Risk that a queer character was written for straight comfort assessment tool

Download as an .odt file

The following is a tool for assessing the risk that a fictional character was written mainly for the comfort of straight people. The version from 2020-04-15 is an early draft and will almost certainly be modified later.

Name of queer character and media in which they appear
Section A total
Section B total
Summary score: 30 + (Section A total) – (Section B total)

Section A

“Gay people just look like … people”

– Fucking JK Rowling

Score 0 for “doesn’t apply”; 1, “possibly or probably”; 2, “yes, for certain.”

StatementScore (0-2)
“They’re not a gay character; they’re a character who happens to be gay”
Frames queer rights mainly or exclusively in terms of “love wins,” “love is love,” etc.
Police officer, military or clergy
Regards gay marriage as the end-goal of the gay rights movement
Overtly patriotic
Has adopted children or children by surrogate
White gay man with no mental health issues
Sweater-vest or other non-threatening clothing
It would be in-character for them to say, “I’m not like other queer people”
Votes Republican
If trans, this character or their story uncritically places a high value on “passing”
“They break gay stereotypes”
Married or monogamous
Upper middle class
Encounters and overcomes the kind of discrimination that lets straights say “I would never do that”

Section B

“That thing that only gay people do? I hate it for non-homophobic reasons.”

– Old straight-people proverb

Score 0 for “doesn’t apply”; 1, “possibly or probably”; 2, “yes, for certain.” For Section B, score 0 if the statement applies, but only as a cautionary tale, a joke or a character flaw.

StatementScore (0-2)
Is trans
Has casual sex
Character highlights an intersection of queerness (e.g. being queer and Black)
Kink or fetish
Is single or has more than 1 partner
Lower level of formal education
Has difficulty with, or is critical of the police or other existing power structures
Engages in some stereotypically gay activity
Financial difficulty
In the closet, at least in some contexts
Flamboyantly gay or otherwise clearly queer-coded
Politically active in progressive causes
Sex worker
Depiction as a “good” character doesn’t depend on how chaste they are

Summary result

The range of possible scores for sections A and B are 0 to 30. These statements have been equally weighted, however there may be cases where some of them are important or even defining to the queer character in question and should be weighted more heavily.

Subtract the score from Section B from the score for Section A and add 30 for a single summary measure ranging from 0 to 60. The higher the score, the more likely it is that the character was written for straight comfort.

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The Grey Literature

This is the personal blog of Benjamin Gregory Carlisle PhD. Queer; Academic; Queer academic. "I'm the research fairy, here to make your academic problems disappear!"

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