This is about writing what you are not.
I get that. Writers want to write the stories living in their heads, but they don't set out, in the vast majority of cases, to cause harm. Harm can come from a lack of information, or bad information, or making assumptions about a group of people. This is all true. From these fears comes the fear of writing the "other," writing a character who is not like the author. It can be daunting. It can make writers afraid.
There's a big however here. Most people writing queer romance these days are women. Most of the women writing are not gay men. Yet they don't hesitate in that case to write about a group of people that doesn't match who they are. They're already doing it. Sometimes quite well and sometimes not so well, but that's true of any genre.
But, you say, I don't know enough about trans* people. I don't understand what genderqueer means. I don't want to write a bi protagonist, since how do you do that without a threesome? I'll get it wrong! I can't do it!
So writers hesitate and do nothing. Here's the thing. We have a resurgence of all kinds of gay literature and we have so many more men now writing gay romance because women were brave and did it, and were successful doing it. It worked because people who were not gay men wrote gay romance. The volume of stories made them VISIBLE. Following me?
If only transgender people write trans stories, if only bi people write bi stories, if only ace people write asexual stories, these parts of the rainbow don't receive the visibility they need. These readers don't get the stories they need. They don't get the chance for people to understand, to clear up the myths and misconceptions through narrative. They don't get the chance to see themselves represented in their stories.
So, how do you do this without fear?
- Research - tons of information on the internet. Make sure you're using reliable sources.
- Ask - find readers who belong to the group you're writing about. No, not everyone in a group has the same experiences or thinks about things the same way, but you will get real information from someone who has lived these experiences.
- Read - read stories from authors whose identity matches the identity you want to write about. Again, experiences and concerns change from person to person, but you'll get a better understanding this way.
Hop for Visibility and Equality Blogs!