Back when I was first transitioning into reading adult books, Gentle Reader, it was pretty natural to cross from children’s fantasy (there was no YA as a category back then) into adult fantasy via Mercedes Lackey. (I still hold that Arrows is, in fact, YA. It simply has never been packaged that way. Silly marketing.)
For me that transition went pretty smoothly because, well… girls and soul bonded horses. I know, but in case you never guessed, I’ve always been a super girly girl (aside from being totally not squeamish about bugs and food and dirt and climbing anything that will stand still long enough for me to get up it and… where was I?)
Oh yes, so child Gail began reading adult books because white horses with purple eyes on cover.
I don’t know that I have a pithy place I am going with this post. I guess I’m writing it because I get asked a lot:
Why do you include gay characters in your books?
I find the question confusing.
Like, Gail, why do you include food in your books? Or descriptions of dresses? Or fragment sentences? It’s part of my DNA as a writer. My world view.
But that also seems to trivialize the whole darn thing.
I think a better question is, why on earth would I not?
Mercedes Lackey always inhabits her work with gay and lesbian characters. They are not always central characters, as they are the Last Herald Mage series, but they are always there.
Keep reading Lackey and you end up with poly relationships. Gail, age 14 thought Knight of Ghosts and Shadows had the most romantic ending of any book EVER, and kinda still does.) All these relationships are presented in a supportive light. Which made perfect sense to child Gail with all her Berkeley and San Francisco poet, artist, dancer, musician aunties and uncles (and uncles who were also aunties).
Since then, I’m lucky enough to have socialized with Mercedes on a few occasions as a grown up professional author (and she is just as warm and wonderful as you might hope).
Gail is a Fan Girl
I’m afraid when I first met her, my friend Lauren and I rather fan-girled all over her. Almost entirely because we wanted to impress upon her the fact that her books were so very important because they gave us a model of fantasy that included alternate sexuality.
As she went to pains to point out, there were other genre authors doing this before her. But those authors were generally less accessible to young women.
Her books were/are important because in them queer wasn’t a big deal. It just was. And so when Lauren and I began to write it just was for us, too.
And that, my darlings, is a powerful instrument of change.
So there it is, the answer to your question of why, is essentially…
blame Mercedes Lackey.
Your (still a) fan girl,
Books by moi with queer MAIN characters
(Everything I write has queer representation in some form, but these have the most.)
The Supernatural Society Series
The San Andreas Shifter Series
Other Peoples Thoughts
- Our First LGBTQ+ Books on Bookriot
- I’m not crying, your crying. Early love in the Queer Community.
- 8 Funny Books Featuring Queer Adult Women
GAIL’S DAILY DOSE
Your Moment of Parasol . . .
Your Infusion of Cute . . .
10 Times Umbrellas Became Works of Art
Your Tisane of Smart . . .
5 Travel Pillows in Order of Ridiculousness
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Quote of the Day:
“There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
~ Oscar Wilde
Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
I know SO MANY PEOPLE who read LHM and had the “there’s OTHER OPTIONS?!” moment. That sort of moment is what I’m trying to include in the novel I’m preparing for NaNo this year for people like me who don’t want to kiss anyone 😉
I look forward to the day when “it just IS” is the norm. Until then, so very happy to read unapologetically inclusive works. Thank you.
Yes! I devoutly believe this. Write the thing. My Mum raised me with the attitude of she who sees a problem is responsible for the solution. If you’re a writer, than the solution is to write it.
Loved reading this. I came to Mercedes Lacky late in life – actually because you reccomended her so often and I love that everything is so natural and feels so normal in her books. I love how your characters are so similar in that regards, their sexuality isnt everything, its part of thier motivations but they are not ‘cardboard’ caricatures they are just people who happen to like who they like. Just like the people I know in real life.
I happen to be ‘straight’ but I love reading about all of your charactors and the depth and reality it gives your world.
I am stupidly excited for the next books. Can’t wait!
When I first read your books, I was thrilled by the LGBTQ+ representation that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. As a queer individual with queer friends, I am always searching for queer characters who actually represent who we are, rather than stereotyping. In the Parasolverse, I, the queer individual with the queer friends, fell in love with your queer characters and now queerly (Too much? Nah, I’m going with it.) want to be their own queer friend.
Thank you so much for everything that you do.
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I’m a 60 year old straight guy: when I was growing up homosexuals were represented as deviant predators. When I read Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series (as they were released) it was the first time I had ever seen a positive presentation of people with a gay/lesbian orientation. The “it just is” presentation is important: this should be just another aspect like height or hair color, and everything that moves us to that view is important.