Why I Write Queer Characters

Happy Pride, Y’all

Yes, I know this is the last day of Pride, but June has been A LOT so I’m running late.

First of all, just for the Florida-ness of it all, I want to start by saying: GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY!!!!

Whew. Alright, that’s out of my system. Now onto the thoughts—not thots, please get your head out of the gutter.

EDIT: Just looked at my Penny Pizzazz screenshots in Chapter 10, and it’s clear this SimLit is 75% thirst traps. I’ll just meet you in the gutter.

Anyway, I am being a bit flippant because I am nowhere near as experienced talking about this part of myself as I am chatting about being a woman of color writing romantic fan-fiction. But I am trying with this incarnation of my writing to take moments and reflect. 

I thought about titling this post: “Why Did I Make Vladislaus Straud a Queer King?” mainly because my journey with writing about Vlad’s sexuality has reflected my own. But that felt a bit ostentatious, and queer characters in my stories didn’t start with Vlad (Hello William!). 

Alright, enough stalling. 

I was in my thirties before I knew anything about being “pansexual.” Growing up, I knew I wasn’t bi, but I also knew I wasn’t straight, either. In my mind, my sexuality was more a list of things I was into, experiences I wanted to have, and personality traits. I never said any of this because being attracted to vibes didn’t seem like a real thing. Plus, much like the characters in my story, I wasn’t pressed about defining my sexuality. I just…was.

(Yes, now I realize this was a privilege for anyone who appears to have a lot of hetero-coded sexual experiences.)

One night, while having too much white wine with a lovely queer friend, they joked that my sexuality was “a duke with reasons.” It didn’t matter what they were so long as they were a morally grey genius with good fashion sense and a dark sense of humor who maybe could crush the world in their hands.

I laughed but was also like: actually, yes, I am attracted to vibes. Is that a thing? 

Turns out, yes.

Fast forward to this incarnation of Vlad in The Strauds. Even in BBD, I didn’t think of Vlad as straight. He was attracted to Alice because she had enough godlike power to grind his bones to dust, and she didn’t put up with anybody’s shit (least of all his). But this time around, I wanted to make that explicit. I also wanted a character who, like me, was in what appeared to be a cis relationship because that’s the space I’m navigating.

I’m also playing around with masculinity in this story—where does the toxic part begin and end? Can you get deep patriarchy out of your bones? What if your parents were queer sex-positive vampires with raging bloodlust and no sense of boundaries? 

Honestly, that’s probably a whole other post, lol.

Anyway, that’s what I got to say today! Enjoy this little bonus shot from Morgyn and William (you’ll get to hang with them more in Chapter 11). I’m looking forward to having more to say about Alice and Penny and others (Anastasia could probably get an entire essay on her own) as plot points unfold, but for now, I’ll keep it, mum, because—spoilers

Happy Pride <3

Credits

In addition to the  CC I regularly use in the game and buildings from the Fleuralia Save File, I also used the following builds and custom content:

Group Pose 10 by Aolinis

Happy Pride by Katverse

Happy Pride Month by Clumsyalien

On Alice – Sims Pride Collection Sparkle Dress by DarkNighTt

On Penny – Sims Pride Collection Fringe Top by DarkNighTt

On Caleb – Sims Pride Collection Striped Tank Top by DarkNighTt

On Anastasia – Pride Collection Skirt 1 by Viy Sims

On Bella – Pride Collection Dress II by Viy Sims

On Vlad – Pride Collection Dress I by Viy Sims

    7 comments
  • Snow ~
    June 30, 2022

    Vlad in the dress though!
    Honestly I love your LGBT+ characters so much. Everyone feels there, as real characters. Though you joke about making ‘thirst traps’ it’s done in a way that’s like…respectful, not fetishising anyone, not making anyone into a token and I appreciate that. I also appreciate the way you write Morgyn because a) favourite premade and b) enby rep, woo!

    And no need to feel like you’re too ‘inexperienced’ to talk about these things in regards to your writing. It’s never too late to figure stuff out within yourself < 3

    As for speaking about the 'privilege' of hetero-coded sexual experiences, honestly don't worry about that and don't feel like you're speaking from a privilege in that sense I'd say. I see so many bi and pan folk still get a load of shit even if they're in a relationship with someone of the opposite gender.

    Thank you for doing what you do < 3 Whether that's writing great LGBT+ characters or making lots of pretty girls in your stories ; )

    • feroshgirl
      July 10, 2022

      VLAD IN THE DRESS. I’d like to say this won’t all go to his head, but I don’t think that’s possible.

