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  • This trope is linked to Unfortunate Implications. Okay, I can see how there could be Unfortunate Implications with Word of Gay, considering that it usually happens as the author's way to try to seem cool or progressive without actually having to make the work controversial or the censors keeping an author's original intent with the characters from being expressed. And then, of course, there are people's reactions in general to Word of Gay. However, the reasoning given for why there's an Unfortunate Implication blows my mind. "Because it carries the assumption that characters are heterosexual unless otherwise stated." Well, why shouldn't we assume that? To use a non-loaded example, more people are right-handed than left-handed, and a small number of lucky ducks are ambidextrous. We could probably be forgiven for assuming that most characters are right-handed unless stated otherwise in the text or for some reason the author feels the need to mention a character was really left-handed or ambidextrous. Why shouldn't it be the same with sexuality - it doesn't necessarily imply prejudice against gay/bi people in general if we assume characters are straight unless given text, subtext, or Word of Gay otherwise, simply because heterosexuality is more common, even by the most generous estimates of the LGBT population size. (Even if some of the more generous estimates of ten to twenty percent can be assumed, that's still eight to ninety percent of the population that is mostly straight.)
    • It's an outgrowth of Bury your Gays. LGBTQ people are very often excluded and treated as if they don't exist or are abnormal. It's precisely because the issue is a loaded one why people think there are unfortunate implications behind Word of Gay. Problem is, you go too far in the other direction and you get stereotypical camp gays and macho lesbians which isn't much better.
    • The better option is to make no assumptions whatsoever about a character's sexuality until you have some kind of evidence. Treating one group (even a majority) as "normal" and treating all other groups as exceptions to that rule privileges the majority group. How d'you think the NAACP would react to a celebrity who says "I assume everyone's white since we're (currently) the majority"?
      • That's not an accurate analogy for this situation, though. You can physically see that a black person is black and a white person is white. Barring extreme camp, and even then that's unreliable. you can't immediately tell that somebody is gay.
        • "You can physically see that a black person is black and a white person is white" ...in a book?
          • If I'm reading a book about someone from a background that has a white majority (e.g. American middle class teenager), then yes, I do assume the person I'm reading about is white until stated otherwise, and if the NAACP has a problem with that, they can blow me. Same thing applies to gay characters. It's not that I think that gay people are strange or abnormal, any more than I think left handed people are strange or abnormal, but they do make up the minority, so if someone's sexuality of handedness isn't outright shown, I don't see how it's unreasonable to assume they're part of the majority.
        • Usually.
      • Robert Heinlen basically gave Word Of Black for the main character in Tunnel In The Sky. Almost nobody cared, although part of it could be that many covers depected someone who was presumably the protagonist as white (and dirty blonde), meaning that when people found out they would react more to the cover art than the race itself.
    • Fictional characters are not real people. For that matter, making assumptions about whether someone is right-handed or left-handed is not at all the same as making assumptions about someone's sexuality.
      • ...Why? Either way you're making an assumption based on the most likely possibility. Why is one assumption better or worse than the other?
        • Sexuality is a much, much more personal matter than handedness. I made my comment because whoever assumes fictional characters are straight unless otherwise stated probably also does the same to real people--and even then, presuming heterosexuality for an entire cast of characters simply because heterosexuality is statistically more common than homosexuality is a logical fallacy. An author is under no obligation to adhere strictly to statistics when writing fiction. You've seen the Cast Full of Gay page, haven't you? Furthermore, the people who insist that fictional characters in any given work must be straight often just don't like the idea of the characters with whom they identify (or any characters at all, sometimes) being gay. It's as if they think that being gay is a crime and they have to defend their beloved heroes--or villains or supporting characters--from it. Gay/lesbian characters are not exclusive to pornography and niche works.
          • you make some good points(most of them), but one thing you've forgotten is that, while it is highly probable that some character in a franchise would be gay, or that gay people exist in the franchise, there is not a particularly high probability of a specific person being gay(or LGBTQ, left handed, etc.).
    • What difference does that make? The notion of any character being gay is not objectively outlandish; it's a possibility that simply goes over many straight people's heads in the absence of explicit references to homosexuality. You cannot claim that something is the creator's intention if you don't honestly know. In works that assign the first priority to adventure, romance and sexuality usually take a backseat, so it's just as likely that the creators don't even have their characters' sexual orientations on their minds. Personally, I don't try to insist that #random character is gay, but I am fed up with straight people declaring that no one is allowed to assume that #random character is anything other than straight even if we never learn anything about his sexuality.
    • Assuming that someone is straight is not the same as insisting that they are straight. Assuming is not a problem, it's when someone refuses to believe that a character/person is gay even after being told they are. As long as one accepts the character's orientation after they've "come out", it's fine.
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