Queer sf revisited

It's been almost exactly twelve years since I posted a blog entry titled “Queer sf,” in which I noted that, despite fifty years of sympathetically portrayed queer characters in sf, “we're still at a point where even an actively queer-friendly magazine like SH just doesn't see all that many stories featuring gay characters.”

On the one hand, I think that's changed. By the end of my time at SH, I think we were getting a fair number of stories with GLBT characters, and publishing them regularly. (Well, at the rate of maybe half a dozen a year, anyway; which is still only about 15% of the stories we were publishing.) And I feel like I see more of them elsewhere than I used to as well; for example, arguably, three out of the four stories on last year's Hugo short-stories ballot featured prominent LGBT characters.

On the other hand, I've been looking at various axes of representation in the TV and movies I watch, and I've been seeing almost no queer characters of any kind. That may be more an indication of what I tend to watch than a fact about mainstream media in general; I know of several mainstream shows with queer characters. But that seems to me to be pretty rare in sf TV and movies. (With a few excellent exceptions.)

And I don't read widely enough in prose sf to be sure about whether there are many queer characters there these days; maybe my impression that things are a lot better than they were ten or twelve years ago is also more a statement about what I read than about the state of the field.

Anyway, I don't have any conclusions. But while I'm here, I may as well mention that there's still time to help support the Kickstarter for Queers Destroy Science Fiction, and if you're a queer author, you have until February 15 to submit stories to that anthology. Their focus is a little different from what I'm talking about here—they're talking about queer authors, not necessarily queer characters, and they're focused specifically on science fiction per se (though if the Kickstarter meets its stretch goals, they'll also do a horror volume and a fantasy volume). But I think all this stuff is intertwingled.

Join the Conversation