TV Tropes Org

Forums

search forum titles
google site search
Wiki Headlines
We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here.
Total posts: [10]
1

advice on a gay character:

OK, I have this one character who, I have decided, is gay. Since he's only 14 and physically disabled, he hasn't discovered his sexuality yet. I don't want his sexuality to be a major plot point, but I want to let the reader know this kid's gay. How do I do that? (Note: No one of any importance to his life is homophobic, so if he came out it wouldn't cause much conflict.)
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
 2 chihuahua 0, Wed, 16th Mar '11 2:29:11 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
What is the POV? If he has the POV, you could make it so he describes a guy that he finds attractive more than other characters, and then have some moments.
 3 Mr AHR, Wed, 16th Mar '11 2:29:46 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Ettina: Well, a general disinterest with girls can work. At least a "yeah, she's cute, I guess..." should help. I wouldn't focus on giving guys more attention though, since if he hasn't hit puberty yet, he's probably not interested in either gender.

Of course, I am not gay, so I have no way of helping out here meaningfully, since I can't recount any anecdotal advice or anything like that.

I do have a fetish or two, and while the two are not similar, I can say this: Most people know things about themselves, sexually speaking, but just don't actually realize what that knowledge is until they are old enough to put a name to it. So you might want to make sure that he knows certain things, even if he doesn't know about his sexuality.

You are asexual, correct, Ettina? If you are, that perspective might be able to help you out a tad, since it's still something outside of the norm, and while not sexual, is still part of a sexual identity.

edited 16th Mar '11 2:33:58 PM by MrAHR

 4 Gmork, Wed, 16th Mar '11 11:32:37 PM from Fantastica
Hmmm... being gay myself, I didn't truly realise my sexuality at that age. I knew I was 'different'. All my friends started noticing girls and I sort of just played along because that just seemed to be the norm. I really couldn't quite grasp what all the guys around me found so fascinating about women. It sometimes creates a bit of social anxiety because at that age, there's not really anyone you can relate to either. I just kind of kept quiet about girls until I was an adult and came out. Maybe feigned interest here and there. Had some platonic crushes on girls that never went anywhere.

You could also write about how he would start noticing guys. I sure did, but didn't quite know what to make of it. All I can say is, it's a very confusing time to be going through puberty, just starting to develop sexual interest and then having those interests defy the social norm, including that of your friends and even be considered to be taboo or not talked about by the majority of people. Also, depending on the character, he might have a hard time coming to terms with it. Some guys are very carefree about their sexuality whereas others, like myself, were very self conscious about being different.

Hope that helps.
What are you creatures of Fantastica? Dreams, poetic inventions, characters in a neverending story. Do you think you're real?
 5 Haldo, Thu, 17th Mar '11 4:22:31 PM from Never never land Relationship Status: Coming soon to theaters
Indecisive pumpkin
The whole "disinterest in girls" thing that everyone else is suggesting is a really good idea. I'm a lesbian, and that was pretty much my reaction to boys before I realised my sexuality.

When he develops a crush on somebody, if it's from his POV, it might be a good idea to have him describe how great his crush is using non-sexual terms (e.g. "He's so awesome!!), since he doesn't know why he likes that boy so much.
‽‽‽‽

^These are interrobangs. Love them. Learn them. Use them.
 6 Mr AHR, Thu, 17th Mar '11 4:23:41 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
I believe the term is "puppy love, " yes?
Describing a crush (but he doesn't realize is a crush) sounds like a good idea. He just thinks he's so smart and cool and funny and awesome and he wants to be around him all the time.

You can also play with gender nonconformity, which I personally am in love with. You could always go with camp interests, mannerisms, and appearance—which would definitely signal that he's gay—but there are a multitude of other ways to mess with traditional masculinity that won't take your character in a camp direction. All you would need to do is make a point of characterizing him as especially sensitive and creative, I would get it...although that might have something to do with being queer myself, and having spent a lifetime analyzing every book, TV show, and movie for homoerotic subtext. I tend to pick up on things as evidence of gayness where perhaps none exists.

