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Author Topic: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P  (Read 2406 times)

Offline Vincent_Quill

should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« on: February 18, 2013, 04:54:58 PM »
My current (and first) W.I.P. Is a fairly typical 'quest' fantasy, following the journeys of two groups of people; one consisting of a genius female celt, a changeling half-troll indigenous amazon male who is very big(not as in fat) due to his troll ancestry, and a female Japanese samurai, who is the POV character for that thread, and the other consisting of a male viking, mad old celt-wizard, a Mongol warrior, a medieval knight, who dies early on and is replaced by another celt, and a venetian soldier who is the pov character for that thread. I think i have included a decent amount of racial and gender diversity (for a roughly middle-ages setting), but i feel LGBT characters are underrepresented in fantasy, and would like to include some, but i'd imagine there's a lot of work involved in getting them right. The only fantasy i have ever read containing LGBT characters was Eon  by  Allison goodman, which featured a love story between a 'contraire' (transgendered) and a eunuch as a side plot to the 'girl disguised as man secretly enters an all-male profession' plot, plus dragons, which i felt was done rather well. However i have not read its sequel, so i have no idea how the story works out. My question is, is it worth it including LGBT characters? The story doesn't focus on romance either way, but at one stage the viking does go to a brothel, and i was thinking of a romance between the two Pov characters, not that they meet until the very end.
EDIT; all mentioned civilisations are counterparts in my fictional universe, so i am aware they did.not exist at the same time.
EDIT; in my universe, trolls are far from an 'evil' race, so the amazonian half-troll is by.no means intended as racist
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 05:09:50 PM by Vincent_Quill »

Offline Doctor_Chill

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Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 05:17:29 PM »
Why do you feel the need for affirmative action in your work?
“It’s a dangerous thing, pretense. A man ought to know who he is, even if he isn’t proud to be it.” - Tomorrow the Killing, Daniel Polansky

Offline Vincent_Quill

Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 05:30:17 PM »
It's not so.much affirmative action (at least according to my understanding of the term) so much as acknowledging their existence. Are you regarding to the characters' races, i have various reasons for the multiculturalism within the groups  (the 5 were created by a council of rulers as the 5 best warriors in the land (the one who dies is 'the chosen one' and i'm still deciding how my fairly  average pov character got in it) and everyone wanted one of their warriors in it, and the 3 met i the enemies prison as prisoners of war, before  escaping and going  about their quest), and i just want to acknowledge LGBT characteres iny worldand
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 05:40:45 PM by Vincent_Quill »

Offline Lor

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Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 05:33:11 PM »
Biggest hint I can give you as someone who is definitely on the LGBTQ spectrum; don't make a big deal out of it. We're people just like everyone else, and we hate hackneyed stereotypes as much as anyone else ;)

Seriously though, don't force it - if your character truly is LGBTQ, it should feel natural as you write it. If you're having to work too hard at it, that will be obvious to your reader, who will think you just included the character to tick off some box on a sheet.
 
Feel free to pm me if you have any questions about LGBTQ issues though, and you don't want to ask them in such a public place. Good luck!
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Offline ToffMyster

Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 05:36:32 PM »
I'd probably say don't bother forcing it into your story, especially if it doesn't really focus on romance 'cos that kind of nullifies any need for the sexuality of the characters to be explored or even acknowledged (imao :P). But I might be wrong, if it feels right and doesn't break the flow of your story but merely helps to enrich this strange medieval land that you've created then go for it! No harm in experimentation, within reason that is. :)
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Offline Vincent_Quill

Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 05:54:21 PM »
Okay, your points both make sense, so i don't think i will include any. Although, the 3 do end up in the equivalent of the forbidden city in Beijing (under mongol rule) where there are pretty much only concubines, the royal family and eunuch guards  allowed in the palace at night (unless in the imperial prison cells) so i might hint at a eunuch-eunuch relationship, and/or suggest that in the viking's brothel, which has a largely male target market, has some male prostitutes also, though that sounds like it may be suggesting an "all gays are/use prostitutes" stereotype, which would not do at all. Thoughts?

Offline Doctor_Chill

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Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 05:56:34 PM »
I'd probably say don't bother forcing it into your story, especially if it doesn't really focus on romance 'cos that kind of nullifies any need for the sexuality of the characters to be explored or even acknowledged (imao :P). But I might be wrong, if it feels right and doesn't break the flow of your story but merely helps to enrich this strange medieval land that you've created then go for it! No harm in experimentation, within reason that is. :)

Exactly. Write what feels natural. And the whole "best warriors from around the land" seems really cool. Describing racial tensions would add to the conflict. Another plus.

My thought would be to write what you want to write. Mark Charan Newton could be said to use the "all gays use/are prostitutes" stereotype in City of Ruin, yet nobody criticizes him.

