1. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Straight man’s reaction to a homosexual?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by spklvr, Feb 15, 2012.

    This is a story I wrote a while ago that has been collecting dust for a while. It’s about a high school delinquent, who after the death of his father, decides to become a good guy and go to college so that he can support his disabled mother in the future. There he meets a girl who also just recently lost her father. Her father was extremely strict and almost mentally abusive, and she feels that she can now finally live life. They become friends and decide to help each other out, as they both realize it’s not that easy to change.

    Now for my issue. What I have written is a pretty rough first draft. I let my boyfriend read it so that he could point out if there were some issues with the plot. What he pointed out was that he felt it was unrealistic for (apparently any) straight guy to be so accepting of a gay person. What happens is that the male MC becomes roommates and close friends with a gay guy. I personally feel like it was believable enough. My MC is pretty indifferent to most things and stays out of other people’s business, and the gay character is hopelessly in love with somebody else, so he never makes a pass at my MC.

    So all you men out there, what do you think about this? Is there a difference between just being friends with a gay man and actually sharing a bedroom with one? I’m contemplating changing it so that it takes some time for my MC to become used to the thought, but then I would have to change some other things and everything would… shift (too tired to think of a better word… oddly enough I’m not that eloquent two o’clock at night).

    Thank you for your opinions :)
    (is it just me, or does all credibility disappear with smilies?)
     
  2. Enzo03
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    Enzo03 Member

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    Yeah I'd say that it is definitely unrealistic for him to be absolutely indifferent, if only without consequence. There are several straight men, myself included, who have gay friends and more or less have no problems with that. But for a straight man to live with a gay man? That straight guy is going to be the butt of many, many ass fuck/rape jokes, I kid you not, pun mostly unintended. Especially if it is in college.

    I'm not saying I condone any anti-gay sentiment - even as a Christian I do not for several reason I am not going to address here. What I am saying is "that's how it is" and that there is definitely a difference in how someone is seen when they're friends with a gay person and when they're sharing a bedroom with one.

    And no, smileys do not destroy all credibility. :)
     
  3. thrawnking
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    thrawnking New Member

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    It mostly depends on your male MC's personality and how he finds out that his roomate is gay. is the roomate very open about his sexuality or does he keep it in the closet? does the MC find gay prono in the room or walk in on a sex scene? If your MC only accepting of gay guys and hate lesbians? or does he accepting relations of any kind? look at your MC's personality and judge for yourself.
     
  4. Snap228
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    Snap228 Member

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    I don't know about that. I think it largely depends on where the piece is set, sadly enough. Having lived in New York City for some time, I can tell you that people there are extremely accepting and don't blink if you tell them you're gay. This being said, I realize that meeting a gay female is much different than meeting a gay male, for whatever reason. But that same reaction is much different if it takes place in, say, Tennesee, for example (at least I would assume). However, of all the people I've known, I can see where the assumption would be made that this is unrealistic. Many of the guy friends I've had in the past are much less open to homosexual males than they are to lesbians.
     
  5. thrawnking
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    thrawnking New Member

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    It mostly depends on your male MC's personality and how he finds out that his roomate is gay. is the roomate very open about his sexuality or does he keep it in the closet? does the MC find gay prono in the room or walk in on a sex scene? If your MC only accepting of gay guys and hate lesbians? or does he accepting relations of any kind? Does the roomate have sex while he is in the room or do they come to some kind of agreement? and does everyone at the college know that the roomate is gay or does it stay within closed doors? and if he does hid it, what happens to him and the roomate when people find out? I hope these questions were helpful.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Rather than changing your story this way, you could change your MC's backstory to include a gay friend, brother, even the father that he lost could have been gay.
     
  7. Lightman
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    Lightman Active Member

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    It depends entirely on that particular person's background. I've slept over at gay friends' houses and roomed with gay guys before. It's never been that big a deal to me.
     
  8. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    If he doesn't end up with the gay dude, it'd probably come across (to me) like a weird narrative device. I mean, I'd look at that as, "Oh, they're sleeping together. I know he's not gay yet, but maybe he's going to like being gay?"

    Still, no matter how accepting of gays you are, you don't really want to get shit from people constantly because you sleep with one. That said, I'd be willing to sleep in the same room/bed as a gay man (after making wall-of-pillow jokes at his expense). Hell, I'm even open enough to sleep with a handful of lesbians. =D
     
  9. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    I'll echo the "it depends on your background" sentiment. My brother's gay, and it's really more mundane to me than anything, although obviously I can't quite relate to him in that regard. That said, he's not the... hmm, how do I put this... flamboyant type. Effeminate, speaking in a "gay accent", "fabulous", etc. People like that are honestly kind of off-putting to me. Call me intolerant. It has nothing to do with sexuality, I have the same issue with metrosexuals.