      Thank you ♥️ this really made my day.

      Yeah, I am glad we’re starting to talk about sexuality as a part of who you are not the things you have to do to prove it.

      Will I ever stop making thirst traps? Could I ever? Lolololol I think it’s impossible 😂

  • Ninja Pink Sex
    July 1, 2022

    Oh goodness, let’s just say that Florida didn’t hear you so we can shout together GAY GAY GAY GAY!
    Ugh, if there was ever a fowl F-word, Florida would be it. A-hem, anyways….

    I admire your writing, and how personable you make the reader feel, as though you’re speaking to a friend you’ve known all your life. I’m also in awe at how you discover parts of what makes you Ferosh, and that you are comfortable enough with yourself/the space here, to share your experiences. I think exposing who you are and sharing it with others is very courageous, so I commend you on your bravery.

    Vlad owns that dress, and it looks like Alice is about to enjoy removing it (or at least fingering the top corset). That rainbow train is EVERYTHING. Can I ride? Choo choooooooo!
    Everyone looks wonderful <3 And I LOVE how you share about your characters personal development and how that even reflects you.

    "I’m also playing around with masculinity in this story—where does the toxic part begin and end? Can you get deep patriarchy out of your bones?" Get out the bleach b/c we need to disinfect the patriarchy out of the bones. I honestly wonder how willing our society would bend to such a change. I am not narrowing this down to men but including women. I don't think men are the biggest enemies that society has to feminism and an idea of a matriarchy :\ WELL ON THAT CHEERY NOTE, I look forward to see these themes reflected even more in your writings, and just gonna stan for a moment at how much I appreciate you, your stories, and what you put out there in the universe. I stan'd you the moment you fan girl'd over Octavia Butler. <3

    • feroshgirl
      July 10, 2022

      My whole heart felt this. I mean listen, I know a certain SimLit writer who is always encouraging others to be unapologetically themselves while practicing what they preach and that person has DEFINITELY been an inspiration.

      ::whispers “I’m talking about you”::

      That Dress has watered my crops and curled my hair! Like, now I’m just trying to write a fancy dress party scene into this story so I can have an excuse to put him in it again!

      GIRL, you and I are on the same wavelength. It’s definitely not just men. And I’ve begun to wonder how much change a society will tolerate. I used to think the answer was “a lot.” But right now, I’m looking around and I’m not so sure.

      Hehe Octavia Butler for life ♥️

      • Ninja Pink Sex
        July 16, 2022

        WHY DO YOU MAKE ME BLUSH!!!! Staaaawp. Just kidding. Don’t stop. You know “no” is not in my vocab. But for reals, what you said just makes me melt in love and I want to cry. You got my eyes wet 😀 I’m not gonna say I gooped my eyes b/c that sounds too much like conjunctivitis and well this turned weird. Thank you, Ferosh. I cherish your words. MWAH!

        That dress could launch ships and cure droughts. Crops watered and rising everywhere!
        PLEASE make a gala! PLEASE. PRETTY PLEASE. PLEEEEEEEEEEASE.

        Ugh, for real. It’s like for every 1 step of progression we end up getting shooed back SEVERAL steps. We need machetes and we need to progress as though we’re in a jungle of old white men that need to be CUT INTO. America needs to pop its cherry with a woman and realize it likes that switch.

        Octavia Butler for life <3

  • Dolly Llama
    July 13, 2022

    HAPPY PRIDE!!!!!!!

    The ‘duke with reasons’ comment will never not be perfect.

    The! Outfits! Wooo! VLAD’S GOWN VLAD’S GOWN VLAD’S GOWN PEARL CLUTCH GIF. It’s also somewhat inspiring me to make more Pride gear. Do we need more Pride gear? Does Vlad need more rainbow gowns? Why am I even asking this? Of course he does. Does he need a Colores Urbanos recolor? Again. Why am I asking?

    Since I enjoyed reading your progress in self-discovery, here’s another: I figured out I was bisexual in high school overnight—literally overnight. It may have involved a sex dream about a female classmate and I woke up like “well, guess that’s that then.” Then, after learning what pansexuality was in college, I started identifying as pansexual. That was around the time when the understanding of those words was, pansexuals were open to dating transgender and nonbinary people, bisexuals were not. (Note to other people reading this comment section: yup, yupyupyupyup, i am 100% aware that the meanings changed. You don’t have to explain it to me.) Now, after some experiences it’s not safe to talk about publicly and some epiphanies that came about as a result, it’s back to bisexual. Nothing about my understanding of myself had changed that time. Just some reflection on what it meant to call myself pansexual or queer—a word I’m no longer comfortable referring to myself as—as opposed to bi. As for gender identity, I’ve never doubted that I’m a gender non-conforming woman, and spent loads of time listening to over a dozen trans/nonbinary/detrans friends and/or love interests.

