Why I Wrote An LGBT Satire Series: “ADVOCATES”

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I’ve been writing for AfterEllen for three years now. Over that time, I have watched, reviewed, and read a staggering amount of straight-created gay content. Shitty, depressing, trite, repetitive films and TV shows that exploit LGBT audiences with inane, overwhelmingly tragic characters. If I hear one more Home Depot joke, I will scream. If I see one more lesbian being raped, I will scream. If I watch one more coming of age story riddled with cliches and self-loathing melodrama, I will put my fist through the goddamn wall.

I’m done watching straight actresses play lesbians who sob over a straight girl. No, really, I’m done. I don’t care how beautiful the sex scenes are. I’ll write my own beautiful sex scenes that don’t end with rejection, tears, and death. Check it.

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There are exceptions. Wonderful exceptions. Will and Grace brought us confident gay characters with rapid-fire wit and a devilish mix of high and low-brow humor. The internet has broken down walls and renders many gatekeepers obsolete, giving us shows like Transparent and Orange is the New Black. Shows that inspired me to write something that reflected the world as I see it. So I decided to take a shot and make my own show. It’s a satirical comedy called ADVOCATES that’s set in a dysfunctional gay nonprofit called GULPTAB. I wanted to write a show that I would watch and not take issue with. This meant some massive rules:

All LGBTQ characters are LGBTQ people

Of my four leads, three are gay and one is pansexual. All other characters follow the same rules, and we have a majority lesbian crew. Then, just to really make my point, the first episode features an actress who loves the attention that comes from playing a suicidal lesbian so much, she decided to stage a fake coming out.

Yeah. I went there.

Diversity is demanded

If I’m asking for gay representation, I should bring forth other kinds of representation. Three out of four of the leads in ADVOCATES are queer people of color (Chinese, Chilean, and Mexican). One of the biggest supporting characters, Victor, is played by a Kingston Farady, a proud black transman. Minorities need to stand together and support each other. Oh, and they’re all hot. Just throwing that out there.

No Gayngst

No one in ADVOCATES is upset about being gay, queer, bi, or pan. My characters are not interesting because they are gay. They are interesting people who happen to be queer and inhabit the LGBTQ landscape. If you’re looking for a tearful coming out story, ADVOCATES is not what you’re looking for. Fortunately, there are many other options.

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Death to gay tropes

I hate cheesy tropes so much I wrote a whole episode called “Tropes.” In it, our advocates confront the straight dude showrunner of a popular teen dystopian show after he pointlessly kills off a lesbian lead. If you’ve ever wanted to yell at the writers of a show that kills off gay girls for no good reason, I wrote a whole sequence for you to live vicariously through. Any similarities to any person, place, or thing are purely coincidental.

Nothing is sacred

Given the choice between possibly causing others discomfort or censoring my writing until it becomes a banal blob of mediocrity and political correctness, I choose the former. The queer community is triumphant and absurd, empowering and occasionally perilous. It is beautiful and fierce and filled with debate and disagreement. That’s what makes it so fun. I didn’t want to write about perfect people overcoming hate in the face of all odds. That’s a cool story, but it’s been told. ADVOCATES’ gay characters are comfortable enough in their own skin to make fun of themselves. I think that’s important, in its own way. And let’s be real: there’s a lot to make fun of.

Most of all, I wrote this show because I love being funny. It’s the best thing about me. If you think you might like ADVOCATES or just want to see something different, join us by supporting the crowdfunding campaign. It won’t happen without you. There are perks at every donation tier, starting at $5.

Advocates will shoot in November and air in January. Every week, the new episode will premiere on AfterEllen. I will be recapping my own show for AfterEllen with the class and decorum you as readers have come to expect from me.

I don’t feel entitled to success, but I sure would like a shot at saying something.

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