May 28, 2017, 01:13:02 PM

Author Topic: LGBT+ characters in fantasy  (Read 3060 times)

Offline missjane

LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« on: April 16, 2016, 11:31:29 PM »
Hello there,

I have just joined this and the get go I want to ask question and I hope I an posting this in the right place. I am not post the 'wrong' place I hope will still help me. 

What I want to is to ask for your expertise and point me in the right dictation. See I am young writer trying to write a high/historical fantasy.

While doing some research. I started to think and ask two question, First- are there any LGBT+ characters in fantasy stories? Second- are there any same-sex marriage in fantasy? And I'm no fool there are LGBT+ characters in fantasy stories but few same-sex marriages. I want to write the story within the Medieval Era and want to ask you  what was the rules and laws on LGBT+ community during the medieval Era, as well as on same-sex marriage.

I have done my own research on this subject but most of it is generical stuff, which include the passing of the Theodosian code by Christian emperors the dark views on burning LGBT+ people at the stake. The rite of Ordo ad fratres faciendum, The 'enbrotherment' that was passed in late medieval France.  As well the  same-sex marriage between the two men Pedro Díaz and Muño Vandilaz in the Galician municipality of Rairiz de Veiga in Spain occurred on 16 April 1061.

As I said if you could point me in the right dictation so I could get the right information on the subject.

Jane xxx?
« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 11:35:46 PM by missjane »

Offline Jmack

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Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2016, 12:27:35 AM »
Hi, Jane. There are certainly LGBT characters in Fantasy, as you say. Others can list more, but I think immediately of Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books, and Sebastian from the novels by Jen Williams (these are very well-loved by many of us on this forum).

In terms of marriages, I'm familiar with one from the recent novel "A Crown for Cold Silver." I'm sure there have been others.

I'm not at all familiar with historical instances of LGBT marriage.
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Offline Mr.J

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Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2016, 12:35:47 AM »
We do already have an LGBT in fantasy thread somewhere, I'm sure a mod can conjoin this thread on.

Also I don't personally regard Dumbledore as a good example really, I like JK a lot for certain things she does, but having no mention of that during all those books and only stating it in an interview after the fact? No. Sorry, you can't claim to have representation when you never actually included the representation.

Just seems like an easy way out to me.

There certainly are examples in Fantasy others have stated with recommendations in that thread, but I haven't read them yet, and in comparison to the extraordinary amount of characters and novels that are written in the genre there is a pathetic lack of them.

Most recent example I can think of The Traitor Baru Cormorant (The Traitor, in the UK), but then that has some unfortunate elements to it as well that has been recently reflected in numerous TV shows over and over and over again currently.



Offline Lanko

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Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2016, 01:29:09 AM »
We do already have an LGBT in fantasy thread somewhere, I'm sure a mod can conjoin this thread on.

Also I don't personally regard Dumbledore as a good example really, I like JK a lot for certain things she does, but having no mention of that during all those books and only stating it in an interview after the fact? No. Sorry, you can't claim to have representation when you never actually included the representation.

Just seems like an easy way out to me.

There certainly are examples in Fantasy others have stated with recommendations in that thread, but I haven't read them yet, and in comparison to the extraordinary amount of characters and novels that are written in the genre there is a pathetic lack of them.

Most recent example I can think of The Traitor Baru Cormorant (The Traitor, in the UK), but then that has some unfortunate elements to it as well that has been recently reflected in numerous TV shows over and over and over again currently.

Agree with you regarding Dumbledore, it feels she just told that to get attention. It doesn't have any subtlety or hint like Loras Tyrell, Renly Baratheon or Jon Connington that can lead to that conclusion.
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Offline missjane

Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2016, 01:31:09 AM »
Let say thank you your responses.

And the reason of asking these question is the world is change however in fantasy/sci fi and there is still the ideals of handsome princes, beautiful princesses, honourable knights and chivalry.

And within the four months of this year LGBT+ characters have the best out.. And that is me saying it mildly. Why can it female knights saving beautiful princesses and becoming royalty. Or honourable knights rescuing handsome princes... Or honourable female knights saving handsome princes. A character called Lexa (Show: The 100) started this change in how view LGBT+ Characters in fiction.

However the story wish I want to tell is set in medieval Era and in first post what is the history of same-sex marriage, and as I said I have done some research on the subject and portray the history right like the book Song Of Ice and Fire and the TV show Game of Thrones, but my goal is to have a strong LGBT+ character(s).   

Offline Justan Henner

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Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2016, 03:00:17 AM »
Rain Wild Chronicles would be exactly what you're looking for, I suspect. Or as I like to call it, "Big Gay Alise's Big Gay Boat Ride"

Offline cupiscent

Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2016, 05:39:56 AM »
Previous LGBT+ fantasy discussion here.

In addition to the discussion in that thread, Baru Cormorant springs to mind for me as well, because I've just started reading it (and loving it). I just finished reading Karen Memory, which has a lesbian protagonist and includes a gay man and a trans woman in its supporting cast (and is set gold-rush-era Seattle-ish). Good times.

In terms of specifically medieval historical attitudes towards the question... it's really complicated. My understanding is that the medieval view of human sexuality was nowhere near as "pigeon-holing" as our current views, and indeed any sex that was not specifically for the purpose of breeding was "sodomy". Here's a little cartoon and some discussion about the matter. I will highlight from the discussion there that "there was at least one recorded gay marriage (in Spain, 12th century I think?), and there is evidence that gay sex happened and people seemed generally accepting of it at the beginning of the high middle ages."

But, of course, the big question is: if you're writing fantasy, why be concerned overly with historical accuracy? Build the world you want to tell a story about.

