Hi Robyn: I have a question that concerns me a little bit. I worry that the LGBTQ+ community are beginning to become a bit over-represented in GH. Don’t get me wrong here, I very much do support the LGBTQ+ community, but from the knowledge that I do have, being that approx. 4% of Americans (for clarity’s sake, say GH takes in America, it’s still low world-wide) identify as LGBTQ+. Having read previous posts and context clues in-comic (1/2?)
I’d like to believe your message was sent in good faith, so I’ll address it in several parts:
I’m not well-informed enough to judge the accuracy of the numbers you’ve cited, so I can’t contest them, regardless of any suspicions I might hold.
I don’t believe that eight LGBTQ+ people being acquainted with each other is a “misleading” statistical anomaly, especially considering that one of the major locations in the story is an LGBTQ+ bookshop where the main character works. Yes, 8 out of 54 recurring characters is more than 4%, but it’s still only a fraction of the cast, and queer people often befriend other queer people–eight queer people living near each other isn’t wildly unrealistic.
The only potential harm I can see is a queer person entering adulthood and finding there may be fewer queer folks in their social circles than there are in Lucy’s–but there are queer spaces IRL and online that can be sought out, and they have even higher percentages of queer folks than in GH.
Otherwise, I don’t understand what harm you foresee in “over-representing” the LGBTQ+ population, especially in a story like Gourmet Hound. I take great care to ensure that all the LGBTQ+ characters do not perpetuate harmful stereotypes, and that they get equal character depth and discussion of their sexuality as the cis-het characters. GH is not a story about sexuality, and I’ve never claimed that it was–but I believe that LGBTQ+ characters can and should exist in every type of story, including ones that do not focus on sexuality.
LGBTQ+ characters are incredibly underrepresented in media in general. My eight characters–who should barely register, considering how little they discuss their sexuality in-canon–are a drop in the bucket in the scope of all media. Unless you also intend to write to every creator with 25 cishet characters and zero LGBTQ+ characters to inform them that their stories are statistically inaccurate as well, “misleading readers” cannot be the reason for your concern.
If having slightly more queer characters than what is “statistically expected” means that 1) an LGBTQ+ person feels represented and/or less alone, or 2) a reader finds themselves empathizing with a queer character and becomes more tolerant – then I don’t mind being inaccurate. Those are good results. Those are my intentions.
Because of this, there will be more LGBTQ+ characters in Gourmet Hound the future.
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