Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why I don't write homosexual characters

In December, I explained the situation as far as Barbados is concerned with homosexuality. Generally, we don't support it, but we don't run around beating people up for it, either. Since then, I've seen many of my bloggy buds and others on the web asking for more homosexual characters. I doubt I'll ever be one to write them.


The overwhelming reason I refuse to write a homosexual character is because I don't really know where I stand on homosexuality. I am a Christian and I come from a largely Christian nation. So, I've got the traditional Christian input. Homosexuality is wrong.

On the other hand, in my time traipsing around the world, I've met lots of homosexuals. Many of them are good people. (As with any group, there are evil people here too.) And there are many non-homosexuals who do "worse" things.


I suppose the first time I really had to confront the issue was after a close friend came out. I had to wrangle with it for myself. (This is one reason I hate coming out stories where everyone is either "Yay, you came out!" or "I'll never speak to you again, Abomination! I think there are a lot of people who respond like me. They need time to think and feel.) My end position was this: I'm still his friend. I still believe in him as a person. I don't know what God feels about his sexual choices. I don't have the right to judge them. But I also don't feel like I should neccessarily be celebrating them either.

I feel like that position would make for a wishy washy character.


While my views are somewhere in the middle, I've spent most of my life on the anti- side of the fence. I feel like if I tried writing  a homosexual character they might push some of the morals I've been brought up with. That could only lead to a self-loathing character. 


Most of the reasons I won't write a homosexual character have to do with how the end result turn out. But there is one reason that has more to do with me. When I tried to write the quake novel (about 311 - North East Japan's Quake/tsunami/nuclear disaster), I discovered that some stories can scratch right down to your soul. I feel like it would be really painful to explore the parts of my psyche I need to produce a homosexual character, and to keep that character and plot alive for at least 50,000 words. (And that's not even considering revisions.)


There is one book that I hope to write which does involve a homosexual character and storyline. Like my own personal experience, it's about a character who's best friend comes out. The best friend has mostly dealt with the issues arising from her homosexuality, but the MC has to find where she stands.


I feel  a tad like a hypocrit. I'm always preaching about "Other" characters. There are multiple races in every novel-length manuscript of mine. There's one disabled character, and there will be more. There are people representing different countries. But there isn't a single homosexual. Apart from the one I mentioned in the last paragraph, there may never be. But I feel better not writing homosexuals, than writing the type of homosexual characters and stories that do more harm than good.

* I use the word "homosexual" rather than the more politically correct "LGBTQ" because that's what I mean. Much of this post doesn't apply to the "BTQ" and they just may turn up. Who knows?


Marsha Sigman said...

I'm honestly fine with it. I have a whole live and let live attitude when it comes to those types of personal choices.

But it would be really hard to write a main character who is gay and not sure I could do it justice either. Secondary character, I think I could wing it with help from friends.ha

NiaRaie said...

Excellent post. I can totally understand where you're coming from. Thanks for your honesty.

Asia Morela said...

I don't think you *have* to write gay characters. I don't think you should feel pressured into it. No good can come out of forcing oneself, when it comes to writing stories.

Personally, I push for more inclusion, but only in general. (And also in terms of visibility, because these books already exist, but are just not as talked about.) If a specific author doesn't want to deal with some issues, let them not to! We don't have to write about *everything*. When you think about it, there too many things. An author is allowed to focus on a specific theme, issue, context, etc.