Representation And Disappointment

A short time ago, two of my favorite bloggers posted about LGBTQ+ representation in books. Orphu’s “Heterosexuality and Bigoted Ghosts” discussed the misconception that sexuality isn’t a thing in children’s books (and how it’s only perceived as being inappropriate if the sexuality in question isn’t straight). Meanwhile, Miriam Joy wrote about realizing that only five out of the three hundred books she owns have queer characters in “Let Me Be A Heroine.”

Excellent posts, those, and if you don’t read them I may have to do some smiting. Anyway, I wondered if many of the things I liked were similarly lacking in LGBTQ+ representation. Surely not! I mean, I’m in a lot of fandoms. Maybe not as many as some people, but ten seemed like more than enough. (I chose fandoms based on which ones are big enough to be, well, actual fandoms. For example, Suzanne Collins’ Underland Chronicles are lovely but have a tiny following.)

So there I was, adding up the number of queer characters in this, that, and the other thing when I realized that I’d only succeeded in disappointing myself. (This introduction was written last, if you couldn’t already tell.) My list is below but before you get to that, I’d like to define a few terms and why they’re not OK. The links take you to pages that list dozens of examples, if you’re interested.

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Word of God – Declaring something to be true in a story even though the fact doesn’t appear in said story. It’s technically canon (accepted, official, whatever) but it’s a really lousy way of doing representation. Or writing in general. If it were so important to your story, you need to include it in the first place. Have control of your story and you won’t need to make all these little clarifications later on.

Word of Gay – Word of God specifically related to revealing characters’ sexualities after the fact (after a series has concluded, for example). I know it says Gay, but this goes for all LGBTQ+ characters. Anyway, it’s a very halfhearted attempt at representation; better than nothing, I suppose – but why do we have to settle for little more than nothing?

Heteronormativity – The assumption that people are heterosexual until proven otherwise; the idea that straight is the default. (Nothing should be assumed! Nothing should be the default!) Most readers, especially straight ones, will assume any and all characters to be heterosexual unless there is extremely obvious evidence to the contrary. This is why any queer characters need to be “in your face,” because subtext doesn’t suffice most of the time and people keep assuming.

Experimentation – You can probably guess what this means: dating or, [Tries to be delicate here] um, snogging genders you may or may not be attracted to. It usually happens because you’re trying to figure out your orientation or you’re curious, and that’s totally OK – I think we do need more characters who are genuinely confused because it’s fine to be questioning. However, experimentation usually isn’t represented as such. It’s usually written for laughs or to be sensational. It’s just there to be thrown away. It doesn’t matter to the character.

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OK, we’re ready to go. If you want, predict how many LGBTQ+ characters there will be. Seventeen? Thirty-five? A hundred? For perspective, the Harry Potter series has over two hundred characters total – that should give you an idea of how many thousands of characters you’ve probably “met.”

Lord of the Rings

  • None.

The Hobbit

  • None.

Chronicles of Narnia

  • None.

Hunger Games

  • None.

Artemis Fowl

  • Hey, guess what? None!

Harry Potter

  • Dumbledore is gay but A) only according to an interview, not the actual books or movies and B) no one knew until after the series concluded, so it’s Word of Gay and doesn’t count. Unless you love tracking down interviews that are nearly a decade old, you won’t have any idea of his sexuality. Despite the fact that all the straight people are obvious – seriously, why is it inappropriate to tell us about Dumbledore but OK to include tertiary-character Penelope Clearwater dating Percy?!

Percy Jackson

  • None. Percy’s universe has a queer character, Nico di Angelo, but that isn’t revealed until the spin-off series so it doesn’t count. (And Heroes of Olympus isn’t listed because I haven’t been too impressed with it.)

