Will Pterry ever give us any gay Discworld characters?

Inspired by this thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=352094

Terry Pratchett is known for exploring a lot of social and moral and philosophical issues in his Discworld novels. But he’s never done very much with sexuality or sex-related problems. Occasionally there will be a bit of sex-related extra business – a magical version of Viagra, the amours of the dwarf Casanunda, Eric’s adolescent fantasies, or the Ankh-Morpork “Seamstresses’ Guild” (300 members, three needles). But it’s always peripheral. He’s never done a plot that is really based on sex, or sex problems, or the powerful and chaotic part that sex can play in human (etc.) events. (Sex roles were addressed in The Monstrous Regiment (and in several plots involving dwarves, who have a cultural bias against sex-role differentiation), but that’s not what I’m talking about.) In particular, Pterry has never given us an unambiguously gay or lesbian character. Do you think he ever will? Why or why not?

He probably hasn’t felt the need to address that issue, what with every other dynamic the Disc has. Oh the matter of sex…I don’t even want to contemplate what Nobby Nobbs gets up to, thank you very much! (Although it does lend itself to scatalogical graffiti: Constable Angua does it doggie-style!) :smiley:

Besides, the Disc is just now getting up to the Industrial Revolution. Exactly how much of an issue was Gay Rights at that time?

There was a pair of pretty unambiguous lesbians in Monstrous Regiment. Would be interesting to see a whole DW book on the subject, though.

There seems to be a suggestion, at least in Ankh Morpork, that homosexuality is still underground. I seem to recall an offhand comment concerning the Seamstresses’ Guild, in which Mrs. Palm insists on the inclusion of Mr. Somebody from the Blue Cat Club (or somesuch), because “unnatural acts are only natural.”

Also, Leonard da Quirm has clearly been indicated to be gay, although he hasn’t acted on it in any of the books.

To which addition the Seamstresses were opposed, as I recall, because they knew competition when they saw it!

How/when/where has Leonard been indicated to be gay?

In Jingo, there’s a scene where we see Leonardo sketching a diagram for a pedal-powered ship or something, complete with muscular, naked young men working the pedals. “His hands fairly carressed the paper.”

Don’t wanna hijack this, but does anybody know if Pterry himself is gay or straight? (He’s entirely single AFAIK, but for some reason that does not seem to be a remarkable condition for SF writers.)

He is (or was at least) married and has a daughter.

I don’t think it’s “underground” as much as “none of your business.”

A related quote:

Drawings of naked young men, IIRC. And Nobby does like to dress up as a girl. And the concept of men in the Seamstress’ Guild (Hem, hem!) has come up again since then, en passant. There’s also dwarf sexuality. Don’t forget Cherry. In fact, I suspect the entire dwarf sexuality issue covers most, if not all, gay issues that would be appropriate for a story.

It’s not been ignored, it’s just not been horribly relevant to a story that I can think of. Excepting the two girls in A Monsterous Regiment (of Women).

Oh, right, that whole Good Omens thing was just good teamwork. :stuck_out_tongue:

(Kidding, kidding, very very kidding, they’re my favourite authors, please do not hurt me…)

True. “None of your business,” is the Ankh-Morpork attitude about a lot of things. Refreshingly.

I think the notion of the club suggested a sort of 19th century clandestine nature to me.

Well, as your quote illustrates, for dwarfs, at least, it’s “none of your business” (and also underground, for that matter). We don’t know neccesarily about humans.

But wasn’t there a line in “Thief of Time”, in the scene where Susan meets Death in a men’s club? Something about how this type of club (which was for gentlemen who preferred the company of other gentlemen) shouldn’t be confused with the other type of club for gentlemen who preferred the company of other gentlemen, which was in a different part of town and much more nicely decorated.

Sure, but I took that to be a swipe at the “gentlemen’s clubs” where you go in to watch wimmin take things off and show their tassels(*). There’s even a prolonged scene in one of the clubs in Thud!, with Angua, Betty, Sgt. Colon, and Nobby.

I confess, though, that I never even thought there was a lesbian subtext going on in Monstrous Regiment. I didn’t see anything more than a “band of sisters” survivors of the home, myself.

(* = except for the trolls’ clubs, where you watch female trolls get dressed)

Does ancient Greece/Rome/Ephebe count?

No, no, I think the other gentlemen’s club is definitely supposed to be for gay men. Hence the joke about the decor. I don’t think gentlemen go to strip clubs because they want to be with other gentlemen.

There isn’t necessarily a lesbian subtext to “Monstrous Regiment.” However, there are two women who are a couple.

My guess is that Terry doesn’t include gay characters because everybody else does include gay characters. It seems that if you’re writing fantasy these days, you’re expected to toss in a gay minor character along with all the other cliches. Consequently Pratchett avoids doing so just because he doesn’t see any point to it.

Two of the girls are quite obviously lovers, including the description that the way they held hands and associated with one another ‘certainly wasn’t like freinds’ or something similar to that, and the characters talked several times about starting a life together. The behaviour was so transparent that the initail assumption was that a girl had followed her boyfreind into the army… until it was dicsovered that they were both girls.

As with so much of Pratchett’s characterisation it simply wans;t made into amajor issue. They characters are gay, now back to the story.

Hmmm :dubious:

That’s pretty ambiguous though, since there are any number of passages in various books talking about Leonard’s drawings in similarly flowery terms. Since Leonard is so obviously Leonardo he probably should have a thing for young men, but I dont; think it’s at all clear that he does. Instead Leonard comes across as almost entirely asexual, interested in little else but his art.

Or Psuedopolis?

“He was quite attached to “The Shuttered Palace” Translated from the Khalian by A Gentleman, with Hand-Coloured Plates for the Connoiseur in A Strictly Limited Edition. It was confuisng but instructive, and when a rather fey young tutor engaged by the preists tried to introduce him to certain athletic techniques favoured by the Classical Psuedopolitans Pteppic considered the suggestion for some time and then floored the youth with a hatstand.”

What I meant was that, while there do turn out to be a couple of lesbian characters in Monstrous Regiment, I considered it too minor a point to be called a subtext.

Nitpick: The character’s name is Leonardo (da Quirm), not Leonard.

I don’t think he’s ever called Leonardo. Wiki says he’s referred to either as “Leonard of Quirm,” of just “da Quirm.”

His entry in The Discworld Companion is under Leonard of Quirm.