Diversity discussion/rant:: respecful ideas for more diverse stories

I’ve seen similar topics in the forums but all of the ones that would be appropriate for me to reply to were closed. But I really wanna talk about this so I’m putting my voice out there. This rant is mainly about LGBT+ diversity, particularly the T. I mention POC and other minoroties, however i am not part of those minorities so i dont want to speak for them.

Also, if you dont care about diversity or dont think it matters much, this particular post is not for you.

We been knew theres a lack of diversity on episode. I’m pretty new and that was one of the first things i learned. Episode gives an inclusive impression and boy was i fooled. I mean i’ll give it credit to some episode-made stories for having SOME people of color and SOME stories where you can be a bisexual woman. but thats pretty much as far as they go from what ive seen. correct me if im wrong, as im kinda new.

but im sticking around becuse of a handful of amazing stories written by authors who have a variety of stories to tell with diverse perspectives. Also because i feel obligated to write stories from perspectives i see a lack of. be the voice that you want to see, right? im currently working on a story about a gay man and one about a pansexual man. both will have a trans character or two,

first of all i want to bring up a topic personal to me. i am a trans man and im also gay/queer. ive seen virtually no trans characters except a trans woman side character and an option to be nonbinary in a story. Virtually every LGBT story ive seen on Episode is really just L, G, or B. it seems like everyone except trans people forget the T exists, even lesbian, gay, and bi people. I think if your story just has gay or just lesbian and nothing else, you should just say its gay or lesbian and not lgbt+ but thats a rant for another time.

but on the flip side, most authors are cisgender (cisgender = youre not transgender) and i’d very much prefer if cis authors don’t write about our perspective WITHOUT the help of a trans person. cis people dont TRULY know what its like to be trans and every single cis author (in general not just on episode) ive seen write about trans experiences, theyve gotten it wrong. I can distinctly tell if a writing about a trans person is written by a cis person. Cis authors often (unknowingly) obsess about our birth names and portray our thoughts incorrectly. if youre cis and you want to write a trans character, you can write about them as a person without going into their identity or making their gender a part of the story. just mention theyre trans and move on.

If you want to write about a trans experience, im BEGGING you to please consult a trans person and discuss whats appropriate to write about a trans character because its physically painful to see my experience portrayed incorrectly over, and over, and over again.

im not saying this goes for all minorities, for example as a gay man i personally see no issue with people who arent gay men respectfully writing about us. But the difference is, people can understand gay men from an outside perspective, a gay relationship is just a relationship. Lots of people understand the concept of being gay. but there is a SEVERE lack of understanding from most of the world when it comes to trans people. you arent inside our head so you dont know how we feel about our bodies, how we feel when we get misgendered, how disrespectful it is to throw around our deadname, etc.

As you can see, random diversity and not knowing about the minority but portraying them anyways can be more harmful than not portraying them at all. So how can we portray diverse perspectives respectfully? i have some ideas:

-when in doubt, consult someone of that minority. post on the forum that youre looking for someone with that background to make sure your portrayal isnt disrespectful.

-your diverity doesnt always have to be a part of the plot. ie, you can have a gay character without making their gayness part of the plot.

What I’d like to see more of on Episode:
-ACCURATELY portrayed mental illnesses
-disabled characters
-ACCURATELY portrayed autistic characters (im not autistic so i dont want to speak over autistic people but from what ive heard, autism seems to be another one of those things where you should probably consult an autistic person if youre making their experience part of the plot bc theyre severely misunderstood and you arent inside their head)
-more POC of course (props to authors who include a variety of races and ethnicities!)

Sorry this was too long all over the place. I have a lot to say LOL.

Last thing i wanna add: im not saying every single story has to be fully diverse with every single minority. again, uneducated filler diversity can be more harmful. its just nice to see fresh perspectives, learn about how people different from you live, and give different types of people a chance to see themselves or play as themselves in a story. where a straight cisgender white girl has infinite stories where she can play as herself, a disabled person or nonbinary person or muslim person may only have one or two stories where they get to see themselves. Of course stories where you dont see yourself can be enjoyed, but if youre a minority then you understand how euphoric and empowering it feels to see yourself represented accurately every so often.