A Song of Ice and Fire

  • Renly Baratheon (AKA the man who should have won the game of thrones and I will never be over what happened to him) is implied to have a thing with Loras. I wouldn’t have noticed if someone hadn’t told me, though. Apparently it’s obvious in the show, but as I’ve only seen maybe half an hour total, it doesn’t count as part of one of my fandoms. Also, he’s a fairly minor character.
  • Most of the girls and women in Westeros adore Loras Tyrell because he’s dreamy, but he’s actually interested in Renly. He’s also a minor character.
  • Margaery Tyrell is absolutely gorgeous constantly compared to her brother and Cersei wonders if they’re alike “in other ways” but Cersei is also paranoid and as you can see below, perhaps not the best judge of things. (In the show Margaery does say, “Some women like tall men… gentle men, rough men, ugly men, pretty men, pretty girls.” But that’s the show and I don’t want representation here and there. I want it everywhere.)
  • Remember what I said about experimentation generally not being portrayed favorably? Yeah, that’s the case with Cersei Lannister. She’s bored, drunk, power-hungry, and more than a little bit insane.
  • Daenerys Targaryen is similarly bored. And she doesn’t trust the guys she’s surrounded by.
  • Lady Taena is queer. I think. But she’s an extremely minor character and when a story is about people willing to do anything to win a kingdom, some characters could have been bluffing…
  • There are loads of characters who could be queer: Irri, Doreah, Brynden Tully, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Hother Umber, Lyn Corbray, Jon Connington, Oberyn Martell, Arianne Martell, Daemon Sand, Ellaria Sand. It really depends on how much you’re willing to read between the lines – I mean, I wasn’t aware of half of these until I did a quick Internet search. Heteronormativity is definitely a factor here.
  • Only the first two characters listed for this fandom are definitely LGBTQ+.

Doctor Who

I’m much more familiar with New Who, so I apologize for the lack of Classic Who – I just don’t know enough to talk about it. Here, have a list that includes the sentence: “[Eighth Doctor Adventures] can be divided up into ‘Fitz and the Doctor are rather gay for each other’ books and ‘Fitz and the Doctor are really gay for each other’ books.”

  • The Doctor isn’t particularly straight, but… heteronormativity. To me it seems like he’s more interested in personality than gender, and this differs with each version. Nine definitely liked Jack. (“The Doctor Dances”? “Boom Town”? “The Parting of the Ways”? Yeah.) Ten was more heterosexual, except for that time he flirted with Shakespeare and the Master. Eleven seems really queer, although I can’t tell how much of that might come from being much more socially awkward than his previous incarnations. (I mean, a congratulatory snog with the husband of another companion?) Nothing definitive has been said about the Doctor’s sexuality, so I’m not counting him.

Russell T. Davies

  • Despite appearing in Moffat’s first episode, Jack Harkness is actually Davies’ character. As this sort of promiscuous stereotype, he’s not the best representation at first but gradually becomes more complex. (I thought the subplot about both Martha and Jack being in love with Ten was written well.) And it’s nice to have representation that isn’t just gay, lesbian, or bi. He’s pansexual.
  • Davies didn’t have many major queer characters, honestly, which is sort of weird because he’s gay. Oh, well. He does make up for this by having positive, continual acknowledgement of LGBTQ+ characters. (This is more than one can say about George R.R. Martin, who tends to be incredibly vague.) In episodes as varied as “The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances,” “Gridlock,” “The Unicorn and the Wasp,” “Midnight,” and “The Waters of Mars,” the sexualities of Davies-era queer characters are represented respectfully, often, and without a lot of fuss. The Doctor reacts to a guy having a boyfriend the same way he’d react to a guy having a girlfriend.

Steven Moffat

  • The Fat One and the Thin One are treated as punchlines. Do I even need to point out how offensive this is? Apparently I do, because some head writers can’t figure it out.
  • Oswin Oswald said she fancied a girl only to say moments later that it was just a phase. (I’ve already been told that numerous times, thanks, I really don’t need your ignorance rubbed in.)
  • River Song is bisexual only according to Word of Gay. Moffat said it was in the show, but here’s a hint: when most of the fandom is utterly surprised, your hints are too vague.
  • Canton Everett Delaware III was a lovely minor character and would have been perfect representation, except we didn’t find out he was queer until his very last scene and then it was – go on, say it with me – used as a punchline.
  • Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint are SO FREAKING ADORABLE TOGETHER that I think I’ll include them in the same bullet point. Anyway. Appearing more often than Canton, they’d be the best the Moffat era has to offer, except they’re usually used for laughs and/or shock value. (And then when they aren’t, it’s perfect and half the reason I loved “The Name of the Doctor.”)
  • Essentially, Moffat’s representation is the opposite of Davies’. He includes quite a few queer characters, sometimes even recurring ones, but doesn’t portray them well. His LGBTQ+ representation is rather self-defeating because the man doesn’t seem to understand that representation is not as simple as throwing minority characters at a story and hoping for the best. No matter how many such characters you have, you do have to portray them fairly for that representation to be worth anything.
  • Four characters from Doctor Who – Jack, Canton, Jenny, and Vastra – are either fairly important characters or represented well enough to count.

