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Daylight Writing #6: LGBTQ Characters

Alright, today’s article is gonna be a special one. You might even say it’s queer.

Now, at first you might think that LGBT is some kind of sandwich, like the BLT, but it’s not. LGBT is an initialism standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Sometimes its expanded to LGBTQ, and the Q, in this case, means queer. We’re gonna be talking about how to use these characters in your stories and what you can expect from the audience.

Now, fundamentally, is there any difference between a straight character and a gay one, or a bisexual one? Well, the answer to that is… not quite. I mean, sure, there are stereotypes about these identities. Honestly, trying to nail down a set of traits for an LGBTQ to have is like trying to nail down air. It’s just not gonna work out. Human beings are, after all, complex and varied.

So now, how will you work an LGBTQ character into the story? Will they wave their pride flag openly, or will they keep it to themselves? It depends on the genre and setting, actually. A romance story about say, two girls falling in love, may take place in a conservative setting to give the story some conflict since if there’s no conflict, there’s not much plot. You also have to ask the question of whether or not you should make this story’s plot one that breaks the status quo or sticks to the norm.

Okay, but what if I made my villains LGBTQ? Now, that one is risky. There can be a lot of potential flak about giving an LGBTQ character a villain role, since you’re saying that a queer character has to be the bad guy. Now, there are ways to play with this, like maybe their love for… I dunno, the prince/princess brings them back from the dark side (think Catra from She-Ra). One thing I would recommend against doing is to make them depraved. Like, make a gay or bisexual character out to be some kind of monster as you would be just doing no one any favors. That said, one thing you could do is have an LGBTQ couple be extremely happy together as they commit dastardly deeds.

Now, let’s be real and honest here. Including LGBTQ characters is tricky. There’s that lot that can go wrong, and a lot that will go wrong. This is probably my own bias leaking in, but I find that having LGBTQ characters as nothing less than paragons would most likely cause someone to go after your head.

On that note, be wary of fans in general when giving out too many false positives. See how well that turned out for Voltron: Legendary Defender.