Discussion questions:

What are some things YOU would like to see represented more in Episode stories?

What are some tips or thoughts you have on representing diversity respectfully?

People of any minority: thoughts or anything you wanna expand on from your experience?

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What i want to see more…

um lets see im Mexican and let me tell you i want to see more stories with Mexicans in them and not just necessarily "straight’ Mexicans can also be about being an LGBT mexican and how having being raised in a household where being mexican and an LGBT members is new to the family etc. and also and not just stories where we are in a mafia or gang…im sure yeah some of us are in a gang or we know friends in gangs or have family in gangs but its more to that… how about talking about something else like immigration or so on we arent just about gangs…or talking about being born here and having parents/ family who werent…

BUT I GET IT THOUGH…episode is for people of ages 13+ and we have to keep in mind most people here on the forums are just teens and some dont understand things like that or some do…but i feel like for those who do understand they should try and expand on their idea on being more diverse BUT i also get that this is just a story and sometimes more like a fantasy so having some truth isnt a priority and its just for fun BUT it wont hurt you to just have a little of it.

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• I’d like to see muslims represented properly: hijab, niqab and no hijab, different denominations, etc.
• Asexuals
• Asian diversity, different religions, well developed MC’s.
• Male characters who aren’t tough and fearless.
LESS BAD BOYS!
• Characters who are proud of their race/religion/sexuality etc.
• Kind, caring MC’s, who are assertive when needed, not agressive tough girls or passive shy nerds.
• Disabilities
• Mental health done correctly
• Less gangs.
• Stories about friendship, family, etc.
• Less stereotypical characters.

• Most importantly: Do the research! Not only will you understand it better, you will be representing diversity accurately.
• Don’t include diversity just for the sake of it, make it natural. It’s ok if you don’t have a character from every single religion in the entire world, or if you don’t have a character from a particular race/religion/sexuality etc., if you have other characters who are diverse.
• Never, ever portray stereotypes. Not all black girls are sassy and loud, not all gay people wear florals, not all Christians are people trying to lure you into a cult.
• You can’t please everyone. There’s always somebody who will be mad, and that’s ok.

My experience:
Well, let’s see. I’m a cisgender, able-bodied white male. I don’t like the way episode portrays guys as either the bad boy or the golden boy. Society’s views that we’re supposed to protect everyone and be the “man of the house” is (excuse my language) fucking annoying. If anybody tells me to man up again, idk what I’m going to do. Maybe I’m not that strong, maybe I’m soft, but what’s wrong with that? I hate it when people think kind = weak.

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I agree with what you said! This may be off topic but have you read the story Equality? It has an important trans character who’s identity is discussed in the story.

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First of all, I want to say that you are not wrong at all. There’s a big lack of diversity.

I would like to see more Jewish and Muslim characters. Jews and Muslim do not get representation. I, as a Jewish person, would like to see authors add Jewish characters (only Jewish authors do so, but there aren’t many ones). In addition, when authors create dark-skinned characters, they always make them Afro Americans and it is getting boring (not that I have problems with Afro-Americans). Dark-skinned people are not always Afro Americans. They also can be Ethiopians, Somalis, Kenyans, Eritreans and more. I want my culture to be represented and others’ one. And of course, I want to see more Asians and LGBT people.

Before creating any characters for diversity respectfully, the very first thing you have to do is to do researches. If you want to create Jewish and/or Muslim (for instance) characters, but you know nothing about Judaism and Islam - don’t do it. But, it is not an excuse why not to add diversity. Plus, you can ask people here who are Jews and Muslims themselves here or other people who are part of the LGTB community, if you want to add LGTB characters. There are threads that can help you so much:

If you want to create Jewish characters:

(This thread is a repost of the original)

If you want to create Muslim characters:

In addition, you have @ShanniiWrites’s post, where she did a list of people who can help you (about anything to add more diversity - not only about religions) and she explains very well about diversity and how to add it respectfully:

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This!! This is what annoys me so much when people put “LGBT+” in their story descriptions but really it’s just L, G, or B. If your story doesn’t have the option to be a transgender or any other sexuality/gender there should be no reason to add the + or the T.

