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Should writers be forced to include LGBT characters

Discussion in 'TV & Music' started by StarWater, May 22, 2020.  |  Print Topic

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  1. StarWater
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    StarWater Greenhorn
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    Let me start off with I’m straight. I know this is a place for you and I’m probably painting a target on my back. But I have been racked with anxiety and have actually gone into some crying fits over this.

    You see I’m an aspiring screenwriter and I have lot of original animated tv ideas. Wide spanning stuff that are homages to all my favorite anime. Now, in writing them, I make them as diverse in many ways. Not to fill a quota, but because I really want to. Race, gender, religion(if it fits the world), disabled, addiction, depression(which is separate from anxiety). I just don’t have any lgbt characters and don’t feel like there’s a need.

    I’m not saying other people shouldn’t be allowed to do it in there’s. But I don’t feel it in mine. And I feel if I’m forced it ruins my integrity as a creative. And I have nothing against the community, or however you perceive yourself as a group, and have never done anything to impede your rights to equality. I don’t know what answer I’m looking for, but I feel if I’m just alone with my thoughts without an actual discussion my anxiety will become something worse and it terrifies me.

    And finally, I’m sorry if I’ve offended you here in anyway. I just want to write and entertain people.
     
  2. Jo A
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    Jo A The Legend of LGBT
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    First, this is a wonderful site full of wonderful people of the LGBTQ community.

    I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you do not hate us, just have trouble relating making it hard to write about.

    Otherwise you hate us and that would be very sad for you as we are really nice people.

    If you do not understand LGBTQ, I can see it would be hard to write about us.

    So what can we do to assist you?
     
  3. StarWater
    Panicky

    StarWater Greenhorn
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    It’s not that I need help. It’s more like I just want to talk. I just don’t feel like putting in my stories. And my line of reasoning is there are so many other factors in these pieces that, even if you don’t see your sexuality, you’ll see something else.

    Either way, thank you for not out right attacking me.
     
  4. Iharos
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    Iharos Addictive Contributor
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    Why don't you simply leave the romantic life of some of your characters up to the fantasy of the reader? In this way you don't have to write about something you don't know much about, yet people are free to wonder for themselves.

    I don't think that you have to include any lgbtq+ character into your writing. Nothing is worse than seeing a character from our community badly portrayed on the screen, just because the writers didn't really care to make research, but make use of prejudices.

    I am not into the Anime world, but If I'm not mistaken, there are some rather clear lgbtq+ branches in there.

    One thing is very important to keep in my though - if you want to work as a screenwriter, you will on some point face a character from this community. It is the reality of our world. You won't be able to only live from writing what you want. Sometimes you'll have to adapt plays or other texts. Every job has sides that we aren't really comfortable with.
    When that moment comes - remember us, remember a forum like this one. I am sure people will gladly be of help if you want to understand more about us, so that you can write are believable charakter. :) 
     
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  5. StarWater
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    StarWater Greenhorn
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    Oh I’m very aware of that. I also have certain comic book characters I want to adapt and their support falls under LGBT. Although with that particular character I’ve always interpreted as Bicurious Heteroromatic, but I wouldnt avoid acknowledging it. I still respect creator intent.

    Anime, when it comes to these things, is ver egalitarian. If something doesn’t fit your tastes, there are ten other things that will.

    And there are definitely single characters in there. A few I have no romance for so, yeah.
     
    #5 StarWater, May 22, 2020
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  6. starlightprincess

    starlightprincess Reliable Contributor
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    Starwater, i'm sorry you have been hurting so much over this=( Honestly though, it IS your work, your stories, nobody else's. You can include whatever you want in them. Nobody is going to pick them up and be like "Oh what the hell, there's no LGBTQ content in here! This is a load of crap!" If someone was looking for a story with LGBTQ content in it specifically, they would do that. They wouldn't just get mad at every book that didn't have it. I'm a writer too and just like any of the arts, there will always be people that don't like our work, that's okay. For every person that doesn't, there another one or 2 or more that do. It will be okay, I promise<3
     
  7. PokemonAnime
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    PokemonAnime Great Learner
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    First of all, you are welcome here. This is a place for LGBTQ+ people and our straight allies. You're not here to spread any sort of hateful message so you are more than welcome to join us in our online community. :) 

    As for the screen writing bit, I wish you luck with achieving the success you are seeking.

    When it comes to character diversity in writing, I don't think that writers should be forced into including specific characters in their work. I think that most people are able to recognize that it doesn't automatically mean that someone is prejudiced against any particular group. In my opinion, it is far more offensive to have a negative picture painted of an entire group of people, based solely off their identity (not someone's individual personality), than it is to not have any characters from the group at all. Also, I feel that it is not pure artistic creativity if a writer feels like they have to follow set rules for everything they create.

