Thoughts on the way LGBT+ romances/characters are portrayed


#1

I’m not sure how to word this exactly, but there’s something that bothers me about some LGBT+ stories. (I can’t speak for trans people, so this post is mainly about sexuality.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy about any stories that give the option to have a non-straight love story, but… as a Lesbian™, the way those play out often doesn’t ring true to me. At the end of the day, we WILL experience homophobia, internalized homophobia, worry that our crush is straight, or maybe just surprise at our sexuality, or something like that, no matter how much we all wish we didn’t. Even if we’ve known abour our sexuality for an eternity. Some stories with girl/girl options read like the author just replaced a male love interest with a female one and that doesn’t make sense.

There are probably a lot of people out there who are very happy about getting to experience a fictional world where our love is treated exactly the same, so I’m not saying “always throw stones into the way of non-straight characters because of their sexuality” or “always create drama around it”. I am saying that it’d be worth it to consider not just ignoring the topic of sexuality and the reality of it completely in every single story.

Personally, I’m not here to read about an utopia. Because it doesn’t feel real in the slightest. But hey, I understand if you guys disagree.


#2

amen!! I’m bi as heck and there’s still some days where I question if I’m really bi or if I’m just hetero and it’s somehow a mistake even though I know it’s not or where I look at a female I find attractive and feel a flush of shame, even though I do accept myself at times. it’s not just “oh I’m bi. that’s cool. time to just accept myself forever with no doubt whatsoever.”


#3

Oh yes, that’s exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about. I can relate very well. I’m glad I’m not alone in this.


#4

While I’m fine with most stories existing in a homophobia-less utopia, because I personally like escaping reality for a while, and I’m not sure I trust straight authors to write about the gay struggle, it would be nice to see non-straight characters address their sexuality every once it a while, be it with a gay joke/pun every now and then, a comment about the hardships they’ve faced (even if they’re not portrayed in the story), a reference to their coming out, etc., so the characters feels more authentically LGBT+.


#5

I agree, especially about the gay jokes. Depending on my mood, I like reading stories like that too, but it’s not usually what I’m looking for in an lgbt+ story. But I totally see all of what you said.


#6

I realize that a lot of authors don’t have the time/knowledge to write in a LGBTQ+ subplot, and in stories when you can choose your LI’s gender (or your MC AND LI’s gender) it’d be incredibly time consuming to add in those little details, But I would also like to see it more realistically portrayed. A queer relationship is not going to be exactly like a straight relationship. And a queer person is very likely going to live a different reality from that of a cis/het person.

It doesn’t even have to be referenced in a negative way! It could be a throwaway comment about how they were at pride last year, or an LGBT club they attended in school, or about the coming out cake their mom baked them.

It’d be great to see more stories that portray being LGBTQ+ in a positive light, so that young people have an example of how you can be queer AND happy, but not so idealistic to the point that they feel they can’t relate their own life to the scenario at all.


#7

Really great point!!
And I agree about adding in little details that reference lgbt+ topics without them having to be negative.
You’re right about the stories that let you choose sexuality and sometimes even gender. It gets really complicated at some point. But I think at least Episode’s official stories can afford to get complicated, like the Demi stories. They always put a lot of effort into their official stories. I’m not a fan of the way they just switch out pronouns.


#8

I know exactly what you mean and I think that besides all the arguments you added, the main LGBT stories out there are made in an artificial (not natural) way, in order to attract readers (especially when they have the word “Gay/Lesbian” in the title). I think it would be interesting for the MC to deal with finding their own sexuality and this is what I’m trying to do in my story. Also adding an asexual character really brought a lot of hate to me (a few people said that they wouldn’t read my story becuase of the fact that two of my MCs are gay/ asexual)…homophobia is still out there…


#9

I’m glad I saw this thread, I thought that putting homophobic scenes in my WLW story would offend people and that I should just skip over it?

Also, Adrenaline does a pretty good job with this!


#10

Let me tell you right now that as an ace person I would read the heck out of a story with actual asexual characters in it. I will never understand people that hate on aces simply because of our LACK of sexual attraction/interests.


#11

I’m glad people are getting what I’m trying to say. And I think I agree with you, but I’m not sure if I understand what you mean by artificial. You mean lgbt+ stories that are written just in order to get reads without somebody wanting to really tell a story?

And oh yes, there’s horrible homophobia and hate on the app. My story with a lesbian lead got comments like “ew” or “I dont agree with homosexuality”. But I got, like, 95% positive comments and some people seemed really, deeply touched by the story. So it was worth it.


#12

If I wanted to write a scene where characters are confronted with homophobia, I wouldn’t skip over it. But, well, I can understand why people might not want to read it. If you’re unsure, you don’t have to go into detail or draw the scene out.


#14

Yes, I mean that they don’t send the right amount of feelings , because usually the plot is like this: the MC meets the same sex love interest, they make out or something and that’s it they are in love. This is not the message LGBT stories should send among young readers.


#15

Well I intend to describe asexuality and the feelings of that character but I don’t think the feedback is going to be positive unfortunately. I am going to do it anyways because people need to understand that asexuality isn’t a special condition or a strange thing!!!


#16

Yeah, they don’t develop it the right way


#17

I know one very good story with asexual MC if you’re interested. It’s called “Astronomy Gossip” by Echo Dunkelström.


#18

Episode’s stories sometimes can’t even get the pronouns right (I heard that in the Demi stories that when you choose to have a female LI, she sometimes gets referred to as “he”), so I’m not holding my breath for anything from them😂


#19

Oh yeah. I romanced girl Alex and there were two or three or so instances where they said “she”.


#20

Thank you for the recommendation, I already started reading it!


#21

Another thing-- stop portraying the bisexual girl in a lesbian relationship as a cheater! This is something I haven’t seen on Episode yet, but the two big lesbian films Blue is the Warmest Color and Margarita with a Straw both use this plot and it’s extremely disgusting!