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Author Topic: LGBT Fantasy?  (Read 26581 times)

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #90 on: January 29, 2016, 05:53:10 PM »
I was planning on re-reading books, once I finished the current batch... but you don't let me, you keep adding new names to my list :'(
 :D
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Offline Hedin

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #91 on: January 29, 2016, 05:59:36 PM »
I completely forgot Shadow Campaign would work in here.  I think part of the problem is that I really dislike Jane and her relationship with Winter.
Yeah, Jane is a really irritating character. Winter, on the other hand, was excellent.

Thanks for the Wexler rec, I'd not heard of that before, another to add to the list I think!
They deserve more recognition! Same goes for Powder Mage, which is just as good.  :D

I love Winter, I just wish Wexler had put her into a more interesting relationship.  I do agree Shadow Campaigns deserves more buzz, I find them to be very enjoyable books.

Offline Raptori

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Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #92 on: January 29, 2016, 06:16:56 PM »
I was planning on re-reading books, once I finished the current batch... but you don't let me, you keep adding new names to my list :'(
 :D
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Offline MJ Kobernus

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #93 on: February 02, 2016, 11:43:28 AM »
I have not read any author in the Fantasy world that has managed to create believable LBGT characters. John Irving, in his "The World According to Garp" did manage to do it. However, as fantastical as his novel is, it is not fantasy.

Of course, I will not claim to have read everything published. However, of those fantasy books that I have read, which include a main character who is 'alternative,' I am yet to be impressed, convinced, or even entertained. The last one I read was positively painful.

For me, I suspect that the reason is that people are too hesitant to write what they feel, and end up castrating their text in order no to offend.

But alternative communities are part of our way of life, our society, so their inclusion should be natural in any book, in any genre.

At least, that is how I see it.

I recently had a short story published in an anthology. This was a sci-fi anthology and my story focussed on a bisexual woman, engaged in a lesbian relationship.

I had struggled to get this in print for a long time, since few publishers were interested in an MC who did not fit traditional stereotypes. However, I got lucky, and it was picked up eventually. But I can tell you, I got quite a few rejections, one bold enough to suggest that if I tweaked the story (made the MC a man in a hetero relationship) they would consider it.

I did not rewrite it. It was good as it was.

I am all for LGBT characters, since they reflect the real world we live in. As they say, variety, etc...

Offline Yora

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #94 on: February 02, 2016, 01:10:15 PM »
I am always pretty much at a loss at how one would include sexual orientation in a fantasy adventure story that isn't about that. It's not like we're any different in anything we do except for the choice of partners in a sexual relationship. Unless you have a romantic subplot it doesn't make any difference. Or you have to actively force the readers' attention to the fact that a character is different.
Which personally speaking always has a faint trace of either being preachy or patronizing.

I don't know how to include it in a fantasy story without making the story about it.
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Offline Saraband

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Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #95 on: February 02, 2016, 02:18:53 PM »
I am always pretty much at a loss at how one would include sexual orientation in a fantasy adventure story that isn't about that. It's not like we're any different in anything we do except for the choice of partners in a sexual relationship. Unless you have a romantic subplot it doesn't make any difference. Or you have to actively force the readers' attention to the fact that a character is different.
Which personally speaking always has a faint trace of either being preachy or patronizing.

I don't know how to include it in a fantasy story without making the story about it.

Well, it isn't only the character's sexual orientation, but also how that comes into context in a given world. If you have a story set in a context where there is a stigma towards homosexuality, then you have an entirely new layer of conflict for that character. It is also important for establishing relationships between different characters, if the author wants it to be. It can be a source for character building as well.