    That being said, I don't think there is anything wrong with not including any LGBTQ+ characters in your current writing. However, if you do decide to write something that does include LGBTQ+ characters in the future, we would be more than happy to help you better understand the diversity within our community.

    Even here in this online forum there is a lot of diversity, in both identity and personality, that you can learn from. If you don't feel comfortable asking questions in the forums you can still learn quite a bit just by being an observer.

    I hope this helps alleviate some of your anxiety. :) 
     
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  8. StarWater
    Panicky

    StarWater Greenhorn
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    Thank you. That’s the mentality I’ve applied, but I read that’s a toxic mentality. So I didn’t know about it anymore.
    --- Double Post Merged, May 22, 2020 ---
    It really does help. I put so much pressure on myself about the future. I’ve often felt unwanted in an overtly progressive field. So where I am now is an evolution of that.
     
  9. starlightprincess

    starlightprincess Reliable Contributor
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    Its not a toxic mentality at all<3 Remember, this is YOUR stuff, no one else's. As long as you aren't writing hate speech, which I highly doubt you are, its completely fine whatever you decide to write about.
     
  10. ConfusedButHappy
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    Hey! Welcome :p 

    My short answer to the title: No, no one should be forced to do anything.

    No need to worry :p  I don't think there is any need to target anyone here (unless I missed a memo somewhere).

    That's totally fine. I don't expect to see LGBTQ+ characters in everything I see. I don't really see a reason to be offended by the lack of LGBTQ+ characters either...

    Representation is awesome when done right, but I don't think it should be forced. I'm sure we'll eventually reach a point where LGBTQ+ stuff is so part of the norm that it appears naturally in stories and media in the same way characters happen to have different hair colours.

    I would, however, suggest playing around with the idea that maybe not all your characters are straight/cis. It doesn't even have to be part of the story, but just making that mental shift that not everyone we meet in real or fictional space is automatically straight and cisgender is a massive plus for the LGBTQ+ community.

    In the end, it's your content. You get to decide what it should be. It'll probably be better content if it's purely yours anyway :p 

    Good luck!
     
    #10 ConfusedButHappy, May 22, 2020
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  11. john1010101
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    The idea of anyone being forced to include a particular type of character in their work is political correctness gone mad. I’m reminded of the Chinese Communist Party’s rules that insisted writers include ‘Hero’s of The Peoples Revolution’ in everything from novels to operas. The results were trashy to say the least.
    On the other hand some themes can be safely explored without making them central feature of any story. For instance you can add depth of understanding for some straight characters if they either demonstrate sympathy, indifference or hatred towards anyone queer. The behaviour of young males in groups contrasted with how they behave alone comes to mind.
     
  12. Kahlan

    Kahlan Well-Known Advisor
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    As others have said, you're free to include or exclude whatever you see fit, and if anyone is pressuring you to write a certain way..well, this is not what a correct critique is. Perhaps screenwriting is a bit different than writing a novel in that there is added pressure to represent a full spectrum of minorities and people groups. However, I still think it should depend most heavily upon the world you're trying to create. It seems modern screenwriting is more concerned with being politically correct to the point of diversity overload at the expense of authenticity. I don't know if you are writing sci-fi or fantasy or period pieces or just modern drama set in earth 2020, but I think realism, or "the suspension of disbelief," dictates that you include or exclude based on your setting, your world, your culture, etc., more than anything else. I realize that as a society we are hurtling towards "Idiocracy" at an alarming rate, but I generally will pick a story to pieces, which to me, appears to be forced...IE: "THAT character doesn't fit any of this."

    My 2.5 cents. and glad you are thoughtful enough to ask our opinions. :) 
     
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    #12 Kahlan, May 22, 2020
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  13. Queshire
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    Queshire Great Learner
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    When it comes to writing advice the first, most vital piece of advice to "Can I do X?" is that the answer is always "Yes."

    Can you write a story without LGBT characters? Yes.
    Can you do a comedy with tall dwarves and bearded elves? Yes.
    Can you have a character that uses their underwear as a private form of self expression? Yes.

    ...
    Those last two are examples from a writing forum I frequent by the way.

    That is a vital lesson to learn. There's a reason I consider it the first piece of advice to give, but I think there comes a point where if you desire to be a professional you need to go past that.

    SO! In the spirit of that... Yeah, your concerns are utterly overblown (and kinda offensive imo.) Take a look at what people already in the biz have to say. I know it's pretty easy to find news articles where the creator of Steven Universe describes the sort of difficulties they had to go through to include LGBT stuff in the show. Not having LGBT stuff means not dealing with offended parents. Not having LGBT stuff means not having to worry about dealing with countries where portraying LGBT stuff in media is restricted or illegal. That means more markets and thus, more money for the studios. They like that.
     
