ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith posting in [community profile] poetree
As a gender studies scholar, I frequently write about characters whose sex/gender identity and/or sexual orientation is something outside the center of the bell curve. Add the speculative fiction elements of my work and there are many races in fantasy, science fiction, and horror who do not have the same divisions in terms of culture and/or biology. I've done this all along. Periodically I discover a new idea, although more often I find a movement relating to something I've already had going. So for instance, I've been doing more with asexual characters in the last year or two since I found that branch of queer culture; but I've had neuter and asexual characters from much earlier.

Worth mentioning is that the series Hart's Farm, which is historical fantasy set in Sweden, features alternative sex and gender dynamics as a prevailing theme. Many different sexual identities and orientations appear in these poems. If you're into QUILTBAG poetry in general, I recommend reading the whole series, which you can find listed on my Serial Poetry page.

If you don't see a representation of your identity and/or orientation in what I've already released, let me know. I may add it to my list of things to write.


Q - Queer and Questioning
Queer is a good catchall term for people who have multiple flavors of sex/gender/orientation divergence (for example, a kinky transgender lesbian). Although generally described as genderqueer, Quinn from Schrodinger's Heroes typifies this multifocal concept, for example in "Why Ash Loves Quinn."

Then there are characters who fall outside the ordinary for a singular reason that modern culture doesn't recognize. For instance, Druga (a female dwarf) and Elan (a male elf) in the series The Odd Trio prefer each other's company to partners of their own kind. (Bard Bloom's World Tree setting refers to this sort of thing as transaffectionate, or traff.) Druga and Elan meet in "Hope of the Future."

Questioning can cover characters who are just wondering, or who are actively changing how they view themselves, especially if they have been led by other people's assumptions or expectations. An example of this is Lian in "A Doe in Velvet."

U - Unidentified
A common tendency is to assume that any character not explicitly named as some kind of queer must be straight. Never assume that in my writing. If a character hasn't named or otherwise revealed a trait, it could be anything.

However, sometimes I have characters who really are just beginning to discover themselves, or are completely outside the space described by human parameters. The robots in the Kung Fu Robots series are like this, new to everything, as introduced in "Dragon Tiger Wind Cloud."

The Monster House series is written almost entirely in first person. While one of the adults is identified as female, the sex/gender of the other is unidentified. People often assume male, but it is left open to interpretation. The first poem is "Eviction, Noticed." I started this series during the housing crash of 2008 and it is, sadly, still relevant in that aspect.

I - Intersex
My fantasy tribe Waterjewel recognizes five genders, of which hirshn is "both male and female." That can be inborn or acquired, and it appears in the poem "Midnight at the Oasis."

Rowen in the Hart's Farm series is biromantic asexual genderqueer, with a masculine body and feminine personality. I tailored the physical description in "Behind the Red Robe" to allow for intersex interpretation, without stating explicitly either way, because in that particular setting people wouldn't really have a way to determine that precisely.

L - Lesbian
The Adventures of Aldornia and Zenobia is about two lesbians who go sane, run away from home, fall in love, and live happily ever after; it begins with "The Reluctant Villain."

Svanhilda in the Hart's Farm series is a lesbian (also kinky and somewhat bisensual), introduced in "Welcome to Hart's Farm" and later appearing in "Low-Hanging Fruit."

T - Transgender, Transexual
Lian shifts from feminine to masculine presentation during "A Doe in Velvet."

"What Makes a Woman" features a transwoman talking with a gynoid (a female-appearing humanoid robot).

B - Bisexual
In the Hart's Farm series, several characters fit this category. Arnvid (bisexual, kinky) is the narrator of "In the Palms of My Hands." Finlo, introduced in the same poem, is bisexual. Lia, introduced in "Welcome to Hart's Farm," is bisexual.

A - Asexual
Hart's Farm has two characters in this category. Rowen is biromantic asexual genderqueer, introduced in "Rosehips and Honey." Solvig is aromantic asexual, introduced in "After Dark."

In The Odd Trio, the third member is the human Hope, who is asexual. He is introduced in "Hope of the Future."

Path of the Paladins features several characters -- Shahana, Ari, and Johan -- who are asexual. It's not required but is common among paladins; they just have more important concerns than sex and romance. Shahana and Ari are introduced in "Shine On" and discuss their lack of attraction in "Bouquets of Bygone Days."

In Schrodinger's Heroes, Ash is canonically asexual. Some of the other characters may be interpreted as asexual, such as Alex. Both Ash and Alex appear as asexual in "The Alpha Vector," a poem about a place where asexuality is the norm. Also worth mentioning is that Alex's cat Schrodinger is a neutered male, and the apocryphal fandom sometimes pairs good!Schrodinger and evil!Schrodinger as friends or acemates instead of enemies; see "Pawprints on the Heart" for an example. (This series is about quantum physics and saving the world from hostile dimensions, so there can be different versions of the characters.)

G - Gay, Genderqueer
The Steamsmith series includes a pair of Arabic alchemists, Aalim and Taysir, who are gay men. They are first mentioned in "A Keen Eye for Alchemy."

"Gentlemen in Distress" features two relevant pairings. Dimitri and Ricard are gay men. Francis is a somewhat effiminate man and Bernadette is a lady-knight.

"Whistling Girls and Crowing Hens" is about several girls who refuse to do the seemly feminine things and take up the arts of war instead.

The Steamsmith series is about a black, female, British steampunk engineer named Maryam Smith. She has a female body and dresses in masculine clothes; her personality leans masculine, and she takes the social role of a man; she uses feminine pronouns. She is truly genderqueer, a blend of male and female and other. If you know the Afro-Caribbean loas such as Papa Legba, much of this will be familiar. Maryam is introduced in "The Steamsmith."

"Where Have All the Heroes Gone? / Different Gifts" is a dual-part poem from the perspective of a classic princess who wants to be rescued and a classic knight who wants a fair maiden -- in a world where such is no longer the usual.

A set of poems about phobic starships is dark science fiction with horror overlap; but it's really about misconceptions and intolerance. It starts with "The Transformations of Terror," and then "Boundaries and Determinations" is essentially about kink between a shapeshifting starship and a tentacled alien.

In Hart's Farm, Aisling is mostly heterosexual, bisensual, and kinky; she appears in "Low-Hanging Fruit." Svanhilda also appears in this poem; she is lesbian, somewhat bisensual, and kinky.

In Schrodinger's Heroes, Pat is polyamorous and generally flexible sexually. He appears in the poem "Pat's Place" although it's about taking care of chosen family than about sex.


What are some of your favorite QUILTBAG poems and characters, from your own writing or someone else's?

Date: 2012-06-27 11:37 am (UTC)
raze: A man and a rooster. (Default)
From: [personal profile] raze
Wow! I really appreciate the amount of time and effort that went into making this post. I didn't get to read through all of the poems yet, but I'm totally thrilled to see such a broad spectrum being represented here!

Date: 2012-06-27 05:54 pm (UTC)
primeideal: Multicolored sideways eight (infinity sign) (Default)
From: [personal profile] primeideal
I love Schrodinger's Heroes. :D

A few of my lyrics are written to sound sort of like modern pop songs, which are unfortunately romance-centric, but are actually about a much wider variety of relationships between people. I'm wondering if some of them could be reinterpreted as maybe asexual/questioning poems.

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