I can understand that it may seem useless in the context of a narrative, but maybe that's the whole point? Books are filled with heterosexual characters who exhibit that trait in occasional passages, and yet there aren't any romantic subplots related to it. Sexual orientation isn't only about sex, it is about society and culture and the expectations of others. So, perhaps, when having a gay character just for the sake of having a gay character becomes less of a problem, then we may have gotten somewhere. For now, it makes me happier whenever I see one portrayed three-dimensionally, and when it isn't only another profoundly sexy lesbian couple, clad in leather and with breasts as big as melons (not that there's anything wrong with it either), that is only in the story to feed the author's own fantasies (and of some of its readers).
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Offline Rostum

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #96 on: February 02, 2016, 02:51:14 PM »
I was writing this screed while @Saraband posted. Nice to see someone who is openly gay taking part. Please tell me you don't give a second thought to writing straight characters and avoid all this angst and gnashing of teeth or is it equally as traumatic?

I do not like or understand the need to categorize and LGBT and as many other letters as you can add to it are doing just that. As soon as something is categorized it can be dismissed as either understood or that box has been ticked. It strikes me as a useful bureaucratic category to secure funding but not much more than that.

If you want a fun scenario to write up stick an equal number of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans-gender people in a room for a length of time. The result wouldn't be pretty. Just because they are categorised together does not mean they would get along, have the same ideas or interests.

People are people and it would be a good idea to write them as such. How about an idea of sexuality as a sliding scale that may shift around through life. You don't get to choose who you crush on, fall in love with or who you are attracted to. You do get to choose whether you act on it. Maybe most of us are (with the exception of the polarised heterosexuals and homosexuals) repressed bisexuals at some level.

Should authors be criticised for writing or not writing in gay characters. I think not same argument is used about not writing women and I would have a different answer. A writer should be able to create or not as they see fit. If it limits publishing opportunities or potential audience is it a risk they can afford to take. Write gay men and gay sex into your book and you may well put off your straight male market. Turn it into gay porn with a fantasy twist and your straight male market is gone.

 Writing a gay or Bi character shouldn't necessarily be about the sex but about how they interact with the world around them. How are their perceptions different, what is of importance on their priority list compared to a straight character. That’s where the interest is in reading about someone of a different sexuality (or gender. Yes I feel it applies to reading from a female perspective (for me) as well) than your own. If the character is not believable then it fails as any other character would when the reader cannot believe in what they are reading.

Offline Raptori

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Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #97 on: February 02, 2016, 03:02:01 PM »
I am always pretty much at a loss at how one would include sexual orientation in a fantasy adventure story that isn't about that. It's not like we're any different in anything we do except for the choice of partners in a sexual relationship. Unless you have a romantic subplot it doesn't make any difference. Or you have to actively force the readers' attention to the fact that a character is different.
Which personally speaking always has a faint trace of either being preachy or patronizing.

I don't know how to include it in a fantasy story without making the story about it.

Well, it isn't only the character's sexual orientation, but also how that comes into context in a given world. If you have a story set in a context where there is a stigma towards homosexuality, then you have an entirely new layer of conflict for that character. It is also important for establishing relationships between different characters, if the author wants it to be. It can be a source for character building as well.

I can understand that it may seem useless in the context of a narrative, but maybe that's the whole point? Books are filled with heterosexual characters who exhibit that trait in occasional passages, and yet there aren't any romantic subplots related to it. Sexual orientation isn't only about sex, it is about society and culture and the expectations of others. So, perhaps, when having a gay character just for the sake of having a gay character becomes less of a problem, then we may have gotten somewhere. For now, it makes me happier whenever I see one portrayed three-dimensionally, and when it isn't only another profoundly sexy lesbian couple, clad in leather and with breasts as big as melons (not that there's anything wrong with it either), that is only in the story to feed the author's own fantasies (and of some of its readers).
Exactly - it doesn't have to be a story about it for it to influence the characters and their choices.

That's one of the things that impressed me about its treatment in the Shadow Campaigns books. It's made clear in the first book that Winter is homosexual, but it's never stated outright and it's never used as something plot-relevant - it's just an aspect of her character much like any other anecdote from her history that happens to be mentioned.

