Last week, I filled out an author form that included the question, "Does your book feature characters from marginalized backgrounds?"
I wasn't sure how to answer. In my first book, a pretty significant character is gay, but I never say he's gay. *I* know he is (because, well, I know him,) but his sexuality wasn't germane to the story, so I didn't include it. The high school in my book is pretty much like yours and mine. There are gay people and asexual people, obese girls and anorexic boys, Asians and black kids and genetic mutts.
But here's the thing: I never talk about them like that. To me, their relationships are infinitely more important than their skin color or weight or sexuality. As with real life, a character's sexuality becomes important when he is interested in another character or about to embark on a sexual relationship.
(It's kind of like Dumbledore being gay, but we never knew because we never saw him in a sexual relationship.)
Generally, I don't introduce character traits that aren't important to the story, but those characters are real to me. Even in my head, everyone is different. I realize now, however (as the book is in edits and releasing in June,) I need to be more blatant about diversity among my characters. Our society marginalizes people because of race, culture, and identity; I don't want to perpetuate that abuse in the books I write.
Photo Credit: pixgood.com
I blog rarely, because I'm writing books. When I do blog, I focus on writing, friendship, family, and books. Because my family's best nicknames are private, I use their birth years for shorthand: