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Identifying as LGBTQI

There are many writers who do not necessarily identify as LGBTQI yet write about this genre. Discussing such a topic can often open a can of worms. However, discussion is always a good thing.
How do you identify?
Do you feel it's important to identify as LGBTQI to be writing this genre?
Or is representation more important in fiction regardless of who's writing it?
Feel free to add your thoughts but please be considerate of all opinions, there's no wrong or right way - simply a view we have on the topic.

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I'm bisexual and honestly, writing LGBT fiction shouldn't be a problem. On Wattpad I met a writer who wrote a few books with LGBT leads and characters and he said whenever he told people on the forums he was immediately under fire because he was white, straight, in his 30s, and married, and how DARE he write LGBT fiction. I honestly don't think these things should happen. As long as you're not making token characters or following the whole "theyre this but not THAT kind" mindset you should be able to write whatever characters you feel are right.

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I've heard of this happening a lot of times with authors, which is why some I've spoken to would rather not give any details unless its to someone they have known for some time. I often wonder why I've never been called out but no ones ever asked me how I identify and I've never offered to share. If you look at who I am a white, middle aged woman, married with children writing LGBT fiction I'm sure that alone might upset or offend someone.

As for how I identify (since I did asked the question) For a long time I couldn't say how I identified. I grew up being called a prude. I got married because it was expected of me and had children for much the same reason. I'm lucky the man I married has always been my best friend. Now as I'm much older I identify a aromantic and I wish I'd known this thirty years ago, would have made me more confident in myself and be able to better explain to people I like hugging you but that doesn't mean I want to have sex with you.

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I'm a gender non-conforming lesbian and I'm a little on the fence about the subject. I think it really matters what kind of stories you're writing. I will absolutely read a book about gay characters if the author is not gay themselves if their purpose for doing so is 'I wanted this character to be gay.' (I have also noted that a number of authors who do this are experimenting with their own sexuality through their writing.) I am always down for vintage lesbian hijinks. I don't care who's doing it. I would love to see more fluff stories featuring my community. Yes please.

My issue generally comes from two places: are you writing about the queer experience or are you using our identities as a fetish.

To kind of illustrate a similar point- the movie Memoirs of a Geisha was released in Japan and had lukewarm reviews, versus the high ratings it was given America. Generally, it was visually engaging, but a film adaptation of a book by an American author about a historical part of Japan's culture, starring Chinese actresses... people weren't as pleased.

Outsider views of a culture make for interesting stories, but if you're not portraying a culture (and we do have to consider that the LGBT+ community does have a cultural aspect to it) correctly then it is open to ridicule.

There is also an issue of making money off of someone else's story. With the way sexualities and genders have been politicized, it can be tempting for someone to write a heartfelt about one of the many gay couples facing troubles. It leaves me with the same kind of feeling as those commercials that show photos of children starving in Africa, sponsored by someone who is likely to pocket all your money.

To my second point- I have met a number of cis-straight people who have lesbian characters in their books and claim 'diversity,' but the content is... in crude language: 'fap fodder.' I don't have any issue with lesbian sex scenes, I write them myself. I write straight sex scenes, too. But there is a point at which you start feeling a bit like a prop and that sits ill with me.

So I suppose, to sum- writing LGBTQIA+ characters and stories is perfectly fine as long as you're not speaking over our voices or using us as fetish material.

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Seconding all of this! I have a major problem with the proportion of M/M titles that are written by and for cis straight women, because for many of those authors and readers (but not all!) it's fetish-y and/or just profiting off of queerness. Same with straight men who write lesbian erotica but don't do jack shit to stand up for queer folks IRL.

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I agree with what you're both saying. When I first started reading LGBT stories it was slash on fiction press over ten years ago and most of it was pure smut. For me, I wanted to read light fluffy romance and so I started writing my own stories. But as time grew I realised many writers wrote, as Lee states, using our identities as fetish.
I also noticed more and more authors are now jumping on the bandwagon and when I come across them they makes me cringe. I've not read a LGBT story in over two years because the fear it will be 'fag fodder' (I like that term). I tend to stick to the few writers I know who do the genre justice.
You've summed up the topic up nicely Lee, thank you.

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I identify as trans. I'm genderfluid, often androgynous presenting, but way more trans than I'm typically read. I'm not in a great way with all this, honestly, but I'm working on it. Writing about it has helped.

I'm not opposed to anyone writing anything. If I don't like it, I probably won't read it long.

As for representation, more is better. Obviously well-written characters are preferable to shoddy ones, but any variation is welcome.

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I've noticed there are a lot of trans characters in some amazing web comics that give great representation. I wrote a story where my main character was trans, as I'm not, I asked friends who were and did a lot of research on the topic. It is important the correct representation is given. But for me there will always be a fear I may offend someone as my main character goes through surgery to transition as well as having a super power she's taken advantage off.

