getting published or produced! Here are the top 3 tips for writing LGBT characters, enjoy!
1) Decide AND Understand Your Characters’ Sexuality
Consider aspects like, have they come out of the closet and how and to whom? This will help you understand how they accept their sexuality and how well adjusted they are to their present. You will gradually be able to set realistic boundaries for your character and be able to stick to them.
Also, not everyone falls into a certain category that’s defined. Some characters can fall into gray areas. It’s best to understand the basics by reading and talking to people who understand it. You can then work on the sexuality and the romantic status of your character. Understand what gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual and asexual (and so on) actually means.
TOP TIP: You don’t have to worry about making your LGBT character ‘normal’, but you do have to do your research! MORE: How To Write Better LGBT Characters
2) Don’t Write Them As An ‘LGBT token’
You don’t necessarily have to have a bitchy gay character … In fact, please don’t! No stereotypes or overly familiar characters, please.
Also, don’t make the stories just about the LGBT character’s identity. Remember, like any straight character, one’s orientation or identity is a part of their life and NOT the entirety. Don’t make your character’s sole purpose to LGBT … Make it just a facet that flows subtly.
For example, a real-life lesbian wouldn’t necessarily be masculine in nature. She doesn’t necessarily have to goth-looking either! Focus on something that brings out their personality and does not just talk about their sexuality. Talk about how good a friend or a daughter she is. Or how she performs at work etc.
You don’t necessarily have to have coming out stories or transition stories, either. Those stories are overly represented. Imagine the real thing, in the real world. Not every LGBT individual needs to come out! He/she can still rock at their life.
TOP TIP: Make your LGBT character a person FIRST. Their sexuality is not anyone’s concern but theirs … Unless they want it to be. MORE: How To Avoid Writing Stereotypes
3) Be Diverse!
This might seem like the most obvious advice for writing an LGBT character but is extremely important. Writers like to create curiosity among readers. For example, a character who is devoted stay at mom is also a spy, like in Long Kiss Goodnight. Why not? But we need to do the same with our LGBT characters too!
So your character doesn’t necessarily have to be white, or flamboyant. A gay dude could very easily be a nerd with a 9-5 job. A trans individual doesn’t necessarily have to be flamboyant; he could be a senator. Remember, the audience is already too used to stereotypes. In reality, not every gay man lives in a big mansion and appreciates being a girl’s bitchy BFF. They can have an equally boring job as yours or mine.
TOP TIP: Diversity just means ‘variety’ – so write more of a VARIETY of LGBT characters! MORE: How I Wrote The Other Twin, Set In Diverse Brighton
Be real and give your audience something they connect to, yet do not expect from you. This is as real as it can get, for all our characters.
BIO: Bronte Price is a wedding celebrant at Gay Celebrant Melbourne.. He stands strongly for marriage equality and takes immense pleasure in marrying any couples in love. He has also co-founded The Equality Network to help wedding suppliers create a better wedding experience for LGBTI couples. He is a regular volunteer newsreader at Joy 94.9, and a member of GLOBE (Gay and Lesbian Organization for Business and Enterprise). Beyond this, you will find him either in his organic backyard vegetable garden or taking walks with his fiancée Clint and their four-legged fur baby, Bingo.
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