Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance are both known for the overabundance of testosterone and the overpopulation of kick-ass heroines and Alpha heroes. If I’m being honest with myself—and with you all—those are some of the very reasons I enjoy these genres so freaking much.
But at the same time, more and more homosexual characters have been showing up in both UF and PNR novels, and that is what I want to talk about today.
You can find gay characters in both young adult and adult titles in the general paranormal genre. Let’s take Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series for example; Marcus Bane is the kind of character who challenges the main ones while making the reader smile:
'We're not dating,' Alec said again.
'Oh?' Magnus said. 'So you're just that friendly with everybody, is that it?'
Another great example of a gay character in Paranormal YA is Damien, the main heroine's best friend, from the House of Night series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast. Damien actually gets a boyfriend, Jack, in the course of the series and gets a lot of screen time.
The most famous gay character in a Paranormal YA series has to be Harry Potter's Dumbledore. J.K. Rowling announced Dumbledore's sexual orientation very late in the series, but said she never meant it to be a secret. But, I can’t help but wonder if that fact was never mentioned in the Harry Potter novels because it was meant for a young adult public.
If I had known this would have made you this happy, I would have announced it years ago.
As much as I enjoy the Paranormal YA genre, my favorites are still the adult UF and PNR novels and series. And there are a lot more examples of gay characters and couples in these genres, such as Warren and Kyle from the Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs. Warren (a werewolf) and Kyle (a human) are a great example of a stable homosexual couple who also deal with the repercussions of being a gay werewolf, and the more common obstacles that any couple might go through, gay or not.
Another favorite couple of mine is Rhoan and Liander from Keri Arthur’s Riley Jenson series, which ended last year. Like we discussed in our Wingmance post on secondary characters, these two steal the spotlight, even though they're not the primary focus of the books:
'Give me a romantic comedy any day.'
To which Rhoan replies,
'You're just a girly-girl at heart, arent you?'
'Takes one to know one, bro.'
Lesbian characters aren't as prevalent as gay charcters, however; there are a few background characters from the Anita Blake series, but the one character who really stands out is Ivy from Kim Harrison’s Hollows series.
Yes, technically Ivy is bisexual, but her almost relationship throughout the series is what makes her so important. I don’t think I’ve ever read a heroine who's actually considered having a homosexual relationship before.
In Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series, it's not even an issue that Elder Griffin is gay. About Griffin, Kane says,
'I thought that was fairly obvious, but didn’t see any reason to press the point or have him running around monologuing about being gay; the man is gay, and Chess obviously knows he’s gay, and nobody cares that he’s gay, so why would he do a speech about his gayness? Especially in that world, where being gay isn’t remotely an issue to anyone and gay marriage is totally legal.'
And which two get the title of my favorite gay couple? Well, almost couple, since their Happily Ever After is yet to be written. Yes, I’m talking about Qhuinn and Blay from the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward, who are called by the most avid fans as Qhuay.
'As Qhuinn looked at his best friend's handsome face, he felt as if he'd never not known that red hair, those blue eyes, those lips, that jaw. And it was because of their long history that he searched for something to say, something that would get them back to where they had been. All that came to him was . . . I miss you. I miss you so fucking bad it hurts, but I don't know how to find you even though you're right in front of me.'
How can you not hope with all your heart that these two get their love story told soon? They are two awesome characters who started out as best friends but cannot—yet—be together the way they both want and need to be due to circumstances and upbringing.
A lot of other fans have been clamoring for their story to be told. We want them to get their own book in the series, but we’ll have to be happy with a novella. Just as long as they get their HEA soon, I’ll be psyched.
Homosexual characters are prevalent in urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and hopefully more will appear in other genres of romance as well.
Larissa Benoliel blogs at Larissa's Bookish Life and is a Brazilian-Israeli living in Rio de Janeiro. She loves to read Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance. If she’s not online, she’s reading. Usually it's both.