Representation matters. We know this. And as nerds, we know that the speculative fiction genre is full of great, and not so great, representations of the LGBTQ+ community. So today, I wanted to put a spotlight on my top six favorite examples. These are characters that are not caricatures, not stereotypes. They’re real, honest people who happen to also be LGBTQ+. I’m only talking about speculative fiction characters, so we won’t be talking about characters from Brooklyn 99 or The Loud House. Though both have several great examples.
Bess Till, Snowpiercer
If you want a full review on Snowpiercer, I’ll be doing that over on Haunted MTL later this month. But for now, let’s just talk about Bess.
Bess is a great character for a lot of reasons. She starts out being pretty much a pain in the ass. She, like everyone else, looks down on the people in the ‘tail’. Eventually, she becomes one of the main character’s strongest allies.
Bess has a relationship with a woman in the second class of the train. They’re hiding their relationship because Bess is from third class, and such relations are frowned upon.
But her character isn’t defined by this relationship. She’s defined by who she is, a badass fighter for equality.
Jadzia Dax, Deep Space 9
Alright, this is a bit of a stretch but hear me out. Jadzia Dax might be one of the earliest transgender characters ever. They are essentially two (or more) souls in the same body. Many people see Jadzia and interact with them as a female. Some, who know Dax, see them as a man. But Jadzia Dax responds just the same to both.
Taru, Savage Legion
I talked about Taru during my Why it Works post about Savage Legion, but I’d be remiss not to mention them again. They’re one of the first non-binary characters I’ve ever seen in fiction. And they’re amazing. They’re loyal, funny, smart, and scary strong.
Yes, being non-binary is part of their story. But it’s only a part. The larger story is one of loyalty and struggles to protect the poor districts they were raised in.
April May, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
April’s a wonderfully flawed character. She’s quick to get caught up in all the craziness of THE CARLS. But she’s just as fast to sacrifice her whole life to save the world.
With her girlfriend, their potato plant, and CARL, they manage to save the world from something so much bigger than they could ever imagine.
Kisha, Alice Isn’t Dead
Well, and also Alice, I guess. But Kisha’s the main character.
I talked at length about this podcast on Haunted MTL. But basically, it’s the story of a woman driving across America to find her wife. Well, as Kisha says, this isn’t a story. It’s a road trip.
Kisha is in love with Alice, but soon enough her mission isn’t just about finding her. It’s about all the dark strange corners of the country that are hard to explain. It’s about fighting an enemy that is so unfairly equipped to beat us that we can’t help but battle against injustice. It’s about the magic of a rest stop at three in the morning, the shadows in the booths of roadside diners. It’s about America.
So what do you think? What’s your favorite LGBTQ+ character? What’s one that you think needs a little extra love? Let us know in the comments.