Why the (Bleep) Do I Need A Reason (to Create a Character)!?!

I’m so very tempted to use profanity in this post. But I’ve refrained from it so far on this blog. Maybe I should change my policy. Just in case, there will be profanity. Apologies to those who don’t approve of such language.

I wrote a post a few months back titled “Where in Science Fiction and Fantasy are the GLBT Characters?”. I recently received a comment on that post. Two things jumped out at me: the desire to not include  LGBT characters “for their own sake” and a desire to see no LGBT representation in YA. In my response, I had issues with both statements. And I want to go into the former more here. With a large dose of ranting included.

Why the fuck do I have have to have a reason to include LGBT characters in my work (or any work for that matter)? Seriously, what the hell is meant by “not there for their own sake”? I don’t mean to pick exclusively on zireael07. My own brother shares the same opinion. And in my mind, it is stupid.

Supremely stupid, in fact.

In my opinion, I think that whole argument really reads as “we don’t actually want LGBT characters, but we don’t want to appear homophobic, so we’ll waffle it.” Well guess what? You kind of do.

Thing is, Gil and Archeth are amazing characters. Could Richard K. Morgan have achieved similar effects if the two are gender flipped heterosexuals? Maybe. But the choice to go with the LGBT content is a brave one. And makes for compelling reading.

Bunker from the Teen Titans is an equally amazing character. Scott Lobdell deserves huge props for creating him. Did he have to be gay? I don’t know. Does it matter? He is. And it is a great thing.

I could go on and on. But I’m not.

Why? Because, like I said earlier, I don’t get what the fuck the argument “not there for their own sake” means. I’m going off the assumption it actually means “we really don’t want those characters around” without sounding like homophobic douchebags.

Here’s the thing. Yes, as a writer I’m big on diversity. I want to have as diverse a field of characters as I can get. Does that mean I need a “reason” to go beyond straight white people? Fuck no.

The more I think about this whole thing, more pissed I honestly get. I think because I’ve realized that in a why, it is a bald faced attempt to force self censorship on creators. If the pressure is to think about “why” or “for what reason”, doesn’t the resulting self doubt lead to inclusion being less likely? Would that mean Bunker, Earth 2 Alan Scott, Wiccan, Hulkling, Kate Kane, Carolina Dean, and all the other LGBT characters in science fiction, fantasy, comics, etc. not exist?

Well fuck that shit. Create the fucking characters you (the writer) want to. And for the nay sayers, they don’t matter.


Posted on November 28, 2012, in Books and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. There’s no reason beyond the reason for including any character. There is something deeply condescending in scrutinizing “well, why does the story need this gay character?” while not asking why other stories have all these straight people in them. You rarely see that question: “Why is this straight white dude necessary for the story? Did he have to be straight?”

    An interesting character is an interesting character, period. And many should be “outside of the norm” to be interesting.

    It’s a lot like people in the Black Gate comments recently saying “I’m tired of all these female protagonists in fantasy, they’re so boring.” While the (still) overwhelming presence of male protagonists apparently isn’t.

    • Michal,
      Thanks for the excellent comment. I, obviously, agree with everything you’ve said.
      As far as the whole Black Gate comments go, I’m pretty sure that there is a backlash in full effect by some of the more traditionalist/ conservative readers. Just like the current incarnation of Weird Tales.

    • Thank you – exactly my thought and far better than I could have expressed it right now.

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