Torchwood

  • Jack Harkness gets even more character development in his spin-off show, but I can’t count the same guy twice.
  • Ianto Jones is Jack’s adorable boyfriend and their subplot is actually really well-done, especially in Children of Earth.
  • Owen Harper is bisexual – well, supposedly the entire Torchwood team is – and even introduced as so within the first few minutes of the pilot episode.
  • Gwen Cooper is hot bisexual, technically. I think this is only referenced in one episode, however. (I have neither watched the entire show nor seen the episodes in order, so I’m not sure.) And I think it’s experimentation-for-laughs.
  • Toshiko Sato is an AWESOME NERDY SCIENTIST LADY and bisexual (and a very minor character in Doctor Who, yay). Again, I think this is a one-episode thing. I only know because I googled.
  • And there’s John Hart, Jack’s other boyfriend. (Jack has a lot of boyfriends and girlfriends. This tends to happen when one is immortal and outlives them all.)
  • Basically Torchwood is very queer.
  • I’m sorry for how this entire set of lists has dissolved into silliness and/or fangirling over pretty ladies.
  • Ianto, Owen, Tosh, and John make four LGBTQ+ characters. I already counted Jack for Doctor Who and Gwen’s bisexuality just seems like too much of a throwaway.

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Let’s add up the characters! Two from A Song of Ice and Fire, four from Doctor Who, and four from Torchwood and – oh, wait. Ten. Ten?!

Allow me a moment to bang my head against the computer desk.

All right, I’m back now. Ten?! This is ridiculous. Ten fandoms with a total of ten queer characters – ten fandoms with dozens upon dozens of characters each. In fact, I would estimate that Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit, A Song of Ice and Fire, and Doctor Who / Torchwood have a combined total of five thousand characters. (I was Very Scientific and googled for this.) And yet, just ten characters are like me.

Originally, I thought I could narrow it down further – how many queer ladies were there? – until that just made me disappointed. Because there’s three. Vastra, Jenny, and Toshiko. (You know Engie is sad when her sentences become. Fragments.)

So if you wondered why I adore authors like Malinda Lo, Lev AC Rosen, and Emily M. Danforth, look no further. They actually do a decent job of including queer characters, unlike some people whose names start with a “J.” and end with a “K. Rowling.”

If you read Orphu’s and Miriam Joy’s posts linked to above, I shouldn’t even have to explain why LGBTQ+ representation is important. But for the record, I’ll say: I want to see myself. I want to read about characters like myself having adventures, falling in love, fighting dragons, whatever. It doesn’t really matter. I just want queer characters, lots of them. Represented well. And I just don’t see that right now. Not when all my popular fandoms combined have three queer ladies. Nope.

P.S. Wow, I feel exceptionally gay and writerly right now – I didn’t expect this post to be as long as it is, and I had fun flailing excitedly over the cute queer couples.

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
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39 Responses to Representation And Disappointment

  1. Miriam Joy says:

    Gwen makes out with a girl in episode two because it’s an alien that takes energy from sex and therefore she saves the world. I’m hazy on details as I haven’t seen that episode (my sister censored my Torchwood viewing) but hey, apparently being queer defeats aliens. Explains a lot about Torchwood, huh?

    A TV show that has queer teens as major characters would be Dance Academy, but I’m not sure if it would interest you. It’s also heartbreaking. In the BBC show Jekyll, there are lesbian detectives (Moffat & queer investigating couples is clearly a thing). It’s also a great show, though it only had one series and could definitely have had more.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yeah… my brother was like WE’RE SKIPPING ALL THE CHEESY STUPID EPISODES so mostly I’ve watched the stuff with death and destruction.

      Whaaa? So Moffat has queer detectives in Jekyll, kind of queer Sherlock and John, and then Vastra and Jenny (queer detectives who are supposed to be the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes)? *bangs head against desk* I can’t decide whether it’s cool or stupid that he apparently writes the same characters over and over again. xD
      I should really read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I know the story, but never actually read it.

