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Examples of Diversity in Writing

  • Posted on December 10, 2016 at 8:31 am

With the advent of recent shows in diversity, and to combat the fear of that diversity leaving in the face of certain leaders, let’s rehash some recent boons in Diverse writing! I’ll be linking to several good articles on each section, as well as writing up my own experiences with it.

We can learn something from these giants, and we absolutely should!

Hamilton – Race in Theatre

Ever since Hamilton received a record 16 nominations for Tony Awards, it’s been clear that the diverse cast had something to do with it. Telling a story about white individuals using black individuals as the actors has turned out to be an outstanding way to support people of color and impoverished communities as well. It proves that no matter what the source material, ability should dictate who gets a part, not race or body shape or anything else.

  1. Hamilton Fans Flock
  2. Hamilton Cast – “We are the Diverse America”
  3. What does Hamilton tell us about Race in Casting?
  4. No, Hamilton’s casting call is not Reverse Racism.

Legend of Korra – Bisexuality

Legend of Korra is the hit sequel to Avatar the Last Airbender, and boy howdy, did it hit hard on the radar of all the sites I frequent. In fact, the final couple, Korrasami (Korra+Asami), seems to be a warning for conservative television. That is, your days of heteronormative television are over. Now, I personally didn’t make it tot he end of that series (Mako made me want to throw something at my television in the hopes it would hit him) but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. It’s a masterpiece of writing, and I think you should absolutely watch it, if you want to be an author.

  1. Korra goes beyond bisexual representation
  2. Thinking of watching Korra?
  3. And the Korra Wiki

Undertale – Gender Diversity

(Spoilers ahead)
In Undertale, the main character, Frisk, is always referred to as They. Not only that but all of the children are referred to as they as well, except the Prince, Asriel. The ghosts are referred to as They. This use of the third pronoun, They/Them, is very unique, in that it was clearly a premeditated choice on the part of the writer, and yet it appears as easy as breathing air to the main characters and their cohorts. This sort of gender inclusivity is rare. Not only that, but there is a character that clearly represents the transgender struggle. If you’re familiar with Mettaton, try looking up the Meta (Get it?!) around his creation. Beyond even that, you have Undyne, who slays gender roles, Papyrus, who shows us it’s okay to be effeminate and cook and still be a badass bone brother.

  1. Undertale Science Lays it out for us
  2. An interview with Toby Fox
  3. Gender Identity in Undertale via Reddit

Yuri on Ice – Homophobia and the Lack thereof

One of the greatest shows in the Fall 2016 lineup, Yuri!!! on Ice is a sports anime about figure skaters. Yuri, Victor and Yurio are the three main characters, but even Yurio falls away when compared to the wonderful love story unfolding before us. Victuri (Victor+Yuri) is a healthy romance for the years ahead, and one for the storybooks, in my opinion. But what is incredibly vibrant about the show isn’t just the love between it’s two leads, but the fact that NO ONE IS SHAMED FOR IT. There is no homophobia in sight! It’s proof that one CAN write a healthy, happy romance, without having to include the icky awfulness that our everyday reality pushes onto it.

  1. Yuri!!! On Ice! is the Skating Anime for Everyone
  2. Yes, Yuri!!! On Ice is as Gay as you Think
  3. Gender in YOI

 

In conclusion, go educate yourself, and have fun writing your diverse cast! There’s no reason to stick to straight white protagonists anymore, and certainly no reason to limit yourself. Dream big!

Greener Pastures (for Goats)

  • Posted on April 8, 2014 at 12:36 pm

“Goats? You brought me here-” The pale sorcerer swept hands out and used them to indicate the expanse of green grass and hills, “To show me goats.”

Dirk gave a bit of a sigh, and smiled, ruefully. Even on good days, Yumil was still judgemental and easily annoyed. It surely didn’t help that one of the little bastards had decided to chew on that long black hair either. The Knight rescued the lock from it’s unwelcome attendant, and settled his arm around Yumil’s shoulder. It seemed to settle his partner, and that was always welcome. Yumil had a firey temper, and a love of elemental magic powerful enough to blow up small mountains. Dirk would be lucky to escape if this turned south.