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first of all crash you need to man up…just kidding…
but yeah get it not every white boy is a bad boy or golden boy or a smart asshole or all hipsters who are vegan

what about those that are stoners or are rappers etc. just because they are stoners or rappers doesnt make them “bad boys” though i know a few of those who are actually kind and funny

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And of course, I would like to see Christians in stories. I forgot to add it.
One more thing - in the LL version, there’s nothing that can help us represent Jews and Christians and it is very necessary.

What are the things of Jews missing?

  • mitpachat (the Jewish headscarf for married women)
  • kippah (for men)
  • Episode should add Jewerly with Judaism’s symbol(s). I even suggested it.
  • Tefillin (for male. It is used for the morning prayer)
  • More backgrounds of synagogues

What are the things of Christians missing?

  • Jewerly with a cross (the Christian symbol)
  • Nun’s clothings
  • More backgrounds of church

Only Islam can be represented. Even though, I think they should add more Muslim headwarps, because hijabs aren’t the only headwarps that Muslims have and Episode should add mosque backgrounds (by the way, @EpisodeShadow, it’s a great idea, isn’t it? :wink:)

In addition, Episode should add long skirts and long dresses (mainly, dresses with sleeves), not only for those who want to create religious characters, but for those who feel uncomfortable to use what Episode have - the skirts are way too short.

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What are some things YOU would like to see represented more in Episode stories?

I’d love to see South/South East Asians portrayed more, as well as stories about kindness, family and loving yourself. I’d love some less stereotyped representation. Accurate Christianity definitely! I’d love a story where the MC is a proud Christian, but doesn’t shove it down others throats. More sexualities definitely! Modest clothing. Knee length skirts, higer neckline shirts, etc. :heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes: As well as sunhats!!

What are some tips or thoughts you have on representing diversity respectfully?

-Don’t stereotyoe based on what you’ve heard/seen in other stories.
-Make it natural. Don’t randomly throw in, for example, a muslim character who’s only purpose is to be muslim and has no personality. Huge no!
-Feel free to ask members of the Episode Community! I’d be willing to help with being South Asian, Christian amongst a family who strongly oppose such beliefs, asexuality, and more.
-Do some research and enjoy!

People of any minority: thoughts or anything you wanna expand on from your experience?

Ok, let’s start from the start. Being South Asian, people always ask “but that’s not even in Asia!” when I tell where my parents are from. I used to be ashamed of my background and used to hide it. I’m a little more light-skinned than the average Sri Lankan, so people always have stupid questions and statements. Overall, I’m proud of my background :grin:

Around the age of 10, I picked up a bible and decided to read it. Instantly, I started to believe in God, secretly pray and even bought some prayer books secretly. My parents were atheists who strongly disapproved of Christianity. They found all the bibles, prayer books, and basically my entire mini church and threw them all away. I used to hide the fact I was Christian, then decided to show to the world. My family still doesn’t approve, but idc.

I don’t know exactly what is wrong, but throughout my life, I’ve lived with these terrible “daily routines.” If I don’t brush my teeth long enough, it’s going to be a bad day. (I brush my teeth much longer than recommended) If I don’t do things in the right order, something terrible is going to happen. If I don’t lock, unlock, then re-lock my door, a robber’s going to come in. I’ve never spoken about this before, but it’s been happening since I was 15. I’m in a bit more control of it, but I still do these out of habit.

I think I might also be asexual, since I don’t feel any sexual attraction. I feel romantic attraction, definitely, but despise the thought of sex.

I dislike it when people try to make me “cover up less” and insult the fact that I don’t like skirts that reach above my fingertips and stuff.

That’s it about me, I guess. I love learning about different cultures and enjoy travelling :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I wouldn’t mind seeing any stories on demisexual for those who don’t know demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone.
Wouldn’t mind seeing stories based on other places as it seems nearly every story is based in USA some in England there is other countries as well. Wouldn’t mind seeing other cultures represented as well.

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Thanks for promoting our threads. :heart:

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Hiya! I haven’t seen you around much so I’m Shannii. You might see me going on extended rants about diversity from time to time. Nice to meet you!

