TV Tropes Monday: Adaptational Sexuality as the New Black Face

Tweet of the Day: Strings of Retaliation – 6b – Mimosa


I’ve been trying to write a post about this subject for sometime, but for some reason I couldn’t come up with a coherent argument until I stumbled upon this trope.  According to the tropes page Adaptational Sexuality occurs when the sexuality of a character changes when a work is adapted to another format or media:

This could mean making a gay character straight, giving a love interest to someone described as asexual *, making a straight person gay or bisexual, or any combination or variation of the above. Sometimes a form of Bowlderization, when the change is made to appease Moral Guardians or to avoid controversy. Compare Hide Your Lesbians. Not to be confused with Situational Sexuality.

Do you see the problem? Probably not, after all we are so used to characters morphing from page to screen that we hardly ever noticed any changes. Except when the change the color of a character skin or some other insignificant detail. And no, I’m not talking about slash fanfics. Leave the kids alone. I’m talking about the professionals who should know better.  Sexual identity is a crucial part of who we are as human beings. No, it is not the entirety of our being, just like you can not define a person solely by their ethnicity, skin tone or nationality. But you can’t rub it off with a sponge either. While hiding homosexuality is not as common today as it was a few years back, I see a trend in the opposite direction, mostly in video games, where a straight character is (in a following installment) turned gay or bisexual just to appeal to a largely heterosexual female audience. It is not the characters sexuality that bothers me but the blatant disregard of a characters key trait and the flippant attitude shown by the writers.

It conjures (at least in my mind) the same connotations as black face.

So gentle readers, what do you think, am I on the right track or exaggerating beyond the absurd?

2 comments on “TV Tropes Monday: Adaptational Sexuality as the New Black Face

  1. I (obviously!) agree! It must be so disheartening for LGBT-types. Perhaps as a culture we’ve made great strides toward accepting sexual preferences outside the hetero-norm, but at what cost have we done it? Suddenly changing one’s sexual preference is as easy and as thoughtless as changing one’s shoes. We’re treating certain groups’ identities as laughable and insignificant. That’s not progress: it’s a new form of discrimination.


    • Like I said, we wouldn’t treat someone’s ethnicity, religion (something you can change at will btw), color of skin or even nationality like this, why should we be so flippant about gender/sexual identity? In many ways it reinforces the, “It’s a choice” argument which makes it even worse.


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