    Regardless, I wouldn't mind rooming with a gay dude, as long as I didn't feel he'd make a pass at me, and even that wouldn't be a deal-breaker. It's not hard to politely decline. Overall, the scenario doesn't remotely come off as unbelievable to me. Hope this helps somehow.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It depends on how homophobic your character is. Not the face he presents, but his true nature.

    If he is secure enough in himself, he can accept a gay roommate as just a friend. Secure enough to know that if his roommate WERE to show an uncomfortable interest in him, he could just say, "Hey, bro, you know I don't feel that way."

    I've lived in a fraternity, and in a group that large, you're bound to have one or more come out of the closet. Likewise there will be some girls in the place, and it's understood that that doesn't make them available to any guy with a gleam in his eye.

    In other words, every friendship doesn't get tainted with sex, even when people sometimes wander the halls in their underwear.
     
  11. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is very true. It's a similar situation to co-ed dorms (yes, I remember when those were a Big Deal) - parents were up in arms, kids were tearing down the doors to get in - and then everyone settled down and attended to business without nightly sex orgies. It was so normal it was quite boring...
     
  12. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    I agree that for the most part "that's how it is". There's no denying its the way the current society is. However, it's completely realistic for there to exist a person that isn't bothered by it at all. Especially if the "homosexual" in question isn't as flamboyant as some people think the stereotype is. But at the same time, as the author of the story you have to be consistent. You can't have him be completely accepting of his roommate and then turn around and be intolerant of some other thing without a good explanation.
     
  13. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's no universal "straight guy" response. How would your character respond? Unless it is REALLY out there or contrary to how he's reacting in other things, I don't see why it'd be an issue either way.
     
  14. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I absolutely don't think it's even noteworthy if somebody is okay with their roommate being gay.

    I did grow up in a liberal city, but I've lived in other places too. While homophobic attitudes are more prevalent in rural areas, I've certainly met a multitude of people from anywhere who are perfectly comfortable around gay people. Maybe your story needs to be told the way it is, so that people see how very possible it is.
     
  15. topeka sal
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    topeka sal Senior Member

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    This might be true with certain kinds of friends (particularly immature ones), but, wow, it's certainly not inevitable and I don't even think the norm. As everyone says, it really depends on who these people are, where they live, their own experiences in life, etc. Yes, there are some men who may be subject to "ass fuck/rape jokes" (yuck, by the way) for living with a gay man, but in my experience living with a gay man/woman is not even worth mention. Maybe it's because I've spent most of my life among musicians, dancers, artists, etc, for whom homosexuality is comfortable and familiar and, in some cases, fluid, so I've seldom come across the behaviour you're describing/predicting.

    Who are your characters (and their larger social circle)? This is what you need to consider. There is no universal straight guy attitude. If a character is homophobic or struggling with the idea, its ok to write him that way. If not, then don't. Make him the person he is.
     
  16. 1000screams
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    1000screams Member

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    I've known many types of straight men over the years. Some who are completely homophobic, who if faced with a gay man they will become incredibly uncomfortable, maybe even rude, or will just walk away. I've noticed this is more the case with guys over 30. (This isn't a blanket stereotype, this is just from the sampling of men I've known.) The younger guys, 16-25 tend to be a little more relaxed with gay guys. Like it's no big deal as long as the gay guy is cool to hang with, it's like a non issue. I knew a group of 8 guys who were in their early twenties, two of the 8 were gay, and the other 6 were very, very straight. One of the gay guys was really, really flamboyant, the other was laid back and unless he told you he was gay, you wouldn't know.

    There were gay jokes, usually told by the gay guys, but the straight guys also participated. And there were straight jokes that they all participated in too. The flamboyant guy was roommates with two of the straight guys in an apartment. There was nothing about that being an issue.

    I think the story setting of being in a college dorm and being bunked with a gay guy can be played in many different ways, as it is quite realistic and something already being highlighted in TV shows like Greek, where there were gay guys at the frat houses...and there is drama to be had in the reactions that people have.

    So you're MC might be all chill with his gay roomie, but that doesn't mean the other people around them will be. So you can play up drama by having people make fun of your MC for living with a gay guy, and you can see how your MC will react to this. You could have the uncomfortable situation of walking in on the roommate with another guy in the room...see how your MC reacts to that. Every person, even the most laid back of guys, walking in on two guys being frisky is bound to cause some sort of reaction, even if it's just shear embarrassment.