  2. DK says:

    I agree with you. I’m straight, but I believe in equality for all and the first place it needs to start is in literature and fiction. Fandoms have a HUGE impact on our lives and unless every gender (yes, even ones that aren’t male and female), every sexuality, every race, EVERYONE should get equal representation. I thought J.K Rowling’s declaration that Dumbledore was gay was just too convenient, and I strike down the argument that she was secular in her books every time. She didn’t even have black characters, unless you count Dean or Kingsley–and I don’t, because they have relatively minor roles. More power to you for writing this post!

    • nevillegirl says:

      I’m glad you think so. 😀 It’s nice for LGBTQ+ people to see themselves in stories and straight people get something out of it too; they see that we’re just normal people who totally deserve to have adventures like… fighting dragons and flying in the TARDIS.
      Although I’d rather be friends with the dragon, personally.

      Yes, I think Rowling’s representation (of minorities in general) is a bit weird. I mean, she has loads and loads of metaphors for minorities – house-elves, werewolves, giants, Muggles, Mudbloods, half-bloods, etc – but for all that talk about diversity, she doesn’t have many real-life minorities. I think I added up all the non-white characters once and got ten?? Something like that. It just doesn’t fit, considering she has S.P.E.W and all that.

      • magicfishy says:

        This has prompted me to try to count up the characters who are explicitly not white (NON OF WHOM ARE AMONG THE MAIN CAST, ROWLING). I haven’t read the books in a while, so I am not responsible for misinformation/lack of information.

        There’s…

        1. Cho
        2. Angelina (I think)
        3. Lee (not sure if this was mentioned in the books, but I’m counting it because of the movies?)
        4, 5. Padma and Parvati Patil (Probably.)
        6. Kingsley (Who is awesome, but yeah, has little screen time.)
        7. Dean? (I don’t remember this at all? But it’s been a while since I read the books and you mentioned him, so.)
        8. Blaise
        9. Um…

        Is that it? I must be forgetting someone here…

        LET’S COUNT UP THE EXPLICITLY QUEER ONES!

        1. – wind blows through empty halls –

        • magicfishy says:

          Oh and for the record I wasn’t trying to make any sort of comparison here, both lists just sort of wound up in the same post. Rowling’s representation of any sort of minority is… Lacking. (Which is why queer HP headcanons are sort of my favourite thing right now.)

      • DK says:

        Dean, Kingsley, Padma and Parvati, Cho Chang…who else? I don’t remember now.

        There’s a shocking lack of proper representation. Even if they do show gay characters or different races or cultures, they use so many stereotypes. I don’t watch Big Bang Theory for that reason. I hate the way they’ve portrayed Raj; I think it’s downright racist, actually. Even Howard. Too many Jewish stereotypes.

        As for gay characters, it’s tricky because one needs to be subtle but just hinting at someone’s sexuality by stereotype is wrong too. On the other hand, overtly shouting it out is weird, because it implies that the gay character is somehow “different” than his/her straight counterparts. What are your opinions on this? Since my next book has a gay character (no stereotypes, because I told you I hate those), this conversation might be helpful for me too.

    • nevillegirl says:

      @magicfishy: I googled it and apparently Alicia Spinnet has been played by like five different actresses (??????), some of whom were black. But her race isn’t described in the books.
      And Lavender Brown was originally played by a black girl. I have no idea why they recast her.
      So there are… about ten? Ish? (And Dean and Lee are definitely black.)
      Kingsley is the only one with a fairly important role. Everyone else is just a background character.

      *sighs* Oh, Rowling. Why must you be so awesome and yet so disappointing?

    • nevillegirl says:

      @DK: It’s frustrating. I mean, literally the only thing being gay means is that you like the same gender. If you’re bi, you like two genders. Since we’ve moved on to race too – if you’re black, your skin is dark. Of course there’s stuff that will probably pop up because of your identity (like homophobia) but in terms of people being gay because they, I don’t know, are effeminate or whatever… that’s really stupid. Some gay guys are like that. Some aren’t. It’s not a requirement to be gay so characters need to be written more diversely, with whatever personalities the author wishes.

      Yes, I wouldn’t SHOUT IT OUT. I don’t think having your character say, “I’m gay” is the best way to go about that. But have them shout it out through actions (seeming very interested in someone of the same sex) or by indirectly saying it.
      For example: straight people don’t have to say they’re straight. (Because heteronormativity and assumptions and stuff.) They imply it by making comments about a person of the opposite gender being hot, or saying they have a husband/wife, or whatever.
      No one thinks anything of it because it’s done so casually, but when you think about it it’s really obvious. So that’s what I try to do with my queer characters. They don’t shout I’M BI – they don’t need to. You can tell from their little off-hand comments here and there.
      Did that make any sense? Basically, I would just drop in little comments and have the other characters treat those quite normally.

