LGBTQ Representation in Science-Fiction & Fantasy

LGBTQ Representation in science fiction and fantasy stories have developed over many years but what are the successes and challenges social minority groups face within the mainstream? And what more must there be done to ensure all social groups are represented effectively?

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LGBTQ Is The Future

Representation of the LGBTQ community in science-fiction and fantasy stories has evolved over time influenced by societal changes. Legal battles have been fought and more and more countries are accepting people for who they are no matter their sexual orientation.

But, there are still countries which are taking longer to come around to the idea that love is love. Because many of us engage and see ourselves reflected in the characters and fictional worlds we love and adore, we wish to see characters that embrace their individuality and love who they love.

Within the science fiction and fantasy realm, LGBTQ representation has gradually become more widespread from Nickelodeon’s animated series “The Legend of Korra” which saw the main protagonist, Avatar Korra, embark on a journey to the spirit world with her girlfriend, Asami.

In the literary world, from the 1800s many LGBTQ characters were gay with lesbian and bisexual characters in the minority as seen in Sheridan Le Fanu’s (1872) Carmilla, considered the first lesbian vampire story and Oscar Wilde’s (1890) The Picture of Dorian Gray, which features both a bisexual and gay character in the form of Basil Hallward and Dorian Gray.  Representation of transgender characters was not even included at all but taking into consideration the time period, the LGBTQ community was only starting to be accepted which can account for the lack of social discrimination.

 

Change in History

Throughout the 1900s and 2000s, there was much rise in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters. From Berdine and Raina in Terry Goodkind’s (1996/7) Blood of the Fold/Temple of the Winds and transgender character Sgt. Sean Jennison/Betty in James Clavell’s (1962) King Rat. These novels were beginning to explore real relationships and took the literary world into a new and wonderful direction.

During the 2000s, the transgender character, Emily, featured in Dana De Young’s (2011) The Butterfly and the Flame has to fight for her identity after being denied her true self by her family and the dystopian society. In Maggie Stiefvater’s (2012/16) The Raven Cycle, the character of Adam is confident in his intelligence but is also shy and introverted, proving that Stiefvater is representing real people and not stereotypes.

What More Needs To Be Done?

It is clear LGBTQ representation in science fiction fantasy literature and television is growing all the time. Writers are beginning to create original characters with multiple complexities and not have their characters dominated by their sexuality.

However, there is always room for improvement as can be seen in mainstream television, such as, Marvel’s ‘Agents of SHIELD’ which doesn’t seem to include any LGBTQ characters among its main cast and even worldwide literary successes like Harry Potter don’t feature any LGBTQ characters that we know of except for Dumbledore.

The reasons for this could be a lack of awareness or be determined by the writer’s experiences and perspectives. Yet, the rise of LGBTQ representation in science fiction and fantasy are becoming more widespread every year and sometime soon, there will be an LGBTQ character in every story, I have no doubt.

 

 

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Louise Thacker
Louise is SFFN's Pop Culture Editor. She is also a second-year Creative Writing student at Bath Spa University and creator of Vegan Wisdom. As well as this, Louise is an Animal Rights/Vegan Activist and Campaigner. She is a Doctor Who Nerd and loves Buffy/Angel, The Librarians, Legend of Korra, Tim Burton films, Harry Potter and Person of Interest (Not much, really).