I Need Help Writing About LGBT+ Characters ; Share Your Experiences!


#1

I am currently writing a new story (dedicated to my brother and best friend who are both of the LGBT+ community) and I want to hear other people’s experiences as being LGBT+ (positive and negative)

I want to show the issues around homophobia, transphobia and all other forms of prejudice and discrimination against those of LGBT+. I want to use REAL LIFE situations that has happened to people of the community in the story to show the struggles they face every day.

Please do not feel forced to comment, but if you wish to share your experiences an LGBT+ or if you know of people who are LGBT+ please feel free to comment:

  • How you found out you were LGBT+
  • How you came out
  • How people reacted (good and bad)
  • How you overcame any form of discrimination or prejudice
  • Anything else you want to share that you feel may benefit my story

If you wish for me to post the plot of the story to help you guys gain an understanding as to what I’m writing and ways you guys thing I could write it, please feel free to ask!


#2

Is the story about LGBTQ+ characters or is it about the struggles of being LGBTQ+?


#3

It touches upon the struggles but the story is more so about getting into university and stuff like that


#4

Two of the characters out of 3 main-ish ones are LGBTQ+, one being a gay male and one being a female transitioning to male


#5

Okay, cool! I think it’s great that stories with LGBTQ+ characters are transitioning away from pain and struggles and discrimination that comes with being LGBTQ+ (which are def things that happen but imo aren’t as powerful when written about by a person who hasn’t experienced them/isn’t at risk for experiencing them) and more focusing on the characters as just people who go through life.

I’m asexual. Some people don’t consider that to be part of the Q+ but I do. I’m very aware that because I’m cis and can easily pass for straight, I don’t face the same discrimination and violence so many in the LGBTQ+ community sadly do, but I’ll try to answer your questions, though since I don’t have the orientation or gender identity of the characters you mentioned, how much they’ll actually apply to your story is up to you to decide.

I found out I was asexual my junior year in college. My friend and I were talking about cute boys, and she mentioned wanting to jump them. I thought she was joking, because up until that point, I had thought that no one reall experienced sexual attraction and just joked/exaggerated it. She explained that she wasn’t, and I realized the way I felt wasn’t the way a majority of the population felt. Did some research, found out about asexuality, and found that it applied to me pretty well.

I never officially came out. My close friends knew about as soon as I did because they were there trying to help me figure it out. My parents and family members don’t know. Sometimes I wonder if I should tell them, but I worry they’ll send me to the doctor or something lol

My friends are chill with it. I tried online dating for a bit; I had that I was asexual on my profile. Most people are curious about it. Some realize it means that I don’t want to sleep with them and ditch immediately lol. Some turn out to be ace themselves, which is always a nice surprise.

I’m asexual, but romantically I’m attracted to men (and possibly other genders? Who knows? lol not me). Most of the time, I pass as straight. I’m aware of this privilege, because it means I won’t have to face the threats, discrimination, bullying, and violence faced by other LGBTQ+ people. The stuff I deal with is relatively minor, like people asking if I’m broken, propositining me in an attempt to “fix” me, comparing me to plants, saying I’ll die alone, saying I’m a liar or a leach, or telling me that I shouldn’t exist and natural selection will take care of my kind (yep, this actually happened). But I’m not getting murdered or beaten for existing, so there’s that.

I think it’s a really good idea that you’re talking to LGBTQ+ people, because that’s the best way to write these characters accurately and respectfully. My biggest piece of advice, though is this, and I’ll bold it because it’s just that important: WRITE THEM LIKE PEOPLE. sexuality and gender are second place to personality. Write them as you would any other character. There’s more to people than their sexuality and gender, and there should be more than that to characters, too.

Good luck with your writing!!!


#6

Tiny ace here also - my two cents would be that I would avoid focusing too much on the ‘overcoming discrimination or prejudice’ aspect. I’ve read a lot of minorities saying they’re tired of reading books about how hard it is to be a minority, especially when written by an author who is not part of that group. Just, like … write characters, yknow? Gay characters don’t always have to be lamenting the struggles of being gay.


#7

Hey, I’m an ace lesbian so my experiences may not line up exactly to the characters you’re writing but i hope this helps.

  • How you found out you were LGBT+

First i realized it when in 10th grade i went to my friends birthday party and there was an openly gay girl there and i got a crush on her. for about a week i thought i was bi, and then i convinced myself i was aro ace for about a year. in 11th grade i got a crush on my friend and i realized i was a lesbian, not aro. I still identify as ace tho.