      • DK says:

        That did make a lot of sense. That’s actually what I was trying to do. Slip it into conversation like it’s the most natural thing. Because it is. Plus, the stereotype works both ways. If you’re lesbian, you’re supposed to be some sort of tomboy? One of my best friends is both lesbian and tomboyish, but those two characteristics don’t come in hand in hand.

        About Rowling: as a kid, I used to be pretty star-struck by her but growing up I started realising her flaws. The lack of diversity really ruined Harry Potter for me. For children to not be exposed to diversity is a dangerous thing. Take me, for example. I’m Indian. Seeing Padma and Parvati get such back-seat roles in Harry Potter when I was little was unsettling for me. Of course, I’m older and better read now and I know that Rowling was at fault for this, but as a child, I used to wonder why Padma and Parvati were so ignored.

        Thank you for the conversation. It was interesting, mentally stimulating and extremely helpful. Plus, I got to talk to like-minded people about diversity and representation, which is an issue I care very deeply about.

    • nevillegirl says:

      @magicfishy: Queer HP headcanons are the best. And they fit so well into the story, too. I can’t understand why she didn’t include them…

      Here, if you want something nerdy and pretty academic, this was one of the first search results when I googled ‘HP and race.” http://internal.psychology.illinois.edu/~lyubansk/Harry%20Potter.pdf

    • nevillegirl says:

      @DK: Awesome, yay. I’m glad that helped.

      Indeed. I was tomboyish when I was little, but I’ve gotten less so over time which probably confuses my friends to no end. xD

      Yep! When I was, like, ten, I basically worshipped Rowling. Either I loved an author or I hated them. I guess there are still some I feel that way about, but now I can look at a book and see a mix of good and bad, which is nice. Yeah, more diversity in HP would’ve been nice, but I don’t think the meh parts cancel out everything else.

      You’re welcome! I love writing long thinky posts and getting long thinky comments back.

      • DK says:

        I guess I feel a little let down by her. I used to worship her too, and now I feel like my hero has fallen. Of course, the woman knows how to tell a story. No-one is denying that. I’ve picked up so many pointers from reading her books. She is a genius at story-telling. I just wished she’d made HP more secular.

        “Long thinky posts”! Haha! 😀

  3. magicfishy says:

    Hoo boy, if I know these sorts of posts you’re going to have to deal with a heaping of ignorance in the comments before long. Then again, I hope I’m just being jaded. Prove me wrong, guys.

    I didn’t know that Jack was Davies’ character, but it explains a bit… He never does label his sexuality in-show, does he? I think that either Moffat or Davies called him omnisexual once, but I don’t think that they knew that it was a real identity at the time (note that I may be wrong here; I’m working off of a half-remembered interview from years ago).

    I love Torchwood, but it’s an anomaly. I’ve never seen any other shows with more than one or two non-monosexuals (let alone well-written ones) in the main cast, let alone mainstream ones, anyways. This isn’t to say that they don’t exist, but I’ve never heard of them.

    It’s worth noting that Jenny and Vastra have never shared a kiss on-screen.

    Rowling, casually revealing a character’s sexuality isn’t hard at all. Seriously. I read a Tumblr blog post on this the other day, actually (no clue where it was, though).

    REPRESENTATION IS GREAT THE END.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Fear not, my lady… my fishy? *dons rainbow-colored armor and sparkling cloak and picks up a sword* I am prepared for ignorant peoples.

      Nope, he doesn’t. Jack’s just kind of there. Flirting with everything that moves. And probably stuff that doesn’t move. Because Jack.

      Indeed. I’m sure they exist, but I don’t know of any.

      Yeah, I know. It’s annoying because it doesn’t make any sense – Ten kissed Martha in her first episode, and Amy practically leapt on top of Eleven and started making out with him in, what, her third or fourth episode? DONNA has kissed the Doctor, and he didn’t want to mate just wanted a best mate.
      And yet Jenny has only ever kissed Eleven, or actually it was the other way around.
      Oh well, there’s always series 8. (And eeee I’m looking forward to seeing Twelve interact with Strax.)

