Unfortunately the media is filled with stereotypes. How people perceive men of any color is a guy lacking emotion, rough, most of the time an alpha with a bad attitude. Then there’s the gay man who is sometimes portrayed as overly girly, weak, and more often than not, a sex addict. In the early 2000’s we were blessed with Queer as Folk, showing beautiful gay men of all types, embracing their sexuality, dealing with the same issues as straight couples trying to survive in the modern era. As brilliant as QAF was, it was missing a key element. In my opinion, a gay man of color who was also a main character would’ve added something to the show.
Some time later, Noah’s Arc came along and I believed it only lasted two seasons. From the couple of episodes I did see, it portrayed gay men of color in a positive light. Seemingly, this series might not have been interesting enough to keep running so it disappeared without a trace.
What about in fiction? These days we have a wealth of colorful gay characters in many books. The question is how do we write them? Do we draw on the stereotypes? Black and or Hispanic men who are angry and always intense; Asian men who seem timid. Those are just a couple of examples. Do we need to add this to our books for them to seem real? In my estimation they don’t. I often wondered why authors, whether it be books, TV, and or movies can make a character, especially a gay male character of color, who doesn’t fit that mold. Sure, you can add to the setting to make it more “real”; a young black man from a poorer neighborhood. Perhaps his family hates that he’s gay and his friends don’t accept him. Yes that’s all the reality I need and let me say, not every black man comes from a background like that. But with his attitude? Must he be overly angry at the world and seething all the time? Well hell, he could be a goth boy. That would make BL happy. *grins* Or could he be an intelligent scholar, from a not so poor neighborhood. Perhaps he was the rich one and his white counterpart the middle class working man. My favorite with that kind of plot was Bonnie Dee’s Undeniable Magnetism which I enjoyed thoroughly.
What’s my point here? When I write a gay man of color, I try to avoid the stereotypes unless it is a central part of the plot. I feel people should be written as people, without pulling from the so called mold.
Regardless of race or nationality or orientation, we’re all human with unique traits and attitudes that make us stand out from others. Characters should be treated in the same fashion.
Elayne Roux is the new owner of the world famous Diamond Candies chocolate factory on the South Side of Chicago. His father, Demi Roux just lost his battle with cancer and has left it in his care despite Demi’s brother’s advice to leave it to him. Elayne has no interest in the company but to fulfill his father’s last wish, he takes on the day to day of it anyway.
He’s a spoiled brat, a young man that’s lived off his father’s money, and never worked a day in his life and now Elayne’s responsibility is this huge company that he could care less about till he meets one of the more attractive employees, Ty Washington.
Ty is a born and raised Southsider who’s working there to put him through college. Recently, his father threw him out because he confessed he might be gay. This hardens him a bit and he makes the choice not to pursue any gay relationships in hopes he’ll eventually grow out of it and begin to date women. However, when he and Elayne talk, his heart soars and as badly as he tries to fight it, the two connect and eventually they decide to give their relationship a try.
“You think?” Alain sat in the comfort of his bed, talking to his friend Joshua on the phone – another rich gay socialite. He twirled the ends of his brown hair around his fingers, propping his cell on his shoulder. “I don’t want anything to do with this running a company situation. But I’d do just about anything to beat my uncle.”
Silence from the other end. “Why do you hate him so much again?”
“’Cause he’s creepy and he’s a homophobe. He was always jealous of my father ’cause he worked his way up in the corporation and ended up President. Oh, a lot of reasons! I wanna make sure he doesn’t get the satisfaction of running Diamond Candies.”
“It’s gonna cut into your social time.”
“Yeah it might, but hell I need something to distract me right now. I just lost my dad. My best friend, you know?”
“I thought I was?”
“Shaddup Josh, you know what I mean. He was first and foremost.” Alain took a swig of his cola. “We’ll still get to hang. I’m working with the acting president now anyway. He’ll do most of the work and I’ll just sign off on things. I’ve met him a couple of times in passing. Seems nice; not real attractive though.”
“Alain! Is that all you think about? Your next conquest?”
“Well, yeah. I mean, shit, I’m lonely Josh. I haven’t had a boyfriend since I dated that Italian stud, Romeo, who used to work with me at the health club.”
“Yeah, I remember. Damn, was he hot. What happened to him again?”
“Eh, he had a little problem called a wife.” He laughed. “I guess it served me right to actually think he’d leave her for me.” Alain looked at his nails and rubbed them on his shirt. “Damn, I’d say it’s time for a manicure.”
“Blasphemy! You didn’t get it done before the service?”
“There are a lot of things I haven’t done for the last few days, Josh. I’ve barely showered since Dad passed away.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t make it today, Al. I just can’t be around dead people.”
“Yeah yeah, it’s okay. I know how you feel about these things. No worries, it didn’t last a long time. I refused to have some long drawn out ceremony. He wouldn’t have wanted it that way. Funny, he actually asked that we throw a party when he died. I asked was he serious.”
“Well, you knew my dad – of course he was; but I just couldn’t. It’s been rough losing him, even though I’ve known his cancer was terminal for the past six months or so. I just wanted to say goodbye with flowers, and have a service read by our gay priest. It all came out just fine. The best part was when Lucas dismissed the hordes of people who thought they’d be getting something from Demi in the will.”
“Heh, I bet they were disappointed.”
“Yeah, they were. Serves the bastards right. I got almost everything – which is cool, I guess. I’ll never spend all the money you know. That’s why I need to find a man to share it with. A hot one I can spend some of it on.”
“You’ll attract nothin’ but gold diggers with an attitude like that.”
“Naw, I’m smarter than that. Lucas wouldn’t let me anyway. Dad had Lucas hire a PI to find out about most of the men I dated. Not the last one, but…”
“I knew his situation before I started going out with him. Like I said, foolish move on my part. Never again though. I want the man I’m with to be free and clear of all commitments. And, oh yeah, comfortable with the fact he’s gay.” Alain clicked his teeth and rolled his eyes.
Joshua’s hearty laugh burst through the receiver; Alain pulled the phone away from his ear. “Was that the deal breaker with him, Al?”
“Not the deal breaker, but definitely a fucking hindrance. Who wants to be with someone who doesn’t accept their own sexuality?”