    I think the point of the above rant is, so many moving parts? And thank goodness for writing for helping us navigate them.

    There are some things I want to talk about in relation to the way sexual orientation and gender identity are presented in BBD/UFV/The Strauds versus CT/Haunted, because there are merits to both. Even though the portrayal of Vlad’s sexuality changed along with your understanding of your own (which, hella cool), it still feels like the characters have always known exactly who they are, and are at peace and comfortable with it. Which is exactly what should happen in an ideal world. Morgyn can express themselves however the heck they want, Vlad can date whomever he wants, and it is all people running around, being comfortable with themselves, killing premades and causing chaos. AND WE ALL LOVE TO SEE IT.

    And on the other hand, I feel like I’ve barely started saying what I want to, but CT is focused more on the process of discovery and self-acceptance. Yuan’s a gay man with the happiest possible ending for the CT universe, but he did also only earn that ending after trying and failing to live the heteronormative life his parents and culture pushed onto him, and he didn’t realize what was happening until he’d made huge, life-altering decisions. River’s gender journey is still not over, and they will have experiences in the story that cause them to further refine their understanding of themselves and society. (BBD/UFV/The Strauds is focused on character development as well—but Penny’s understanding of herself changes from seeking what others want for her to learning to follow her own path in a way that doesn’t have to do with her being a lesbian, because she’s fully accepted that part of herself.)

    And then there are the 30 million bisexual characters. Hoo boy. We do have Kendra and Bernard, both of whom don’t seem to care about sex or gender—and then there’s Shu, who hasn’t had to self-label or -reflect because he dates women 99% of the time. But “bisexual with a strong preference for one sex” is still bisexual. I don’t see enough people addressing this, either, and I plan to. It does feel a little spicy after hearing people I admire reject the label “bisexual” because their attraction isn’t equal (Shu himself would probably prefer ‘heteroflexible’). Still! I feel like addressing this because our understanding of bisexuality is changing.

    Anyway—both types of narratives have value to someone who wants to challenge their understanding of their own gender identity/sexual orientation. Seeing BBD’s supernaturals running around being a big, gay Addams family sends the message that it is indeed possible to find peace with who you are and happiness with those you love. And I hope the stories I have to tell will hit home for people who haven’t yet seen their self-discovery experience portrayed in media.

    So, YES, I’m happy to see this post, and I’m glad you’re doing what you’re doing. Keep it up! Because it’s already helped you to see Vlad confident in himself and living his best life, and I hope it reaches others who need it.

    But then also I have one minor qualm, which is that Penny should not be dating Ana, she should be dating me. Boo.

    • feroshgirl
      July 28, 2022

      I have been meaning to reply to this forever.

      [20,000 paragraphs about Vlad’s dress]

      Yes, yes, and yes. Vlad needs more gowns. More rainbow gowns. The more dramatic, the better. Please give him the opportunity to show off those thighs 👏👏👏👏

      Yes, I think “moving parts” is such a good way to describe it. But I think it’s good to have evolving definitions of ourselves. It’s okay to take them out and shake them off and see if they still fit. And if they don’t, we should feel free to change them.

      Ooohh, I agree with you about BBD v CT (not really a versus, just different and different is good!).

      I think part of this is that I’ve written characters who are hundreds, if not thousands of years old, so it makes sense to me that they are having less discovery about who they love and why.

      But Yuan is specifically not supernatural. And his stumble into making a life that truly serves what’s in his heart and spirit is stunning. Especially when it’s placed next to Claudia who seems incapable (for lots of legit reasons) of making choices that serve her own happiness and make her feel complete.

      Okay, this River/Penny dichotomy is blowing my mind and I really have to marinate on it bc shit. I’m seeing some things that I wasn’t before…

      Kendra! My love! Bernard (hot chip, not cold)! My love! Shu “bisexual with a strong preference for sex” lolololol incredible. Also my love!

      You’re so right. The fact that there is space for so many stories (including “big gay Addams family” and “bisexual 90s office comedy rom com + ghosts”) is really the lovely thing.

      Happy pride (I knows it july but whatever, pride is always 🥳🥰😇)

      Penny should be dating you? And here I thought Ana was growing on you! (Lol also join the club!)

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