  4. MOHE says:

    I thought there /were/ queer characters in LotR.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I did once read something about Tolkien being genuinely bewildered about why people think Frodo and Sam are a couple. 😛 Every other sentence is, “MR. FRODO, DON’T LEAVE ME! I LOVE YOU!”
      (Also, that scene when Frodo goes, “SaaAaAAAAAAAaaaaam!” with that stupid look on his face. <3)

  5. Chase says:

    If I count up all the LGBTQ+ characters in all the books I’ve read, it adds up to a grand total of five. Four gay cisguys and a transguy whose orientation is never mentioned. No lesbians, no bis, no polys, pans, ace-spectrums, aro-spectrums, enbies, or transgirls (I may have missed some orientations there- tell me if I have). In fact, I never knew any of the above except lesbians and bis existed until about a year ago. So I highly approve of this post.

    • nevillegirl says:

      *sighs* *smites the world* I wish things were different. It’s one of the reasons I write, I suppose.
      Yeah… I thought everyone was either gay, straight, or bi until about… two years ago? Maybe?

      And thank you. 🙂

  6. orphu44 says:

    If we’re going by fandoms with actual sizeable followings, I can’t think of a single woman who isn’t straight. Even going into smaller fandoms, Malinda Lo still makes up about 90% of the representation for basically anything LGBTQ+. And about three books deal with the T.
    But yeah, the how-far-are-you-willing-to-dig definitely comes into play. There have been a few times when I wasn’t sure if there was a canon establishment of someone’s non-straightness, because a lot of people pull out the ‘hetero-people-with-close-friends’ or similar interpretations at the drop of a hat.
    And with the races at Hogwarts, I’m actually kind of leery of a lot of person of colour interpretations of people like Dean Thomas and Kingsley Shacklebolt counting as representation, because they’re never explicitly described (to my memory) as not being white, whereas with Angelina J.K. made sure to describe her as ‘black’ when I’m not sure she would have added any sort of modifier for a white person. So even things like her saying that Lee Jordan has dreadlocks is suspect in her mind (as far as explicit representation/her intent are concerned) because J.K.’s really centered on white/straight/etc. people as the default.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Well, Doctor Who does have a huge fandom. But Vastra and Jenny are very minor characters, and they haven’t been in many episodes. (I think series eight will have their fifth?)
      Yeah, that’s always annoying. Of course two people of the same gender can be very close friends, but when there otherwise wouldn’t be any LGBTQ+ representation (even in subtext) it’s annoying when people say, “Well no, they’re just friends.” Rrrgh. There are already more than enough straight people, thank you very much.
      No no, Dean and Kingsley are definitely black. The first time Dean is mentioned it’s said so, and the same with Kingsley. With Lee Jordan, though, that might have been open to interpretation. It does say he has dreadlocks, but I honestly can’t remember if it tells us his race. I’ll have to check that…

      • orphu44 says:

        I think when I wrote that I was either thinking that that didn’t count because I hadn’t got to Vastra and Jenny yet, or else because I don’t consider myself sufficiently up on Doctor Who to consider it a proper fandom for me. More likely the latter, since Doctor Who has got small roles like the woman who was possessed in Midnight, and the elderly couple in Gridlock, although those were more minor than even Vastra and Jenny (from my understanding of them, at least).
        Yeah – of course I want good platonic relationships between people of the same gender as well, but I don’t want to have to choose between having storylines without romance forced in and having storylines with non-straight representation. I mean, LGBTQ+ and platonic relationships aren’t by any means mutually exclusive, especially when you consider aro representation.
        I stand corrected on Kingsley Shacklebolt, but I’ve just spent the past goodness knows how long looking through the first book and as far as I can tell the first time Dean’s mentioned he isn’t described at all. It’s just a passing mention of Dean’s football posters, as a contrast for Quidditch.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Jack was a queer major character but… barely saw him. And he hasn’t been on the show at all since the series four specials, and just barely then anyway. I’m hoping he’ll come back, if anything just so the writers can explain Twelve. Because Peter Capaldi also played Caecilius from “The Fires of Pompeii” and Frobisher in “Children of Earth,” which is part of Torchwood so of course Jack was there. So it would be a good opportunity to have Jack again and it’s not like John Barrowman wouldn’t agree – he was supposed to be in series six but he was filming Torchwood: Miracle Day.

