Welcome to my Blogger page, thank you for visiting. This is where I will share my reviews of books, movies and other things I enjoy. If you would like to see my ramblings, fanfiction and other general posts, please visit my Livejournal: beren_writes. Visit my pages to learn about me and my books.
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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Why Ignorance Is Not Bliss and Representation is Important (Hop Against Homo-, Bi- and Transphobia)

Hop Against Homophobia, Bi- and Transphobia
Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and I am very proud to be a part of this blog hop. Check out below to see all the other wonderful blogs involved and hop around - there are lots of competitions to win free stuff :).

Why Ignorance Is Not Bliss and Representation is Important

So, I am a genre writer and in many of my books some of my characters are gay, bi, asexual or otherwise not what would once have been called "normal". Science is finally proving that "normal" is a myth and so many things are a spectrum, but that is a whole other post. What I would like to talk about today is IGNORANCE and REPRESENTATION.

Today I firmly believe in equality for all in all things and that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia should be something we eradicate from our societies. However, I have to admit, I was not always so open minded. As a teenager I was not on the equality train. And do you know why?

I was ignorant.

I grew up mostly in a time before the internet in small villages. There were no gay characters in the books I read or the TV I watched, unless they were the comic relief. I didn't even know bisexuals or transsexuals existed. I was not one of those people who thought gays should be hurt or killed, but I did think they were not like me, they were other and they should not be allowed to do things like adopt children. Yes, I am ashamed to admit, I was one of the "well it's okay if they keep it behind closed doors brigade".

I was wrong because I had no idea what I was talking about.

I shudder to think of some of the the things I once believed were true. I did not know any better because I had no reference except what I was being told. Do you know what changed that? The internet and fandom. When I went to Uni I began to see things were not as I had always been led to believe, but what really opened my eyes was the internet. I started using the internet properly while I was doing my PhD and I found my way into fandom.

Now this was a time when most fandoms ran via mailing lists and where slash (m/m) fiction often had to have its own list because it might upset people. Some people even argued that it all had to have an adult rating because m/m was an inherently adult concept. However, it was still far more open than I had ever experienced before.

I began reading fiction where my favourite characters were gay. Which led me to accept that being gay was simply an aspect of someone's being. It was not something other, something weird, something a bit wrong, it simply was.

I still didn't fully comprehend many things, but representation in fiction changed my views.

Then came Livejournal and so many wonderful people willing to educate those of us who did not know the realities that gay, lesbian, bi, trans, asexual and queer people face. And do you know what this has allowed me to do? It has allowed me to spread this knowledge, to change the views of people in my family from distant tolerance to acceptance and recognition.

I am a boringly white, straight cis female, I will never be able to completely understand what it is to be in the shoes of a gay person or a trans person or any such minority, but I can empathise and understand that all these phobic attitudes must stop. This came through representation.

Representation in fiction changed my mindset.

Never let is be said that representation is not important. It is important for so many reasons and this is mine.

Thank you very much for reading, please check out the competition below.

Were you born into an environment where you grew up understanding the issues LGBTAQ people face, or did you come to it later? Who is your favourite LGBTAQ character?


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The books highlighted with rainbow are permanently free titles. All of them are free on all sites except Chip, which is not free on Amazon because they have never price matched it, but is free elsewhere.

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I was going to select books with only non-straight characters, but then I realised there are gay characters in nearly every book even if they are background characters in some titles, so I figured I'd just go for all of them :).

Leave a comment and then put your details into the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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22 comments:

  1. As wonderful as this post - and the blog hop - is, I hope one day it won't be necessary, because we won't have prejudice or intolerance. I'm on the idealist/optimist side of things...

    As for my favourite character, Captain Jack Harkness, of course :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so too - it's so sad we still need this.

      Good choice :D

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  2. Thank you for your post and participating in this blog hop.

    kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com

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  3. Intolerance and bigotry are a very sad statement of the human condition. We all too often look at what we think we see, rather than what is in front of us, and we are looking through eyes blinkered by prejudice.

    It does take education to get rid of this kind of ignorance.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Have to admit that I grew up not understanding, although some of my family had more liberal attitudes so I avoided being prejudiced. So in life made some great LGBTAQ friends. Not sure about writing a LGBTAQ character so have so far only hinted without exploring. More reading needed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have some awesome LGBTAQ friends now - friends are friends are friends, but when I was a teenager I didn't know anyone who was out. I've been in the slash fandom so long that it's more natural for me to write gay than straight characters half the time :).

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  5. Thanks for this post , It is so important to keep spreading the word

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

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  6. Thank you for your post I was the same I hadn't read any books with gay, lesbian, bi, trans, asexual and queer people in them until I picked up a book that had the main M/F couple who had a brother who was gay he had a partner and to me that was the best part of the book. So I started to look around and this around 2006 there was only a couple of site that M/M books I read all their books. I enjoy reading books about any type of character whether they be gay, lesbian, bi, trans, asexual and queer people they all deserve their own stories. Love is Love!

    ShirleyAnn(at)speakman40(dot)freeserve(dot)co(dot)uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too true, love is love. Being in fandom and specifically slash fandom I am so glad that pairings other than heterosexual ones are becoming more popular in fiction. If only we could get better representation into mainstream media more.

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  7. Great points. I am a bisexual, but even in uni, I was ignorant about trans people. The first time someone told me they were a boy, when they obviously looked like a girl, I thought they were joking. I lost the friendship over it, and I really regret it. Representation is SO important. Thanks for this!

    -Alex Hurst

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    Replies
    1. Hopefully, one day, representation will be so widespread that ignorance will be a thing of the past. Thank you so much for dropping by.

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  8. Great post. I think a lot of people were in the same boat as you. I know I may have been until I found fanfic of a animated series I liked starring the male characters only. I didn't use to be open minded and reading the slash fiction just made me come to the realization that gay people weren't any different than hetero couples and that there are people who like the same sex.

    -H.B.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is why representation is key. That is why people who try to wipe out representation in schools and in media are so very scary. They hope to drown everyone in ignorance. These days the internet makes that harder, but they still try.

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  9. I had a friend in high school who was gay. Our group all accepted him for who he was.
    To me, he just was who he was. I've always been accepting of people however they represent themselves. How they choose to live and love is their right.

    leetee2007(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad to hear it :) Thank you very much for dropping by.

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  10. Diversity is one of the bright spots in this life we live. If we were all the same it would be drab and boring! If we can learn to be accepting of differences in others and not see them as bad but as enlightening? Well, then we would be getting it right ;)

    sionedkla@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be boring wouldn't it. It's a shame not everyone out there sees it our way.

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  11. Thanks for the great post. No I did not grow up in a understanding family or accepting family.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lets hope with more diversity and representation we can one day irradiate the intolerance.

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