If you are wondering what I am... I am Transgender/GenderFluid & Demisexual and have identified as such since February 1987, so 2017 is my "official" 30th Anniversary of "being" transgender. I was raised in a Fundamentalist Mormon Polygamist Family (my grandfather had 2 wives, my uncle with the most wives has 5, and my aunt with the most husbands has 8.) There are multiple bi-members of my family, including one of my brothers. Growing up my best friend was a transvestite, and I had 3 other trans friends. As a teen, I was friends with a gay couple, one of whom was a transvestite, both died young, one after fallen ill, the other committing suicide weeks after his partner's death.
These things combined is why my main character, Quaraun, is also a Genderfluid Demisexual Bi-sexual Transvestite living in a polygamist relationship with 4 wives and 2 male partners.
I was hoping to get some advice about writing a bisexual character.
First bit of advice... be prepared for haters, both the anti-gay super radical religious fanatics and the pro-gay super radical fanatic social justice warriors, no matter what you write. You'll have naysayers condemning you to hell because you are too pro-gay and you'll have naysayers calling you a hater while claiming you are mocking gays, regardless of what you write.
And yes, I know I said gay and you said bi, but, it doesn't matter what part of the LGBTQ+ quilt bag you call your characters, people looking to lash hate at you are gonna just use the word gay only regardless. Sad, but true, unfortunately. I know this from experience.
I write a long running series about an older man, at the end of his life, looking back at his life. Each novel is a flashback that looks at a different time period in his life. Throughout the course of the series, he has 4 wives, fathers 8 children with them, has many affairs and many is frequently with prostitutes - these things resulting in his fathering an additional 37 children.
In spite of those facts however, the bulk of the series focuses on his rocky lover's triangle with his 2 male partners.
He is a polyamorous/polygamous/bisexual character.
He's also a transvestite. (A man who believes clothing does not have a gender and chooses to wear dresses, but is not trying to be a female, still uses male pronouns, and is NOT transgender.)
The bulk of the emails I've gotten from readers of the series, calls him "that gay transexual".
He's neither gay nor transsexual. But does that stop people from saying my books are about "a gay man" or "a transexual". Nope.
You know what else people do?
They call the books Erotica.
Because, sadly the bulk of readers looking to read about LGBTQ characters are looking to read Erotica and can not fathom the possability that LGBTQ people exist outside of being used as a sex fetish in Erotica.
And yet, the series is Psychological Horror and is set after the suicide of his favorite lover, with him now turning to drugs and contemplating suicide himself, thus why he is thinking back to his younger life and trying to figure out what he could have done different to prevent his lover's death. (The answer is, that there was nothing he could do, as his lover was very sick and dying, infection he'd got from a cut that he didn't bother to go to the hospital for, and had not told anyone. His unexpected death, left those behind confused and blaming themselves as they were not made aware of why he killed himself.)
It's not Erotica. It's not about a gay man. It's not about a transexual, but, you Google the hate and controversy that gets written by several church leaders, about the novels and... well.... it won't take you long to realize that, people who hate gay men are willing to say anything if it means they can get some gay-bashing out there.
My point is, no matter what you write, there is always going to be a group out there that hates it and they will find your book and contact you to let you know just exactly how much they hate it. So, don't let the prospect of that happening, stop you from writing your book and your character, your way.
It doesn't matter, how much research you do, how many sensitivity readers you hire, how many LGBTQA+ people you interview... someone is always gonna find a bone to chew about your books... so just write your book. Don't waste time worrying about offending people. You can't please everyone.
A bi-sexual person, is just a person, just like you. He has the same emotions you have. He feels love, just like you do. He feels sorrow, just like you do.
Write him as though you were writing about yourself. Write his feelings towards his lover, the same way you would write your own feelings about your lover. It doesn't matter that his lover is a different gender than you are attracted too, because in the end the emotions are still the same. Love is always love, no matter the gender of the person you love.
His lover is dead.... well, think about it this way: How would you feel if YOUR lover was dead? Write that down. The emotions he feels for his lover, they are the same emotions you feel for your lover.
Don't think of it in terms of male + male = something I know nothing about.
Instead think of it as: person, loves another person = I know how to love another person.
Once you think of them as two people, rather then two gays, you suddenly open your mind to the realization that love is always just love, no matter the gender of the people behind that love.
The only time it is different, is when you get into the mechanics of a sex scene. Then you need to learn the physical ways in which a same sex couple share their love. (TIP: in spite of what Erotic teaches you - annal sex is very rare in actual real world gay relationships, with fewer then 30% of gay men ever actually trying it, and Frontage, being actually the more common method of physical expression.) But if you are not writing sex scenes, you've no reason to worry about this side of a same sex couple's relationship.
The character in question is named Syd and is a 75 year old man, who is going through hospice care with liver cancer
Do know that right off the bat, you are going to have a hard time finding a publisher and will likely have to self-publish, and will likely have a hard time finding readers.