And seeing as you have a lot of travel, other races makes sense.
“It’s a dangerous thing, pretense. A man ought to know who he is, even if he isn’t proud to be it.” - Tomorrow the Killing, Daniel Polansky

Offline Vincent_Quill

Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2013, 06:10:48 PM »
Thanks for all of your help! I think i might have the venetian (and so strictly 'Christian' (equivalent)) be slightly confused when he hears that there are male prostitutes used by males ("where would they...or why would they... Manage to do that",but the rest of them seem fairly apathetic; they're older and more world weary, whereas the pov is genuinely confused by things that contradict what he was taught at home), because he's fairly young and has led a very sheltered life, though he's 21 and has been with the.military in some way or another since age 7 (like the process of knighthood), and has always been taught "war is glorious", but he along with the reader gradually learn more and more about the world and how (especially this war) war is far from glorious

Offline Lor

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Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 06:13:53 PM »
Sounds like a plan dude! :) best of luck!
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye." - Miss Piggy

Offline jefGoelz

Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2013, 03:41:17 AM »
There is a character in South Park called Token.  He's black.  If you add a character of any "group" just because you want to be inclusive, that might not be the best reason.

There should be some organic or story-telling reason for it.

I don't think I can do justice in creating a MC that is a non-heterosexual, but I have created some secondary characters that are gay.  In one case, I needed a man who would have a long-term positive relationship with a woman character, but not have  any romantic entanglements whatsoever.  He became gay, though I didn't plan on that when I first introduced him.  He had a few stereotypical behaviors, but not extreme (except liking fashion).  In the next book, I had him develop a relationship with a previously-introduced secondary character who was very much stereotypically masculine.  I don't know why I introduced the relationship, except I knew I was going to kill off one of them, and I wanted someone to grieve deeply for his loss.  I did want to explore the idea that being gay doesn't mean you have to have a certain set of stereotypical behaviors, and I did want to show their love was as deep and meaningful as any kind of love, but I wasn't trying to present any social agenda.

Offline Elfy

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Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 04:36:29 AM »
I'd agree with Lor here. Only do what feels natural to you. I think you'll find as you write if a same sex or non traditional relationship and/or character seems right and fits into the story you're telling then it will happen. Jef also makes a good point, you don't want to make a character a particular race, gender, orientation just because you feel it's expected.
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Offline AnneLyle

Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2013, 01:31:07 PM »
Thanks for all of your help! I think i might have the venetian (and so strictly 'Christian' (equivalent)) be slightly confused when he hears that there are male prostitutes used by males...

Actually, the Venetian of all people would not be surprised by the existence of male prostitutes - there was a real problem with sodomy in medieval Venice, to the extent that the city elders decreed that female prostitutes must bare their breasts to tempt the young men to part with their money. There's even a bridge in Venice called the Ponte de le Tette where the whores used to hang out!

I actually blogged about this whole issue in connection with my own novels: http://www.annelyle.com/blog/history/homosexuality-in-elizabethan-england/

Even if you're using a fictional setting, if you adopt real-world analogues make sure you're not making assumptions based on insufficient knowledge of the period.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 01:34:34 PM by AnneLyle »
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Offline Vincent_Quill

Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2013, 06:45:46 PM »
Yes, but my pov has led an exceptionally sheltered life, and it isn't real-world Venice, so i think i can get away with some historical inaccuracy  ;) my Venice isn't really visited in the plot, so it's not  quite as fleshed out as some of my other civilisations! Oh well! Anyway, my Venice is basically a very religious city state that looks very much like Venice. I've merged some aspects of it with the Vatican city (centre of medieval-based civilisation's religion etc. Has two 'kings', one is basically a pope, the religious ruler, whereas the other is a more conventional king. The friction between the two ultimately leads to the it's downfall.) so it's not EXACTLY Venice,but thanks for your input anyway! I might work in that his city is known for gay prostitutes, and that he should have known that!

Also, to jef, it's not so much a case of lgbt characters at this stage, more that lgbt people DO exist in my universe,  so more like some black children in the background of south park rather that Token

EDIT; plus this Venice is not the liberal renaissance city state it was in real life; this place has closer to dark-ages attitudes, as it'sset in an earlier world
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 07:01:27 PM by Vincent_Quill »

Offline graveyardhag

Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2013, 07:14:04 AM »
I'm of the mind that if your character is LGBT you will find that out as you write them. Unless this is something you desperatly want to do for some reason, don't force the issue. And if it is, find the right character and see how it goes. If all you want is to draw attention to the fact that they are there, just add in some background/minor charcters that just happen to be what they are.
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Offline Hierath

Re: should i include LGBT characters in my W.I.P
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2013, 03:20:27 PM »
I second what Graveyardhag said, if your characters are LGBT, they'll let you know! Don't try to make your characters be what they're not for the sake of "inclusion".
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