1. Jak of Hearts
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    Jak of Hearts Member

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    Unexpected homosexual heroine

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Jak of Hearts, Apr 11, 2015.

    Alright, so here's my conundrum. I've been tooling with a story, writing out peices here and there. The story centers around a female hero who is traveling with a group of others. I had not intended for the heroine to be a lesbian, however the more the story and characters evolved, I felt her more reacting to the female instead of the other males. Now obviously its my story and I can force her to be whatever I want, but this is just how the natural flow of the story ended up. All in all, this is not a big problem, my concern is that I feel realistically there will be a smaller audience that can identify with the hero, a possible narrower publishing market, and potentially backlash in the form of "Another perv fantasizing about lesbian sorcerers." I was just looking for thoughts, comments, and concerns of others about the situation at hand. For the moment however, I'm going to let her continue on her own path and do what she wants.
     
  2. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Watch 'Legend of Korra'. The protagonist is lesbian/bi and that's how the creators envisioned her being. They got backlash, sure, but they were more concerned with Korra's character arc. Write with the flow and be surprised where she (your character) takes you and the plot.
     
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  3. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Think there was a similar topic before somewhere.
    I forget who, but they mentioned their character suddenly became gay and they never even noticed :p

    Obviously, there will be a bunch of people who will read it and be like "I love this character" and the very moment they realize she's gay they'll say "I can't believe they did this! We get it, gay people exist. They just randomly threw it in there. Ruined a perfectly good story." and so on.

    It's up to you, tell the story you want to tell or tell a story you want to tell that'd be accepted by a bigger demographic.
     
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  4. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I would have thought that fantasy readers were mostly to the point where gay/straight was pretty much the same as blond/brunette. I'd suggest that any readers who wouldn't read your story because the MC is gay are readers you don't much want anyway.
     
  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    That's pretty much the question, Jak. Do you want to write the story you want to write, or are you willing to forcibly change your story to get a bigger audience? Mind there will be people who don't like your story even if she weren't gay. Haters gonna hate and all.

    Going back to the Korra example, some of the backlash against making her lesbian/bi was that some felt Mike and Bryan were just filling out a PC checklist. "Gay main character? We don't have one...uh...let's make Korra gay." was what those people believed Mike and Bryan were thinking. To be honest, while I loved Korra's character all the more, it did kinda come out of nowhere and I was thinking she would finish the series without a love interest. Which would've been cool too as not very many heroes/heroines finish their story without a love interest.

    But I'm with @stevesh on this one. If someone doesn't want to read your book because your main character is gay, then that's their problem, not yours.
     
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  6. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    So, having a gay character automatically pushes the story into "queer" section of the bookshop and the author is labeled a niche author? Publishing sucks in the States... Come to Europe! :)
     
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  7. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    I think if it has a bigger focus on fantasy or sci-fi it would be put in the corresponding section, at least in Canada.
    I found a few books like that.
    I wouldn't be surprise if most bookstores, including indigo/chapters, wouldn't really carry much of lgtb themed genre fiction.
     
  8. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    I do vaguely remember commenting that both my main characters in my WIP are actually gay, nothing wrong with that, and it hasn't really affected the storyline that much, it just felt more natural for it to be that way.
     
  9. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    I would really love to be this optimistic, but as nice of a thought as this is, it's not really true. While the backlash against this type of thing is diminishing, it is still very much alive. Admittedly, since this is female on female action, it will garner significantly less backlash and possibly be given the all clear as simple fan-service by many. If it were male on male then the reaction would be less welcoming.
    More or less this. You can never please everyone, so you may as well aim for those you wish to please. Not that I'm against the idea of abandoning principles in favor of personal gain, but as said already, female on female isn't really that much of a big deal; at least, not enough for it to be an unacceptable detriment.
     
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  10. ZYX
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    ZYX Member

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    I say make her gay. It'll be a harder to get published and the readership won't be as big, but if you're not fetishing it and portray it well, your lesbian readers will probably be really excited. I remember when the Legend of Korra finale aired, people were so excited to finally get a confirmed canon bisexual character because everyone on TV (especially kid's TV) is always so straight. Besides, most books with LGBT protagonists get shoved under the LGBT section and if you can get it into the fantasy section that will make a lot of people really happy.
    Basically, you'll have readers no matter what, and if you feel like she's gay that means you probably wrote a gay character without making her defining feature that she's gay.
     