Thanks, @Kanubish for mentioning my thread! :smiley:

Of course, I’ll always say that Episode has a real problem with actually encouraging different types of diversity. I mean, until recently, it was almost impossible to make characters with female body types who didn’t wear heels and “girly” clothing. It’s still quite impossible for men, unless you wanna put a hijab on him (God knows why they chose hijabs before dresses or skirts or something). That deters a lot of people from writing about nonbinary characters because they’re limited to very binary body options and clothing choices.

I feel like the same goes for a lot of trans characters on Episode. Until recently when @purplezombieattack mentioned what body types could be used for when, I really struggled because you can’t really a transition visually from start to finish. I’m quite lucky because the trans woman I’m currently writing about has gone through her transition and the story isn’t about her being trans. In fact, I spent a lot of time asking trans people on here and on Wattpad how I could mention that she’s trans when everyone knows but no one really cares enough to bring it up. They got used to it and they see her as a woman, so it’s not about to come up any time soon, haha.

There’s still a big issue with body type representation, though. I got lucky when I thought of Hannah. She’s already transitioned, so I could very easily use a female body type on her. But what about trans women pre-top surgery? These body types don’t cover the scope of cis-people or trans people.

That’s why I kinda understand people who avoid certain minority groups in their stories. I mean, I would love to create a character with a prosthetic arm or who has a wheelchair, but Episode just doesn’t give us the capability for that kind of thing. Then they throw a disabilities shelf at us and they’re so underprepared that most of the stories had nothing to do with disabilities and they thought it was enough to throw in stories from a disabled writer that were about able-bodied people just because they think that’s representation.

Not for me. Most readers don’t care about the writer when they’re reading. In fact, they usually don’t even know who the writer is or what minority groups they’re a part of. That shows with how many people say “this story doesn’t have a single disabled/black/Asian/Arab character in it” every time a new shelf is released. It’s just not good enough to only feature writers because they’re part of a minority group. I didn’t choose to be mixed or bi and I’d rather be celebrated for my contributions to my minority groups, not for simply being a part of them. And I’d much rather see authors from all different identities themselves who represent that minority well regardless of whether they’re part of it or not.

Sure, we don’t want to talk over people from that minority, but most people who represent the minority well are people who know a lot about it, i.e. members of the minority group. But if you’ve put in the time and care and effort and research to make a great character from a minority group you don’t belong to? That should be celebrated as well. There’s more that one place on a shelf.


I’m not sure if I agree with the whole LGBTQ+ argument. I’m someone who promotes authors getting a few different minority groups right rather than trying to represent too many in their story and failing. As such, I personally wouldn’t encourage limiting people from using the LGBTQ+ acronym if they’ve missed out a letter or two. I think it discourages people from taking time and care to make these characters because it seems a little like gatekeeping the use of the acronym. I mean, we’re all in the acronym and we should all get to use it to describe ourselves and our stories! I understand you don’t want to go into that too much at the moment, but I’d love to have a discussion with you whenever you can.

In terms of what can be done instead? I think awareness should come first. Instead of focussing too much on the use of the acronym, we (and Episode, frankly. This is their company) should instead try to remind people that trans characters do exist. The people with experience can show others how to do it well and give them some resources. I’m going to write a blog post about trans characters soon enough and I would love some input. It’s going to be quite like a Q&A for cis people (since that’s the perspective I most understand), but I will need lots of help from my trans friends on here and elsewhere, so if you can give some input, that will be much obliged.

If you’re interested in finding out a little more about my blog, click here. The homepage is a little slow at the moment, but I’m going to get that sorted out ASAP.


Interestingly, I also disagree with this. Misgendering cis people is a huge cause for stress and upset and does often cause body dysmorphia in its own way. Many people forget that body dysmorphia can come in different forms and cause things like bigarexia or anorexia.

I know cis men who become obsessed with health and fitness to the point that it damages their body out of fear of being called a woman, even when it’s just intentional maliciousness. The toxic masculinity causes them a lot of distress and mental harm when they’re misgendered. They pour money into the supplement industry and some kill their hearts with steroids. Cis men, in particular, can go really overboard with hurting themselves out of the fear of being misgendered. The same with women. Some become anorexic because they don’t perceive their body to be “womanly” enough. Some develop an obsession or addiction to plastic surgery. I’ve seen it happen before.

