Questions for lgbtqia+ representation in your writing? An incomplete guide...


Hellu, beautiful people. My name’s Motte and I’m your resident “should’ve realized she wasn’t straight waaaay sooner yet somehow didn’t” queer. I don’t think I saw a thread like this here so I decided to make my own :kissing_closed_eyes: :sparkles:

please feel super free to add your own experiences, opinions, questions etc… this is an incomplete guide after all lol (but obviously play nice) :sparkles:THANK YOU :sparkles:

Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert, as I’ve only come out myself recently (thank you for that gift quarantine, better than the depression) but I’d like to give a small overview of things to avoid or in the very least handle with care. RESEARCH IS KEY!!!

These first two can especially be seen in tv/film but can apply to books as well

  • Queercoding → charcters coded as queer → showing attributes (stereo)typically associated with queer people but are not explicetly queer in canon → often villains and/or outsieder

  • Queerbaiting → as the name says “baiting queers” as in queer audience, while not alienating “conservative” audience. Refers to subtext that implies a character is queer but there is no follow through in the canon. Most popular examples would be JohnLock (BBC Sherlock) or Destiel (Supernatural). It can go as far as actors pushing the ships agenda or even creators mocking the audience for it
    → Rowan Ellis also talked about queer catching which is the opposite of queer baiting; claiming characters are queer in external media but not showing it in the actual movie/show etc.

  • Bury your gays → if you have queer characters they’re killed off rather quickly and not even necessarily to push the plot forward. Again, see Destiel. (Disclaimer: only watched until the first half of season 8 so…)

  • Fetishization → an article I found defines it as “the act of making someone an object of sexual desire based on some aspect of their identity” (this was about race but I think can be applied here as well)

Other Stereotypes/labels you might want to avoid:

  • the gay best friend (which ties into the hyper feminin gay)
  • the butch/predetory lesbian
  • the closeted jock who bullies the out gay (bonus: they end up in a relationship)
  • The cheater bi /confused/can’t decide bi
  • People on the ace spektrum are ace because of sexual trauma
  • Everyone needs a label/they are not changeable → a lot of people chose not to use labels at all/are questioning, sexuality/gender identity can be fluid (Felix ever after)
  • NOT EVERY QUEER CHARCTER NEEDS A TRAGIC PAST → they are not defined by their trauma
  • (More my personal pet peeve: Giant age-difference → daddy/mommy issues, teacher/student relationships etc.)

I recommend consuming own voice media, as every experience is unique. Again Research Is Key, there are tons of resources out there, video essays, podcasts, instagram etc. (I really loved the video series by Rowan Ellis on Youtube, especially Liberation vs Assimilation in queer Cinema.)
And then of course this forum and thread. :hugs:

Feel free to add anything

xx Motte :sunflower: :sparkles:




Judging by that, almost every single queer story on Wattpad should be yeeted.

Oh and please make them humans. Give them personalities and not make them be solely politically statements. Like character arcs? Please.

You can write a non coming out story and make it more than just a gay story too.


It can be easy to fall into writing your characters like that because that is what media presents most. I probably did that too back when I was starting to write.

(My first thought was; BUT WHAT ABOUT GAY VAMPIRES?? lol)
Oh yeah, defintely. I forgot to add that because it seems so obvious to me lol
Although I gotta say that I’m okay with “casual” representation. But if they’re part of the maincast they should definitely have a goal/arc/purpose other than just being lgbtqia+ and/or coming out


Butch Lesbians are cool, when written well, but I find it infuriating when every single gay couple is “this one is hyper-feminine, this one is hyper-masculine!”

That’s just a personal pet peeve of mine, though.


Agreed! I think it’s important to find the balance between “this character is a stereotype” and “this character shares some traits of a stereotype” (if that makes sense.)
I just read One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston the other day and one MC is a butch lesbian and…omg she was so hot lol

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I just like gender-nonconforming women.

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I have been told that cis authors can’t accurately represent trans people experiences, but what if I don’t want to represent real trans people’s experiences?

What if I just want to write a nonbinary rabbit gladiator who saves the earth from a banana slug invasion?


Hey, I wanna read that


I will write it one day


Of course they can. We’re not some alien species wat.

Do it. :raised_hands:


It will take a lot of reasearch though.

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Oh, this is a good idea!



i do think everything takes some research.
I personally hate makeup. I spend a lot of time watching specific people putting on their makeup(online), but I still have not mastered any technique. So, when I write characters who do wear makeup and I need to specify that they do, I have to research it because I don’t, and it’s expected that I should.

expectations and reality don’t always shake hands. Sometimes, they’ve never even been in the same room.
I do think sometimes people forget that.


I can relate. I don’t like stuff on my face.


The funny thing is I’ve found writing trans characters is so similar to writing cis characters that I’ve had to make it blatantly obvious in the narrative otherwise they’d just pass off as cis, lmao. So, if writing trans characters is so similar to writing cis characters to the point they even pass off as cis, I never understood why cis writers couldn’t do it, either.

Unless we’re talking pre-transition. In which case you may have a point. :raised_hands:

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Yeah, pre-transition and post-transition are two very different things.


It’s funny, 'cause I was expecting to only have to deal with a post-transition character. Then I get thrusted their pre-transition selves in the prequel and my brain is just like, “Oh. Oh, fun.” So since I’m currently going through it and having to map out all those emotions I can see how it may not be the most relatable experience in the world for cis people. Even so, I don’t think it’s impossible to represent.

I will say however that no one trans experience is the same. There’s a lot of people who probably can’t relate to my own, and a lot of people I probably can’t relate to, either. So there’s always going to be a lot of room to move around in regardless. :raised_hands:

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Of course, like I watched a good video the other week and I thought it was great:

It’s like pointing out the difference between how the media represents gay men, and how some of them really are, and how they can be. I find it interesting also how many people (including gay men) absorb up these stereotypes like they are some sort of “unwritten rules” or the “truth”, when it’s just a box that society has pigeon holed them into.

Yeah, of course. I’m just saying that coming out isn’t the only plotline, but society and books in general seem to put a lot of emphasis onto that, for some reason. I mean, if a guy gets his first girlfriend, that’s not seen as a big deal or him coming out as “straight” or worthy of its own full storyline, is it? Same with a girl and a guy, so I don’t see why it has to be the only part worthy of analysing in a gay character’s storyline, you know? They have other issues/other arcs to fulfil as well. Other reasons for a story.