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  • Eric Wencel

"People are just people, who need animals, and a nice place to live"

WHAT IF “HE” WAS A “THEY”?

Up until fairly recently, our human roommate character was decidedly a male in his late twenties. We’ve been calling him Mark, I’m not sure why. We’ve recently turned out attention to developing this character more, and as part of that, some members of our group brought up the idea of making “Mark” not a straight man, but as a person who is non-binary in their gender.


The first conversation we had about the idea was, admittedly, pretty awkward. Our group varies greatly in their understanding of the LGBTQ+ world. As a straight, white man, my understanding is pretty minimal, and I think it made me concerned. Not because I was against the idea, but perhaps because I didn’t think I knew how to tell a story involving a person and a relationship that I didn’t really understand very well.

I wish that this experience was similar to other challenges that our group has overcome, where we saw a challenge, put a lot of time and effort into figuring it out, and then figured it out and moved on. It wasn’t . This conversation has been slow and incremental, and we’re still working on it.


One thing that really helped was that Christine set up a time where our group met with a friend of hers who identifies as non-binary. They shared a bit of their story, their thoughts on how LGBTQ+ people are portrayed in television and film, and helped us think through what it might look like to portray a non-binary character. It was really informative, and definitely gave us new perspective.


One of the big takeaways from our conversations was that we don’t need to make a big deal out of who our human roommate is. Our story is about the monster roommates, not the humans. The gender or sexual identity of the humans really doesn’t make any difference, and we definitely don’t need to go there in our seven minute film.


Anyone can have a significant other that they want to impress - it’s a universal thing - and that makes it a perfect situation to place a non-binary person into a story.


We are definitely not trying to make any kind of statement or make our story political. Our goal with placing a non-binary character into our story is simply to normalize them. We’re all people. This character is a person. They have friends that they care for and who care about them. They just happen to identify as non-binary. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

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