Don’t get me wrong: it happens to trans people way more and I understand that it can be extremely damaging, but many cis people know what it feels like to be misgendered and for that to cause them serious body perception issues. It’s great that trans people have created the terminology that we can use for all people. In fact, we owe a lot to trans people in general. Like Stonewall. Trans women, in particular, have been at the forefront of LGBTQ activism for at least 50 years because they experience these issues at a greater volume when compared to any other group of people. But if we want people who aren’t part of our minority group to understand our struggles, one of the most important things to do is relate it to stuff they already experience so that they can understand and empathise better.

Yes, trans people are more at risk of misgendering and it is more likely to cause stress and issues with mental health. But it does happen to cis people too. We can use that to unite us.


I definitely agree with this. I started a thread full of people who would be happy to help people with their stories, as @Kanubish mentioned earlier. if you’d ever like to provide help, that would be awesome!

This. So much. I’m tired of people thinking that every LGBTQ story needs to be about someone coming out, or that every story with a black character needs to have racial injustice. I’m tired of people acting like straight, white and cis is the default state of being and stories about straight, cis white characters are “for everyone” while other stories about other identities have to be political and they’re only for that minority group. Bull.


Now that that’s out of the way, I can actually answer your questions.

Me personally, I’d love to see some good Christian characters represented. We often get pushed into the role of the antagonist, fighting against LGBTQ people and abortions. Blaming women for getting pregnant when the man was in a position of power and was predatory and the woman was young and impressionable (I’m looking at you, Georgia). The truth is that there are good Christians and bad Christians and I think it’s extremely damaging that we only see the bad. I’m a bisexual Catholic, an ally to trans people (I hope) and I support secular abortions even if I would never get one myself. The Church is not the State and I’m tired of people conflating the two.

I’m mildy dyspraxic, my brother has Aspergers and my dad is dyslexic. I would personally love to see autism as well as disorders that can affect learning to be covered a little more on Episode. Especially dyspraxia! To be honest, most people don’t even know what it is. When I tell people that I have dyspraxia, they laugh and say “nah you just can’t catch a ball”. In fact, even people who know I have dyspraxia can forget and treat me badly because of it – my mum tells me that I’m failing my driving test on purpose and gets very angry. I think some representation in the media in general would really help the way I’m treated. People might finally see that I’m not making this up and it does seriously affect me.

I’d love to see accurate representation of mixed-race people. I think this is where a lot of authors on Episode really fail. They give a character tan skin, green or blue eyes and curly hair (sometimes. Other times it’s straight) and say that the character is mixed race. Then they have the mixed characters only really identifying with their white side. Sure there are probably some mixed people out there who have somehow not inherited anything but a slight tan from their black side, but the likelihood? Not even some cultural stuff? Nah. And that’s just mentioning the conventional type of mix. I’m Asian and Afro-Caribbean. My baby sister is Asian and European. Not all mixes have to be black and white.

My main tip is to think of a character’s purpose in a story before people think about what they look or act like or anything like that. Think about what they’re going to do in your story. Give them a reason to be there. Then think about their identity and their look. Build them from the ground up. If you do that, you’ll never have characters who exist just to add to the diversity. In a fantasy story, you might need a teacher/wise old man character. So that’s their purpose. Then you can say to yourself: you know what? What if this wise character isn’t bearded and old? What if he’s a little person? That’s how you get Game of Thrones.

The same can be said about my story, to be honest. When I was writing The Queen of Freaks, I knew that my main character needed some advocates within the palace trying to stop the King from killing her. Her saviours weren’t lovers. They are her sister and her best friend. Both women. Then her brother comes in later. None of them have any sort of romantic involvement with her because I thought of the purpose (to be the princess’s advocate and protector) then I gave them their look and identity and personality after. This means they’re important to the story and it gave me a chance to challenge conventions and make the brother gay, too. A gay protector of a straight woman… a man protecting a woman out of sibling love instead of romantic involvement. Imagine that! It ended up becoming a really interesting story! Spoiler alert: her sister is being forced to marry her brother’s lover.

The rule of thumb for me is answering these questions in this order.

  1. What purpose do they serve in the story?
  2. What is their personality like?
  3. What makes them unique?
  4. What struggles are they going to go through in the story?
  5. What are their aims?
  6. What do they look like?

It’s not perfect, but it’s a good start for any new writer who wants to write about different minority groups.

Hmm. I think the real issue here is a lack of empathy. We exacerbate that often as members of different minorities. We make it seem like you have to be a member of that minority group to truly get it and we tend to hold minority characters to a higher level of scrutiny than straight, white, cis characters. This can be damaging. It discourages people form writing about our experiences because they’re so terrified of representing us badly.

The truth is that there are examples of both good and bad representation of straight, white, cis characters. There’s so much to choose from that they’ve had the true scope of humanisation, both positive and negative. To be honest, I’d rather 500 more portrayals of people like me, even if a few are done really badly. Then we can learn from them and improve. But at least there will be a place for us to start – somewhere to learn from – instead of writers being crippled by the fear of representing us badly.

So that’s why I encourage education. Lots of education and encoraging people to try to represent us. Sure, it’s great when they ask us for help to make sure that they’re not doing anything wrong, but they’re not going to get there if they’re too scared to represent us in the first place! Then we complain that there’s a lack of representation. Frankly, at the moment I don’t blame them.


Sorry for the huge reply. I had a lot to say!

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Oh, it’s nothing :blush:

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I have a feeling they didn’t do the research right and just added it in. Otherwise episode would’ve started with dresses or skirts. Just plain ignorance. I’ve seen male characters with hijabs before, and I’m just like…wtf?

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i get where youre coming from! im sorry youre almost always portrayed as a stereotype, and often a negative one at that. it would be amazing if more stories showed just how diverse mexican people are. white people get to be all kinds of things and play all kinds of roles, but mexicans are mafias and gangs like 80% of the time? it doesnt add up.

i agree sometimes its fantasy and not that deep, but also art reflects real life and vice versa. if all anyone ever sees of mexicans is mafias and gangs, then thats how they will view mexicans. which i imagine can be harmful and make them assume things about mexican people they meet.

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yes all of what you said is very important! id love to see more asexual people, asian people, etc. (btw have you read bad boy in town by lilith hills? it has native hawaiian characters and a japanese character and is lgbt!) also more accurate portrayals of religion, showing that muslims have different denominations and theres christians outside of the hateful closed-minded stereotype.

also natural diversity and research are great points. its impossible to portray everyone but a less-portrayed experience here and there goes really far.

finally as a fellow man i know what you mean, theres sooooo many Bad Boys™ and Dominant Heroes™ i hardly see male characters who arent one or both of those. the standard of masculinity for men is rediculous. let us show a variety of emotions and roles.

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Nope ive not read it but ill check it out, thank you! i hope the trans character is portrayed accurately though lol

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that you for the helpful guides! im considering including a jewish character at some point so i will definitely look at the guide and do further research.

ive also observed almost every darker skinned character in a lot of stories is afro american. which is great, im happy to see them being more included! but youre right, they arent the only racial minority and other dark skinned folks should be represented as well. i get theres more afro americans in america than there is japanese americans for example, but that doesnt mean there needs to be virtually no japanese americans anywhere.

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i want to respectfully say that i get what youre saying! but also i dont think there needs to be a specific option to be able to be a trans person, unless for a nonbinary option. what i mean is, trans men are just men and trans women are just women. so if i wanted my male mc to be a trans man, i could decide that for myself in my head. because a seperate option would make me feel like im a Different or Special man, and not just a man. however, nonbinary trans people arent a man or a woman so it would make sense to have a different option for them. also, just kindly letting you know for future reference, please say ‘trans person’ and not ‘a transgender’ kinda like you wouldnt say ‘a black’ or ‘a gay’.

anyways ultimately id like to see a specification for if its just a gay love story or if theres more rep than just gay. also its a pet peeve of mine when people say lgbt+ but then they only mention sexuality as if the whole community is just sexuality.

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yes i agree on all of this! i also wish episode would add more backgrounds from different places as most backgrounds depict US cities which i guess you can use some of them for other stuff but for example one of the exterior backgrounds (i think its a school or some type of institution lol) has an american flag pole so if you need that institution for a story in india or something it wouldnt really work bc the flag ruins it :frowning:

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