This is something that has been particularly irritating to me for years. It is particularly noticeable in our television and movies. I’m watching a show – in a couple of recent cases, shows that I’ve been watching for years – and suddenly a gay theme develops – characters that you had no reason to believe were gay are suddenly transformed to conform to someone’s desired messaging.
I have nothing against a character being gay. I do have a problem with characters being made gay to fill a quota that has nothing to do with the story. The need to create gayness – arbitrarily deciding to make a character gay because you have to have one to meet some executive directives on messaging. It doesn’t matter whether the gayness has any relation to the character’s behavior or the story (although you can get bonus points by treating the character as an oppressed victim.)
I’m not talking about something like “Modern Family”, where the gay characters are part of and help drive the story. I haven’t read the book (was there a book?), but as far as I know they were in the story from the beginning. It may be that the story wouldn’t have sold to the network otherwise, but that’s a slightly different matter.
Before you start thinking this post is about gay-bashing, that’s not it at all. The gay part just happens to be the latest CAUSE CELEB. There are several publications I send my work to that include a call for “diverse characters” (and some that are so forceful in their demand for it that I don’t bother submitting.) I never see any indication that we’re talking about diversity of experience, or thought, or character/personality. The assumption seems to be that all people of a particular “diversity” group look and behave the same way. This feels reminiscent of the old morality plays, where you had stock, 1-dimensional characters who behaved the same regardless of the play or circumstances. Or where you’d automatically expect a particular behavior if a character wore black-face. Unimaginative. Preaching. Prescriptive. Stereotyping.
I remember one night on the old “Laugh-In” show when they were trying to clean up their act and stop offending different ethnic groups. They finally told a joke in the bar about pygmy eskimos, which was fine until one hopped down off his barstool in offense.
We spend too much energy forcing individuals into a group. It should not be obligatory to create “gayness” or any other form of “diversity” in your stories if it doesn’t naturally appear there on its own. It either serves the story, or it serves some other narrative that has nothing to with it. And as Poe said, anything that doesn’t serve the story should be cut out, so:
CUT IT OUT.
Next up for publication: Some More, And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND (short story collection #8); includes:
“The Pipes”: Sometimes it’s the little things… An unexpected extraterrestrial visitation has an adverse effect on a Texas farmer’s well. Think twice before you drink the water – there’s something in the pipes.
“Good Luck!”: Sometimes the best laid plans don’t quite work out. With the Zavian Empire bearing down on Earth, The Chairman gives a final speech on the value of having a Plan B.
“Ultimate Awareness”: Omnius has relied on his Ultimate Awareness to dominate the city as well as any supervillain could, but an interview with a prospective sidekick casts doubt on both his own limits and his career path. How much does he really know?
“Mating Rituals”: It’s been so long… Manti has only one night left on Cuniculus before she returns to Cesilli – why not spice up a paid hit with a little romance?
“Obsolete”: When we leave Earth, will we forget what it’s like to be human? Mr. Omega, the last unmodified “man”, stands trial for unthinkingly preserving his own life over that of a superior being.
“Endangered”: Aliens create Hell on Earth in a plan to put Humanity on the endangered list. Sending in the park rangers to stop them may not be the best option – unless it’s the only one. Sometimes the best laid plans can be derailed by the smallest of things.
The release date is December 16th, but you can preorder until then for the reduced promotional price of only 99-cents for another 2 days (such a deal!) at the usual places, including:
William Mangieri’s writing, including his most recent publication “L-O-V-E Among the Stars”, can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri