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Queer Sexuality and Identity: How do I Write That?

Kat Wagner
Kathleen Wagner
Faculty Advisor(s)

As the title of this presentation suggests, the essential question being asked here is how one writes a character or characters of an identity or sexuality that is not their own. The importance of asking this question lies in just how many types of people there are in the world, and how so few are represented in books or media. Characters in the books we read don’t always act or look like us, and isn’t that a shame? Research for this study involved ready reading five (5) books written about and/or by people of queer sexualities/genders. The major conclusion here is: there is no single way to write a character off any sexuality or identity. A writer must research the character they are going to create, through reading other materials and by engaging with people of queer identities/sexualities, in order to yield a compelling character. Once a character is created, the writer has to make sure the story is worthy of that character.

Project Media

Kathleen Wagner is a creative writing major, and English minor, and an author by heart and by trade. She has had several poems published in highschool with Creative Communications and one poem published with Salem College’s Incunabula. Someday, novels will be added to the list.


I have a question that I hope to ask during your Q&A: "Do you adhere to the philosophy that you should not write what you do not experience?" Specifically, I'm curious about your opinion on the push in the film industry to have various roles played by individuals who have similar characteristics as the part they are playing. Ex: Scarlet Johansson potentially portraying a trans* character.

Submitted by Paula_Young on Tue, 04/13/2021 - 20:34 Permalink

As research in a character immerses readers into the universe of their current book, what is you opinion of queer tokening and Black queer tokening in novels and other forms of media?

Submitted by wynstonhale on Thu, 04/15/2021 - 18:28 Permalink