Do you want to write queer characters into your tv show, movie, novel, comic, or other piece of creative media? Are you worried about it feeling forced or like “token diversity”? Do you just want to write good characters and have any diversity happen naturally in the course of writing or casting or what have you? Are you very certain that diversity will just happen and that you will create queer (and other diverse) characters in your fictive world, just when it happens naturally?
If so, I have a bridge to sell you. I also do have advice (oh do I ever have advice, so you may want to get a snack and a drink and a comfy place to sit and read because this is not going to be a short post), but let me make it clear in case my article title and the above paragraph haven’t –
Even if you are totally, 100% genuine and earnest in your desire and intent to include or introduce queer characters into a piece of fiction you are involved with and not just trying to fob us off with excuses and smokescreens so we will (and/or so our good-intentioned non-queer fellow fans will) keep reading, watching, and otherwise consuming … that inclusion is NOT just going to happen on its own. Spoilers for everything else I’m going to say, but it’s not. And we know it or we learn it, because you’re not the first person with good intentions (or, again, blowing smoke to cover a lack of intentions) who ends up not including us at all, or who throws us one tiny trampled bone after the fact.
A wizard is never late, neither is he early, and neither is he revealed to be gay until the entire seven novel series and five out of eight film adaptations are released. And the wizard himself is dead.
What does a queer person look like? How do we act? Do we all have laser eyes and love our mothers and listen to musicals while knitting? Do we weep while clutching skulls and enacting a gay version of the death of Hamlet? How do you, questioning, questing writer or other creator (or approver) of fictional media, actually end up including queer characters and how do you shape them so that they feel “real” to you and so that the queer people wanting representation do not fall upon you like a flock of laser-eyed, mother-loving, knitting-needle-clutching vampires of vengeance?
If I can manage to stop laughing and find a “read more” image, I will try to give you a place to start, because, oh gentle content creator with good, pure, genuine intent, I know you are tripping on, getting tangled in, and even, all unbeknownst to you, drowning in swamps full of mental blockades you may not even be aware are there.
And unlike the name for this ship full of queers, you are not really going to get answers writ large for you in the sky.
Dumbledore? What does Dumbledore have to do writing (or not writing) queer characters into fictional worlds? Isn’t Dumbledore canonically gay? Why don’t you look particularly happy? Are you …. cry-laughing into your drink? Should you really be writing as an imaginary person you are talking to?
Those are all excellent questions (and not just because I came up with all of them) and short answer is, besides telling you all to head below the “read more” cut, that Dumbledore is a familiar, well-known, and thus easy to use example who also encapsulates a lot of the problems with leaving queer existence to after-the-fact author confirmation and the imaginations and creative outputs of fandom.
Considering how relevant the things people latch on as Signs of Queerness are to actually being queer, I think I’m justified in throwing in some Rankin-Bass dwarves in bags here as the “read more” image.
To celebrate my spruced up site (and prettied up Patreon), fill it up with some new content (including the post of all posts, the post so big it really needs to be probably four posts!), and to try to raise enough money ($373, not accounting for processing fees) by Friday to prevent eviction and car repossession (oh the double whammy of job loss for one person and a turning out to be quite terrible and not paying at all for a month new job for the other), I am having a Pride Month post party!
What does this mean? I’m glad you asked! It means I’m sketching out, in humorous and temporary (or not) title fashion the major post idea I’ve been percolating for a few weeks into individual components and also brainstorming and throwing in other goodies so you, lovely viewers (readers?) can a) see what kind of content I produce when the sky isn’t falling down on my head b) can, if you want, and you’re able to donate, include a little “Hey, this post sounds extra cool or I like this bonus idea. I hope you do that one and maybe do it first?” message along with your donation.
I would like to emphasize that none of this is a guarantee that I will write any or all of this (I might get writer’s block or my health might disagree, for example, and I’ve already had delays in finishing all the site, Patreon, and social media updates and in writing this for both of those reasons), but I wanted to do something more than just ask for help again and the big idea and its sub posts are pretty darn likely to get written and I can always fill in with fun stuff that’s potentially a little easier to complete.
So, without further ado, you can donate to me (and my partner, unsung hero of comics studies conferences and my image and video needs) using PayPal and ittousagi AT hotmail DOT com as the e-mail address. And you can check out my upcoming writing ideas and bonus brainstorms below. 🙂
Thank you all in advance and enjoy! 🙂