Gay characters in books.

I started to think about this the other day: are there any gay characters in literature that I, the deer in the head lights heterosexual female, have probably overlooked or just missed because I am clueless.
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Paging Mattmcl , Sampiro & Espirit and the rest of the Gay Doper Brigade

In George R. R. Martin’s series you have Loras Tyrell, Renly Baratheon, and possibly a whole host of others. The debate about who has what sexual orientations ran for 700+ posts at the aSoIaF message board.

Overlooked? Well, there are Caspar Guttman, Wilmer, and Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon.

The Kid in Dhalgren is bisexual, but that’s hard to miss.

There’s a gay character my novels (see my sig), but I’m the only one who knows that, since I never had a chance to bring up the subject.

How about the green and blue dragon riders of pern? Starts out subtle then in later books more obvious.

Obviously, Vanyel Ashkevron in Lackey’s The Last Herald-Mage series. He IS the main character, after all…

The first openly/identifiably gay character I can think of in literature is Brunetto Latini, the Sodomite in Dante’s Inferno. He is in hell, but portrayed very sympathetically as a great teacher who pleads to be remembered for his books. In life he was a beloved teacher by the Narrator of the Inferno.

Shirley, are you looking for characters that are subtextually gay (and that you might have missed the subtext on), or novels that feature gay characters? If it’s the latter, may I as a fellow het female refer you to:

E.M. Forster’s Maurice (the Merchant-Ivory movie is better than the book).

James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Bedroom.

And there’s always Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited

Thanks – I was trying to ask her the same question, but the hamsters are in revolt. If it’s the latter, I have a nice list of SF/F recs.

I have never agreed with the interpretation of David and Jonathan from the OT as gay lovers (I think the “beyond the love of women” line is basically translatable as “I would rather spend time with you than with a beautiful woman”- not necessarily sexual or romantic, but more like two cowboys who each have wives but still like to go hunting together on Brokeb

Ah well, anyway- while I really don’t accept David & Jonathan as gay, there’s more evidence for Achilles & Patroklos, which may make them the first (at least subtextually) gay characters in western literature. (Gilgamesh and Enkidu have also been posited as lovers, as have Ruth and Naomi, though I don’t really see either of those as such either.)

I think Estelle from Great Expectations was a big ol’ mo-gal myself, but could be wrong.

Yay, another Misty fan!

And in her other Valdemar books, you have Firesong, Silverfox (I think he’s bi, though), Keren, Sherill (another one who’s bi), Ylsa, etc. Though the last three are more minor characters.

Lackey is great for homosexual characters.

It is implied that Nick, the narrator of The Great Gatsby, is gay.

Pretty much any male character in Anne Rice’s vampire novels is gay, but that’s not exactly subtext.

As far as subtext goes, characters I always had a feeling were gay:

Ashley Wilkes (Gone With the Wind)

Sancho Panza (Don Quixote)

Sir Toby Belch (Twelfth Night)

I think you can make a pretty strong argument that Sebastian, in Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” is gay.

Lots of the vampires and lyncanthropes in Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake books are gay or bi.

A Matter of Oaths by Helen Wright has a gay male major character, a mysterious man with ( artificial ) amnesia. Much of the plot is due to a gay love affair gone wrong.

IIRC Northstar from Marvel Comics is gay. So was a friend of Captain America’s, but I can’t recall the name.

The Digital Effect by Steve Perry includes a male doctor and his lover, the stuck-up Anton.

Aral Vorkosigon from Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan books is bisexual.

Her Chalion books have a homosexual saint, and a religious sect that caters to gays ( among other things ).

Alessandra Havlicek from Crown of Slaves is lesbian.

Stellar Ranger by Steve Perry has a male drug dealer and his male lover.

Like others have said, there are lots of gay characters in Mercedes Lackey’s books.

No subtext, but critically well received books about gay characters that were the first gay fiction I read include Dancer From the Dance, The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon (about gay cowboys, incidentally, and a really messed up book in general, but intriguing), Nina Gore Vidal Auschinscloss’s boy Gore’s The City and the Pillar (which is as dead and uninteresting as most of Vidal’s fiction and which I’m sure he’s already claimed somewhere is the inspiration for Brokeback Mountain, Will & Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Making Love- Gore’s essentially the Little Richard of Literature when it comes to “everybody copied me!” part) and of course Nina Capote’s boy Truman’s Other Voices, Other Rooms (best of the lot).

Patricia Highsmith’s Talented Mr. Ripley and its sequels (curious for their chronological oddities- Ripley is in his 20s in the late 1950s and not yet 40 in the early 1980s) featured a gay anti-hero. Perry Smith in Capote’s In Cold Blood was gay; some theorize that he and Dick Hickock were prison lovers, but the affair ended when they were released and Dick went back to women.

One more SF/Fantasy example: Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar novels featured an old magician named Kulgan and his “free servant” Meecham. This flew straight over my head at the time, but I’ve since heard the author confirm that these two guys were not living together just because Meecham made good coffee.

It’s just Room, not Bedroom.

A very early example is Teleny, published in 1893. It is often attributed to Oscar Wilde. Christopher Isherwood has gay characters and protagonists in several novels (including those in which he’s the narrator), and many believe that the IMHO vastly overrated A Single Man is his best work.

And I still maintain that Gail Wynand from The Fountainhead is a big queer.

Dorian Greene in A Confederacy of Dunces inspired Ignatius Reilly to try in vain to organize the New Orleans gay community into some kind of revolutionary army, as I recall.


Never picked up on that one.