List of bisexual characters in literature

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This is a List of bisexual characters in literature. The historical concept and definition of sexual orientation varies and has changed greatly over time; for example the word "bisexual" wasn't used to describe sexual orientation until the early 20th century. A number of different classification schemes have been used to describe sexual orientation since the mid-19th century, and scholars have often defined the term 'sexual orientation' in divergent ways. Indeed, several studies have found that much of the research about sexual orientation has failed to define the term at all, making it difficult to reconcile the results of different studies.[1][2][3] However, most definitions include a psychological component (such as the direction of an individual's erotic desire) and/or a behavioral component (which focuses on the sex of the individual's sexual partner/s). Some prefer to simply follow an individual's self-definition or identity. See homosexuality and bisexuality for criteria that have traditionally denoted lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people.

Items listed here must have verifiable third-party sources commenting on the sexuality of the character(s) in question, and additional explanation may be necessary. Citing the work itself may be appropriate if an applicable quote is provided. Additionally, only notable/significant characters from a given work (which may have multiple LGBT characters) need to be listed here.

Kilian Meloy wrote:[4]

In a historical sense, literature as we understand it is a fairly new innovation, and the current concept of homosexuality is even fresher from the cultural oven. It's no great surprise, then, that gay literature — or even gay characters in literature — are so relatively new as to still be shiny. Nonetheless, there are gay characters that broke barriers and became cultural touchstones...

Character name Book Author Details Reference
Carol Aird The Price of Salt Patricia Highsmith has a sexual/romantic relationship with another woman while married to a man. [5]
Alec i Amasa Nightrunner series Lynn Flewelling [6]
Alexander the Great Fire from Heaven
The Persian Boy
Mary Renault Alexander is about 26 when he begins his relationship with Bagoas (then 15). [7]
Armand The Vampire Chronicles Anne Rice In the novel The Vampire Armand, he is shown to have sexual relations with a number of people of both sexes, including Marius de Romanus and Bianca Solderini. [8]
Magnus Bane The Mortal Instruments/ The Infernal Devices Cassandra Clare Has a sexual/romantic relationship with a main male character, Alec. He has also had a relationship with a female character, Camille Belcourt.
Kitty Butler Tipping the Velvet Sarah Waters Has a sexual/romantic relationship with the main character as well as marrying a man. [9]
Clay Less Than Zero and Imperial Bedrooms Bret Easton Ellis
Fever Crumb Fever Crumb Series Philip Reeve
David Giovanni's Room James Baldwin [7]
Ennis del Mar Brokeback Mountain Annie Proulx Main character who has a long term sexual relationship with another man as well as being married to a woman. Critics have described him variously as gay, or occasionally as a heterosexual. [10][11]
Paul Denton The Rules of Attraction Bret Easton Ellis falls in love with main character (a man) [12]
Alluvia Fairfax (Alice) Gut Symmetries Jeanette Winterson main character who falls in love with a man and a woman and has a sexual relationship with them both. [13]
Michael Godwin Riverside series Ellen Kushner
Dorian Gray The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde [7]
Darvish Shayrif Hakem "The Fire's Stone" Tanya Huff stated throughout the book. Falls in love with Aarin, another lead character from the book. [14]
Basil Henderson Invisible Life
Just As I Am
Abide With Me
E. Lynn Harris [7][15]
Lestat de Lioncourt The Vampire Chronicles Anne Rice Lestat is attracted to and has intense relationships with members of both sexes. [8]
The Narrator Written on the Body Jeanette Winterson main character of unspecified gender who has sexual/romantic relationships with men and women. Some reviewers describe the narrator as a lesbian. [16][17]
Hélène Noris The Illusionist Françoise Mallet-Joris Has a sexual relationship with another woman. [5]
Louis de Pointe du Lac The Vampire Chronicles Anne Rice [8]
Seregil i Korit Solun Meringil Bokthersa Nightrunner series Lynn Flewelling [6]
Lisbeth Salander Millennium series Stieg Larsson [18]
Tamara Soulerr The Illusionist Françoise Mallet-Joris Has sexual relationship with a man, and with his daughter. [5]
Stella Gut Symmetries Jeanette Winterson falls in love with and marries a man, falls in love with and has a sexual relationship with a woman. [13]
David Talbot The Vampire Chronicles Anne Rice has sexual relationships with Lestat de Lioncourt, Joshua (both men) and Merrick Mayfair (a woman).
Raymond Tyler Jr. Invisible Life
Just As I Am
Abide With Me
E. Lynn Harris [7][19]
Richard St. Vier Riverside series Ellen Kushner
Min Wei Geography Club Brent Hartinger [5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shively, M.G.; Jones, C.; DeCecco, J. P. (1984). "Research on sexual orientation: definitions and methods". Journal of Homosexuality 9 (2/3): 127–137. doi:10.1300/J082v09n02_08. PMID 6376622. 
  2. ^ Gerdes, L.C. (1988). The Developing Adult (Second ed.). Durban: Butterworths; Austin, TX: Butterworth Legal Publishers. ISBN 0-409-10188-5. 
  3. ^ Sell, Randall L. (December 1997). "Defining and Measuring Sexual Orientation: A Review: How do you define sexual orientation?". Archives of Sexual Behavior 26 (6): 643–658. doi:10.1023/A:1024528427013. PMID 9415799. Retrieved 2007-07-11. 
  4. ^ "Influential Gay Characters in Literature"
  5. ^ a b c d Lo, Malinda (2007-05-22). "13 Lesbian and Bi Characters You Should Know". Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  6. ^ a b Jamneck, Lynne (2005). "An Interview with Lynn Flewelling". Retrieved 2007-07-07. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Meloy, Kilian (September 24, 2007). "Influential Gay Characters in Literature". Retrieved February 15, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c Haggerty, George E. (1998). "Anne Rice and the queering of culture". Novel: A Forum on Fiction. Retrieved 2007-07-07. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (review)". Barnes & Retrieved 2007-07-07. 
  10. ^ Phillips, Richard; Diane Watt (2000). De-Centering Sexualities: Politics and Representations Beyond the Metropolis. Routledge. pp. 2–5. ISBN 0-415-19465-2. 
  11. ^ Rood, Karen Lane (2001). Understanding Annie Proulx. Univ of South Carolina Press. pp. 187–190. ISBN 1-57003-402-8. 
  12. ^ Behling, Harold John (2002-07-03). "The Rules of Attraction's bleak originality shows character study". University Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  13. ^ a b Griffin, Gabriele (2000). Romancing the Margins?: Lesbian Writing in the 1990s. Haworth Press. p. 73. ISBN 1-56023-133-5. 
  14. ^ Huff, Tanya (1990). The Fire's Stone. ISBN 0-88677-445-4. "Darvish made certain they had plenty to report as he filled his life with wine and his bed with every willing body he stumbled across..." 
  15. ^ Editorial review. "Abide With Me". Retrieved 2007-10-12. "Basil Henderson ... is regularly attending therapy ... although it doesn't seem to be helping him deal with ... his denial of his ity ..." 
  16. ^ Stowers, Cath; Purvis, June (1995). (Hetero)sexual Politics - Journeying with Jeanette: Transgressive Travels in Winterson's Fiction. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-7484-0295-0. 
  17. ^ Gilmore, Leigh (2001). The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony. Cornell University Press. p. 127. ISBN 0-8014-8674-2. 
  18. ^ Lorber, Judith (7 July 2011). "The Gender Ambiguity of Lisbeth Salander: Third-Wave Feminist Hero?". Dissent Magazine. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  19. ^ Editorial reviews. "Invisible Life". Journal. Retrieved 2007-10-12.