If you just want an incidentally gay character, you can avoid making a plot point out of his homosexuality by setting his coming out a few years in the past when he was 11 or 12, which is more plausible if he knew the whole time that he had a super chill, supportive family. Then you can include some info that establishes him as gay without needing to make a big deal out of it, for instance he might have a crush on a classmate, or glue pictures of James Franco into a notebook, or just discuss/remark upon the attractiveness of peers / celebrities / strangers the way that teenagers do. Or maybe he just REALLY wants a boyfriend, and is angsting over the fact that it seems like he will never have one, possibly because of his disability.

Essentially, the only way to for-sure tell the audience he's gay without ever saying it is through gender expression, although I suspect you MIGHT have to resort to rather anvil-ey character traits (such as being highly fashion-conscious, and having a love of musical theater) to make sure everyone understands. If he's openly gay, and everybody knows and nobody cares, you'd still need to come up with a way to introduce it into the story, but you'd have a lot more options for how to do so.

 8 aishkiz, Fri, 25th Mar '11 7:28:27 PM from under the stairs
Slayer of Threads
All you would need to do is make a point of characterizing him as especially sensitive and creative, I would get it [...]

Essentially, the only way to for-sure tell the audience he's gay without ever saying it is through gender expression, although I suspect you MIGHT have to resort to rather anvil-ey character traits (such as being highly fashion-conscious, and having a love of musical theater) to make sure everyone understands.
I don't think "stereotypical" gender traits like that are really going to be relevant to sexual orientation, tbh. People have gotten used to the variety of Straight Gay tropes.

Never stating or showing a character's sexual orientation does veer into hide-your-gays territory, but on the other hand, it's a rare 14-year-old who's confident or even particularly aware of their own nascent sexuality. If hints are to be dropped they'd best be something along the lines of "He'd never really understood his friends' interest in girls etc etc" or the having-a-crush-without-knowing-it thing described above.
I have devised a most marvelous signature, which this signature line is too narrow to contain.
 9 Gmork, Sun, 27th Mar '11 2:42:02 PM from Fantastica
"You could always go with camp interests, mannerisms, and appearance—which would definitely signal that he's gay—but there are a multitude of other ways to mess with traditional masculinity... Essentially, the only way to for-sure tell the audience he's gay without ever saying it is through gender expression"

Are you SERIOUS invisigoth?? Stereotyping gay people like that is pretty damn insulting, it's also a very cheap and ignorant way of portraying homosexuals. You talk about 'gender expression' and 'traditional masculinity' but what does that even mean? Straight people watch a bit of TV and they assume all gay men have some degree of femininity to them, but it might shock you to know that I know plenty of gay men in to their beer and sports. I'm not saying that you personally believe this, but to perpetuate camp stereotypes is as damaging as racist stereotypes. There is no rule on sexuality or gender expression, gay or straight, and If one values the intelligence of one's readers, then the simple portrayal of a man expressing romantic/sexual interest for another man is more than enough, without tacking on the whole 'gay' facade.
What are you creatures of Fantastica? Dreams, poetic inventions, characters in a neverending story. Do you think you're real?
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gender_expression this is a pretty good description of what I mean by gender expression.

Ughh...sorry for not saying any of this well. I know gay and lesbian people who have zero stereotypical gender traits, and I like it when I see characters like that too.

But often authors, in an attempt to be as un-stereotypical as possible will make sure that their gays and lesbians are super gender conforming. This happens more with female characters than male characters. As a result, the only gender nonconforming queers who ever get written are offensive, flat stereotypes played for laughs. But you can do it and not make it a stereotype, because I (and a lot of other queers) live it, and we are not stereotypes. Does that make sense?

The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.
Total posts: 10
1


TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy