Definition

Gay/Homosexual Male: A man who is primarily attracted to other men to the exclusion of other genders. This includes trans men who are attracted to other men. This can also include men who are attracted to genders that present masculine traits, though pansexual may be a better term depending on the circumstances.



Developing a
Gay Character

So, how might you go about creating your own gay character? These questions will help you discover more about your character’s orientation and how it impacts their life and relationships.

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    How do other characters react to your character’s orientation?

    How does your character react/respond to these reactions?

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    How does the society in your story react to gays?

    How does this affect your character? What assumptions do others have about gays/your character?

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    When did/will your character realize that they were attracted to males?

    How does/will your character think/feel about this? Is the realization because of a specific event, a gradual understanding/coming to terms, etc?

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    How does your character express their gender?

    Whether by choice/effort or naturally, in terms of presenting, passing, self-image and comfort? Do they express their gender a certain way in the hopes of finding other gay men?

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    How does your character tell people about being a gay man (if they tell people at all)?

    This is an Feature List Item that is part of an Feature List. Notice the connector between the three graphics to show that they are related.


Writing a Gay Character

As with writing any character, their sexuality is just one part of their whole identity. When writing your gay character here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You can have your character specifically state they are gay. This will help the reader understand where your character is coming from. Having other characters react and ask questions will help mitigate an info dump. Many readers will reject a queer coded character unless it is specifically stated, but this is your decision to make.

  • It might be best to avoid having them be a so-called ‘flaming gay’ as this can perpetuate harmful attitudes toward femininity and can promote the idea that gay men want to be women. If you choose to write a such a character please be careful of using feminine stereotypes for their characterization.
  • Do let your character have close intimate non-sexual/non-romantic relationships with characters of all genders. Being gay doesn’t mean your character will be attracted to every man they meet. Be clear on character intent and watch wording to avoid confusing your reader.
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    Before writing a coming out story think carefully about whether or not this is your story to tell. Every person’s story is different and if you yourself are not a gay man this might not be your story to tell.

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    Be mindful of the character’s ‘gaze’ or how they describe other characters as they can end up seemingly sexually attracted to people you didn’t intend and can lead to reader confusion as to their sexuality.

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    Be very careful about having your gay character die, suffer tragedy or mental illness as this is an incredibly harmful trope and should be handled with the utmost care.

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    Try to avoid making your character gay simply as a plot device. It should be an integral part of who they are, not a quirk.


Things to Keep in Mind

Gay men are increasingly the subject of queer experience appropriation, infantilization and fetishization in stories. The popularity of the ‘slash’ (M/M) genre has perpetuated some very harmful stereotypes, tropes and the continued fetishizing of gay relationships. It has also led to the stereotype of white cis-gendered gay men being the default ‘gay’ seen in media. This excludes gay men of other races and gay trans men.


Gays in Fiction

Gay men have been written about since the 1st Century and have been a constant fixture in human society all through the ages. A list of books featuring appropriate and accurate representation of gay men is a subject for debate.

Where We Are on TV 11

Lists of LGBT Fictional Characters  



Intersections

Race

United States

Gallup Special Report: Adults Identifying as LGBT
Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?


Non-Hispanic white

Yes

0%

No

0%

DK/Ref

0%

Black


0%

0%

0%

Hispanic


0%

0%

0%

Asian


0%

0%

0%

Gallup Daily tracking
June 1-Sept. 30, 2012

GALLUP

Many black men are already expected to present as ‘ultra’ masculine and are very rarely portrayed as gay men, and if so only as comedic relief. In truth there are a lot of black men who identify as gay. Some common gay black man stereotypes include only being wanted for their size (BBD or Big Black Dick is a common porn trope) and for being HIV positive.

Here’s What Never to Say When Dating a Gay Black Man

The Danger of Stereotyping: Does Gay+Black=Likable?

Asian men are already stereotyped as being effeminate and sexually undesirable, the gay community is no exception. Gay Asian men are viewed as the least desirable of all races being seen as too skinny, having little body hair, passive, with small penises and only wanting to date white ‘jock’ types.

Rainbow Nation and Gay Asian male Stereotypes

Rice Queens and Stereotypes

The Truth About Gay Asian Men

What’s it like to be gay and East Asian in America?

The culture of ‘machismo’ has driven many Mexican and Latino men to live their entire lives in the closet. The current culture is very binary and rigid when it comes to gender roles. Gay men can be under intense pressure from their families and peers to conform.

Gay Latinos Struggle to End Sex Stereotypes

GENDER Why Machismo Can Be Deadly For Gay Latinos

ISN’T HE LOVELY: THE TROUBLE WITH “MACHISMO”

Australia / Great Britain / Europe

The stereotypes against gay men are much the same in most of Great Britain and Europe. Gay men are seen as effeminate, ‘bitchy’ people whose only thought is partying and getting laid.

China

Homosexuality was illegal up until 1997 in China. Currently MOGAI persons in China have no legal rights or protections and can be discriminated against for any number of reasons.

China’s legal Position and Status Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People

Are Gay People Accepted in China?

Russia

While it’s not illegal to be gay in Russia there are very strict laws about homosexuality and being openly gay can get you arrested and put in jail.

76 Countries Where Homosexuality is Illegal