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Which Genre Is Best Suited to the LGBT Experience?

Gay Sci FiI’ve been doing some promo work for the anthology The Bear at the Bar (shameless plug there) about bear romance, and it’s gotten me thinking about all the shades of the LGBT rainbow – gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, questioning, intersex, bears, otters, drag queens, leather daddies, gym bunnies, and so many more.

I’m wondering if, of the three genres of sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal, is any one more suited than the the others for exploring the issues around the LGBT community? I’m not talking about having or exploring LGBT characters in these genres. I’m trying to get at the issues facing the community today: difference, acceptance, legality, and assimilation.

For me, in some ways, it seems sci fi, especially sci fi that extrapolates where society is going, might be best suited to tackle these issues, although paranorma, with its sub-genre of shifters and misfits, has often been used as a metaphor for LGBT rights (see True Blood).

So in your opinion, is sci fi, fantasy, or paranormal best suited for the exploration of current LGBT issues? or are all equally useful?

I’m voting for sci fi, but I’m willing to be convinced (or to be told I’m totally wrong in that contention, and why). :)


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5 thoughts on “Which Genre Is Best Suited to the LGBT Experience?”

  1. Interesting post and question you pose here Scott,

    I think all 3 genres are suitable to explore the various gay-cultures. But to explain why, would mean to come up with a bit of a synopsis for each genre. I will stay with what I “know” most about: Sci-Fi.

    If set in the future with aliens, would they have genders like humans? And would they have sex in a similar way as us? and how would they have sex with humans? And would it “fit? (either ouch, or where is my magnifying glass?).
    Or in the future: would mankind still have body hair? and if not: then there are no bears any more … and maybe everyone is also as fit as a gym bunny, because of GM food. But then there could be a few “anarchists” that do want to be either fat and hairy …
    Or in another future there would be a pill to make people gay; as the population of Earth has reached 29 billion. And most people are quite happy, but some gays also want to have a child, or want to experience sex and love for the opposite sex …
    In deep space; just like on a submarine on Earth, or in a prison, when after years on a mission in a small space ship, start to have sex with anyone just to kill time: and then you get all sorts of problems when astronauts fall in love with the wrong person.

    I think each genre is good to explore – I’d like to think that these readers are more open to “all” sorts of the LGBT rainbow, due to the fact that they already expect (and want!) to be taken into a world that is not at all similar to their daily lives .
    With “gay-themed” Sci-Fi I have noticed not one single reader – straight, gay, bi, or anything else – has any problems with gay characters who love each other and also act upon that. And that has made me very happy and optimistic about the future of Queer Sci-Fi!


    • Hey Hendrik… I love that no one has had an issue with it! I also love that there is more and more LGBT work in these genres, including but not limited to romance. :)

      • I partly agree with you. I have found that many authors of said genres do end up romanticising, even eroticising, the stories to a degree that I feel I am reading gay-erotica where the plot has taken many steps back.
        I know each to their own, and I have noticed at a LGBT literary conference that many readers enjoy M/M erotica, but there is a push by a lot of the publishers to “sex up” the literature – including putting hot half naked six-pack young men on covers.

        I know I am controversial for saying the following … but I feel it demeans the LGBT literature as a whole – and makes it harder for M/M authors to get good stories (plot, setting, etc) across with a “bent attitude” (I love that!) only.

        • I think gay sci fi in mm romance is great. But I wish there were more stories where the sci fi was the main thing (same for fantasy and paranormal) but that included LGBT characters, romance or no.

  2. science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, hard to say which of these is the best theme to talk about LGBT!
    As of this writing, in fact, already being LGBT is something extraordinary.
    But working with the fantasy I would not see a bad history of encounter of different species where we humans, who are far from acceptance and respect for all, who doesn alien beings far more advanced than we had passed by the time this situation and they found a full acceptance of all forms of being with its own particularities.


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