Lately, I’ve been thinking about diverse books and characters more than I usually do. It’s usually something that’s on my mind since I am a queer POC writer. I think the reason it’s been on my mind so much is because I feel like there is a sensitive line or boundary to be careful of.
I’ve been writing more stories lately of characters based on my gender identity, which is non-binary – meaning I don’t identify as female or male. These stories that I write obviously see a non-binary character as the protagonist because I didn’t see
any stories like that. Unless, of course, the character was like a robot or something.
Anyways, I write these kinds of stories because it is something I’d like to see more of and people are becoming more comfortable with and accepting of different gender identities, and because of this, I think it’s important to create these kinds of stories for kids who identify the same way. Stories allow people to put themselves into the world they are reading about, and many times, they identify with the protagonist.
Yes, I’d like to see more stories with non-binary characters as the protagonist, but I’d also like to see an antagonist, a villain that identifies as non-binary. Now this is where it’s problematic. Why? Because there is such misrepresentation for under-represented groups such as trans, non-binary, intersex, or really any group that doesn’t follow the social norm of the gender binary.
Most recently, on Pretty Little Liars the big bad “A” was revealed to be a transwoman named Charlotte. This sparked outrage among many queer groups because this portrayed transpeople as unstable and mentally ill. That’s a problem because even now, despite the slow and growing acceptance of the trans community, medical fields state transpeople as having “Gender Identity Disorder.” The word “disorder” alone makes it seem like people with a different gender identity are in fact mentally unstable. This isn’t the case at all.
So, I guess the reason why diverse characters have been on my mind more lately is because I’m in the process of writing a story where the villain, who is the main character of the story, is non-binary. However, I’m not doing it because I see people with different gender identities as unstable, but because I want to see these characters more in books. We see white, hetero, cisgender characters all the time as heroes and villains, so why can’t we see both from trans, non-binary, and intersex characters?
I guess we can’t really see queer characters as both the hero and villain because it’s something that hasn’t been done enough to be a norm in stories yet without feeling like an attack on misrepresented and under-represented queer groups. However, maybe if we had more diverse books, we wouldn’t face this problem.