    Also, if you understand your character's relative background, then you can predict what types of situations, extreme and minor, that you can use to rise a reaction out of him. A fully laid back character who just rolls with the punches like it's cool, can actually be a tad boring to read. So try to find a place to make your MC uncomfortable. When we're faced with stepping outside our comfort zones, that's when we get good tension building and conflict.

    I also don't know how important to the storyline the having a gay roommate is...if it's not that important then it wouldn't come up very often. But if there are levels of importance to the situation, then adding a little tension and conflict and crossing the threshold of comfort zone, might make your MC more realistic feeling.
     
  17. Toph Bei Fong
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    Toph Bei Fong New Member

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    As a gay man I can say that most people I know would be a little weirded out by rooming with me. It's not that the MC has to have anything against him personally, but it'll be awkward for both of them. Also it depends on whether he's a flamed or not (like someone above said). I think most of us would agree that these types of people are irritating and not the ideal roommates at all, but I think most people would be able to deal with a normal gay person after the initial awkwardness.
     
  18. Shilac
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    Shilac New Member

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    I (Heterosexual) shared a room with a gay man for nine months while working in a job where staff lived in company accomodation. We were friends and there were absolutely no issues regarding his sexuality. The only issue I had was his incessant snoring which did from time to time drive me to murderous thoughts in the early hours of the morning after a long day when another long day was looming.

    As an individual I'm generally accepting of other people and how they want to live their life as long as it doesn't hurt others. A persons sexual orientation is not something which I judge them on and I don't hold the mistaken but seemingly common belief that all gay men are sexual predators who can't resist jumping on the first man they see, gay or otherwise.

    So yes it is plausable.
     
  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm gay and my roomie is bi. But I've known several gay guys who have straight roommates and there's no problem. They're mostly in Canada, though - I don't know how much different the situation is here in Southern California. I know some gay guys here who have no problem with their straight roommates, and some straight guys who would have no problem with gay roommates, but there's a much higher level of religious influence here than there is in Canada, so I expect many more straight guys would be pretty intolerant.
     
  20. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I've had a few friends over the years that are gay, though I've never lived with one. I'm a fairly liberal guy so it doesn't bother me particularly and I don't see it as a morality issue. But there is still a 'yuck factor'. I suspect this would be true for most straight men. I don't care what people do, and I'm quite happy to take people as they are in normal life, but I really don't want to see men kissing other men. To me that's just gross. Your MC might well have the same reaction, and make comments along those lines. Then again I find it awkward simply being around women breast feeding no matter how natural it is. As a man I simply don't know where to look.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  21. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    I live in a rural town where there is a massive gay community. A few of my friends are gay.
    I'm completely ambivalent to people's sexuality. I'm also in the minority.
    The people I've known who have been roommates with gay guys have all been perfectly fine with it.
    I think this could be because if they weren't, they'd have moved out.

    With regards to the joking, social circle is going to tell there. My circles, there's little to no joking,
    but, I've been in and around circles where it's not the hetero who'd be the butt of the jokes, it's the gay guy.

    Everyone has different experiences with this stuff so I think your boyfriend's reaction is probably primarily to do
    with his experience rather than it being unbelievable. Try getting people of different backgrounds and opinions to read it and see how they feel.
     
  22. gillvin
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    gillvin New Member

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    I think that it is unrealistic for the character to have absolutely no problem with it, but I don't think that it needs to become at all part of the plot.
    Cheers!
     
  23. Pyraeus
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    Pyraeus Member

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    I can say I have no problem with Gay people. As long as they keep all of their love-making to their bedroom, I will have no qualms with interacting with them (Unless they're a dickhead, at which point I'll hate their guts-not becuase they are gay, but becuase they're being a douche. I'd do the same to anyone else who was a complete @hole)
     
  24. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I can't speak for everyone else in my community, but I personally don't have a problem with gays. I don't look at someone and think, "Are you gay?" I don't care about their sexual orentation.

    I did see two men together once, sitting on a long bench. One of them was sitting indian style and the other was behind him with his legs wrapped around him. They were just sitting there having conversation with another person. I didn't even think twice about it.

    Would I be a little weirded out if someone told me they were gay? Probably, but that would be because I wouldn't really understand why they're telling me this. I'd be thinking, "Dude, I don't have a problem with you liking people of the same sex." then I would likely respond with, "Oh, okay. Coolio."
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Apparently the last statement is incorrect. :)
     

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