“No. I brought you here to give you a gift, and to get away from the capital for a bit. We’ve been working hard, and…” Dirk swallowed, unsure if he should really give this bit away, knowing how Yumil was with this sort of thing. “And I wanted to spend some time with you.”

The stare he got was incredulous. Golden eyes searched him over for any sign that he was lying, any  indicator that he was setting up some cruel trick. He wished he could take that sort of fear away from Yumil, but after so many long years in servitude, the mage was too long used to it. Yumil was born into torment, and everyone thereafter just let the sorcerer down, one way or another. It was tragic, and Dirk ached to fix it. So, instead of letting Yumil stew in such feelings, he pulled out the package. He’d had to ask several of his acquaintances for help, including the Priest-Queen herself, and while Lishtair had been busy, she had offered invaluable advice to this end. He was hopeful that it would suit Yumil’s tastes.

Slender hands took the package, and unwrapped the linen inside from it’s soft yellow paper. The ribbon, a bright crimson, disappeared, and Dirk had no doubt he would see it in Jorgan’s hair, at some point soon. Dark eyebrows quirked, and fingers unfolded the cloth. The sharp gasp of breath felt like a treat to the knight, as Yumil realised what it was.

“This… This is beautiful…” The sorcerer held the dress up against the thin body, and smiled a small, wibbly smile. “Why would you…”

“Because I saw it, and thought you’d look amazing in it.” Dirk answered, giving an unaffected shrug. It was easy to get out, considering how many times he’d practiced it in the mirror. Truthfully, he’d hunted for that dress for weeks, along with Eamon and her partner, Anelace helping. Those girls were a lifesaver. The ruffles at the chest and sleeves would look perfect, and lend femininity to what little masculinity was clinging to Yumil. The long flowing skirt would help add to the mage’s hips. It was perfect, and in a shade of light lavender that would look beautiful on his skin. Dirk was proud of himself for this.

At least, he was, until Yumil teared up, sniffling. He watched as the darkest mage of the century held a dress to a thin, sobbing chest, and cried. Unsure what he’d done wrong, he swallowed, and wrapped his arm around Yumil once again. “Come now, look, you’re scaring away the goats.”

Indeed, the goats were wandering off, towards somewhere else, some other greener pasture, and when Yumil looked up, and smiled at Dirk, the thosfigian man thought perhaps, they were too.

