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Discussion: Do We Need Relationships?

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Today’s topic comes from QSFer Heather Rose Jones:

Are relationships necessary? What does it mean for a character to be LGBTQI if the story doesn’t involve sex or romance? (Yes, this is meant to be deliberately provocative.)

It’s a great question. This actually came up at Rainbow Con panel I was on discussing LGBTY sci fi. One of the audience members asked if it was really LGBT fiction of the character(s) didn’t have a relationship or ever get together. In other words, what then distinguished the character from a straight protagonist?

It’s a valid question. My own answer is that it’s a thousand little things. The way the character reacts to a handsome man. To a beautiful woman. The memories a character accesses in the book. The sensibilities of the character. And much more. To me, knowing a character is LGBT and seeing that in the way the character himself/herself/themselves develops is enough.

So my questions for you today – for you, does LGBT speculative fiction need to have a relationship to ground it on the LGBT side? Does there need to be sex? Or is the simple fact that the character/s are LGBT enough?

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