  • How you came out

the first person i came out to was my mom, and it was in the car when she was talking about how bad parent who abandon their lgbt kids are. then she was like “if you were gay i wouldnt be like that” and then i said i was gay and she was like… what?
i dont know why, but a lot of people tend to come out in the car.

  • How people reacted (good and bad)

it was pretty good overall. most people are ok or dont really care. the area i live in is pretty lgbt friendly. there was one person who reacted kinda negatively, but it was mostly because she lived in a small town and just hadnt met any gay people before. she got used to it really quickly.

  • How you overcame any form of discrimination or prejudice

i worked at a religious summer camp one year. the boss had a whole speech on why the bible doesnt accept gay people. i cried a lot. but then literally everyone else comforted me so it was really only one guy who had that opinion and no one else did. at the same camp there was a girl who was worried that i would hit on her if i was gay, which is weird because she was a mean person and i didnt like her at all. i dont know why she thought i would be into her. those two bad instances were really the only negative experiences ive had; the majority as been positive or neutral.

  • Anything else you want to share that you feel may benefit my story

just want to let you know, when describing a trans character, its best not to say “female transitioning to male”. better terms would be trans man, trans male, trans guy, etc. or say a character is trans and say ftm (female to male). “female transitioning to male” and ftm mean pretty much the same thing, but ftm and mtf are used by the trans community, while “female transitioning to male” has the connotation that the person used to be female, and now theyre male. in reality, the person has been male the whole time.
and one more thing thats just a nitpick: the sentence “but if you wish to share your experiences an LGBT+”. its just a grammar thing, but a person isnt “an LGBT+”, they “are LGBT+”. the second half of that sentence gets it right. but thats pretty minor.
i have a friend who is a trans guy, so i’ll see if he can give some input. make sure you have some lgbt ppl beta read your story if youre serious about it. good luck.


#8
  • How you found out you were LGBT+

I realized I was not straight in eighth grade. I had a best friend who told me she liked girls, I realized that was a Thing people could do (I was very sheltered as a child).

I did not find out I was trans until my Senior year of high school. It took a lot of hearing other people share their experiences as trans people and recognizing my bodily discomfort as dysphoria for it to… Click.

As my gender identity evolved, so did my sexuality. I kinda liked boys in high school but nowadays the only man-ish person who has my sexual interest is my partner and… He’s an in the closet trans woman. Note: I is he/him for him because that is what he wants me using.

Which leads me to: use whatever fucking pronouns someone tells you to use. Don’t argue, don’t try and go “well grammatical rules say…” Cause you’re wrong. They/them has existed as a singular pronoun since fucking Shakespeare.

Anyway. Currently I identify as nonbinary and Sapphic. I don’t feel lesbian is appropriate FOR ME because I don’t identify with womanhood, however, there are nonbinary lesbians. They exist.

  • How you came out

I think it needs to be said that coming out isn’t a one-time thing. You have to constantly out yourself, or not, to different people all the time. You have to remind some people - a lot of people - a lot. And if your identity changes? You have to come out again.

I came out to my mother as bisexual on her birthday in a Denny’s. She didn’t take it well - mostly because she’s a narcissist and hated that I decided her birthday was the best time to tell her. And really, it wasn’t, but I knew if I didn’t say it then, that I never would.

I came out to my dad as bisexual while we were discussing why I wanted to kill myself.

I came out to my partner as bisexual basically right off the bat. That has since changed to “lesbian” which is easier than explaining wtf Sapphic is.

And really, most people in my life know that I am sapphic. Nonbinary, though? Different story. I’m very public about it online, however only a handful of people know irl.

  • How people reacted (good and bad)

See above. After my mother got over her initial anger, she was fine with it, though she gets inexplicably angry when I make gay jokes. Shrug

  • How you overcame any form of discrimination or prejudice

I never really faced much as a bisexual/lesbian-identified person. Nonbinary, on the other hand…

I’ve had several people invalidate mine or my character’s pronouns because they think they/them grammatically incorrect. See my above rant. It is not. Really, most of the transphobia I’ve experienced have been directed at my characters. People in the threads have harassed me because the characters are suddenly “other”. I’ve had people in the comments repeatedly misgendering and dehumanizing my characters because they are trans.

Meanwhile, I find myself unable to come out at my place of work. I tried to bring it up to my HR manager once while protecting my identity and was met with intense confusion. Several coworkers have made transphobia comments that make me feel unsafe. Even my roommates are filled with cis ignorance, constantly belittling trans experiences and putting to question their behavior. My roommate once said “all the trans people I’ve met need to act more human. They act so scared all the time” which, honestly, sounds more like an anxiety disorder than them being trans. But whatever. He also does not know I’m trans. It is what it is, I guess.

