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How to write a gay/bisexual character:

Also known as Katz
[up] Camp Gay. Being very effeminate, well-groomed, fashion-conscious (at the extreme, a Drag Queen). Mincing steps and that wrist gesture. Being into the arts. In more action-oriented works, the gay guy disliking violence and not wanting to get his hands dirty. An older stereotype is being really horny: Unable to form long-term relationships, hitting on straight guys, always HIV positive.

For lesbians, mostly being super butch and masculine and hating anything girly.

For bi people, Anything That Moves.

...I actually feel kind of terrible for listing all that.

Something that might be a stereotype is the supportive Best Friend. However in this instance they will be straight - since I know it is possible to be friends with someone who doesn't share your orientation

What if the character has a few stereotypical mannerisms, but you write them as their own character in their own right?

For example, I wanted to write a story where one of the secondary characters was gay, and thus feminine, and wears girly clothes. But he's still a good friend of the main character.
Also known as Katz
Of course a gay character can have some of those traits (just as a straight character can). The trick is that they have those traits because of who they are as a person, not because "that's what gay people are like." So you are probably fine.

 30 setnakhte, Mon, 23rd Jan '12 7:49:14 PM from inside your closet
That's terrifying.
Just write an ordinary character, who happens to be shagging a dude behinde the scenes. The trick is to not hide it nor call attention to it.
"Roll for whores."
 31 feotakahari, Mon, 23rd Jan '12 9:56:12 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
one of the secondary characters was gay, and thus feminine

The "thus" bothers me a bit, and it's important to realize that being transgendered is completely separate from being gay (though it is possible to be gay as well as feminine and/or transgendered, and there isn't necessarily anything wrong with the character.)

edited 23rd Jan '12 9:59:16 PM by feotakahari

That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
Euo will do!
I just find it weird that anybody would automatically assume that sexual orientation is the primary basis of character. Personally, I always ask myself 'how stubborn is this character?', 'how active?', 'where do they live?', 'when?' and 'how old?' before I ask anything else. smile

The only time I worry about gender-identification or sexual orientation is if that comes up in the 'how much sex does this character have on the brain?' set of questions. Neurosis: can make a good story, but an unhappy camper.

When push comes to shove, we spend more time doing the housework, shopping and paying the bills than actually fussing over what bits we like to put where. The rest is frills. Interesting frills, but not the foundation stones of personality.

Um: warning. I'm a touch on the femininely identified, but asexual side. It might show.
"When all else failed, she tried being reasonable." ~ Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb
 33 Sharysa, Tue, 24th Jan '12 1:12:39 PM from Alameda, CA Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
The local bard
Just write them as if they were straight, and make sure their Love Interest is the same gender if they're gay.

Nthing the part about making sure their sexuality doesn't define their whole characterization.

edited 24th Jan '12 4:05:43 PM by Sharysa

You should make him an Evil Albino. Seriously, that always seems to work when you have a controversial character - just keep him the way you planned, but make him evil and albino. Southern gentleman slavemaster? Evil albino. Racist thug? Evil albino. Polygamist? Evil albino. Catholic church's number one assassin? Evil albino. It. Never. Fails.
 
 35 chihuahua 0, Tue, 24th Jan '12 2:04:46 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
[up] Real albinos have another set of problems though.

For me, sexuality for my characters tend to sprout up once I have the basics down. For one character, for example, I decided his age, basic personality, name, and appearance before I realized he's probably gay.

Pronounced YAK-you-luss
[up][up]... I'm sorry, what?
Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
 37 JHM, Fri, 27th Jan '12 9:29:29 PM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
[up][up][up] If you're joking, then bravo, you made me laugh hysterically.

The problem is that now I'm not 100% certain that you're joking.
 38 Crystal Glacia, Fri, 27th Jan '12 9:48:50 PM from Cedarpointland
patience, young padawan
[up][up][up][up] I... see no good reason why that should be included or what it even has to do with the discussion at hand. A real person with albinism probably finds that trope offensive, hence why I prefer to use it just as much as I like writing stereotypical homosexuals.

Back ontopic: I love brutally subverting stereotypes, so the primary gay man of my cast ended up as the Only Sane Man for nebulous reasons unconnected to his sexuality; he lacks the psychological issues and general Cloudcuckoolander tendencies of the rest.

An observation I've made about gay men is probably not even related to their sexuality, but they always turn out to be some of the nicest, most sociable people I've ever met.
 39 drunkscriblerian, Fri, 27th Jan '12 9:59:02 PM from Castle Geekhaven Relationship Status: In season
Street Writing Man
I actually have a lot of fun playing with audience expectation...I do this a good deal with NP Cs in my games. Players who don't know this often learn it the hard way.

