Creating a non-stereotypical LGBTQ+ character can seem really difficult, particularly if you are not an LGBTQ+ individual. For the most part, it’s a matter of just being willing to create the character and wanting to represent them well.
Here’s a few core tips.
Treat them the exact same as your other characters.
Yeah, they may be different, but don’t treat them like their different. Create and use them just as you would any other character.
Do not make being LGBTQ+ their only defining trait.
You can have their LGBTQ+ identity be their most notable quality, but it can’t be the only thing. Are they an athlete, a geek, a loner, a hipster. Are they shy, or helpful, overly optimistic or pessimistic, or sarcastic? Make certain they have traits and hobbies not just about their identity. Give them a full life in their background and personalities.
They don’t all have to fit the same mold of knowing or being comfortable with their identity.
They may be unsure about who they are, wanting to keep it hidden due to certain reasons, or they may be open about it and know who they are. Are they unsure about their identity and dealing with their own inner turmoil along with everything in the RP? Are they open and proud about their identity, looking to protect LGBTQ+ rights? Or are they just a typical person that just happens to have a clear comfort and understanding of their identity, even though they don’t shout it from the rooftops. Each person is different, and their past will usually have a reason why they feel how they do.
Don’t be afraid.
This can mean two things, don’t be afraid to mess up, and don’t be afraid to take feedback.
If someone has feedback about your LGBTQ+ character and how they may be a poor representation and stereotypical, listen to what they have to say. Another view could notice something that you didn’t realize could be hurtful. We all want to improve, and not cause harm. And don’t let the thought of making a mistake or doing the wrong thing scare you away from the character. They are yours, and you have the power to make the character into their own person with their LGBTQ+ identity being just a part of them.
Great advice … I usually don’t make characters LGBTQ+ I just say their sexuality depends on the RP becuase I don’t want to only limit my characters to being with women or being with men becuase there could come a character that’s out of these limits that would make a great relationship with them but if I say they’re bi or pansexual, I would have to incorporate that into a story. I like to keep sexuality a secret because it’s weird to know a character’s sexuality before your character even talks to them.
Also a great example of labeling somebody with a sexuality and later falling for someobdy out of bounds according to their sexuality is this girl who was a lesbian in a high school RP I was in … My character was a cool male teacher that approached her and was … cool and charming … and even thought it wasn’t my intention the character fell for the guy … but she was a lesbian
I would say : don’t think too much about making them look and act a certain way, instead think about how it has influenced their life.
How does their social circle (friends and family) treat them?
Good makes them more open about how they feel. Bad, make them more secretive about their interests.
Are they religious then it’s also something to take into an account.
Are they okay in public or not?
in my eyes how you treat and write them would be the same: the same as anyone else because they aren’t any different.
The only difference is the struggles they have. they are on more radars and you need to be aware of it.
I have a few gay characters and I love their relations but they aren’t any different from straight characters except that their LI are the same gender.
I have some hyperactive and “girl, you really need to wear something that accentuates your body more” - a type of gay characters, but that’s just their personality. if they were both straight, I would’ve written them the same.
Tyler and June from the Seven Seas High rp were exactly the same as Marc and Thomas in my 1x1 rp (and Greenstead rp). Only difference: Tyler and June were brother and sister & Mark and Thomas are a couple.
@RPers, do you have more tips on how to keep yourself from slipping into stereotypical characters?
treat them like people literally being sapphic doesn’t rule my entire personality or life or actions. It’s just a part of me, just like your background or features (: It’s still important, it still causes struggles for me but it’s not my most defininig trait.
like what everyone else said. they are still people, and they are not defined by that singular identity. Recognise the struggles associated with such an identity, which will be more or less prominent depending on how severe they in particular have struggled, but otherwise don’t forget to put a person in there too XD
We are just like anyone else. The best you can do is write us like anyone else. And if there is a love interest for those characters, make their relationship just as normal, unless it is about the struggles they might face because they’re born into a family or community in which is really nosy and hateful.
If anything, making characters in the community isn’t too hard when you actually research about the history entangled with our existence and realize that we are no different, just have been treated like so for a while.
As much as we are normal like anyone else, especially adding character depth to a character in a world with a society like ours, people can be clueless to the experience of living as a LGBTQ+ member, so it’s good to get backstories from real members to get a little bit of their point of view. If the world they create in a story is all kind and loving, accepting, etc, then I guess they don’t need to talk to us, but even then, researching relationships of such members is important to get it accurate and make it realistic. Representing a community that you’re not in and doing it incorrectly can be damaging.
In addition to my posts above, not only creating an authentic, 3-D LGBTQ+ character is vital, but so is portraying one in the same manner. Portray means to describe, depict in a specific setting with specific actions, dialogue and thoughts.
When it comes to portraying these community characters’s sexuality, it’s super duper important not to make them seem like their sexuality is their only thing about them. Nor is making them saying stereotyped statements, thinking stereotyped thoughts, and making them act like a stereotype in which is not true about their sexuality.
For ways to refrain portraying the character and their sexuality in a poor manner, or in a way that enhances a stereotype, it’s important to discuss with people within the community and look to see how much similarities they have with non-members in which will typically a writer not within the community will think they don’t have (at least based on my experience with reading a non-members’ literature that include a LGBTQ+ member.)
I just think portraying them as if they’re another NORMAL human being makes the task so much easier even with a different sexuality than being strictly straight.
There might have been things I missed about how to portray such characters, so, any ideas on what could be added? What are some pet peeves you’ve built up due to the way writers portray your sexuality?@LGBTCommunity