  • Anything else you want to share that you feel may benefit my story

See all the above. Treat us like humans. Be respectful. Don’t focus on our genitals. Do not use “she/he” or “s/he”. It’s super disrespectful. Use whatever pronouns match how your character identifies. I.E: if they’re a trans man, use he/him. Avoid “they’re x sex, becoming y sex”. Just stick to "they’re a trans (gender)

Also note I use “they” here throughout but that doesn’t mean you should use they for a character unless those are their pronouns


#9

All the other girls in my class started noticing guys. I didn’t. I actually ID’ed as asexual for a long time before coming to terms with the fact that I was a lesbian.
I actually thought all women found other women hot. Turns out they don’t.

Blurted it out at a family dinner. The response was pretty much “oh, okay” and then we returned to eating. I knew I’d be accepted to start with, my parents actually sat me and my brother down when I was like 10 to inform us they’d be cool with either of us being gay. I never had anything to fear.
With my close friends, it’s been the same story.
I find that you never really stop coming out, though. Every time I start engaging in new relations I know I will see on a regular basis, I have to be on the lookout for possible homophobia. I know that people I see a lot are probably gonna figure out eventually.

People have mostly been indifferent, actually. Except for one girl who threatened me with violence, should I think about hitting on her.

I usually laugh it off. It’s dumb and I don’t have that much to fear where I live. Still, it sucks.

While every gay person is just a human with every bit of flaw everyone else has, I find that a lot of us think twice about most things we do. Whether we like it or not, every action could reflect the LGBT community as a whole in the eyes of onlookers.
I’ve been called an “inspiration” for simply being functional and existing whilst being gay and I don’t think people realize it puts pressure on us being role models. It makes, at least in my case, a lot of actions very deliberate. I don’t want to accidentally live up to a stereotype.


#10

This is a good post.

Lots of time to talk… I guess. My brother was the second person I came out to and I managed to drop it into a two-minute car ride.


#11

Having grown up Italian Catholic in a big city Little Italy and attending monastery schools for 12 years, I naturally was led to believe that being homosexual was a terrible abomination and a horrible sin against God. I was a jock in high school and had relations with other jocks, and carried this huge load of guilt and shame that many young gays do. After graduation I was compelled to tell someone close to get some kind of relief and understanding. I chose my mom, thinking that her nature as a mother would trump the insanity of the cultural and religious beliefs. But it didn’t. She went nuts, carrying on, literally screaming, for weeks, and disrupting the lives of everyone around us. It got so bad that I cut out, ran away, and ended up on the streets of New York City, penniless and homeless, with hundreds of other LGBT youth.

I saw the worst, the kids who have to sell drugs and sex to get by and find a bed for the night. On any night, like tonight when it’s snowing and 24 degrees out there, there are 2000 homeless LGBT kids out on those streets, homeless because they were kicked out or ran away after bad coming outs. I was lucky. I had qualities that persuaded some peeps to be nice to me and I was able to get work and get into a profession where I could use them and eventually live a decent life.

Good for you, writing about real life situations and struggles that LGBT youth have. Lots of LGBT peeps find coming out stories and sruggles stories tiresome. Probably because they never had to face them themselves. Having been through it all, I think they are important to the thousands of young people who will face those problems, and I admire Wattpad’s arsenal of good LGBT stories about coming out and the struggles one can face. Where else can LGBT youth find this stuff out?

Like … many of the homeless on the streets are transitioning youth. They hook up with a shelter or the state foster service and begin transitioning while living on the street, sometimes placed in foster homes. But that can last only for a time. They get medical help, hormones, whatever else they need - but they might not have a bed for the night or have to sell themselves to get one. Not a good way to go through a medical process! It’s insane that this goes on, but it does, even throughout Manhattan which is quickly becoming a millionaire ghetto with lots of sugar daddies to to keep street youth busy.

The kind of writing you want to do is very important. Just use your imagination. Believe me, nothing is too far-fetched. Imagine two trans girls, one from Kentucky, the other from Texas, hustling a street corner in the West Village hoping to get beds for the night so they don’t have to spend it in the park on the pier - anything could happen. One of these days they’ll be making movies about this kind of thing, perhaps after trad publishing houses start publishing books about it, and parents can find out what their kids who they kicked out or who ran away because they were so mean to them after they came out have to do to survive,


#12

I grew up in a very religious family. While it’s not extremely frowned upon if you are bi or lesbian, I can tell that it’s not something they would welcome with open arms. So I denied being anything but straight for the longest time. Up until recently just coming out and saying I was demisexual (meaning I have to have a close bond with whomever I wanted to do it with) and I could see myself being with both genders. It matters how you were born and raised, I guess, whether you react good or bad. For me, I was always tossing it up as knowing I wasn’t completely straight but just denying it because of my families background.


