I'm a soon-to-be college graduate who was recently recommended this site! I'm twenty-four years old and am passionate about literature, anime and other forms of media.
Junior Contributor I
Queer Representation: Why Straight People Should Write LGBT Protagonists
To consider certain qualities like sexuality in a protagonist as being off limits just because you’re not in the community is a restrictive mindset but a very real reality for some creators. For instance, Toshimichi Mori, a video game creator, is just one example of someone who nearly placed a gay couple at the forefront of their work but changed their mind at the last second out of fear of backlash.
Allison Burnett is another example of this, but one where he wrote a gay protagonist, anyway: as a straight man, he was afraid to let anyone know about his heterosexuality out of fear of criticism because of his novel Christopher about a gay man. "Burnett’s editor was under the impression that he was working with an important, new gay writer from the get-go. Burnett was advised by his agency not to correct him. For the better part of a year, Burnett ‘hid in the straight closet’ and let audiences invent their own image of him in their minds." ((link) This hesitance is unfortunate in the sense that it promotes gatekeeping. You don’t need to be a part of a minority to spread awareness about it or represent it in a story.
As long as the straight writer is self-aware and respectful, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to write LGBT characters. Rainbow Rowell is a perfect example of a successful woman who’s written about gay men while also being married to a man.