Kinda like @Hazel said: why are bisexual and pansexual and queer characters immediately deemed “unrealistic”? Just because they’re available to any gender of MC? People like that exist in real life. They’re not some cheap tactic invented by a writer to please everybody. They’re real and a room being filled with nothing but queer people is also not unrealistic.
And for that matter, the only straight people in my life are my parents (and maybe one of my friends, we haven’t really talked about it and I’m not sure she is but it’s her business anyway so i dont really think about it). I really don’t personally know many straight people, I usually meet a lot of bi, pan, and gay people. We are a lot more common than you might’ve been led to believe.
Another option on the subject of trying to make the story “realistic”, you CAN make a character identify as a specific sexuality and still be available to any gender. Sexuality can be PRETTY fluid. My own feelings flip flop all over the place because some days I’m like, “huh, actually, that girl’s cute… but in what way?” or “actor Eric Dane, specifically as Dr. Mark Sloan, please step on me” and other times, “if anyone even touches me I will set fire to this world myself.” I have tried out many gender identities and sexual orientations before deciding on a noncommittal shrug and a “it be like that sometimes.” (Or saying “I don’t know” twice when my mom asked if i ever thought I’d get married and then asked if I’d marry a boy or a girl) Labels are just labels. You don’t have to decide one at specific point and then stick to it for the rest of your life. The world isn’t actually so black and white, gay or straight. People are complex, feelings are hard to grasp, they don’t need to be reduced to a single word.
My brother’s boyfriend used to say he’s straight, and he IS more inclined towards woman, but as you can see by just whose boyfriend I said he is, that’s not set in stone for who he is “allowed” to fall in love with.
Doing it the way I said does make it more involved, having to create alternatives for an MC whose gender doesn’t match up with what the RO would usually be attracted to, but I honestly would find that more compelling and real than just being like “this character is straight no boys allowed” in a fictional story that you, the author, have full control over. A bigger reason I say that is, making a character one set sexuality but then have them slowly come to realize they are falling for the MC, who might not be a gender they thought they COULD fall for, and having appropriate reactions for that, it drives home a certain message: who you are is important. It’s your personality that draws people in. It’s your character and how you treat people that makes them like you. You’re not reducing the player to just the gender they chose at the start of the game.
There are exceptions for me personally and that has to do with what’s already been said: it’s about execution and balance. Here’s a scenario: I, an MLM, go to play a game only to find there are five female ROs and of the TWO male ROs, one of them is straight. Does that sound exaggerated? It’s not. And it really sounds like gay guys are getting shafted in that situation, and that’s the problem. If there’s a rather small number of ROs, I would suggest not orientation-locking any of them, but if there’s a large number, and thus more options for different kinds of players, then it might be alright.
Like in SOS: The Mortal Coil, of 15 ROs only 4 of them are orientation-locked, which means ELEVEN ROs that can be romanced by anyone. A scenario like that I don’t mind at all, because I got over any disappointment about any character’s sexuality pretty quick, cause hey look at all these others. (It helps that it sorta worked in my favor that my favorite RO also turned out to be the gay guy so maybe I’m a bit biased lolol) Er… not that I’m suggesting having that many ROs cause that sounds like a lesson in madness, but you see what I mean? About having options other than that so it most people won’t end up feeling cheated or anything because suddenly their options are cut in half just because of the gender and sexuality they wanted to play as.