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Guest Post: Kyle Winter on The Power of Passive Representation

Treading the waters of diversity is tricky because we never want to disrespect the struggles that women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, or others have had to endure. As writers, we often want to include people like this in our stories because their stories are powerful and can make a difference. This sometimes manifests itself as ‘the gay friend’ or ‘the black friend’ or if you’re really batting for a home run ‘the gay black friend’. This character is great for diversity. He shows that those people exist and that we shouldn’t be afraid of them. But over time, if we see the gay black friend over and over it creates a subliminal message that all gay black men behave a certain way, and that can damage the community. I think we should allow those characters to break the mold and keep it to themselves.
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