In the sequels her relationship with Jane gets a lot of page-time, but their genders/orientations are pretty much irrelevant. The real story is how their disparate experiences have affected them, how their time apart has changed them and altered the dynamics of their relationship. There would be nothing different whatsoever if one of them was male and they were both straight, which is exactly how it should be treated imo.
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Offline Mr.J

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Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #98 on: February 02, 2016, 03:47:15 PM »
Edit: Deleted cos was a rant and this basically isn't an effective place for it.

In summary: If a straight male doesn't want to read fiction with gay people in it, that's a fucking pathetic situation of our culture, and needs to be changed. Maybe if there was more LGBT characters spread throughout fiction and the fantasy genre attitudes might change.

As an example, I haven't read either of Sanderson's massive series, are any of the characters (as I presume there are a shit load) LGBT in any way? I'm genuinely curious to know. :)

But this forum ain't the place to discuss this sort of thing I feel.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 04:02:23 PM by Mr.J »

Offline Jmack

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Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #99 on: February 02, 2016, 04:00:56 PM »
The good thing about "here" is we can accommodate all the povs with taking offense. Not agreeing, necessarily, mind you, but in charity of feeling.

The other night, a u.s. Network did a live performance of the Broadway musical "Grease".  Within some limits, they were certainly trying be inclusive of many different races, ethnicities that are in the u.s.  (Not color blind, certainly, but better than anything you'd have seen even two years ago). They didn't have to, but they did.

No lgbt characters, but that would have required re-writing the piece.

My point being, we should and we can. Just my pov.
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Offline Yora

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #100 on: February 02, 2016, 04:04:59 PM »
Exactly - it doesn't have to be a story about it for it to influence the characters and their choices.

That's one of the things that impressed me about its treatment in the Shadow Campaigns books. It's made clear in the first book that Winter is homosexual, but it's never stated outright and it's never used as something plot-relevant - it's just an aspect of her character much like any other anecdote from her history that happens to be mentioned.

In the sequels her relationship with Jane gets a lot of page-time, but their genders/orientations are pretty much irrelevant. The real story is how their disparate experiences have affected them, how their time apart has changed them and altered the dynamics of their relationship. There would be nothing different whatsoever if one of them was male and they were both straight, which is exactly how it should be treated imo.
That seems to me the best way to approach it. But for myself that means that sexual identity almost never shows up at all in the kinds of tales I am coming up with.
And if people really wanted to, they could still accuse me of never including any non-heterosexual characters because they assume that everyone is heterosexual unless stated otherwise.

I completely see why people say we need more non-heterosexual characters, but I don't really have any idea how I could actively contribute to that without contorting my ideas into thinly veiled morality tales.

I have so much to say in response to this post, but I can't quite bring myself to type an enormous essay out for really no purpose that will solve anything.

We need more LGBT characters in fiction, end of. We need more women, end of. We need more diverse types of these characters.

We simply do not get them, and considering fantasy is written by weirdos, writing about made up weird shit, it fucking saddens and frustrates me it isn't better as a genre when dealing with this stuff than any other medium in fiction.

One of the weird major factors that contribute to this situation is the overprotection of anything remotely resembling a majority. Fiction is full of heterosexual white males because the only accusation of promoting stereotypes you'll be facing could be about nationality. But then, white previlege overrides any right white people might have about feeling offended by stereotypes of their nationality.
If you include characters who are not white, not men, and not heterosexual, you always will be under close scrutiny. Any trait that could be regarded as negative by someone will get you accused of being racist or sexist by some zealot. Black villain? Outrage! Female character who uses her brain to trick her enemies? Outrage! Homosexual character who is mean or timid? Outrage! If you want to play it safe as a creator, only use white heretosexual men. Then people will just sigh and shrug but otherwise leave you alone.

The only sensible reply for creators that I can think of is to just ignore it. Add non-men, add non-whites, add non-heterosexual characters to your stories as you consider appropriate and ignore the cries that your portrayal of these is offensive. Though of course, that only is possible if your art is not slave to big money.
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Offline Raptori

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Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #101 on: February 02, 2016, 04:25:07 PM »
Edit: Deleted cos was a rant and this basically isn't an effective place for it.

