1. nowordswriter
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    nowordswriter Member

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    Insight into accepting homosexuality

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by nowordswriter, Sep 29, 2011.

    Ok, so to explain. My character, Alex, grows up in a fairly traditional town. There weren't any homosexual couples, and sure, he's heard the occasional story via word of mouth about someone's friend being gay... And that's as far as his encounters go with homosexuality.

    Basically, he's never met a homosexual, never seen acts of homosexuality (like kissing). He doesn't avoid them, there's just never been an instance to see.

    As for his nature, he's open minded and understanding to a point, and even when he can't fully grasp the concept, he'll tolerate it. He's fifteen when he meets friends who are bi/homosexual. He lives and let live. But he still thinks being homosexual is strange and abnormal and to put it plainly weird. He can roll with it but he's not completely totally okay with it.

    So, my question is: would a character like him ever be okay with it?

    Like I'm forming this guy out of my own personal experience, because I had a similar upbringing. And now, I'm basically okay with homosexuality and on the reverse side, I find it weird that I ever thought otherwise. Except I don't know if my acceptance of it, with a sheltered upbringing, is universal since I'm me and my character is my character.

    And if he did eventually become okay with it, is that a believable change of thought?
     
  2. heyitsmary
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    heyitsmary Member

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    If he's 15 then it's possible. I grew up in a really conservative town/family, but the issue of homosexuality isn't something most of my friends and peers are up in arms about. We have differing views/opinions about it, but for the most part it's not a big issue just because we've grown up around it and are used to it. If he doesn't have any strong beliefs about it then he'll probably end up being okay with it. Even if he does, if he's exposed to it enough then he could eventually accept it, even if he doesn't particularly like it.
     
  3. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    Seconding what heyitsmary said. Alex's feelings about it seem pretty realistic - he doesn't get it, but he accepts it anyway. Plenty of people feel that way about homosexuality.
     
  4. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I think most people's views about gays are like Alex's. They treat a gay friend normally, but deep down they don't understand how a man could b sexually attracted to another man... Simply because they aren't.
     
  5. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    In terms of story writing it's a great conflict, especially if he's trying to be extra accepting because basically the authority figures he know aren't, but he still feels somewhat actually uncomfortable with what he's standing up for. Gradual acceptance through exposure and greater understanding is usually how it works in real life but for stories unless you plan to go for the long haul, it'd be better if you want to have a "quick fix" to turn his view around. Depending on the story, the amount of feel-good going on, etc, that can basically be anything that forces a greater sense of compassion and understanding, from squishy heart-warming speeches to drunken sexual misunderstandings.

    Anyways, it's your story so you decide if in the end he's going to not get over it that's fair enough but I'm saying it'd be harder to write gradual acceptance without making it look like you just forgot about that particular character trait. If you put *any* emphasis on it in the first place the readers will expect a resolution to it, so I'm really hoping you do make your story swing on this point and don't use your own personal experience there :p

    The trouble with writing any "change in thought" story is it needs constant action to back it up.
     
  6. Chad J Sanderson
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    Chad J Sanderson Member

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    Melzar's point a a very good one and I agree.

    To add to that, any change of thought, feeling, attitude, or whatever can be acceptable and believable if written in a strong, confident, and appropriate way. Talented authors can make a tolerant libertarian transform into a murderous Neo-Nazi in a few paragraphs while retaining believability. It all depends on the message you show on the surface, the underlying theme of the story, and the mental pacing.

    IF it's an ONGOING transition, we (the reader) need to see the change happening before the main character comes to conclusion that he's changed. That way we experience the self discovery with him rather than being jarred into it. A common place this is done (many times poorly) is in romance stories where the lovers begin as enemies and develop over time into soul mates.
     
  7. nowordswriter
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    nowordswriter Member

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    @heyitsmary I was going to say that my first solution was to just let him spend more time with his bi/homosexual friends and let it become "normal" for him but I wasn't sure how well that would fly. But now I guess that's a pretty viable route to go with?

    @Banshees and Manav Okay, cool! Thanks for the assurance!


    And also...

    I think I'm leaning more towards gradual transition. Since I don't know, I think a quick fix would be a harder thing to get pass the readers in my opinion??

    @Melzaar ahahaha oh I wasn't going to use my experience because as I said I'm me and my character is my character, I just used similar backgrounds... and I suppose while it would be harder, I think I'm more comfortable with doing things in the long run...

    @Chad you bring up a good point with the character being largely unaware of his view shift, thank you
     
  8. heyitsmary
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    heyitsmary Member

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    I would imagine so. The more you're around something, the more normal it tends to become.
     
  9. emmams
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    emmams New Member

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    Acceptance usually comes with experience. The more time he spends around his gay/bi friends, the more comfortable he could become. One day he might be completely accepting. Unless it has been drilled into him that homosexuality is wrong for a very longtime (which it sounds like it hasn't), it's realistic for him to be totally accepting.
     
  10. mazzee
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    mazzee New Member

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    You should have Alex get hit on by a gay guy. I was terrified when I was 15 and got hit on. A little over a year later (and a few good friends coming out of the closet), I was pretty accepting and, quite frankly, numb to it.

    So yeah, it's believable.
     

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