Shhh, don’t tell anyone but I think she’s gay

“Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free … unless they’re, like, gay or something.” — Not the Statue of Liberty

“My being blind doesn’t make me stupid.” — Justice

Egalidad

Some of my characters end up being lesbian, bisexual, gay, or transexual. Some, like Trint in my novel Hard as Roxx or Peyton in my novelette* “Days of the Never Was” were born that way. Others, like headliners Roxx, from Hard as Roxx or Luce, in the novelette “Manhattan Transference” discover their sexuality as an integral part of the plot.

In some instances, I created a character’s sexuality somewhat randomly, like Trint, and allowed it to impact the story in accordance with how the characters’ personalities mesh. In fact, in Trint’s instance, I eliminated a planned major character because Trint and Roxx’s energy supplanted what I’d intended to be a main storyline. In “Days of the Never Was,” which follows three pairs of friends as they have their identities shifted due to a mysterious fog, I created a character in order to write a relationship that touched on how gender and sexual identities affect relationships, and then allowed it to flip.

Initially, I hesitated to do so, since I’m not gay, but then I realized I don’t have a vagina either, so … I’m guessing what creating characters requires is understanding more so than personal experience. I’m not particularly a fan of story lines like the old TV show “Will and Grace,” whose primary characters seemed to be saying, “Look at me! I’m gay! Isn’t that funny?” Well, not so much, no.

Still, one of the reasons I didn’t release Roxx, although the book is finished, is that I wondered about people’s acceptance of a gay relationship. After getting feedback from various readers, I still wonder. Not a single person so much as mentioned the relationship, even though it is the central relationship to the story. Is that indicative of how far society has progressed, or is it that people aren’t comfortable saying they weren’t comfortable? The initial publisher I’d lined up to market the novel read it, had plenty of praise and few critiques, but didn’t seem interested in selling the book. Maybe he’d decided it wasn’t his cup of tea, or maybe the industry discouraged his marketing anyone’s book, or maybe he secretly thought it was a boring story. Who knows?

I suppose I’ll never know, which is fine, because I don’t believe it’s my job to care about whether things I write cause readers discomfort. My job is to write the story. The reader’s job is to decide how it affects them. Still, it would be pretty cool if it turned out no one has mentioned any of my LGBT characters because they didn’t think it was something worth mentioning.

*Definitions:

Novel: a work of 40,000 words or more
Novella: a work of at least 17,500 words but under 40,000 words
Novelette: a work of at least 7,500 words but under 17,500 words
Short story: a work of under 7,500 words

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13 thoughts on “Shhh, don’t tell anyone but I think she’s gay

  1. This is really interesting. Only after reading this post did I realize that I have never actually read a book that centers, or indeed includes, a LGBT character or relationship. I’m racking my brain and can’t even come up with a book that iv heard of that includes one. And why not? They are a very important part of our society. Are readers still wary of reading about them? Are writers still wary of writing about them? Good on you, I say, and I wish you all the best with getting published! Good luck 🙂

  2. Roxx could be a groundbreaker! The crux of the matter should always be the story, not the sexual orientation of the central characters. (Okay, it’s an ideal, rose-tinted world I’m living in, I know… 🙂 )

    1. I like your world. 🙂 I hadn’t thought of it being a groundbreaker; that’s a wonderful thought. Maybe that alone should give me the motivation to release it – so that someone has.

      My uncle is a gay-rights activist and filmmaker. Maybe I can convince him to help promote it.

  3. I have posted on the 24.Mai a Digital Art piece about to the same issue.The tendencies of Hetero and Gay mingling to develop a Sexual Orientation. My friend and fellow Blogger Jackie asked me what it was all about and I responded in my comment this.

    I just read a Book about a Shrink .One of here Topics of expertise were Sexual orientation.She developed the theory that some people are Hetero and some Gay and in some cases these people change there Sexual orientation at some point in life Gay become Hetero as well as Hetero change to Gay. I just tried to put this theory into a visual way.

    After I read now your blog in the context of the Obama speech yesterday in Berlin .I think this topic will stay on Top of the Agenda for quite a while.

    1. That is interesting. Do you have a link to your piece somewhere? I’d like to see it.

      The science fiction author, John Varley, released a trilogy called the “Gaea Trilogy,” in which the lead characters were women in a romantic relationship, but everyone periodically changed sex, as the technology to do so was readily available. Those books were in my head as I wrote a few of my stories, including Roxx. His were very different, but interesting in the matter-of-fact way he approached the subject back in the early 80s.

      1. Go to my blog and look for the 24 May you should find it there maybe it takes a bit time to load all my stuff but you can get there .You are a smart guy .:))

      2. The Book I was referring to is a Crime Nover from the Spenser Series from Robert B. Parker but I can’t recall the title in the moment I have read 40 Books in the last two month and funny enough most of them as well from the 80s and the very early 90s.

    1. Carissa, thanks, I will check it out.

      I’m not trying to be groundbreaking, and I tend to keep sexuality (in all forms) on the fringes of stories. I just wonder how often gay characters are just people who happen to be gay. When I’ve seen them, the entire work tends to revolve around being gay.

      1. In this particular work of Irving’s being gay, trans, bi, etc is what the story is about (it spans about 40 years), but Irving often has gay or trans people in his stories that are just part of the story, so there’s that.

        Then again, we swim in a hetero-normative environment, so are stories with gay characters really revolving around being gay? Or do we just notice it more? I mean, do they revolve around it any more than a hetero character’s story revolves around them being straight? I don’t have the answer to that; just thinking out loud.

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