A while ago, I went on a tangent about diversity in fiction. At that time, I was thinking a lot about diversity because one of the main characters in my plague novel is brown. So in some ways, I was writing about something completely foreign to me.
One of the topics that is near and dear to me is sexual orientation. And one thing we have seen more of in fiction lately, particularly television, are characters of diverse orientation. It’s becoming mainstream to have a tendency to have at least one, if not a couple, if queer characters in whatever story you’re telling.
But these characters are sidekicks or secondary characters. For instance, in Marie Lu’s Legend series (which I read recently,) one of the main characters has a gay brother. And that’s good! But where are the main characters in mainstream fiction? Why do they only appear in the gay and lesbian section of the bookstore? And don’t even get me started about how uninclusive that section title is.
And the characters are usually gay or lesbian almost to the point of being stereotypes. Where are the bisexuals, the asexuals, the demisexuals, the people who are questioning? With the occasional exception, they aren’t usually the main characters. I can only think of one bisexual main character that I’ve read in fiction.
This bothers me. Toni Morrison is quoted as having said that if you can’t find the stories that you want to read, then you need to write them. Maybe these are the stories I need to write.