Diverse Male Characters
When Lucy asked me to compile my top 10 diverse male characters, I said, ‘Only 10??’ There are so many great diverse characters, so getting it down to ten was incredibly difficult. In no particular order then, here are my Top Ten Diverse Male Characters from stories I have enjoyed over the years. Which are your favourites? Make sure you share in the comments …
1) Pray Tell, Pose
Pray Tell from the TV series Pose, is a ball emcee and fashion designer. The love of his life is taken by aids, his close friend tests positive for HIV, and soon he too has to has to face that test! Pray owns his grief, makes his peace, comes back strong and carries on. Such a complex and interesting character. MORE: Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make With Diverse Characters
2) Egg Shen, Big Trouble In Little China
Egg Shen from the cult classic Big Trouble in Little China, is a tour bus operator and expert on sorcery. The guy has got some mad skills in the magic department and doesn’t think twice about joining the fight against the evil David Lo Pan. Shen is an amazing older character, and proof that age is but a number!
3) Oberyn Martell, Game of Thrones
Prince Oberyn Martell AKA The Red Viper of Dorne is a bisexual character from the popular book/TV series, Game of Thrones. The Prince of Dorne is skilled in combat and wears his sexuality like a badge of honour. Oberyn cares a great deal about his loved ones. His biggest virtue is that he’s a believer in justice, sadly this is also his biggest weakness.
4) Geordi La Forge, Star Trek: The Next Generation
Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge from the space soap opera Star Trek, was born blind. Geordi frequently comes up with technical solutions and his ‘disability’ has often been a help rather than a hindrance with him turning down gaining his sight back on two occasions. His iconic visor affords him abilities that are often more valuable than sight.
5) Willo Ufgood, Willow
Willow Ufgood from the movie Willow, wants to be an apprentice magician but instead is forced to go on a dangerous quest as the protector of a special baby. There are many great characters who are also little people like the witty Tyrion Lannister from GoT and the mischievous employees of God from Time Bandits, but ultimately, I chose Willow because he’s a dad protecting a child and his ‘mothering’ is refreshing. MORE: 4 Easy Tips On Writing A Disabled Character
6) Mr Glass, Unbreakable and Glass
Elijah Price AKA Mr Glass from the movies Unbreakable and Glass, is a complex super villain. He was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a rare genetic disorder which means his bones are so brittle he can hardly move around without breaking one. A comic book enthusiast and criminal mastermind, he’s also a deranged killer. Yikes.
7) Max, The L Word
Max Sweeney is a computer programmer from the TV series The L Word. This character is trans, but sadly, for many viewers Max was problematic and not a good representation of trans men. However, this character has opened the door by way of The L Word putting out a call for trans actors to audition for future roles. A step in the right direction.
8) Captain Jack Harkness, Torchwood
Captain Jack Harkness is a bisexual character from the show Doctor. Who and spin-off series Torchwood. Jack has been referred to as ‘omnisexual’, which means he’ll also happily have sex with aliens who take human form. Jack is a flirtatious anti-hero and the first openly non-heterosexual character in the history of Doctor Who.
9) Eric, Sex Education
Eric Effiong from the series Sex Education has spawned a movement among school students with the line, “Wash your hands, you detty pig!” I even found Eric’s meme in the toilets of my daughters’ high school. Eric is loud, funny, flamboyant and sometimes shameless.
10) Walter Jr, Breaking Bad
Walter “Flynn” Junior from the series Breaking Bad has cerebral palsy, as does the actor who plays him. (The character’s condition was considerably more challenging, so the actor had to change his voice and walk with crutches). Walter Jr has a moral compass unlike his teacher turned drug dealer father. He’s a typical teenager who idolises his father until he finds out the terrible truth. MORE: 5 Reasons To Hate Breaking Bad
11) Chris, Get Out
Chris Washington from the movie Get Out goes to meet the parents of his partner. He is perfect boyfriend material: smart, polite, an all-round nice guy. That is until he has to fight for his life. Chris’s instincts are on the money and this is what ultimately saves him. Phew!
Share your favourite diverse male characters in the comments …
BIO: Emma Pullar is a writer of dark fiction and children’s books. She also dabbles in screenwriting and has won/been shortlisted for several short story/script competitions. Follow Emma as @Emma_Storyteller as she lurks in the shadows, spying on people in the name of inspiration and creativity. Buy her latest book, Paper Dolls, HERE or click on the pic on the left.
Lois McMaster Bujold does a wonderful job with diverse male characters in her Vorkosigan books (sci-fi). Miles, the main character, was damaged before birth by a chemical weapon and is only 5′ tall with fragile bones (before they get replaced by synthetic bones) on a world with a cultural fear of mutants and disabilities. His clone is fat by choice, with multiple major psychological issues. His father is bisexual. One of his father’s subordinates is injured with a nerve weapon and walks with a cane. Toward the end of the series Miles’ boss, who has a chip in his brain enhancing his memory, ends up with the chip destroyed and develops memory issues. Best of all, these differences aren’t just tacked on to show diversity, but are major drivers of plot points and character motivations. I highly recommend the books.
Will check them out, thanks!
I was really surprised that Disney had a disabled main character in the remake of Dumbo, as disabled main characters in Disney films are rare/previously non-existent. I think he was portrayed really well as the disability was obvious but it didn’t define him.
I was also surprised at Walter Jr. in Breaking Bad as he came across as a typical moody teenager who happened to have a disability, rather than having the disability define him. So thanks for pointing him out as I think he’s a really important step forward in terms of characterising people with disabilities.
One of the things that interested me about Chris in Get Out is that obviously he is black, but he’s also a male in a typically female role. The main protagonists in horror films are usually women and/or children. So it was refreshing seeing a male in that role.
Isn’t it interesting that you grow up with characters like Willow and Geordi la Forge and until you read about them being ‘diverse’ characters, their difference doesn’t surprise you. I suppose the point is that if there were more of these characters around, it would just be part of viewing life and not surprising when you’re older and reading about these things, either.