I role play characters in Champions Online, a superhero game. The characters I play are almost always gay, except for one character that's female whose sole purpose is ERP, or Erotic Role Play for some guy - and I find her boring as hell. The guy wants her for ERP only, but I'm sorry, she's got a character to her. She's more than just a slut, and this is what the guy wants her for.
Anyway, I find playing gay men much more engaging. The guys I play with are into character development. They're more than just ERP, but actual stories. Drama ensues often.
Last night, I brought out an old character from City of Heroes. Playing him was like slipping into an old comfortable pair of sweats - I could play him with my eyes closed. Grim has kept his distinct voice all this time, even while I create different characters for the Zodiac story.
How amazing it is for us writers to be able to create different voices for our characters! How great is it to hear those voices, to translate them to the page, to have other readers see our different people as distinct creatures with their own idiosynchrasies.
But we sometimes fall back on the cardboard cutouts (the drunken Irish cop, the mafia capo, the little old Jewish grandmother). What if we switch things around? The drunken Jewish grandmother; the Irish mafia boss? Just a little switch, and we can come up with brand new takes on old stereotypes. Stereotypes are the mark of a lazy writer.
Almost all my characters are gay, but I don't portray them as effeminate. I don't portray them as GAY in big letters. They're normal guys, with normal needs, who happen to like guys. Their gayness does not permeate through their entire character - it's the little twist in their character that makes them interesting.
I find, though, that I am having trouble dealing with them being "in the closet". Because I have this mind set about them, I think they should be more modern times than they are in the different time periods I set them at. But I know that there has been gay bashing throughout Western Civilization, where the Zodiac stories take place, especially during wartime.
It's something I need to research.