Within a couple of hours, we received several requests to add the LGBTQ+ tag. The general feeling from these requests was that even though it wasn’t core to the story, it would be helpful to see LGBTQ+ people just doing normal things, without being defined by their sexual orientation.
Today we have received a request to take it down, the reason being that it has nothing to do with the story and waters down stories that are about LGBTQ+ issues.
Where should we stand on stories like this? Should we include the LGBTQ+ tag on all stories involving people identifying as one of those letters, regardless of how much it affects the story? Or should we only include it when it is thematically relevant?
To me, the LGBTQ+ tag serves no purpose; I mean you only know that at least one of the people involved is part of the alphabet maffia because the story starts talking about ‘my boyfriend’ and ends with ‘my wife’;
I get why adding the tag to ‘normal’ stories might be beneficial, but even in those cases it’s clear that LGBTQ+ people are involved; I’ve read that story and I didn’t even register that one of the people in the story (or both) were LGBTQ+
I would only include the tag on issues where the LGBTQ+ aspect is actually relevant to the story.
I guess the question here is, if someone goes to browse the LGBTQ+ tag, what are they looking for? They’re probably looking for stories about prejudice or LGBTQ+ issues, not just any story where anyone involved happens to be LGBTQ+. Also, I think it’s better to just normalise LGBTQ+ people as being ordinary people, living ordinary lives, rather than calling them out as ‘different’ by using a special tag every single time an LGBTQ+ person is mentioned.
(On a personal level, I really liked reading that story without the tag and having that “wait, what? Ooooh, just a bi person living their life without feeling the need to explain, that’s awesome” moment.)
I’d argue that adding the tag to all stories that just so happen to mention someone who isn’t straight could be perceived as ‘othering’.
However, as I am not part of the LGBTQ+ community I can’t speak to the relative importance of being able to come to the site and see stories about members of that community just living their lives rather than stories focussing on their sexuality. Have you thought about reaching out to a relevant charity or community site asking for their take on this?
I think you need to accept that you’ll never get 100% agreement on this though and you’ll need to decide on a consistent position.
I would say only include it where gender and/or sexuality plays a part in the story. Wrong tagging or even wrong categorising can cause issues of expectations in the story.
Take this story, for example. The story is posted as NAR, the set up is a classic for entitled customer behaviour (demanding discounts etc), and yet the pay off is Not Always Romantic.
My reaction to the story was very much like those watching the Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie
Show in The Simpsons. Loads set up for an excellent NAR story, but we got something completely underwhelming. No bad customers, no awesome customers, just a bit of commentary about the OP’s relationship. And that wasn’t even from the customers.
If it had have been categorised as Not AlwYs Romantic to begin with, the reaction in the comments might not have been so bad. Probably along the lines of “quite sweet, i guess.” There would still be a few “why isn’t this in Unfiltered?” though.
I’m going to disagree with the general sentiment that this doesn’t need the tag: it does.
I’m going to quote a commentator here:
“ On the contrary - this is a perfectly normal story about a woman who happens to be bi.
That is exactly the kind of thing we should be seeing more of. Queer people doing normal things and their queerness not having to be a defining part of their life, because the people around them aren’t forcing them to make it such.
This isn’t “watering down our existence”, whatever the heck that means, it’s celebrating it. Tag absolutely deserved. Especially since the person in the story is bi, and bi erasure is a very real problem.”
As a bisexual, I agree with this person’s statement: When I browse stories about LGBTQ, it can be refreshing to see stories that would still be stories without the LGBTQ.
For example the Klingon Salesman story, which was cute as heck, debuted without the LGBTQ tag, due to the same reason ‘the relationship being queer wasn’t central to the story’
Why have a LGBTQ tag if I can’t use it to browse stories about queer folk? If I wanted to see stories where people slam bigots, I’ll search for the bigotry tag, thanks.
I’m really not sure about this.
Tagging this story LGBTQ+ is like It’s like tagging “hetero” on all stories that involve non LGBTQ+ people.
In the story, we do not know the sex of the person telling this story. Maybe it’s a guy so the two of them are gay. Maybe it’s a women so it’s not.
In fact, due to the english langage not having grammatical defining in gender, if there were no mentionning of a girl at the end of the story, everyone can read it and assume the sex of the story teller to suits what it’s wanting to.
I mean, almost every story here can happen to anyone regarding of their sexual preferences.
For the end of the story, if we want the story teller to be a woman, maybe she wasn’t be at the begining of the story. Maybe she isn’t anymore attracted to men now, so maybe she doesn’t define herself as bisexual. In fact, we don’t know anything and while we can make assumptions, maybe we shouldn’t assume the sexual preferences of anyone without knowing its part of the story ? Or maybe we shouldn’t discuss it when it’s not relevant, because we are talking about someone real, who have emotions, and maybe who doesn’t like to know this ?
Maybe the final decision for the tag should be decided by this person ?
For me, you can put the LGBTQ+ tag on the story, or not, I almost don’t read tags, I read all published stories, and I do since maybe 2013 ? So it doesn’t matter.