Including Trans and Genderqueer Characters

So I have been moving towards making characters that are not cisgendered in my fiction. While none of the main characters in the Noble Bard are explicitly non-cisgendered, there are some minor characters that are, for example.  Largely there is a race that has four ‘genders’. Two ‘regular’ genders: Male and female. Then Two ‘other’ gender that lie someone in between. The simplistic version is that one is intersexed and one is gender-fluid. Gender and sex are relative and rather unimportant. The race, the Sidhe, is very fluid with gender, sex and sexuality.

For them, it’s more ‘You are whoever you want to be’.

But I bring this up because of Adrienne’s Story.

Rana Basira is a Cambian. Child of an Incubus, which, according to traditional mythology, are notorious for switching their sex. A Succubus will seduce a man, steal his sperm, turn into an Incubus and impregnate a woman.

I want Rana to be similar. She’s a shapeshifter, and she fancies switching genders, switching her sex. And when Adrienne explains it to someone she explains it like this: “I suppose Rana’s a women. Likes that form the most, but Rana’s a cambian, can change gender at will, so you might get confused calling Rana a women when ‘she’ is in a female form, and calling Rana a man when ‘he’ is in a male form.”

So I want to use a gender-neutral pronoun for Rana, but I’m not sure how to handle it.

Since there is not the same social implications for a Cambian as there are for a trans-person, it will be a little bit different. As it stands, since I am not trans (ad am not good friends with anyone that is), I don’t currently feel comfortable delving into the role. (Genderqueer I’m a little more comfortable with, mind you, but onto the point…)

So I would love any insights from readers on the best way to handle a gender-fluid character such as Rana. And also, which pronoun sounds the best. I’m leaning towards the Middle English ‘ou’.



LGBT Fantasy

I mentioned in a previous post [“Sexuality and Gender in Fiction“] that LGBT themes in fiction are rare. While there are some authors who have included such themes in their novels, and it is on the rise, it still isn’t exactly the norm. Wikipedia lists all [or at least most] of the LGBT-themed Speculative Fiction. But I noticed a few things:

  • Gay Male is the most common type, which is not surprising since men are “traditionally” the main consumer of fantasy novels.
  • Another thing I’ve noticed is they do not have a section for a few things: asexual, bisexual, or trans. [There is a small section for genderqueer, but it consists of one book.]
  • And thirdly, pertaining to the last one. I realize they may not mention asexual largely because it does not necessarily come up in fiction, even if the character is indeed asexual. [As in, if the character is asexual, there is simply no sex or romance in the novel and it not portrayed as relevant to the plot.] This is more common with male protagonists in general, but it would be hard to set aside a category for them because without asking the author, it is hard to determine whether the character is truly asexual or if the author didn’t want to include romance at all.

On that note, however, I do strive to make my novels more LGBT-friendly. Including the setting. My fantasy novels will include LGBT themes either directly or indirectly.

So if there are any novels you’d recommend, let me know! I know that Meredith Lackey is on my list, but if there is anything not included on the Wikipedia list, I’d love to read it!