Queer characters in books: How to ensure authenticity

Having queer characters in books can be a powerful tool for authenticity and representation for readers, but it’s important to ensure that these characters are accurately portrayed. Queer characters should not be tokenised or used as a plot device, but rather should be fully developed and three-dimensional characters. By ensuring authenticity in your queer characters, you can help create a more inclusive world for readers.

What makes a character queer?

When it comes to queerness, there are many factors that can contribute. For some, it might be how they dress or the way they act. It could be how they express themselves or who they choose to love. Ultimately, what makes someone queer is up to them and no one else.

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There are plenty of misconceptions about what it means to be queer and often people try to put others into boxes that they don’t fit. But queerness is fluid and ever-changing and there is no one right way to be queer.

For many people, queerness is a way of life and a part of their identity. It’s something that is always with them, no matter what anyone else says. And that’s perfectly okay.

The importance of authenticity in LGBTQ+ representation

When it comes to LGBTQ+ representation in the media, authenticity is key. It’s vitally important that the stories and portrayals we see of queer people are accurate and reflect the real lives of queer people. This is why it’s so important that LGBTQ+ creators be involved in the creation of LGBTQ+ content. They can ensure that stories are true to life and that they reflect the diversity of the queer community.

This is especially important when it comes to stories that explore queer romance and relationships. Too often, queer relationships are portrayed in a negative or stereotypical way. This can be damaging and harmful to the queer community. It can send the message that queer relationships are somehow wrong or inferior to straight relationships. Authentic queer representation can help to counter these harmful messages and show the world that queer relationships are just as valid and worthy of respect as any other kind of relationship.

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Tips for writing and editing queer characters

When writing queer characters, it’s important to keep in mind the following tips:

  1. Queer characters must be written with care and authenticity.
  2. Avoid stereotypes and clichés.
  3. Make sure queer characters are well-rounded and three-dimensional.
  4. Write the character’s story, not yours.
  5. Seek feedback from other queer writers.
  6. Be willing to do revisions.
  7. Have patience and be open to feedback.
  8. Be proud of your work.

Examples of authentic queer characters in fiction

There are a number of examples of authentic queer characters in fiction, many of which are groundbreaking and trailblazing in their own ways. One example is the character of Turing in the novel The Imitation Game. Turing is a gay man who is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality at a time when it was taboo and carries a lot of shame. He is also a brilliant mathematician and code-breaker, which leads him to work on the Enigma project for the British government during World War II. Turing is a complex and fascinating character, and his story is an important one.

Another example of a queer character in fiction is Captain Jack Harkness from the Doctor Who and Torchwood TV series. Jack is a bisexual man who is confident and flirtatious, and isn’t afraid to express his desires. He is also a skilled fighter and a valuable member of the team. Jack is a well-loved character and his bisexuality is never portrayed as negative.

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There are also a number of queer YA characters who are breaking barriers and making a difference. One example is the character of Lynn in the novel Divergent. Lynn is a lesbian character who is strong and determined, and she isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She is an important role model for young queer people, and her story is inspiring.

These are just a few examples of the many authentic queer characters in fiction. They are all unique and complex individuals, and their stories are worth reading.

Queer characters in books can play a powerful role in creating a more inclusive world for readers. By ensuring authenticity in your queer characters, you can help readers see themselves reflected in the stories they read.

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Published by Nick Taylor | Editor & Proofreader

Editor and proofreader specialising in LGBTQ+ writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

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