Offline Peat

Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2016, 07:17:28 AM »
Mercedes Lackey has a metric crap ton of homosexual characters and, if not actual weddings, then homosexual characters in mystical lifebondings. Although there might be some, I'm not sure.

I very deliberately used homosexual as I can't recall much if any trans- characters. LGB is a lot better represented than T.

Online Eclipse

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Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2016, 07:29:29 AM »
Mercedes Lackey has a metric crap ton of homosexual characters and, if not actual weddings, then homosexual characters in mystical lifebondings. Although there might be some, I'm not sure.

I very deliberately used homosexual as I can't recall much if any trans- characters. LGB is a lot better represented than T.

Does noone read my posts? I told of a transsexual character in the other thread , she was brilliantly written and awesome.

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« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 09:35:49 AM by Eclipse »
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Offline Elfy

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Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2016, 07:50:39 AM »
Anne Lyle's Nights Masque series features a bi sexual protagonist, as it's mostly set in an alternate Elizabeth England, it's something the character feels the need to keep quiet from most. Jim Hines' Libriomancer series deals in part with a polyamorous relationship. As has already been mentioned here gay characters come up quite often in Mercedes Lackey's work, especially the Valdemar books.
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Offline cupiscent

Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2016, 09:39:05 AM »
Does noone read my posts? I told of a transsexual character in the other thread , she was brilliantly written and awesome.

For those too lazy (or device-challenged) to go and check, @Eclipse mentioned The Book of Transformation by Mark Charan Newton as having a trans main character.

To that, I will also add some books that I mentioned in the other thread:
  • Amanda Downum's The Bone Palace (book 2, but possibly stands on its own quite well) has some really interesting exploration of trans characters (one main, one supporting; one trans man, one trans woman) and what that means for identity both in terms of self and the society of her world.
  • And of course Max Gladstone's third Craft Sequence book, Full Fathom Five has a trans woman as the main character, brilliantly explored in strengths and weaknesses.

I'll note in addition that there's a trans supporting character in NK Jemisin's The Fifth Season, and while we haven't see a lot of her in that book, I think there may be more about her going forward.

But for all of this, I think @Peat's point stands: LGB is much better represented than T (or I, or A, to add in the full QuILTBAG).

Offline Nora

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Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2016, 10:37:22 AM »
B.R. Sanders wrote the Bildungsroman Ariah, which is amazing, superbly told, and explores lgbt and multi partner relationships. It's an awesome read even if you're not looking for such themes, but for someone wishing to see the development of the MC, from a product of his society with normative views, to someone more self aware and embracing the sexuality that his heart dictates, you'll be very happy.
The magic system in it is also special and very subtle.
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Offline Yora

Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2016, 06:04:09 PM »

In terms of specifically medieval historical attitudes towards the question... it's really complicated. My understanding is that the medieval view of human sexuality was nowhere near as "pigeon-holing" as our current views, and indeed any sex that was not specifically for the purpose of breeding was "sodomy". Here's a little cartoon and some discussion about the matter. I will highlight from the discussion there that "there was at least one recorded gay marriage (in Spain, 12th century I think?), and there is evidence that gay sex happened and people seemed generally accepting of it at the beginning of the high middle ages."

A very important factor to consider is that the Medieval Era spanned 1,000 years and covered about 1.5 continents. You can't even give a direct answer to "How are sexual preferences and relationships in Europe today?" Spain is completely different from Sweden, which is completely different from Russia. And 50 years ago is completely different from today.

One thing that already makes everything very complicated is that homosexuality, just like racism, is really just a concept that has been around for some 200 years. Before that it was primarily about what people actually did, not about how they felt. In many places and periods you could get severely persecuted for things you've done, but those people probably would have you thrown into the same category as all sexual deviants.

Another important thing is that marriage throughout history, until recently, has always had the main purpose of regulating inheritance. To know how to split a fathers possessions among his sons, you first need to have clarity which men are actually his sons. This requires that any sexual activities between men and women are publically registered and as such you get a big ceremony that announces a sexial relationship to the community. Now any child born to that woman has a known father. But that only works when everyone sticks to these rules or otherwise you can get all kinds of fraudulent inheritance claims and feuds. Even today many people greatly encourage writing a will to get this stuff sorted out. People killing each other over inheritance claims wasn't unheard in many societies.
However, with a same sex couple there won't be any children and inheritance doesn't matter, so there is little legal reason to have official same sex marriage. And in ancient times a lot of religious law was civil law at the same time. Just because weddings were performed by a priest didn't necessarily make marriage a spiritual thing. It wasn't required that people love each other to be married or even know each other. A marriage could even be made official without bride and groom being present.

Once property law becomes more complicated and couples can have shared property, then same sex marriage beomes relevant. It would suck if your wife dies and all her stuff goes to her brother while you get nothing.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 06:12:00 PM by Yora »
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Offline Mr.J

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Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2016, 09:19:01 PM »
I'm sure you didn't mean it that way, but I don't like the idea that same sex couples can't have children and therefore the inheritance thing relating to marriage doesn't apply to them...




Offline Jmack

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Re: LGBT+ characters in fantasy
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2016, 09:22:00 PM »
I'm sure you didn't mean it that way, but I don't like the idea that same sex couples can't have children and therefore the inheritance thing relating to marriage doesn't apply to them...

I don't think Yora was expressing any opinion on the matter, only reporting his understanding of the situation and beliefs in "medieval" times.

Meanwhile, you raise an interesting plot concept. In a world where adoption is rare but acceptable, a LGBT couple overturns society's expectations by using adoption to ensure inheritance of one of partner's vast fortune.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)

 

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