Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hild's sexuality

I've been asked this often enough that it's time to be clear: Hild is not straight.

Interviewers and reviewers have already asked me: So why is Hild a lesbian?

I say: First, she's bisexual. Second, why the fuck not?

I am tired of having to have a reason for characters being queer. When my first agent told me that my proposal for Slow River was "not a selling outline," I asked her to explain. She said, "Well, why does Lore [the protagonist] have to have a girlfriend?" I said, "Because she's a dyke." And fired her.

Nearly twenty years later Slow River is still in print. It won awards. It got translated into several languages. In the end, readers don't care who gets naked with whom. They care about the story, the people, the setting. They care about the writing.

We should not have explain why our characters are queer. Or why they're not. People are just people; they are who they are and love who they love. Sometimes that changes. Sexuality can be surprisingly fluid.

I'm not just talking to straight people here, either. I'm also tired of hearing from quiltbag folk that "No one will publish our stuff because it's queer." Bullshit. I've never had a moment's trouble placing my fiction and it's pretty queer.

Wake up, people. In fiction, it doesn't matter if your characters are queer or straight, neither or both. What counts is whether it's any good.

Go write something great. Go read something great. Go review something great. When it comes to fictional sex, never apologize, never explain.

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