The Gender Binary – A Myth

  • Posted on March 21, 2014 at 2:59 am
In Northern Colorado, a *transgirl was refused access to the girl’s bathroom, because the school board did not understand that she was in fact female, despite what genitalia her body was born with. This is a sad state of affairs, and also the current norm for our societies functioning. Those who do not fit into the Gender Binary are often shoved to the wayside, and told to conform. Instead of being allowed to determine their own autonomy, they are told what to be, male or female. This is not only damaging to the individual, but to our society as a whole. And while there are those who view these people as dangers to society, as deviants and people to be ‘fixed’, this is sincerely not true. One can no more fix those who choose to live outside the gender binary, than one can fix those who have different shades of skin.
Now, to explain what the Gender Binary is. This is the belief, however mistaken, that there are in fact only two genders. These two genders being Male and Female. However, studies have proven that many times, a person, usually between the ages of 12-25 find that they do not, mentally, fit into this gender binary. Often, someone born with male organs will wish to indulge in feminine ideas, such as wearing pretty skirts or painting their nails. Sometimes, someone born female will feel more at home with shorn hair and pants than the traditional female garb.
These are of course, not anything to actually be afraid of, although often the idea is met with revulsion, or violence. The rates of violence against transgender or gender queer individuals is almost equal to that of the violence against gay individuals, or even African American individuals. Often this idea confuses people, and for those raised in heavily traditional homes, this often means that they feel threatened by this lack of traditionalism. There are those who even believe that there is something inherently wrong with those who feel this way, and that in order to correct this behavior, one must strictly adhere to one’s gender roles.
There is a mistaken belief that gender roles exist for a reason. That women are inherently better at caring for children, cooking, housecleaning, and various other homey activities. Men are often touted for strength, and logic, and various trough qualities as well. The problem with this is, it is too general. Too narrowed. In this day and age, there are women who have proven to be just as adept at logic as men, scientists, doctors, lawyers. There are men who have proven to be more capable of caring for children than the women who birth the children. There are kindergarten teachers who are male, and their children love them. So holding to these mistaken gender roles does nothing but refute that people are in fact people and capable of being good at things not because of their gender, but because they work hard at it and try.
This ties in, just as much, to the scientific studies that children without male and female gender role models will grow up somehow lacking. Even in most human sexualities classes, we are taught that without a female role model, women will somehow be unable to relate to other women. Without a male role model, men will become weak willed and unable to stand up for themselves. This is just simply not true. There are numerous single-parent households where the children come out with healthy outlooks on life, and the ability to decide for themselves whether they wish to adhere to these roles society places upon them. Even more so, there are children who grow up in households with two mothers, or two fathers, and they too are quite capable of providing good role models for their children.
In fact, by denying that these individuals, these gender fluid people exist, we are setting a very bad example for our children. By saying, no, it is not alright for boys to wear dresses, we are saying that boys cannot be free to choose their own clothing. By telling girls that they are not allowed to be rough and loud, we are telling them that their opinions, and beliefs should not be upheld however they need to be upheld. A long time ago, there was such a thing as segregation. At this point, we have segregated the genders. They are so separated that boys playing with girls toys are made fun of, and girls playing with boys toys are called ‘tomboys’, as if it is better to be a boy than a girl.
This is saying to our children that to feel other than what WE feel, is in fact, unnatural. That if you do not conform to what society tells you to conform to, you are wrong, and need to be ‘fixed’. This is not a healthy outlook for children. In fact, this sort of parenting has lead to massive suicide rates in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender queer teens. Instead of embracing, and allowing our children to change as they need to, to learn about the world, we lock them down, force them to conform to our ideas of the norm. This is no better than locking a bird in a cage. Safe that bird might be, but never happy.
The most radical views upon our gender-non-conforming populace say that they are unnatural, that ‘God does not make mistakes’. These are the same sort of people who will refuse a transwoman her hormone treatments and force her to dress as a man. These are the sorts of people who will say that prayer and bible camp can fix a child of his homosexuality. These people have been proven wrong, time and time again. Hiding away someone under false clothes will only lead to depression, to pain and possibly to suicide. And the camps they send homosexuals to, to cure them, have been proven dysfunctional, and often cruel. There is no reason to consider these people deviants or unnatural. Those who do not fit into the gender binary are in fact to be celebrated. They add new life to the world around us, new perspectives to enjoy it from. It is one of the most natural things in the world, and diversity is required for a species to thrive and live.
Often, the final question is “How are we supposed to act around them?” or, “How are we supposed to treat them?” These questions can be answered with an old idiom. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If the one asking wishes to be treated with respect, treat the gender fluid individuals with the same respect. If one wishes to be allowed to be accepted for who one is, others have the right to expect the same acceptance of who they are. If it’s confusing to know what pronouns to use with someone, ask. If something said might be offensive, bite the tongue. Just treat them with all the respect that they, as a person, deserve.
It really comes down to basic decency. Just because someone has chosen to live outside what is the norm for society doesn’t mean that we must shun them, or that they are wrong. It simply means that they are different, and we must accept them. The gender binary is something we as a society created in order to feel more comfortable with ourselves. It is a construct that is outdated, and tired. No longer are there only two genders, but a whole spectrum. Those that feel male some days and female others, those that choose to be female when born with male genitalia, those that choose to be no gender at all, and those who do not choose, but instead know; they are, all of them, beautiful people, just as those whose genders match their genitalia are beautiful people too. Be kind, be respectful, and care for those around you, no matter how different from yourself they may be. That’s the simplest rule one can follow, and the oldest commandment in any religion. It is time Society accepted it, and began to live by it.

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