Television Tuesday :: television and LGBTQA* characters.

2 Jun

So I don’t think it can really be argued that television, in general, needs to improve its portrayal of LGBTQA* characters.  Here are some helpful notes on this matter!  Coauthored and presented without commentary, as you do.

  1. For the love of god being not-straight is not the only characteristic of someone’s personality.  Do not treat it as such.
  2. It’s generally considered lazy (at best) to only confirm a character’s sexuality once the series is completed, or outside of canon. Try not to do that.
  3. While coming-out stories and stories about discovering one’s orientation are important, it’s also important to tell a variety of stories, and not just ones that enter around sexuality as the main conflict.
  4. Remember that white gay men are not the only ones who need representation: that people of color are more likely to identify as LGBT than white people and women are more likely to identify as LGBT than men.
  5. Be aware that, while for some people sexuality and/or gender does evolve and change over time, others have been sure for most or all of their lives. Therefore, please avoid phrases such as “they are gay now” or “they transitioned to being a woman.”
  6. Also please avoid references to LGBTQA* characters, particularly bisexual characters, being “confused.”
  7. Representations of various genders is just as important. Including transgender and nonbinary characters in your stories can do a lot of good. That said, please do your research and avoid stereotypes. (If a character on Glee did or said it, probably think twice.)
  8. That being said, there are dozens of trans and nonbinary actors who would love to get work portraying a character that reflects them. Please do the work to find those actors.
  9. It is entirely possible to tell a story in which some characters just happen to be queer. They don’t need to have a dramatic coming out or revelation, they can just exist like the straight characters do.
  10. Sometimes characters who have theretofore dated only the opposite gender reveal that they are only interested in their own, and that is fine!  Sometimes, though, characters who have theretofore dated only the opposite gender reveal that they are additionally interested in their own, and that is fine too!  Do not erase either experience, please.
  11. Conversely, some people aren’t sexually and/or romantically attracted to anyone, or only to certain specific people. It is important to remember that sexual and romantic orientations are a spectrum. Asexuality and aromanticism are legitimate orientations and deserve just as much respect as other LGBT orientations.
  12. Asexuals are not robots.
  13. Also, bisexuals are not sluts, gay men are not automatically flamboyant, and lesbians are not automatically butch.
  14. Same-sex relationships and gender-variant relationships are exactly the same as heterosexual relationships, in pretty much every way. They are not more sexual by default.
  15. However, they may be a sexual couple, and that should be treated in the exact same way as heterosexual couples who are sexual.
  16. The word bisexual is not a curse. You can and should have characters say it, and not in a negative context.
  17. This.
  18. Children and teenagers who are LGBTQA* are especially important.
  19. It’s disrespectful and lazy to have presumably straight characters make jokes about how “gay” they or other presumably straight characters are. Likewise, “no homo” jokes should be avoided at all costs. It makes the idea of being gay into a joke, and therefore makes it harder for the narrative to take the idea of a character actually being LGBTQA* seriously.
  20. The most important thing a writer can have when writing LGBT characters is a strong sense of empathy and a willingness to engage with them as people.

–your fangirl heroines.

ladyhugs

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