#13

bump maybe idk


#14
  • How you found out you were LGBT+
    Two of my male classmates asked me who was more handsome. I replied with the statement that the girl sitting next to me (a friend) was so pretty. So one of the guys was bi, and he said " damn, you’ve got to be either lesbian or bisexual".
    Was in denial for a bit, did a ton of online tests (that don’t work that well haha), reflected on my life experiences, and finally realized I was bi…
  • How you came out
    Accidentally to my friends, who weren’t that surprised… apparently, I’ve been pretty obvious
    Would never come out to my parents though. They are VERY homophobic.
  • How people reacted (good and bad)
    I’ve been lucky. Mostly positive reactions, or people don’t really care. I’ve had some homophobic friends who are a bit disgusted, but they don’t hate me for it. I also have a friend who doesn’t know the difference between lesbian and bisexual… sigh
    Also I’m a little annoyed at how people immediately assume I’m lesbian when I say I’m LGBT (before I clarify that, no, I’m not lesbian, I’m bisexual, and that’s different!!
  • How you overcame any form of discrimination or prejudice
    I try to understand where the angry people come from, and I try to diffuse their misconceptions about me. But this like works 1% of the time.
    The other 99% is just me avoiding the topic (to really homophobic people who I’m legit scared of), or not coming out to them.
  • Anything else you want to share that you feel may benefit my story
    It really sucks having a crush on a straight girl. I mean, really, really sucks.
    Also, please don’t make us out as excessively… promiscuous. I know there are some people out there who think we’re super slutty because we have the capacity to love and care for both genders. But that’s not true. We can be monogamous too!
    Also, we’re still normal people. Please treat us as such. The gender we like, or the sexual orientation we have, doesn’t change the fact that we are people with our own thoughts and dreams and quirks, just like everyone else.

#15

How you found out you were LGBT+
I’ve always been bi, but it took me a long time to learn what that means to me. As a child, it was brushed off as pretty standard curiosity with some less than standard boundary issues chalked up to being sexually abused. As a teen, it meant a lot of shame that translated to a lot of secrecy, denial and obfuscation. I spent a long time as a serial monogamous, hopping from one straight relationship to the next, which reduced my chances of exploring my queerness. As I learned and matured, I conformed less and less to my assigned gender, feeling my way through being non-binary and eventually accepting that I am trans. That’s not to say that being non-binary is a stepping stone to being trans, that was just my journey. I’m currently on hormone therapy (thank you, Planned Parenthood!) to affirm my gender, looking forward to the possibility of surgery, and I’m in a very happy, very queer open marriage.
How you came out
I am not completely out yet. A few friends know and my direct supervisor is aware of my trans status by necessity, but as I live on the other side of the country from my family, I have yet to find need to make my status known to them quite yet. It won’t be long before they are confronted with the burgeoning evidence of my transition, however.
How people reacted (good and bad)
Most of my friends are queer or activist allies, so they’ve always been supportive of my sexuality and gender. My spouse was nervous about how this might change our marriage and how we relate to one another, but so far, my transition has brought us closer together. My family identifies as rather liberal, so there are a lot of surface-level declarations of acceptance and plenty more underlying homophobia that comes out in insidious ways, so I’m still in the closet with them. Coworkers are not so good, but I’m not out to them either, despite how obvious my transition is becoming. The words “sex change” are frequently whispered and I am often the subject of sexist/homophobic jokes, but it hasn’t become hostile. Yet. I do expect to feel unsafe eventually. The worst experiences I currently have are street harassment, snide stares when in public, refusal of service, past associates reacting negatively to rumors of my gender status, and patients who request to be seen by someone else due to their personal discomfort with my queerness.
How you overcame any form of discrimination or prejudice
When I first brought up my desire to transition to my doctor, he was mostly confused and politely obtuse on the subject, which led me to immediately drop going through the web of referrals I’d thought I needed from him and instead go through Planned Parenthood. PP has been a dream! The staff is wonderful, always respectful with their questions, and diligent in advocating for their patients. I’m lucky to be in a circumstance where I do not have to rely on anyone’s approval to meet my necessities for life, so the discrimination and prejudice I’ve had to overcome has otherwise been a matter of mere annoyance or something I’ve been lucky to run away from. I never go to the cops about the situations that require my escape, though. That’s just inviting trouble.
Anything else you want to share that you feel may benefit my story
Language is important. Stay current on the correct terms and take criticism as something to learn from, not something to argue against.