Chuck Wendig is a sci-fi fantasy writer, who just released The Harvest, the third book in young adult series The Heartland Trilogy, which deals with a dystopian society, as all young adult series must. But when a fan wrote to Wendig to complain that, “I didn’t like that you had a main gay character reviling [sic] in a homosexual sexual relationship,” Wendig decided to respond publicly on his web site.
In an open letter titled “Dear Guy Who Is Mad Because I Wrote A Gay Character In A Book,” Wendig attacks every angle of the homophobic argument, starting with, “I suppose the more pleasing alternative to you would be for the characters to suffer in loveless abandonment,” and, “why weren’t you mad that [another] character’s straightness didn’t matter and affect the story?”
Wendig also attacked the common criticism that including a queer (or nonwhite) character amounts to diversity for diversity’s sake. “I do like to think it’s important to write books that feature people who aren’t me because I really, really hope that my readership is not just a room full of beardo white dudes… I also think it’s vital to read books that aren’t by people like me so that my own perspective is opened up. You should try that.”
Finally, he addresses the “won’t somebody think of the children!” angle, saying, “parents tend to be mad because I acknowledge that teenagers sometimes (gasp, I know) have sex… ignorance of teen habits is how you get abstinence training which is how you get pregnant teenagers… teaching abstinence is like telling people not to ever get in a car instead of teaching them where the fucking seatbelts are.” He stresses that, instead of creating a sanitized world for teenagers, a writer has to portray human behavior as it actually is, because teenage readers are already living that, and a reality where no one’s gay, has sex, or uses drugs isn’t going to ring true.
In a world where it’s still rare for gay characters to have a major role in a book not specifically aimed at a gay audience, (or at least, a gay character the text actually acknowledges), it’s a nice step for a straight author to not only create gay characters, but defend them so vocally.