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Gay and Lesbian Characters in SFF

Now that I’ve got your attention! 🙂

I only realized a couple of days ago that I wanted to take a stab at talking about this topic – you see, I read two books in which main POV characters were homosexuals, and not only did their gender preference not overshadow the storyline, but they were amazing characters, characters that readers, no matter their own gender preference, could identify with and like.

My question is: Have I missed something? Or is this courage from writers a new thing? I’m asking because the only other place I’ve encountered a homosexual character (before the novels) is (and I apologize for the impending spoiler) in the pages of Detective Comics – the new Batwoman (not Stephanie, Tim Drake’s ex-flame) is a lesbian, and has an absolutely tasteful, romantic dance with Maggie Sawyer (late of the Metropolis SCU division), in sight of her ex-girlfriend. I have to say, though, that I read this scene after the first book I read with a gay main character.

The first time I encountered a gay main character (last year) there was absolutely no sense of shock, no recoiling in disgust, no okay-now-that-was-a-bit-too-freaky-for-me, nothing like that. It was respectful, tasteful, lovely even. I didn’t look differently at the character, nor the book. And an instant after reading the passage, I felt this huge respect for the author, the editor, the agent, and the publisher. I mean, how could I not? We still live in a day and age where everything not-heterosexual is frowned upon by society at large, forcing people into niches that segregate them from society. Sure, the Gay Rights movement has come a very long way, but there will still be people who, when they see the title of this post, decide not to even entertain the notion of reading it.

It’s the same reason why I haven’t mentioned the titles of the novels that led to this post – the very reading of those novels may change some minds, after all. Discovering that you actually admire a gay or lesbian main character in the book you’re reading? Hell, talk about a marriage of genres! 🙂

I can only hope that this trend continues, and that more gay and lesbian characters take center-stage. SFF is, when it comes down to it, an incredible journey of exploration, isn’t it? So let’s explore. 🙂

Be EPIC!

Update 1 :

Thanks to @etherreallad (yes, from Twitter), here’s a good look at SFF featuring gay and lesbian characters. Let’s keep the ball rolling!

Update 2 : Daya reminded me about an author who had a bisexual main character (still can’t believe I forgot!): the author is Jo Graham, and the book? Hand of Isis. The link will take you to my review. 🙂 Thanks Daya!

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2010 in Musings

 

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