Top Tag

Latest Post

Book News! "Excavating Lost Languages" in Frozen Wavelets #8! (and more…) "The Life Cycle of a Shadow" in The Compendium of Enigmatic Species! There You Are, Creativity CreateNet, Skynet’s Awkard Cousin, is Upon Us

Comment on TFOB Part I – Writing Heroes of Diversity by Beth Turnage

I guess when you read enough calls for submission that say “we actively support diversity in our selection process” or some such you start thinking “hey, maybe I need to get on that diversity bandwagon.” But diversity is more than the color of a skin or sexual orientation. IMO diversity is about the cultural experience of living in that skin or that sexual orientation. And those experiences do not cut across all cultures and time periods.

For instance (and picking out the most extreme example I can think of) in some city-states in ancient Greek civilization is was quite common for older, wealthy men to compete with each other socially for the attentions (read sexual favors) of young men (teenagers in our venacular) even to the point of making agreements with the boys’ fathers about what the young man would get out of the deal. A relationship with the right mentor (yes, that is where that came from) would set up the young man for life in social and business connections that he wouldn’t have otherwise.

This hits so many wrongness buttons for us (and indeed for many scholars in diverse time periods since) that we have very strong words to associate with pedastry.

Yet, the Greeks that engaged in the practice didn’t consider themselves homosexual, and the young men, once their beards grew in were expected to marry and have children. (And please, I’m not advocating this, just providing an example.)

If you are writing second world, dystopian and/or futuristic sci-fi its very possible that your written universe does not mirror the one we, as writers, live in. The culture and issues we face daily may not be the cultures ad issues you are writing. So then is the color of the skin or sexual orientation relevant? Does it reflect true diversity?

While it is very possible to write stories that do reflect our cultural experience in another setting (which is why The Handmaid’s Tale hits women so hard and men not so much), if you are writing about another experience just throwing in a different skin color or sexual orientation does not serve the complexities of diversity in our writing.