How Many LGBT+ Tropes Can One Book Hold?

Trope: A common or overused them or device: cliché

YouTube (of course)

I’ve been watching a lot of writing videos and tutorials on YouTube. One angle that interested me was writing LGBTQ+ characters… and how not to write them.

Because I am writing a book about lesbian and gay characters, as well as drag queens and the occasional transperson in the shadows, I thought it might be good to see what was being said out there.

Holy fuck, am I politically incorrect!

I swear I write almost every LGBTQ+ trope in the writer-verse.

Oversexualized gay man? Got it.

Men cruising for anonymous sex? I open my book with this one. How is it a trope if it was/is real life?

Coming out story? Got it.

Gay men are campy and/or feminine. Definitely got those.

Unsure lesbian? Got it.

Invisible bisexuals? Got it.

Invisible transfolks? Pretty much.

Alcoholic and drug addled homosexuals? Definitely.

Aimless wandering through life with no purpose gay folks? Got it.

Gay boyfriend? Ayup.

Gay men love the theater? Oh, yeah.

Bears? A very real part of the late 70s and 80s culture, so absolutely have them.

All the cute men are gay? Definitely have that one.

Butch lesbians? Seeing this as a trope made me howl laughing since my life partner of 28 years presented as a butch dyke until he came out trans. So yeah, butch lesbians were and are a thing. I do not believe all butch dykes are not-out transmen. That said, my femme MC loves her some butch dykes.

Invisible multi-genders, different pronouns, or any variation of a complex (varied) sexuality or gender? Got that for sure. If it existed then, I knew nothing about it beyond trans or poly.

Fag Hag? Uh, yeah. That was me. The lesbian fag hag figures prominently in my book. 

Lipstick lesbian? I (and my MC) wear that label, so it can’t be a trope in my book, can it?

Gay men dying? In spades. (But since it is a book with AIDS as a main character, I would expect that one.)

You Get the Idea

I could totally go on and on and on. And on.

I’m smiling as I write this, wondering what the reviews might look like. I have learned I can’t write thinking of that or it will paralyze me. Instead, I love the label at the top of my computer:

LGBTQ Tropes

Tie Your Tropes Down

“Tie Your Mother Down” – Queen

Tie your mother down
Tie your mother down
Lock your daddy out of doors
I don’t need him nosin’ around
Tie your mother down
Tie your mother down
Give me all your love tonight

9 thoughts on “How Many LGBT+ Tropes Can One Book Hold?

  1. There is a little, or a lot, of stereotype in everyone. The challenge is to make the stereotypical authentic. Outwardly, my cousin K was as butch as they came, but she was much more than her dyke aspects, which is to say she was entirely human, as all people are. She was a human who happened to be queer. I don’t know if I’m making sense or not. Hopefully you’re not writing a 21st century Norman Lear sit com.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love what the previous comment expressed and second the sentiments. The themes or tropes could be demeaning and stereotypical, creating an opresive pigeonholed societal understanding of the LGBTQ+ community if the characters didn’t have depth and humanity. What I know of your story, it is historical, and thus needs to address many of these themes, or else they will be a lost peice of history. The LGBTQ+ community and the like are attempting to neutralize everything and everyone in the guise of gender equality. As a feminist I don’t align with censorship or trying to control other people’s form of expression. It’s important that the story pre aids is shared. It’s s your birthright to share your story and if people are offended and hate it. So be it. Others will rave about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “I do not believe all butch dykes are not-out transmen.” Thank you. I’m more than a little tired of people asking me if I’m trans. Honestly, I feel like I’m holding the line by just existing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhhh, a unicorn! Well, a Butch (Dyke?) lesbian! Thanks for showing me your horn. It’s rather lovely. Are you finding people thinking you are a TERF because you are Butch? Whenever I talk about Butch Dykes, that is a comment I get. “You don’t believe in Transpeople?” Uh, clearly I do… but is *everybody* who has any difference/ambiguity in your eyes/etc. trans? NO! Erg. Sorry, I went on and on then deleted. I could talk endlessly about this topic. Thanks so much for presenting yourself and RE-presenting an important part of our lesbian community.


      1. No, I don’t get called a TERF, just “hey, boomer.” My kid, the Brat, told me recently that half their high school identifies as trans. It’s a shiny new trendy thing that I hope will eventually settle down. If it doesn’t, butches will become very rare if not extinct in one or two generations. Honestly, I don’t know why these kids want to be identified with the oppressive patriarchy, but they have had relatively easy lives compared to queers of my generation.


  4. I sat on this comment for a couple of days because I knew I couldn’t answer without having my life threatened. I will just say, “For Fuck’s Sake.” I pray we don’t lose the Butch Dykes. They have always been an integral part of our lesbian community. My heart aches seeing the fade. Goddess, please save the Butches!


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