Queer and Accepting Characters

I am under the belief that there is no such thing as too many queer characters in a story. My sister will often come to me, explain her characters, and ask: “Is it too gay?”

Never. We’ve existed forever. It might have been hidden or under a different name, but we’ve always been out there. That’s why I love reading historical fiction with some good LGBTQ+ representation in it.

One of my favorites has to be The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. It’s set in the 1800’s, but the main character is bisexual, and the romantic plot centers around him and another guy. It was such an amazing book, one of my overall favorites in fact. I absolutely loved the characters and since historical fiction is also great it was a win-win.

There’s no such thing as too many queer characters.

One of the things I’ve always loved about writing is that you get to decide the setting, the characters, the world, everything about your story. It’s all up to you. It’s the most creative game you’ll find.

As soon as I discovered this great thing about writing, I immediately used it to create a world in which I would feel safe, had I been in it. And if not that, characters that I felt I would trust. No matter how lost I was in real life, I could take comfort in the fact that there was a safe haven out there. And I knew that because I wrote it all down.

I could take comfort in the fact that my setting was a place where I could be myself. I could take comfort in the fact that my characters would be totally okay with who I was, and which ever character most embodied the hurt aspects of me, they would embrace.

My current novel has a mix of both a comforting setting and characters. The town in which the majority of my book takes place is literally a safe haven for those thrown out my the rest of society. The characters, despite going through a ton of shit, care for each other and for the character that represents the part of me that’s hurt the most.

That doesn’t mean I go easy on throwing in bumps in the road that upset this little town, that’s half the fun of writing, but it’s still a nice thought to have that control, and to know that there’s a place like that somewhere, with however many queer and accepting characters you want, even if it’s only on the page.

Why I Write

I like to call myself a writer. I guess it’s true in a way, I do write from time to time. I like to tell people I’m working on writing my novel, which in reality I only do on convenient times on weekends. My novel has a weird plot and the characters are flawed, but anytime I feel like I have nothing much to do or no where to go, I can always write.

I participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) every year. Every November I churn out a novel in a month, and let me tell you, that novel is shitty. It’s really bad. But it’s a start, and it seems good enough for my sister, so I keep writing.

My sister is my editor, my advisor, and my audience. She is truly the reason I write. I write to see that look on her face when she sees my characters have happy moment, and the look that comes after one of them is killed off. To manipulate her emotions as she reads and see that my writing really does have that effect is the best feeling in the world. As long as she continues to call be an asshole for killing Joe off in fake rage, I will never stop writing.

For NaNo 2018, I wrote a book that I thought was really good. It was better than my other one, not to mentioning longer and more complex. It took me two months instead of one, but the joy that I felt when I finished those 50,000 words on December 31 was amazing.

What remains of that book is my current project. I kept writing partially because the characters refused to leave my mind. They were always there, whether I was in school trying to concentrate on my work or lying awake in bed late at night. I had worked so hard on those characters that they were full people in my mind. So it is my duty to finish their story, and I don’t plan on letting them down.

Sometimes I have a lot of stuff going on in my life. I’m transgender guy with too many hobbies and classes to handle and way too much body dysphoria than I’d prefer. It’s overwhelming.

When things happen I tend to push away my writing. I trick myself into thinking I’ll feel better if I just watch YouTube videos. But that’s not true. I’ll just fall deeper into my pit of darkness. I remember one night I was wallowing in my own thoughts when I had a revelation.

It was quite like that moment in “Hamilton” (a truly amazing musical) when Hamilton says “I’ll write my way out”. In that second I remembered that part of the musical, when he says that line with so much conviction that you can’t help but sit on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what will happen next. I realized that writing my way out was exactly what I needed to do. I would go no where, not improve my mental health one bit, if I ignored my problems. So, I sat down at my computer and began to write.

That night I truly spoke through my main character, who is also trans. I was able to put my frustrations into words that finally made some sort of sense. Me and my character both raged about dysphoria and societal perception and the pain of being rejected by friends and family members, and it was strangely therapeutic. I was able to escape that darkness in my mind and it helped me better understand my character.

Writing is what keeps me from getting lost in my own head. I needed some perspective, so I wrote, and you know, it actually worked.