      That’s what lovely HP/LotR/ASOIAF queer headcanons are for. 😀

      It’s at the Sorting, I just checked. He’s “a Black boy even taller than Ron.”

      • orphu44 says:

        He’s not quite an LGBTQ+ woman, but yes, there is Jack. I hadn’t quite realized how little he’s shown up ’til now – I’d heard so much about him before seeing him on the show that I’d assumed he’d play a bit of a larger role. It’d be nice to see him again, though, especially since I apparently won’t see any more of him until I catch up.
        Queer headcanons are absolute treasures. I will accept any and all of them, regardless of contradiction (although there are a few I regard as closer to ‘actual canon the author just forgot to mention’ than others, I’ll admit).
        I checked again, and it only describes Ron, Zabini, and somebody named Lisa Turpin after Harry’s been Sorted, and then it’s all over. Dean Thomas isn’t mentioned at all until they talk about his football posters. So … I don’t really have a good conclusion to be drawn from this, other than the fact that Dean’s Sorting (and, by extension, his race) definitely isn’t mentioned in my copy?

    • nevillegirl says:

      Oh… were we talking about LGBTQ+ women? xD *should pay more attention*

      Really? it’s at the Sorting / feast afterwards. Hmmm. That’s odd.

      • orphu44 says:

        Huh. I just looked it up, and apparently her British editor thought the chapter was too long and ended up cutting out whatever details he considered surplus, but no one in American publishing really had a problem with the chapter’s length? Well, it would explain why I never thought Dean was explicitly described as black before, since his introduction in my version is “Ron had already had a big argument with Dean Thomas, who shared their dormitory, about football,” at the beginning of the Midnight Duel chapter.

    • nevillegirl says:

      That’s… odd. Not least because Rowling is British and you’d think the publishers would want the entire book out so they could point to it and be like, “Someone from our country wrote a thing.”

      • orphu44 says:

        Yeah – and since it was released in the U.K. first, U.S. publishing would have had to ask specifically for the unedited version in order to keep the original description, which seems a bit … weird. It’s pre-edited – why not take advantage? (And really, why would saying that someone named Lisa Turpin was Sorted into Ravenclaw take precedence over mentioning someone who would be an actual recurring character?)

  7. wondrousadventurer says:

    That comment on Eight and Fitz though… perfect. That’s one of my favorite things about the Eighth Doctor era — difficult for fans as it may be that the stories were never on TV, the writers also decided that since they were a bit more out of the public eye they could do WHATEVER THEY WANTED. From the comics and books alone I can think of 4 explicitly queer characters (Sam Jones, Fitz Kreiner, Izzy Sinclair, Fey Truscott-Sade…) — as well as all the times people who didn’t know the Doctor just naturally assumed that the man running around in the Oscar Wilde-esque clothing might share certain… other things… in common with the writer. (Not to mention that time in the audios when ey talked about wearing dresses — Eight pays zero attention to your gender norms.) Not to mention the other sort of representation in companions with successful Indian/Pakistani businesswoman Anji Kapoor. And taking the chance to actively discuss things like the Doctor’s sexuality and gender being different from humans. Sam (who’s remarkably close to the Doctor, seeing as she’s the only companion I can think of besides River Song to whom the Doctor revealed eir real name…) calls people out on assuming a cishet stance when analyzing em, pretty much saying outright that the Doctor is genderqueer and probably asexual. Heck, not only was she personally bi, but she was an LGBTQIA+ rights activist who cared about zero for things like the gender binary.

    It’s probably the best case of representation done right I can think of in… well, anything, but specifically Doctor Who. It’s just a shame that it was in quite probably the least popular era, and a lot has been forgotten about because fans of the new series exclusively have taken over with things like their cishet-Doctor/Rose shipping (I mean honestly, if you have to… why not cute queerplatonic shipping with Rose and a genderqueer Doctor? …especially Nine can you imagine cute little agender Nine or something getting dragged into watching movies with blankets and popcorn and ending up snuggling with Rose and not knowing how exactly that happened but just sort of accepting it and I mean, I don’t really even like Rose Tyler much but I cOULD TOTALLY GET BEHIND THAT but noooo it has to be a straight romance between an alien whose species literally has no need for gender and I just…???).

