LGBT is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and transgender. However, there are way more identities for the LGBT community than only those for the most well-known. It is often why we say LGBTQ+ also to acknowledge the others. The reality is that community means many people personally identify with terms such as transgender and have come together to create an inclusive group.
You can fit them into three categories: sexuality, romantics, and gender.
The first category, sexuality, is in the name itself, but anything related to sexual attraction can be part of this community.
Homosexual: Sexual attraction for the same sex.
Pansexual: Sexual attraction for anybody, regardless of gender.
Asexual: A person who does not experience any sexual attraction within the category which isn’t commonly known as romantic.
The second category, romantics, is pretty self-explanatory. This one isn’t commonly known because sexuality and romantics often go hand in hand.
Aromantic: A person who does not feel any romantic attraction.
Demiromantic: A person who only falls in love after forming a deep emotional bond.
The third category, which is a little more complicated to explain than the other two, is gender. Most people think gender is between your legs, and if you’re one of those people, I’m here to share that mindset. Gender, in a general sense, consists of three parts, like the LGBT categories.
Sex: The first part is sex that defines chromosome, hormonal and genetic makeup. People often use this to decide your gender. However, there’s way more to it than that.
Gender expression: This is how it sounds, expressing either feminine or masculine, sometimes grogginess or gender-neutral.
Gender Identity: Gender identity is how you see yourself. Nobody can tell you your gender identity. Only you can know that.
Before writing LGBT characters, you must know about these. Otherwise, your writing will be incomplete. If you want to write LGBT characters in your novel, follow me!
How to write LGBT characters?
Writing LGBT romance or fiction is not hard as you think. The good news is almost every romance reader like this trope, whether they are heterosexual or not. So the market for this type of book is always high or trend. LGBT fits contemporary, fantasy, history, and almost all categories.
So why did you miss it? Do you afraid about writing LGBT community? Don’t worry! We’re going to talk about how you can write LGBTQ+ characters. Follow these 5 tips during your writing. Let’s go!
1. Keep your characters authentic
It is arguably the most essential and general rule for writing not only LGBT characters but any characters. It doesn’t matter what gender your characters are. They are human, first and foremost. The way somebody identifies as necessary to the story, they will appear. But at the same time, it’s not their defining trait, the same way that arguably it wouldn’t necessarily occur to you to write a straight person any other way.
- Don’t write a gay or trans or any LGBT person any other way except how their character calls for and keeps them human.
2. Avoid stereotypes and cliches
It is important because you don’t want to buy into that stereotypical campiness that can historically be associated with being part of the LGBTQ community. If you’re going to use these cliches and these stereotypes, at least put a new spin on them and make them tie into the character’s personality.
If you can’t avoid cliches or stereotypes because it is an endemic part of your character, that’s okay. But make sure that it’s a character first and foremost, not only because that’s what LGBT people are like.
3. Use your back story
Every character has a back story. Does it matter whether they’re LGBTQ characters or not? Every character needs a back story. It’s endemic to the storytelling. But it’s worth mentioning that LGBTQ+ characters, in particular, may rely more on their gender or sexuality as part of their backstory than other characters do.
You may have gender identity struggles, and they are excellent to address. But in the context of the story that you’re telling appropriately, if this is the case, then use it accordingly and use it well. Make sure you pepper it throughout the story and don’t only come out of nowhere with a great big rainbow slap.
4. Don’t forcibly add gender issue
Don’t necessarily make the story all about sexual identity or gender identity. You need to know what the conflict is and adjust your writing accordingly. It isn’t to say that you should never write a book that is all about gender and or sexual orientation coming out of the closet, etc. Those stories are important, especially for the youth of today.
In particular, many young people might be confused about their gender or sexual identity. So it’s essential to have these stories which they can relate to, which show them that they’re not alone. You have an LGBTQ+ character in your story, and it doesn’t need to be about that identity or that preference.
If the main bulk of the story itself isn’t about that, I’ll use fantasy here as an example because that’s the genre I genuinely write it. Let’s say you have your typical fantasy adventure. You have a protagonist who goes off on an adventure, writes a load of dragons, and meets wizards.
Then they happen to fall in love with somebody. Where’s the role? In stone, that says they need to be the opposite gender. You can have a typical fantasy story, but you can have a gay or a queer character.
If you’re writing a book with a plot, a story specifically focused on LGBT issues in general, then write your story with more emphasis on those elements. But if it’s not a key part of the story, write it normally.
5. Do your research respectfully
If you identify as straight and want to write an LGBT character accurately, you may go to a friend or a family member who identifies as such. But if they’re not out of the closet or are not comfortable with sharing their information, then respect that. Do not fall under any circumstances out of them without their permission.
If you identify as LGBT as the author, this is a great time for you to draw on your own experiences. The most important thing of all when writing LGBT characters is that they are characters humans first and foremost.
They are not a rainbow flag of diversity that you can shove into a novel. To give you some brownie points, they need to be there for a reason, and they need to be believable as people, not as a label. But it’s also important to not be afraid to write about topics such as this and include characters who are LGBT.
We’re all in this together, and everyone has the right to be themselves. But if you’re dipping your toe into writing LGBT characters for the first time, go for it and feel free to learn about things. Talk to people. Don’t be a stranger to the community.
There is an awful lot that you can learn which will help you to craft your characters into people. Please write them in the comment section if you have any questions or suggestions. I’m waiting for your response.
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