In 2012, I was in my garden, dong my usual garden work, when a big tour bus drives into my yard and 70 little old grannies come piling out gushing fan girl love. Me living in a rural town off the beaten path, we don't see buses often.
While the series started in 1978 and will see it's 40th anniversary in 10 months... it wasn't until that bus drove up that I realized the bulk of my readers where little old ladies in their 80s and 90s. Or that they were obnoxious enough to gather their reading club together, get on a bus and drive all the way up here to Maine to meet me (unannounced.)
Why did this happen?
While it never says their exact ages, it is understood that the main character is a man about 50 years old, and his favorite lover (the one who commit suicide) is a man about 80 years old.
Readers as a general rule, look for books about character the same age as them. Teens read teen characters, 20-somethings read 20-somethings, baby boomers reader boomers, seniors read seniors. While there are some who read anything regardless of character age, the bulk of readers, gravitate to same age as themselves characters.
With the bulk of readers being 20-somethings, the bulk of publishers will not even look at, let alone consider a book about a man in his 70s. Again, I know this from experience.
While it is refreshing to see a 75 year old LGBTQA+ character... know that authors writing senior characters is actually rather common, yet those stories don't get published because publishers simple pass up any lgbtqa+ character over 30 years old.
Another area I'm nervous about is that as the story stands, his sexuality is sort of handled as a reveal, and I'm not sure if that sucks or not.
As a reader, I'm not into the whole reveal road of plots. That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with them, it just means I'm not your target audience as a reader, because I like a different style, that's all.
I'm someone who likes to know everything up front and then see how the characters deal with the events.
Do you watch murder mystery shows? Have you ever noticed how most of them, you never know who did it until the very end? But then you watch Columbo. First thing you see is the murder plotting the murder, then you see him commit the murder. So you know who did it right from the start. In a Columbo show, you are not trying to solve who the killer is, but rather you are watching Columbo as he tries to solve the mystery, while all the while, you the viewer are screaming: "He's right there! Look it's that guy!" Columbo mysteries are far more fun to watch, because you are not relying on a reveal at the end, and you feel more involved in the story itself.
So if I was reading your story, I think I'd like it more if it started out showing Syd, thinking of David, looking at photos of him, hiding them from his caretaker... right from page 1, so that the READER knows right at the get go, that Syd is bi-sexual, and then part of the fun reading it, because seeing how long it takes the caretaker to find out and how far Syds will go to keep his secret. It gives the reader more connection to Syd, makes them feel like they have inside knowledge about Syd, that the caretaker doesn't have.
I'm well aware of the bury your gays trope, and that I'm in violation of it, but I'm hoping it can be excused in this case due to the character having led a long life and being at the tail end of his life anyway, but I don't know.
You know, I always hear about the bury your gays troup, but, I can't say as I've ever actually seen it in fiction. Could be I just don't read the books that use it.
On the other hand, tv shows and movies are full of it.
I don't think your story classifies as it either.
Whenever I think of the bury your gays trope, I think of, like the 1980s Horror movies, where you see 2 gay teens making out and then in the very next scene and axe murderer is chopping them up. It's like saying: "Look, they are gay, so god punished them by murdering their asses." Those same movies go on to kill off every character who has sex and by the end, the only character left alive is the virgin, in a very: "look, she didn't have sex, so god saved her" sort of message.
I think the bury your gays trope applies when the author is trying to spread the message: "Gay is bad, look, you die if you are gay, see, god punished them."
On the other hand, your story is dealing with real life issues of battling the death of a loved one on one hand and fighting cancer on the other hand. These are very real world issues that every person of every race, religion, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, etc, has to face. So this isn't a bury your gays trope in my mind, but rather a man dealing with shit life has thrown at him.
I never set out to write a bi character, he just kind of told me he was, so I wanted to make sure I did that part of him justice. I just wanted to get feedback on what I have as I gear up to write my first proper draft.
Like I said before, focus on his emotions. Show the reader how he feels about his lovers. Focus on the emotion, not the gender.
You don't see heterosexual relationships being written: "OMG! The horrors! I'm in love with a MAN!", yet you often see gay relationships being written: "OMG! The horrors! I'm in love with a MAN!"
You see heterosexual relationships written with a focus on the emotion the couple feels for each other. Do the same thing with any couple of any gender and you'll do fine.
the trans community generally prefer the term "transgender" to "transsexual." The latter has more history being used as a slur.
Actually, transexuals make up fewer than 3% of the transgender community.
Transexual is a very specific TYPE of transgender, which means the person has undergone sex change surgery.
To call a person who has NOT had a sex chnge opperation, a transexual, is a competly incorrect use of the word.
This is why the word transexual is often seen as a hate slur, because it is often used in a derogatory way against a transgender person who is not actually transexual.
There are more than 50 different types of transgender, and transexual is the extreme minority, making up the smallest segment of the trans community.
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