Friday 6 September 2013

Q&A- Stereotypes in LGBTQIA fiction

So. Yes. Question and answer time, because fabulous people answered so well that their answers won’t fit in with my posts. These posts are only edited for spelling and profanity, otherwise, these are exactly what people think. Please share your comments, and remember you could win some awesome books!

Today’s question: How prevalent are stereotypes in LGBTQIA fiction?

Suzanne: In general? I think many gay characters have, in the past, been token sidekicks, like the gay best friend who makes a great shopping partner and helps the female lead pick shoes for a date. I think fiction has also had the tendency to present LGBTQIA characters as confused and intrinsically unhappy in life. I've also seen lesbians portrayed as man haters, as women hurt or abused and therefore turned off men, instead of these women simply loving other women. Time and again, I've seen gay, lesbian and bi characters presented as promiscuous, more promiscuous than straight people, which is just ridiculous.

Harriet:"In my opinion, the term 'stereotype' belongs as a cheat code to describe what something or a type of group is like. For example, if I were to say 'Goth', we'd all get an image of a person dressed all in black, with black make-up on and sat in a dark corner (and so forth.)
Stereotypes belong because the human race (generalising) ignore the fact that they can describe each person as being different and not in a sub group.
We also only use stereotypes because it is easier to identify the character and portray them.
You can look on at the term as a cheat code or a derogatory word, either choice we all know that everyone knows that not everyone is like their stereotype.
I believe, because I have this opinion, that others have this opinion too.
Now, I haven't read every LGBTQIA fiction under the sun but I do believe that not everyone is going to portray a character the same. Therefore, stereotypes are prevalent."

Illjolras:"Very. Usually the side characters are gay, and if that's so, they're very camp and flamboyant. If it's a main POV character, they are always closeted until they fall for just that /one/ person."

Charlie M: I think some stereotypes are prevalent, but am hesitant to say that those stereotypes shouldn't be represented (theatrical gay guys exist after all). But there should be MORE fiction that contains a variety of personality types and interests. Sexuality shouldn't define those interests or restrict them.

Megan: "I think we're definitely going away from the stereotypes now - not all gay men are overly feminine and not all lesbians are 'butch' or whatever.  Something I think is stupid: it's not like all people who are LGBTQIA are the same person - they don't all have the same, stereotyped personalities and likes!  Everyone avoids stereotypes when writing heterosexual people so why don't they do the same when they're writing gay people?!
Sorry for the rant.  It annoys me when people judge.
Anyway, my point is that we're getting away from stereotypes.  Now LGBTQIA are 'normal' - unique and their own person, rather than a bunch of stupid stereotypes."

Caitlin: I honestly couldn't say, I guess, when you have people writing about them who don't really know...there might be some stereotypes? But then, there are always stereotypes in fiction? Most of the things I've read I wouldn't class as being stereotypical.

M: Not sure because I don't go out of my way to read this. I avoid 'romance' as a genre and this might be where they pop up in storylines? But, I have noticed that LGetc. characters pop up more in current teen fiction than when I was younger, albeit as secondary (or even tertiary) characters.

Sean: I suspect the stereotypes are quite real because some authors aren't intimately involved in the reality of life for LGBTQIA teens.

Rie: Very. Every time I read a secondary character that is gay they are always as flamboyant as can be. It's become an immediate groan when they introduce gay characters.

Alfie: Very prevalent in shi-- sorry, worse books, but after all, they are the bad books. Unfortunately, most LGBTQIA fiction is badly written, because it's often very badly-written smut. Or at least, what I've been exposed to has been badly-written smut.

Ria: Hard to say. Less prevalent than years ago, as greater exposure and media coverage doesn't allow for blatant negative stereotyping as much anymore. That being said, we're not completely free of stereotypes, partly because the stereotypes are so numerous in themselves, and partly because some writers aren't quite sure how to not write a stereotype.

You can see (mostly) my thoughts on the matter here, but they’re essentially that the camp stereotype is overplayed,   but we’re getting better and more varied representation now. What are your thoughts on the matter? 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great post! My lesbian YA novel was published recently, and it was reading this post of yours that made me decide to email you about it. I agree fully that more diversity of personality and more treatment of characters with diverse sexualities as actual three-dimensional human beings instead of one-note flat cyphers is needed out there.


Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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