Transphobia and homophobia are major issues IRL, but I rarely, if ever, include them in my stories. My portrayals of homosexuality in the context of my fictional societies are idealized, I won't front. (I can't speak to trans* characters because I haven't written any(1), but I can tell you that I'd probably do something similar.)
I've heard it said more than once that excluding transphobia or homophobia from fiction isn't realistic, even in fantasy (which is my first and true love; coffee, I'm sorry, you're taking a backseat) and other non-contemporary genres.
I think that's horseshit. (I'd say pardon my language, but fuck that noise. ;3) To say that a world cannot be realistic unless there's some segment of society that rails against LGBTQ persons in vicious and often violent ways is absolute horseshit. I write my worlds without transphobia and homophobia because I believe that's something to aspire to, that's something societies can be capable of, be they fantasy or contemporary.
When I was younger, I was teased a lot (not viciously, but normal kid stuff). I was shy and introverted, and my escape was my books. I loved seeing new worlds where silly things like weight and clothing and that sort of thing didn't matter. It's important to have books that deal with transphobia and homophobia, but I feel it's equally important to have books that show places and times where it's not an issue.
Books that normalize LGBTQ characters, that show them as primarily a king, primarily a mage, primarily an accountant, and oh yeah, they're trans*/lesbian /bi/etc. are, to me, just as important as those that deal with the wrongs of society. That's what LT3 is aiming for, and that's why I write what I write.
(1) Footnote! I'd love to write a trans character, but quite frankly, I don't have the guts. I'm entirely and thoroughly cis-gender and I'm not sure I could do a trans* character justice. Maybe one day I'll have the courage and ability to make it work. In the meantime, I'm going to search harder to find and support the awesome work that's already out there.
Definitely go and check out the rest of the Hop posts; they're sure to be poignant and much better written than my little, non-scholarly thing. ^__^
Okay, so, giveaway. I'm offering up (1) a $50 donation in your name to The Point Foundation, an LGBTQ scholarship foundation that provides financial support to at-risk gay and lesbian students and (2) an ebook from my backlist, in the format of your choosing, anthologies included.
Winner will be picked at the conclusion of the hop using random.org. If you're reading this on my LJ, please hop over to my website to post a comment, as I'll only be picking from the website comments. To enter, please include your email address and what your absolute favorite LGBTQ story is. (You can leave multiple comments, FYI, on the off chance you forget something, but I'll only count you once. ^__^)