It's your friendly hetero-romantic demi-sexual here.
What's that? Well, like all human sexuality, it's complicated. Let's just leave it at your chances are slim-to-none.
But that's not what I'm here to talk about.
You might have guessed that from the title of today's blog.
I'm here to talk about representation. It matters. You know how I know it matters? Watching little girls come out of a showing of Wonder Woman practically glowing, or people of colour grinning and crying their way through Black Panther. It's the story of the Latino father who wept during Rogue One when someone who looks and speaks like him turned out to be a fucking hero.
It's in the story of a lesbian gamer who burst into tears during a live stream of The Last of Us: Left Behind on seeing that adorably sweet kiss between Ellie and Riley, musing on how much it meant to her to see people like her in the media she consumes.
It's in the surprisingly intense reaction I had to the asexual character, the first openly asexual I've ever encountered in literature, in Seanan McGuire's Every Heart a Doorway.
And it's in the reactions of (some of) those who are so used to seeing themselves as the ubiquitous image of normal or heroic now that they're starting to see less of themselves in their media.
My favourite argument put forward by these folks is "I don't need your [insert minority of choice] agenda shoved in my face."
I would argue, however, that the reverse is far more true.
To not include accurate representations of minorities is shoving one's own personal agenda into media.
Look, these people exist in the real world. They're literally everywhere. Chances are, you sat beside a gay person on your commute to work today. You've likely crossed the path of, or walked beside, a trans person. I don't need to tell you that black and brown people exist. Apparently, I do need to tell you that they, too, can be heroes.
The point is, minorities exist in the world. To completely erase them in media is the very definition of pushing an agenda. Including them is merely reflecting the way the world actually is.
Anyway, the point is, including minorities in media is incredibly important; not just because it reflects the world actually is, but because there are people in the world who are starving for representation. And I mean good representation. Accurate representation.
And plainly state representation.
You don't get credit for stating a character is a minority if you don't make it explicit in the narrative of whatever media you're pedalling. Looking at you, J.K. Rowling.
That isn't to say that you must make that person's minority characteristic (gay, trans, person of colour, woman, whatever) the entirety of their character. However, you need to understand that those characteristics do play a part in what makes them them. It has a direct impact on their histories. It will play a part in informing their decisions in the future. Ignoring that is as disingenuous as excluding minorities altogether.
Writers, I'm looking at you specifically now. Write minorities into your work. Include them as heroes, and complex villains. Make them complex and whole and real.
One day, someone feeling alone and isolated might just pick up your work. You have an opportunity to make them feel less alone, less isolated, and less outcast. You have an opportunity to reach them in a way other writers refuse to.
Why on earth would you pass on such an opportunity?
So, if it's the human condition you're looking to comment on, then be honest about the human condition; all of it.