MEGP: Duane Reads

Posted March 17, 2016 by Emily in Discussion, Special Feature / 2 Comments

moving

I’m moving! Not the blog, actually me! This week and next week I will be working hard to move into our new house and unpack. Luckily the book blog community is beyond awesome and supportive. I put out a call asking for help to keep my blog running for the next two weeks to give myself a buffer while I won’t have internet and you all jumped to help me. I can’t express how grateful I am to have such wonderful friends.

As soon as Duane mentioned this post, I jumped on it! I love diversity in books and he brings up such great issues. I know you will just love it.

Duane Reads

Hi Guys!! I am Duane and I blog on DuaneReads, this is my first ever guest post and I want to begin by thanking Emily for letting me write on her amazing Blog!! 🙂

In books and most media, most Gay characters are Male and they are a ‘Token Gay Guy’ character. Meaning that they are a stereotypical gay man that is usually a side character to a woman. He is usually a feminine gay guy and he gives his female friends fashion and relationship advice and goes shopping with them. In my opinion this shows a lack of gay authors because, if a gay author was to write the gay characters, I am positive that they would have … ‘PERSONALITY’. Which is what most gay characters lack because all that they actually are, are stereotypes. 

Of course not all books are representing a gay character in a stereotypical way , for example I really liked how Simon and Baz are portrayed in “Carry On by Rainbow Rowell”. Simon and Baz aren’t introduced as, ‘They are gay, they are fashion experts and all they do is be minions to their girl friends’. Instead she introduced them as she would introduce any other character. 

One of the problems why I think this happens is that straight authors don’t ‘ASK’. They just write what they have seen in other media, the ‘Token Gay Guy’. Which is dehumanizing and objectifying to the gay community because these characters are supposed to be representing us. Instead these characters are representing, I think literally no one. Because I don’t think anyone’s characteristics only include: Traditionally Feminine, Loves Shopping(usually clothes), ‘slave friend’ to a girl and is a Fashion Expert. Personally from these characteristics I only identify with being Traditionally Feminine but still not as much as these wrongly portrayed characters. Also I think that the characteristics given to these characters are ‘EXAGGERATED’.

This gives the idea that gay men are there to serve their straight BFF and that we are good at nothing but that. I think that having a gay character for the sake of having a gay character and have a more ‘Diverse Book’ is worse than not having a gay character. If an author wants to find a way to write a gay character they should research, talk to gay people so that they get an insight and probably get 1 or more gay beta reader/s so that they can give them insight on how to make their character better and more ‘REAL’.

This doesn’t just harm our community from the outside by giving a wrong representation of who we are but also it harms other younger gay boys which maybe don’t know they don’t need to be all of these stereotypes to be accepted in the gay community. I myself struggled with this personally because on TV most of the gay men were hyper-feminine, helped their girl BFF with everything concerning dating and fashion and they loved shopping. I had thought, “I don’t belong anywhere because I am not/don’t do or like most of these things.” 

In conclusion: 

  1. Authors should write gay characters just like any other characters. Being gay is just one of the character’s characteristics not their entire identity.
  2. Authors should stop exaggerating certain characteristics.
  3. Authors should ask people who actually are gay for insight on what they could change to make their character better and more realistic.

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2 responses to “MEGP: Duane Reads

  1. Great post, Duane!

    I especially liked this part:
    “I think that having a gay character for the sake of having a gay character and have a more ‘Diverse BookÂ’ is worse than not having a gay character.”

    I believe in fair and realistic representation of LGBT characters and if authors aren’t going to do it right, they shouldn’t do it at all!

    It is true that some men are hyper-feminine but when this becomes the standard of gay representation, it’s very problematic. It’s worse in Television and perhaps some YA fiction (though I don’t read enough of that to be sure), but TV and film are horrible at representing gay men specifically.

    On the other hand, I don’t mean to say that gay men who are feminine should not be represented AT ALL. Because some gay men are hyper-feminine and they should not be ridiculed for being themselves. Looking down on gay men because they’re overtly feminine is a mild form of sexism, if you think about it.

    Anyway, this is a very complex topic and I could talk about it for ever.

    Thanks again for this lovely write up!

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