“Ask a Priest: Is It OK to Write a Novel With Gay Characters?”

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Q: I’m writing a book, and it has two gay characters. Is it OK to write them as gay and have them in a relationship? – K.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: The answer would depend on a lot of factors.

At the start, it might be good to recall those words of St. Paul, “Whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

With that in mind, you might to ask yourself a few questions.

What would be the context of the depicted relationship? Would it glamorize the homosexual lifestyle or make the reader sympathetic toward homosexual behavior?

Or would it reflect the sad side that often plagues these kinds of relationships? Would it show the psychological baggage that leads people into these kinds of relationships in the first place?

Would it depict them as struggling to break out of their lifestyle and live in accord with Our Lord’s way?

Or, at a wider level, would the mere depiction of such a relationship reinforce the idea that these kinds of relationships are normal and common and natural?

Here you would want to consider whether the story would cause scandal, especially in young people.

You might want to take some of this to prayer and see if perhaps the Holy Spirit would like you to use your writing to focus on other topics.

For inspiration you might want to read Pope St. John Paul II’s 1999 “Letter to Artists,” https://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/letters/1999/documents/hf_jp-ii_let_23041999_artists.html. Write right and give God the glory!

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