  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I really don't think this would be a big deal.

    It sounds like you're writing SF/F? And the romance is a subplot, or even just a characterization point?

    There have been lots of gay characters in SF/F over the years. Look for books by Mercedes Lackey, Ellen Kushner, Richard Morgan, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Heinlein, Juliet McKenna, Lois McMaster Bujold, and others.
     
  12. A Fellow Stalker
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    A Fellow Stalker Member

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    I don't think it's that big of a deal.

    Game of Thrones, the most popular fantasy series in the States right now, has many gay and lesbian characters.
     
  13. Adenosine Triphosphate
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    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    I actually wondered about her and Asami as far back as Season 3, but I half-dismissed the idea because of how rare it would be to see something like that in a cartoon. It sort of makes sense, though. The Avatar can already switch genders between incarnations, so some measure of sexual fluidity seems appropriate thematically.

    (Not that all bisexuals somehow belong to both genders, but you get what I'm saying. Flexibility and all.)
     
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  14. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Adenosine Triphosphate wouldn't gender switching be transessexual, not bisexual?
     
  15. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    I think the point was that if the avatar can change gender, they should presumably be able to change orientation between incarnations.
     
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  16. Adenosine Triphosphate
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    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    That and the fact that her predecessor Aang was attracted to women, and they were connected in some spiritual sense despite being different people.

    I'm not entirely sure what I was trying to say, though.
     
  17. Jak of Hearts
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    Jak of Hearts Member

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    I appreciate the massive amount of feedback already. I'm just afraid that having a lesbian MC will cause the book to suddenly become a "special interest LGBT" book instead of Sci-Fi/Fantasy or be tossed off as "fan-service" when it really isn't supposed to be either of those things. I did want to include the romance as not so much a sub-plot but more of a co-plot (is that even a word?) so her orientation would be important to the story. I think I will keep it that way and if my book (if its published) gets misinterpreted then I'll be with the thousands of other authors whose works probably got misinterpreted too.
     
  18. ZYX
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    ZYX Member

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    The avatar is reincarnated, so they're not really trans.
    Bisexual is in reference to how she's shown attraction to multiple genders.
     
  19. A Fellow Stalker
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    A Fellow Stalker Member

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    LGBT rights has skewed greatly into the positive position over the last decade. You should be alright.
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    No, it doesn't. There are books with LGBT characters in general fantasy.
     
  21. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Lot's actually. If there is any genre that has embraced the switch to treating LGBT characters as no big deal, next, whatever, it's Fantasy.

    ETA: Even as far back as early Darkover novels by MZB, long before the digital wave of LGBT lit.
     
  22. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    It would be really absurd that over the 10,000 years of Avatar incarnations there weren't at least a few hundred thousand Avatars (I suck at math, sorry) that were gay/bi/les/trans. Aang was heterosexual, Korra is bisexual (taking the fact she had a fling with Mako at one point). Whose to say the next Avatar wouldn't be well...whatever the hell Raava decides and she isn't exactly picky/bigoted on such matters. All that really matters is that according to the lore, the next Avatar after Korra will be an Earth Avatar. The rest, frankly, is up to Raava.

    OP, fantasy as well as sci-fi have an unspoken agreement that having gay/bi/les/trans characters are seen as absolutely no big deal at all. Same goes for interracial/interspecies romance. No one cares unless you want them to care.

    As far as your readers go, eh, it's a mixed-bag. You can't please all of them. Some might think you're trying to complete a 'Politically Correct Checklist', others might not read it simply because your main character is gay. My suggestion is to write for the people who just want to read a goddamned good story regardless of who your main character wishes to see naked.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2015
  23. ZYX
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    I'd love to see them do another series with a trans avatar, but I think Nick's still years away from airing that.
    I just meant that you probably can't consider Aang reincarnating into Korra as them being trans. ( Actually, is there any decisive proof that either is cis ? Maybe we already met a trans avatar ! )
     
  24. edamame
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    edamame Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you want to compromise your writing to make it more marketable and less prone to rock the boat, that's your choice. But I think having LGBT characters in literature is important and I'd be sad to hear you didn't at least give it a try to publish as is, first.
     
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  25. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Especially since having gay characters in SF/F isn't likely to make it less marketable OR prone to rocking the boat.
     
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