About QUILTBAG+ characters, biological and nonbiological family.
(No current events in the thread! This is purely about writing and worldbuilding.)
And hopefully how to avoid unintended consequences of worldbuilding. :)
QUILTBAG+: Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans, Bi, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender, Gay and a + to cover related identities and enable further expansion.)
How many generations can be in a family? What does the usual family look like? What are the family ties: biological, social, or?
Blood ties are considered crucial above all else -
If you keep this unquestioningly in your worldbuilding, this can be a problem in unexpected ways.
The stepmother is not like a "real" (i.e., biological) mother in this way of thinking, and "inferior" easily slides into "evil".
This is biological essentialism -
Which, besides being biologically incorrect too, also shuts out a lot of QUILTBAG+ people.
Trans people, intersex people, many queer people etc. often cannot have biological offspring. Yet might want *and have* offspring. Right now & also in fiction :)
But QUILTBAG+ families cover an even broader spectrum. Spaceship found families are often 1-generational:
But multigenerational QUILTBAG+ families & interactions are also very important. (@caseyplett said elsewhere that just showing multigenerational trans interactions is so rare)
Just like families in many non-Western cultures in general (regardless of how inclusive the mainstream of those cultures is - mine aren't very.)
* Hereditary wealth
You have nobles. Feudalism!
What about the QUILTBAG+ nobles? Can their offspring inherit? How can they get offspring? Is this different from issues of infertile nobles in general?
How does this work in your setting?
But one that throws me out of the narrative even faster is...
If you have hereditary magic in your setting (which is surprisingly common in contemporary fantasy), that is by necessity going to impact QUILTBAG+ people.
I seldom if ever see this discussed and handled.
Do the QUILTBAG+ mages scramble to adopt a magical kid?
I talked previously about magic tied to gender and it is related to these points, too -
(An exception is The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag, which is a head-on engagement with this trope.)
I occasionally see it handled in an exclusionary way as a quick way out of worldbuilding conundrums.
(I obvs can't speak for all cultures.)
* It is not a good distinction to have purely environmental OR purely hereditary
* "Instinct" is a term often so broad as to be meaningless ("mothering instinct"?!)
* Practically everything has a social interpretation, biology doesn't happen in isolation.
All this can be handily shown with asides, minor characters, and so on. People have families all the time :) And QUILTBAG+ readers very much notice and reward casual inclusion.
I did not discuss negative interactions with families, bc that would be a whole thread + it is more frequently discussed.
You can absolutely write about massive biological essentialism that your CHARACTERS profess by -
But if this is not something related to your own identity, you need to think about why are you writing that story. As with any other marginalization, and as has been said many times.
* Think about families as potentially multigenerational, including found families
* Try to avoid overemphasizing biology / "blood"
* Think about whether you are going for casual inclusion or focusing on families as a theme (both are fine, and a mix too) and why.
For writing more casual inclusion, I recommend this particular one:
If you enjoyed the thread, RTs and likes are very welcome and helpful.
I will do my best to answer questions soon, but my STEPCHILD :) is almost here with the school bus. In the meanwhile...
Not "worldbuilding" per se, but this is also something to consider when worldbuilding.
(I don't think people like to use Paypal.me? Even though it seems simpler than Ko-fi, and Ko-fi is also a Paypal wrapper. I'm trying to figure this out.)
Now I will head offline for the night, but tomorrow I'll try to make a post gathering these threads (sorry, I thought I had one...)