Apr 22 2011 12:00pm

LGBT Representation in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance

City of Bones by Cassandra ClareUrban 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?'

Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin CastAnother 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.

—J.K. Rowling

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.

Full Moon Rising by Keri ArthurAnother 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:

Riley says,

 '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.'

Dark Lover by J.R. WardAnd 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.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Callysta
I love the Keri Arthur books, as well as J.R. Ward.
With Qhuinn and Blay, while I do think they are meant to be together I just don`t want to actually 'go there' , as graphic as the sexual scenes are.
I have nothing against their sexual preference, just don`t want to read their sex scenes, Rhoan and Liander in Keri Arthur books were more like supporting characters. I really miss that series, Riley was kick ass.
Carrie Strickler
2. DyslexicSquirrel
I read the post on Kane's website about Elder Griffin and I was super happy to see so many people who were taking a stand to support gay characters in literature and an author's right to write said characters.

Qhuinn and Blay are totally my favorite. Waiting for them to finally end up together is killer. ):
Larissa Benoliel
4. larissa_sarah

OMG Riley was amazing!!! I cant wait for Keri's new series and seeing Riley in the background =D


I was too!

Team Qhuay all the way! =)


Awesome! Hopw you love them as much as I do!
5. LindaR
Team Qhuay! I will cry when then finally get together, omg.
6. EvangelineHolland
Black Blade Blues by J.A. Pitts is an UF series with a lesbian protagonist.
Larissa Benoliel
7. larissa_sarah

I will too!!! =)


ooooh thanks! I didnt know that =D
Carrie Strickler
8. DyslexicSquirrel
@Linda: All her books make me cry. I don't hold out hope that one will be any different lol
9. Lupus87Noni
I am an avid reader and my favorite series is J.R. Ward's Black-Dagger Brotherhood. I have all her books in this series and will be buying them in Hard Cover editions for my collection in my home library. It is unfair for the authors, who are sharing their stories, to have to decide if the readers will or will not be offended with certain issues in their stories. If Blay & Qhuinn's story is released in a Novella, will it be available in hard cover to match the series? Why don't people just let the authors tell their stories the way they want them to be told? If a reader has an issue with a certain part of the series, then they can skip that book or skip that part in the book.

It's really sad...
10. Missie
Excellent article hun! I can not believe the torture Qhuay fans have had to endure. We suffer with them. I also wish that they would be granted their own book, but at this point I will take whatever I can get.
11. Missouri58
I for one definitely want some kind of book featuring Qhuinn and Blay. I really want to see those two finally get together the way they should they are such great characters. I so wanted them to get together in Lover Unleashed and wanted to scream when it didn't happen and I realized I might have to wait a whole year for the next Lover book. I'm all for a novella of their story before then.
13. brianna
i love blay and qhuinn and hope that they get their own book too. im a little worried though after the whole epiphany quhinn had in lover unleashed...
but they totally deserve to be together. half the reason i love lover mine so much is because of all the time we learn about those two.
Larissa Benoliel
14. larissa_sarah

I totally agree with you! =D


Thanks hon! I feel the exact same way!


I was so expecting something as well =(


I am worried about Qhuinn after LU as well! =/
15. Solar Winds
I just read The Destiny Of Ethan King which is a modern fantasy novel by Martin Cosgrove. The title character is gay, but his sexuality is almost incidental to the story. I really enjoyed it.
16. Cynthia Ward
My short urban fantasy novel, The Adventure of the Incognita Countess (Aqueduct Press, 1/2017), features a bisexual protagonist and a lesbian relationship on a steampunk Titanic. Your sister station,, has a review at
Post a comment