The sexuality of characters

21 Aug

This isn’t so much about characters having sex, but how they identify regarding their sexual preferences.  Whether they be gay, lesbian, bi, straight, pansexual, asexual, or any other sexuality in the spectrum.


I was asked a question a while ago about why I felt it was important to reveal Pania’s sexuality in my book The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider, and gently remind the reader of that four more times in the book.  For starters, that’s just the way the character is.  She’s very open about her sexuality and holds no guilt or shame for it.  But it goes a little further than that.


I remember reading some of the behind the scenes stuff from the Harry Potter films, and I recall one story about how Dumbledore was going to be given a female love interest that comes forward after he dies.  But then J. K. Rowling gave a gentle reminder that Dumbledore was in fact gay.  Unfortunately, this was never revealed in the books, persay, nor was it revealed in the movie, except with the most subtle of comments.  From reader reactions there were a few who were happy that someone who represented as gay was in the books, but there were a great many more who felt a tad cheated.  That it wasn’t fully revealed in the books or the movies.  That it was a footnote and nothing more.

I can understand that to a point, people who identify as LGBTQ+ don’t really need to be outed in a story, they should read just like any other character with their own flaws, charm, strengths, weaknesses and so on.  But it’s also important to let the reader know “this person is gay, this person may be much like you and dealt with many of the same obstacles you have in order to achieve their standing in society”.  Thus, why I decided it was important to out Pania.

There are, of course, very large differences between Pania Alow from my book and Dumbledore from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.  Pania is much more flamboyant, open, and much more of a showman than Dumbledore is.  She’s more open about her sexuality and her sexual preferences than Dumbledore obviously is.  But my hope was that someone who may be reading the book might look at Pania and think “she’s just like me, and she’s awesome, and I wanna be more like her”.

That’s why I felt it was important to have Pania represented fully in the book, giving some representation and hopefully that the reader might find a connection, albeit a small one, to one of the characters.

1 Comment

Posted by on August 21, 2013 in Fun, randomness


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One response to “The sexuality of characters

  1. TC Newell

    August 23, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Thank you for bringing up the issue of sexuality. It needs to be addressed and the issue comes up as a writer as well as his characters. There must be a time to have one foot in and one foot out, don’t you agree? Closet Space is an important tool in writing, walking to and from work, and being at work.


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