    But I suppose maybe that’s why they were able to do it. It’s an unfortunately smaller audience that’s interested in the queer side of Who, I think. But a part of me will always be elated by the fact that, no matter which way the show takes things, even if representation stays as haphazard as it is now, there will always be this happy little queer oasis from the late nineties until the show started up again where Eight and eir companions ran around not caring about sexuality and gender and yet doing a heck of a better job of portraying them positively than the people who do. Happy, romantically oblivious, quite probably ace/aro/agender Doctor prancing around with bi, heteroflexible, and lesbian companions and generally being adorable about it. Teenage lesbian companions realizing this and finding a safe, happy environment to come out (– and a girlfriend!) Historically straight male companions going “…go figure, I’m in love with… well, someone who’s not a girl…” and deciding that means protecting them with their life and devoting yourself to someone else even if they respond in a way you’re not used to, because love. No drama about it, just… LOVE. Oblivious, sweet, well-meaning Doctor running around and blessing everyone with innumerable hugs and kisses because ey just platonically loves EVERYONE and that’s what you do with friends right? and having to be explicitly told that “you’re quite attractive and that’s somewhat problematic when you keep embracing people with boyfriends…” because eir kind of love is different than everyone else’s. And then eir companions accepting and embracing this so they just prepare themselves for squeezes and snogging whenever Eight gets excited and give em back-rubs just because ey loves touch and snuggling and… ahsdjaklfsafskl respectful queer TARDIS teams.

    It happened once. Maybe it can happen again.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ack, I missed this! I suppose the spam filter yanked it out because of length. Oh well.

      Anyway. I’ll have to try some of the Doctor Who books, EDAs or not. (Nine’s “Only Human” looked good…) Because one can never have enough canon queer characters.

      I definitely agree about a Rose/Nine QPR. 😀

  8. I’m noticing a lot of nice discussions going on here, so I’m not going to contribute, because I’d just be agreeing.

    I loved the inclusion of the married lesbians in Doctor Who’s Gridlock! It gave the episode so much character (I found that was quite a dry episode, as you can probably tell).
    I generally like the LQBTQ stuff in Doctor Who and Torchwood.
    I find it quite hard to write LGBTQ characters without that being their plotline, and I wonder if other authors think the same.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I know, I’m really pleased with it. Of course, I might get nasty comments eventually; I’ve had about fifteen for my Nico di Angelo post.

      Yes, that wasn’t the most interesting episode. But the lesbians did make it different. 😀 Davies has a lot of “blink and you’ll miss it” representation. (Wait – does this mean they’re Weeping Angels? Don’t even blink. I’m queer.)

      Ooh, I didn’t know you watch Torchwood too. Yay!

      I don’t really have that problem. It depends what I’m writing, though. If it’s a story about coming out then yeah, being LGBTQ+ is going to be their plotline. But most of the time it isn’t – it just kind of lurks there, like a heterosexual plotline does with straight characters (which is to say, the other characters don’t think that’s weird because who even uses the term “heterosexual plotline”?).

      • *Gasp. Mind blown.* You never know. Angels are living things. Living things can be queer. Therefore, Angels can be queer!
        Or, you know, what you said.

        Of course! It’s hardly one without the other! Actually, my father started watching it when he was in Afganistan, and when he came back, it became a ritual thing for us (since I’d not previously been old enough to watch it). Funny thing is: my step-mother’s quite frightened of Doctor Who!

        I was saying this to Miriam on FB a little while back: that – and not because I’m straight, mind – the characters that come into my head generally aren’t queer. There are occasionally changes (when I was writing the second book of one trilogy a couple of years ago and thinking of the third, I realised that the protagonist might be bi, since she’s been dreaming about the sister of a guy she failed to save [it makes more sense explained, but this is a comment about LGBT, not plot, so I’l shut up]; also my antagonist of the other trilogy is gay, but it’s not something that makes a difference, so Word of God there? I’d like to apologise for that, but they don’t even have the word ‘gay’ in their world [which makes the m/m novella pretty difficult at times]. Wow, long bracket, sorry), but most of the time I’ve seen them and, just in real life, I’ve known/they’ve acted or said something that made them at least romantically attracted to the opposite sex, whether or not there’s a similar attracted to the same sex…
        Haha, true! “So, what’s your book about?” “Oh, I’m writing a fantasy with a hetrosexual romance sideplot.”

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