Saturday, January 9, 2010

Quincy, Abe and Butch- The Gay Trio

A couple of readers have mentioned how much they like the funny exchanges between Quincy, a resident of the house who is gay, and his two BFFs, Butch and Abe. I really enjoy writing these characters- they're funny and smart, they're into fashion and pop culture, there's a lot of fun banter to be had! Who doesn't like fun banter?! But these characters can be pretty stereotypical, and I wanted to say a few things about them, before someone reads the book and possibly becomes angry.

I'm not trying to perpetuate stereotypes here- I am well aware that not all gay men are into fashion, and that they don't all act like Stanford and Anthony from Sex and the City. I have several gay friends, and all are different, and NONE of them are defined by being gay. While stereotypical people do exist, in my mind Quincy, Abe and Butch are not just three walking stereotypes. They're all important to me, as most of my characters are (ALL of the characters in this book are, I think, except for Sarah Lagano's boyfriend, Ben) and I think of them as people. Each is his own person, and while their actions and words sometimes seem to stem from simply being gay, keep in mind that this is also what works for them. Just because their interests are common among gay men doesn't mean that being gay is all they have, nor does it mean that their sexual orientation is insignificant. I wanted to show that none of them are afraid of being blatant about who they are, whether it has to do with hobbies, interests, or orientation. I do not intend for them to be overshadowed by "gayness," but on the other hand, I wanted it to be known that they were proud to BE gay. can I say this without repeating myself 50 times?
Being open about orientation is something we need to be okay with, especially in America. And well, Butch, Abe and Quincy, they're going to let people know in hopes of spreading that pattern of thought, that being gay is normal and okay! They certainly have a sense of humor about it, and their lives suit them, not only because of their orientation but because of who they are in general. They just aren't subtle people, and THAT has nothing to do with being gay. We all know people who are more flamboyant than others, and people who are more lowkey. It doesn't always have to do with sexual orientation.

These characters are interesting for me from every cultural angle, whether it's gay culture, urban culture, fashion culture, whether they're being funny or angry. And yes, they're stereotypical and they are part of Phyllis's family; but hopefully I made it pretty clear that Phyllis is aware that people can be unpredictable, that everyone is different, that one quality does not dictate all of the others. After all, that's part of the philosophy of the Sorin House.

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