An Interview with Photographer & “I Married a Monster on a Hill” Beta-Reader Dany!

Hello! My full name is Daniel Alejandro Ruiz Reyes, I prefer to be called “Dany”. I am 24 years old. I live in Mexico. I love movies, specifically, the technical aspect of it, editing, writing and cinematography, which leads to the second thing i love, photography. And i identify as genderfluid and i am bisexual.

What is your favorite LGBTQ+ media? 

TV series and streaming series. Series like Brooklyn 99 and The Umbrella Academy, those are the examples i can recall for now, that have a special place in my heart, Because those were the series with the best representation, in my opinion. The former with different sexual orientations and the latter with a transgender actor and character. I’m sure there are many more, but those are the ones that hit me the most.

Why do you think it’s important for cisgender writers writing about LGBTQ+ characters to do their research before publishing any work? 

It is a must!  Research must be done  because it can help you to be respectful about what the character represents to a specific community. And to be more inclusive. If you fail in this part, even if the character has all other things, like traits, a specific personality, likes and dislikes, fears and dreams, wants and needs. it isn’t automatically great, just makes the part that is missing the most apparent.. 

Do you think collaborating with people of different communities matters to a story? 

Abso-freakin-lutely! Those interactions will always open new opportunities to understand others better and to have a better insight into what their POV might be.

“I Married a Monster on a Hill” is about Bevvy who is pansexual and August who uses they/them pronouns. The story doesn’t focus on their gender identities but more about their married life together. What do you hope to see in future LGBTQ+ media? 

I hope to see a good combination of both. How they feel about their identity and their daily lives aren’t mutually exclusive. A story with both can be done, can be accurate and considerate. I hope that the media can focus on many other types of stories that include, in a respectful way, LGBTQ+ characters.

To Learn more about “I Married a Monster on a Hill” and Dany’s work on the project check out this article!

What are some tips you would give any writers writing about LGBTQ+ characters? 

Got a couple of pieces of advice for those scallywags! First, think of any preconception you have about the LGBTQ+, make a list of those preconceptions and start to investigate, what you got right and what you got wrong. Meet people that are in the LGBTQ+ community. Ask them about those preconceptions you have, because the internet isn’t gonna hand you over those personal experiences and interactions, this will help you to have a broader knowledge and perception.

Second, think about representation and the story you wanna tell, both are gonna be interlinked. You can have a great story but be inconsiderate, also you can be considerate about representation but a terrible story.  

What are some mistakes you’ve seen people do over the years? 

Bad characterization. This goes from using harmful stereotypes, making their sexuality or identity the whole character and offensive jokes at their expense. 

Also going overboard trying to correct it. Going to the other extreme of the issue. Treating a LGBTQ+ character in a special or good way just because they are part of the LGBTQ+ and not seeing them as their own characters.

Tell us your story and more about you! What media has helped you express yourself? 

I am a simple person. It doesn’t need much to make me happy. But also it doesn’t need much to make me unhappy. I’ve been dealing with depression and unresolved childhood issues. Dealing with neglectful parents. Parents that don’t allow me to be myself, to express myself. My identity has been a blur to myself for a long time. But the image becomes clearer when i understand who i am and what I want. 

When growing up, in my adolescence, i was an outsider, but i was close enough to people to notice certain things in myself that were different. I lack an Adam’s apple in my throat and my facial features were androginous. I was “not male enough” to the standards of where i live. My parents think that not being male enough, if you are born male, means you are a woman and that is wrong. And here, being male equals not sharing emotions, not talking about your problems,not crying. Toxic gender roles plagued most of my life, this upbringing makes me feel like…there is something wrong with me, there’s something broken/missing. I wasn’t male enough to my parents (and society) standards. Then i have my own preferences. Which doesn’t align with what is expected from a “male” person. Those gender roles were imposed for many years upon myself. Until i enter college and with the help of therapy, I’ve learned to be my own person, not be what others expect of me. To define myself. To embrace who i feel i am. Sometimes i am a man, sometimes i am a woman and i still live with my parents, so there are limitations which I struggle, the lack the opportunity to explore more of my female side is one of them. But I know who i am and when i get out of here, i’m going to explore more of myself without limitations.

I would say photography has help me to express myself, although i’m not photogenic, i like to use photography to express many things that i can’t with words, like how trapped i feel in here, how i perceive the world. Also i use it to express my love for others. But most importantly, i use it as a healthy way to deal with many negative emotions i might feel.

As a collaborator for “I Married a Monster on a Hill” what are you looking forward to?

Meet new people. Being able to help and share some of my experiences. That, although not pleasant, i believe can help to bring more conscience about the importance of people to be themselves, even when the parents, the society and others say otherwise. 

“I Married a Monster on a Hill” will be a dubbed comic. Most of the voice over artists for the comic are part of the LGBTQ+ community. Do you think it’s important that the community is represented more in voice acting, movies, TV shows, etc.? 

Representation is always important, but here’s the thing, there’s good representation and bad representation. Good representation allows people that are being represented to be seen in a positive light, to share experiences and to fight other’s negative perception. There is bad representation that sheds a negative light, to be the butt of the joke, to make someone inherently bad because they are in the LGBTQAI+ community. And to not allow them to show more. So yeah, i think it is important to be represented correctly and more important, to be represented by people that are in the LGBTQAI+ community. 

Anything you’re working on now? What are some things you’d like to share with All Ages of Geek?

I’m currently studying to get a history degree, but between my classes about different topics of history, I work in an analysis of Spy x Family: Deception, self deception and what is identity to the Main Character (and other characters). This analysis is one I want to finish before the second season premieres. I have other ideas for articles. And work on my reviews for the part 2 episodes of season 4 of SnK.

I like to share some of my photos that i’ve taken in the last 3 years.

Check out Dany’s work HERE

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