  14. StarWater
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    StarWater Greenhorn
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    Well I understand that. My worry comes from being ostracized by the industry for not reaching an unspoken standard.
     
  15. Queshire
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    Queshire Great Learner
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    So listen to what people IN THE INDUSTRY have to say. I imagine a lot of them have twitter accounts.
     
  16. PokemonAnime
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    PokemonAnime Great Learner
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    Very good points, Kahlan. I do the same thing that you do when it comes to characters that seem out of place or forced into a storyline (visually or not), just for the sake of making an appearance.

    Personally, I don't define my favorite works by whether or not they have a huge diversity of group representation. For me I enjoy a work based off of my interest in the subject matter, how everything in the work (characters, setting, dialogue, character interaction, etc.) fits together, and the way it all flows.

    Sure, for some people their favorite works do include characters that they can directly relate to when it comes to their identity and that's perfectly fine. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that individual preference. I admit that I also find it nice when I find a character relatable to me in some sort of way and I often find myself able to relate to characters in other ways, outside of gender and sexuality. It is honestly far easier for me to relate to a cis and/or straight character with similar interests/views as me rather than a genderfluid and/or pansexual character that is absolutely nothing like me in any other way.

    From my perspective, I don't see characters (or people in real life) being completely defined by their sexuality or gender identity. Who they are as individuals is so much more than that.

    On the other side of things, I do also see the point that others make that it is important to that diversity is represented in the entertainment industry and like many I think that is something better left to those that aren't forcing it into their work just because someone says they should or those that are promoting a negative view of an entire group of people. It is far better when a group is represented in an authentic and informed manner.

    Keep your work authentic to you, regardless of whether or not you decide to include LGBTQ+ people in it. The fact that you took the time to write a thread to communicate and share your thoughts and feelings with us shows that you really aren't looking to intentionally offend anyone within the community. Like Kahlan said already, thank you for that. :) 

    Side note:
    I am not entirely happy with my use of the word "group" to lump people together by identity, but at the moment it was the most fitting word that came to mind to try to explain my view.
     
    #16 PokemonAnime, May 22, 2020
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  17. StarWater
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    StarWater Greenhorn
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    Thank you for that insight. And thank all of you for your opinions. I didn’t come here for vindication, nor do I believe I’ve attained it, but I did gain piece of mind.

    I’m relieved(I don’t feel like this word is right. It comes off like I won, and I don’t feel I did and might be insulting. It’s not my intent I swear, but I can’t think of a better word) that you all don’t see lgbt visibility as a defined of good work, but your desire of it is completely valid.

    Again, Thank you all, and I hope to share my ideas in their fruition to you one day. If any of you are interested, please message me about the various things I do to still make my ideas as diverse as possible.
     
  18. mjay

    mjay Great Learner
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    If someone is serious about his craft, he/she should at least have some degree of knowledge about things related to his work. In your case as a screen writer, you might want to at least study different kinds of people with respect to their preferences, etc. Some writers publish minor works which delves into other things beyond his/her forte. That way he/she expresses recognition of diversity (of whatever it represents), and at the same time expressing that it is not his strongest suit, but he tried his best. I think this is how a well-rounded individual is made with respect to his profession, especially with writers, who at least should have a good grasp of creativity.

    Sent from my SM-C710F using Tapatalk
     
  19. john1010101
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    With apologies to the moderators who’ll probably have a fit at me suggesting the creation of another section but this thread has reminded me gay, straight or whatever writing doesn’t really have a place under “TV & Music”. Possibly simply adding to the heading of this section “TV, Music & Writing” or maybe “TV. Music and the Arts”
    This idea came to me when puzzling where to commence a discussion about biographies of two of my very favourite lesbians, The Ladies of Llangollen. I didn’t want to start a thread in the lesbian section as these two and their important position in society of the time is of far wider interest than just their personal relationship.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladies_of_Llangollen

    Barefoot tells us on the thread titled To those who ask for site additions & changes;
    "Anytime significant changes are to be made, the database files for the site have to be backed up."
    I understand the nightmare that could induce not to mention the total lack of communication from the site owner.
    My question is, does adding a word or phrase to a thread heading also constitute a
    'Site addition and change'? If so we can't expect such to happen.
     
    #19 john1010101, May 24, 2020
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  20. Duckboots
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    Duckboots Curious Explorer
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    I'm a writer and as a general rule, unless I have a reason to make a character something I just go with whatever is most common. I'll use an example,
    Mike is a thirty something male. Mike works in accounting. Mike receives a note from an otherworldly being telling him the world will end in 5 days. Plot ensues.
    The thing is, for the purposes of the story, Mike could be gay, straight, or a trans man and it would not effect the story even a little.
    If I'm not writing specifically about a characters sexuality, I leave it out and assume they are straight. Keep it simple.
     

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