In summary: If a straight male doesn't want to read fiction with gay people in it, that's a fucking pathetic situation of our culture, and needs to be changed. Maybe if there was more LGBT characters spread throughout fiction and the fantasy genre attitudes might change.

As an example, I haven't read either of Sanderson's massive series, are any of the characters (as I presume there are a shit load) LGBT in any way? I'm genuinely curious to know. :)

But this forum ain't the place to discuss this sort of thing I feel.
Off the top of my head there's one secondary character in the second Mistborn trilogy who is a lesbian (Ranette), and as with Shadow Campaigns it's pretty much a non-event. The only reason it comes up is that one of the (male) protagonists is in love with her!  :P I think there's meant to also be a minor character in Stormlight (one of the men on Bridge 4), but that's not mentioned either.

Other than that I don't think there's anyone who is known to be LGBT though.  :-\
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Offline Yora

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #102 on: February 02, 2016, 04:57:31 PM »
I am personally very interested in trying to portray and explore concepts of gender and relationships based on actual societies other than our own. The perception of these in western culture usually consist of only our own current model and back to the 1800s, under the assumption that it's all a linear process and that either things used to be that way forever or all relevant issues were even worse before that. But taking one of the most unequal and repressive examples of any societies throughout history as the norm is of course highly problematic. When you look a bit closer, medieval and ancient cultures of Europe and the Mediterranean region were quite modern and progressive in many things when it came to women, foreigners, and minorities. There certainly are many things we now consider severe shortcomings, but compared to the the period that lies between them and us they look surprisingly good.
I find it much more interesting to work with those models instead of directly sticking 21st century values on societies otherwise represented as highly medieval and ancient.
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #103 on: February 02, 2016, 05:54:37 PM »
I'm not going to jump into the discussion, except to say that of course I would love to see more characters that love others the same way I do - I'm even happy when I find gay men characters hehe, such is the lack of gay women...
And don't think that gay people are all the same, a "big community": you couldn't be more wrong.

But I also agree that it's up to the writer to decide what to write.

If you're a writer that feels uncomfortable writing gay characters - maybe you don't know what they do, but trust me, we're not looking for erotic stories, you can just make them look at each other in a special way, you know... - there's actually an alternative, which is to write such a close 'friendship' that the reader can read more into it if they want.
I'm thinking of two specific examples in books read recently: Nathair and Veradis, in Faithful and the Fallen (John Gwynne), and Cayden and Mieka in Glass Thorns (Melanie Rawn). I see them as being in love but not really knowing or realising, maybe someone else will just see good friends.
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Offline Rostum

Re: LGBT Fantasy?
« Reply #104 on: February 02, 2016, 06:02:41 PM »
MRJ got a notification from you relating to the deleted post, so I am guessing I infuriated you.

Quote
In summary: If a straight male doesn't want to read fiction with gay people in it, that's a fucking pathetic situation of our culture, and needs to be changed. Maybe if there was more LGBT characters spread throughout fiction and the fantasy genre attitudes might change.

Well I agree with you to a point.

Should you write gay porn and your market is gay men and straight,bi and gay women, really. The reason being is lesbian and vanilla/hetro porn is by and large written for straight men and a lot of women are not turned on by, or turned off by vagina.

If you write fantasy with gay main characters and write detailed sex scenes you will lose some of your straight male audience. Lots of men are squemish about this. It may not be what you want to read, but it is honest.
You are entitled to vocalise your opinion on a forum and probably shouldn't have deleted your post.
so due to

Quote
a fucking pathetic situation of our culture


You either write for a LGBT market or you write for a mainstream audience?
The whole catagory stuff I mentioned and dislike could  put your work will be put in a 'gay' pidgeon hole by an agent, publisher, editor and so on through marketing if it is overtly homosexual in its telling.

Or you write compelling stories that people want to read regardless of the sexuality of the characters and to do that any gay sexual acts are toned down and may focus on senses and feelings rather than mechanics involved.
I am not saying it is right of fair in any way, but what in life is.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 06:08:51 PM by Rostum »

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