Please do write about your experiences - I think these first hand accounts will make a huge impact on others. And it does help writing it down (I wrote over 200 letters to my daughter over 15 years, each letter represent a hard time in my life. I don't think I'll ever share them with her, at least not until she's an adult. But each one of those letters helped me to survive). I wish you all the best. You will always find support and encouragement here at Tablo.

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Although there may be many writers that may not identify as LGBBTQI, I really think that there are many of those that are simply intrigued or even fascinated about the genre. I am an in the closet bi-sexual that have had many escapades in my head along side dabbling in such things every so often. And that is after the desire has gotten so strong that I cannot help but to feed whatever it is on the inside of me, that I am literally living through the words that I have written within my own Adult fiction.

I think that it is hard to have experienced every little thing in our lives that we may think of of writing about it. However, it is our job as writers to try to cover as many walks of life as possible through our writing. We may just be speaking to one person that may be dealing with anygiven subject matter that we have written about. And the fact that our writings will influence someone's life is just enough cause for me to want to touch on those things that can help someone deal better with their struggles in life, just based on any one of the characters that we as writers and real people with real issues, may write about. Our audiences may be experiencing those very things that we may not even want to think about but we do write about.

Speaking from self experience, if I did not have my writings on the genre to use as an outlet for those things that we may want to act out in real life but because of the backlash from family and friends and even co-workers, etc. This is not a very easy subject for some people.

I am so pleased that there is a forum where I can come to now in order to write and share concerning this subject because it is very hard trying to explain that you are not ill or having a mental breakdown to people that simply do not understand.

Thanks for allowing me to share.

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Hi Cassandra. That's what writing is - living through your own stories. When we write, it's from our imagination and the other life we create inside the real one we're living. We can be anything we want and we're not criticised or condemned. And if our story can reach one person and make a difference to them - that's what writings about. Offering representation of LGBTQI characters provides support to these people who read our stories. What you say is so true.
Writing not only helps the writer but also the reader. Thank you so much for commenting and feel free to start a new topic anytime you to chat or discuss anything. Our community is here to support all LGBTQI writers and readers.

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Thank you so much Michelle Rae. I really needed the encouragement. It is very hard trying to be me. I am coming to terms with who I am and trying to embrace more of myself everyday. Sometimes I feel as though I will burst because of the pressure I am under by trying to maintain just simply who I am on the inside and out. I have suddenly gotten the inspiration to start back writing. It has been a long year for me and my family, having to deal with the death of a nephew by suicide and the family falling apart and turning on one another. That is a story all by itself. So I will write until I cannot write anymore. I love what I do and if living through my stories is the only life that I will have, I may as well make the best of that life. Thanks again. Michelle Rae.

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So sorry to read about your nephew. Suicide is personal and something that can be difficult to understand. You keep writing as I'm sure you will make your family proud you are following a dream.

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Hello Cassandra, it might be weird because I'm a 12 yr old (not saying your old) and your an adult, but I have had many friends who have committed suicide and I have self harmed, I just felt like showing this knowing about your nephew, I'm very sorry about him.

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I think it’s okay to have LGBTQ+ characters in your book if you are heterosexual cis. I do think it would be rather awkward to have that be the main plot if you are straight. I don’t have an issue with it, personally.

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"The words that I write have no racial identity. The words themselves are written in BLACK ink, but the paper they are written on is WHITE. If my words touch you in some way, does it matter what color I am?" I once asked this question of a high school English teacher who was trying to diminish my writing because, to her, it wasn't authentic based on my actual race. She gave the paper a "B" instead of an "A" and my father, who was a national reporter for the Washington Post went absolutely apeshit. He dragged that teacher into a meeting with the Principal and insisted that a School Board Official attend (under threat of him writing a column about the experience). I didn't know it at the time, but he typed up my statement and kept it in the pocket of his briefcase for years. I only found it when he passed away and I looked through his briefcase.

I share that story because I am wondering if the same principal might apply to this discussion? Do the words someone writes somehow change based on whether the writer is one gender or another? One sexual orientation or another? One race or another? Are you touched any less if the words are moving because you later come to discover that the writer is NOT the same orientation as the character you've come to love? Do another writer's words become somehow elevated, will you finish a book that you stopped reading because it wasn't well written for the sole reason that you discovered that he/she is the same orientation of a character that was otherwise boring?

I am a writer. I put words on a page. I hope that my words inspire and touch the readers in some way. If my words touch you, does anything else really matter?

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I identify as non binary. When it comes to representation, It's an odd subject for me. If it plays integral to the plot and is implemented well and respectfully, I'm okay with that, regardless of whether the author is cis or not. But that's just my take on the subject.

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