Complaining and Writing

I love exploring fantasy worlds – everything from Lord of the Rings to Legend of Korra to Harry Potter. The ability to escape into new worlds has always fascinated me and I love exploring different civilizations and cultures.

As I got older, I noticed that I had trouble relating to many of the characters I loved to read about. Mainly because most of these characters were men, and hardly any of them were queer. That’s why when my girlfriend and I watched the ending of Korra, we were extremely excited that a fantasy cartoon had canonically queer characters.
That ending made me excited, for obvious reasons, and it also frustrated the hell out of me. Why are characters like this so rare? Why aren’t queer characters more mainstream? Why when queer people are represented, straight people act like there are so many LGBT characters?
I’ve been frustrated about the lack of diverse queer characters in pop culture. And I love to complain about it to whomever wants to listen. I’m going to preach to the choir: representation matters. When we don’t see ourselves in books, televisions, and video games it’s frustrating. People should be able to see themselves in media without shock value or a scandal.
I’ve realized that I’ve been far too focused on criticizing the system without offering any solutions. Criticism is important when it inspires people. I’ve been complaining about the lack of queer books, video games, and television shows. Am I going to single-handedly solve the problem? No, but hopefully my attempt to make accessible queer content.
I love to write. Should I just twiddle my thumbs while I complain about the lack of queer representation in the media? If I have the ability to make a difference, whether I write about LGBT issues or make LGBT centered content, I should do it.
That’s why I write this blog. It’s why I’m working on a lesbian zombie novel and creating queer-centric fantasy universe.
I obviously hope some if not all of these projects are successful – for myself as well as for the LGBT community. The more that we write and create the more we’ll have real representation. Hopefully queer-baiting will be a thing of the past and LGBT characters won’t be used for shock value or controversy.
With each story, game, and show we’ll be able to help the LGBT community see themselves in these fantasical worlds, universes, and cultures. By creating queer content we are creating more representation that truly reflects our narratives. We need to critique content that already exists, but we need queer stories told with queer voices.
Write, draw, create. It’s up to us.

Assuming Does Make You an Ass

Culture isn’t real- at least what most of us think of when we hear the word culture. The “homophobic culture” of a country (i.e. Russia) is not the entire country. Saying that there is only one culture in a country or geographic area is ridiculous. Yes, there are features that are unique to specific countries, but saying there is only one homogeneous American culture would negate the differences that the North, South, East , West, and Midwest are proud of.

I think it is getting better, but a large amount of the aid/non-profit/government workers still treat countries and regions as having one collective mindset. Going into City A with locked in expectations is counter productive to whatever your mission is.

Assuming that a group of people in any aid/non-profit/government situation has nothing to offer will also decrease the chance of your program making the most positive impact. We are not the true experts, and utilizing  every resource, even if it’s not an obvious one, is crucial.

I do need to remind myself of these things quite often: every time I travel, give a workshop or work with volunteers. Assuming that a person, group of people, or entire country hates who I am closes me off from creating the most positive impact.

I’m not saying that every gay humanitarian should tattoo the word “Queer” on their forehead, but putting every Russian, Ugandan, or American in the same homophobic box discredits the diversity of opinions that exist in humanity’s spectrum.

When going into a new location, we need to remind ourselves that politics and political agendas are not people.

And it’s not why we do the work we do. It’s the people.