diversity tips

Get the facts straight

One writer submitted a story about a protagonist whose “deviancy” protected him from the sexual repression of our modern culture. Consequently, the protagonist liked sleeping with men.

My first reaction was astonishment. You meant gay, not deviant, right?

I forget these ideas still circulate in uneducated places. The writer didn’t know they were being offensive: they described the protagonist as thoughtful, lovable, and strong, praising his “deviancy” and self-determination. They were ignorant, but not malicious.

I can tell you not to write prejudiced material, but first you must know what is prejudiced.

Do your research. Any time you write an ‘other’ from yourself. If you’re writing another race, gender, class, sexual orientation, culture, or age bracket, or a disability, illness, or mental health condition you don’t have, research.

If you’re straight, you don’t know what being gay is like. Your lack of personal experience means you have no inner alarm at words like “deviant.” Read articles, pick up books, and find gay readers.

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