Example (relevant here): the party was trying to infiltrate a crime ring that was using a strip joint as a front. So, the prettiest character went to get a job there. All of them were expecting a sleazy guy to be running it...what I gave them was a six-foot muscled woman with a crew cut named Jennie. Now they were expecting her to be a lesbian, because muscles and short hair (she also smoked cigars and cussed a lot). So during the "interview", Pretty Girl kept trying to flirt with her to get information. Following conversation resulted:

Jennie: "give it up, girl...you ain't my type."
Pretty Girl: "Excuse me?"
Jennie: "Contrary to what everyone thinks, I'm not into girls. Now, you want to the fucking interview or not?"\

What's funny is that Jennie was based off a woman I met in a bar; she looked like a stereotypical bull-dyke, but was probably straighter than I am. Anyhow, playing with people's expectations can be fun.

My only advice is pick a widely held stereotype and don't overplay it; that makes The Reveal even cooler when it happens.

edited 27th Jan '12 9:59:20 PM by drunkscriblerian

If I were to write some of the strange things that come under my eyes they would not be believed.

~Cora M. Strayer~
How do you write a bisexual character, but don't give the impression to the reader that they're gay, if they only have a single relationship in a story.

 41 Crystal Glacia, Fri, 16th Mar '12 5:37:41 AM from Cedarpointland
patience, young padawan
Um... you do what everyone else in the thread has suggested so far, which is to not let their sexual orientation dominate their personality?
 42 feotakahari, Fri, 16th Mar '12 3:02:44 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
^^ Just because they only date one character doesn't mean they can't show signs of attraction to others (particularly if they're a viewpoint character.)

That said, if you're focusing on their relationship with that one character, it might not even be relevant what their specific sexual orientation is.
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
You should often ask yourself this: "Does this character being gay or bisexual change the way they look at the world? Does it change how the world looks at them? Also, will it affect the character in how they interact with the opposite or same gender?"

 
 44 Omurice, Wed, 12th Mar '14 2:36:42 AM from A corner table at Seattle's Best Relationship Status: Longing for my OTP
Stop looking so stiff.
Epic necro bump. [nja] I'm writing a novel right now, and I was researching on how I could write a gay/bisexual character. What I've gathered here so far should help for now. [tup]
(yawn)
 45 lancesolous 13, Tue, 18th Mar '14 10:34:08 PM from California Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Just thought I'd add my two cents. It depends entirely on the character.

For some people, their sexuality is a larger part o their character than others. For me, I'm simply an incredibly flirty person and, since I'm also a physical person at the same time, my pansexuality (or, more accurately, that I am anything other than straight) comes across a lot more loudly than someone who is more introverted and has social anxiety.

There isn't so much of an issue of how to express homo/bisexuality in writing, but most people aren't sure how to express sexuality in different ways than the Straight Confident!Romantic Lead. Additionally, a lot of people think that there are massive differences between how a romance works in different sexualities, when there aren't besides more physical acts, but the major differences that people think of could be differences of personality rather than that of sexuality.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is, people confuse sexuality with personality.
I'm a critical person but I'm a nice guy when you get to know me. Now, I should be writing.
One of my main characters is an Ethical Slut bisexual, but prefers women. Normally, I'd try to avoid the 'slutty bisexual' stereotype, but the character wasn't originally intended to be bisexual. He happens to be very nice to all of his lovers, and he isn't defined by his sexual preference.

There's still some bi characters who don't get close to the 'slutty bisexual' stereotype, so I should be fine, right?

 47 Poisonarrow, Wed, 19th Mar '14 8:57:16 AM Relationship Status: In love with love
[up]There's nothing actually WRONG with making a promiscuous bisexual, flamboyant gay man, butch lesbian, pompous pansexual, tacit transsexual, admirable asexual, demonic demisexual or anything else. It's all in how you write it and if it makes sense. If someone is going to get a bug up their butt about having a promiscuous bisexual character, they're going to get it no matter what.
Feminist in the streets, sex slave in the sheets
Easiest way to combat that would be to have another bisexual character that doesn't have sex as often to contrast them.

I'm finding that solution works 99% of the time. If you have only one gay character in the work and they have X traits and you're worried that it's going to seem like you think gay people are all X, have another gay character that doesn't have X traits. Replace gay with whatever else you're worried about.

This is ESPECIALLY important to do if your "bad" guys are minorities. Introduce at least one good guy with the minority trait to balance it out. It looks a bit questionable if your only black character is a bad guy, but if there's two other black characters on the good guy's team, then it's fine.

(this is probably why I'm having difficulties writing a character who's trans. I have another trans character in there, but she's a background character so she doesn't show up enough to work as a foil. Ideally I'd make her more prominent, but I have too many characters as is. I dunno. Gotta ask for more input.)

 49 maxwellelvis, Wed, 19th Mar '14 9:11:31 PM from undisclosed location Relationship Status: In my bunk
Mad Scientist Wannabe
I'm considering writing a gay guy in a story of mine. How it comes up is just mentioning he has a boyfriend and it doesn't lead to any big moments in and of itself.
Of course, don't you know anything about ALCHEMY?!- Twin clones of Ivan the Great
 50 Matues, Wed, 19th Mar '14 9:49:13 PM Relationship Status: Reincarnated romance
That honestly sounds wonderful.
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