I realized after I put up my last post that I left out one of the big things that I look for in the media I consume. There’s a reason for that. I hardly ever get it.
What is it? Characters who aren’t straight who are treated respectfully.
This is so darn rare in movies and TV, also in a lot of books. It’s much more common in fandom, which is one of the things I really like about fandom. I can find the non-straight characters that I love so much. Unfortunately, when I go looking for similar representation in mainstream media it just isn’t there.
There may be a single gay character but they’re never given a proper romantic arc. They’re not fully realized with lives and families and motivations of their own. It feels as though they’re just shoved into the story to allow the people running the show to mark off that check box that says ‘gay representation’. That might be a bit harsh but that is generally how it feels to me.
I try to do better than that in my stories. You see, I’m bisexual, edging towards pansexual. I ended up married to a man but I dated far more women. So seeing myself represented in the stories I create and consume is very important to me. Seeing the people I know represented is just as important. I want asexuals and lesbians and gay men and people who are queer. I want trans* people there, open and to have their society be okay with them.
Not all societies are okay with gender and sexual variation even in my own stories but I do try to always have some inclusion, some emphasis on the fact that it is not only possible to be non-straight, it’s perfectly okay. It’s good in fact.
Having that representation is better than good, it’s necessary. I don’t like lectures, either giving them or receiving them but being able to see yourself in a story, no matter what the format is, is an incredibly powerful experience. There were a few stories in my youth that did that and I’ll always treasure them for it. I really hope that someday my stories can make other people feel included, present, validated.
It’s one of the best feelings in the world. I can only hope that our entertainment media catches up to our society and there are all the non-straight characters in stories that there are in the world.