List of gay characters in literature

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This is a List of homosexual characters in modern written fiction. The historical concept and definition of sexual orientation varies and has changed greatly over time; for example the word "gay" wasn't used to describe sexual orientation until the mid 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.

Book Date Author Character names Notes References
American Psycho 1991 Ellis, Bret EastonBret Easton Ellis Luis Carruthers in love with the male protagonist, later marries Courtney
Baby Be-Bop 1995 Block, Francesca LiaFrancesca Lia Block Dirk McDonald [5]
Beauty of MenThe Beauty of Men 1996 Holleran, AndrewAndrew Holleran Lark
Black MagicianThe Black Magician trilogy 2001–2003 Canavan, TrudiTrudi Canavan Ambassador Dannyl
Tayend of Tremmelin
Ambassador Dannyl has relationship with his assistant, Tayend of Tremmelin, who is referred to in novel as a 'lad' [6]
Books of OutremerThe Books of Outremer series 1998–2003 Brenchley, ChazChaz Brenchley Jemel
Sieur Anton d'Escrivey
Boy Culture 1995 Rettenmund, MatthewMatthew Rettenmund X
X (narrator's pseudonym) has sexual and romantic relationships with Andrew, Joe and other men. [4]
Boy Meets Boy 2003 Levithan, DavidDavid Levithan Paul
"Infinite Darlene"/Daryl Heisenberg
main character, ex-boyfriend of Kyle, in love with Noah
in love with Paul
child of orthodox Jewish parents
Paul's ex-boyfriend, who is attracted to both males and females
Boy's Own StoryA Boy's Own Story 1982 White, EdmundEdmund White Narrator
Kevin O'Brien
Brideshead Revisited 1945 Waugh, EvelynEvelyn Waugh Sebastian Flyte
Anthony Blanche
Brokeback Mountain 1997 Proulx, AnnieAnnie Proulx Jack Twist Main character who has a long term sexual relationship with another man, Ennis del Mar, as well as being married to a woman and having sexual relationships with other men and a woman while married. Critics have described him variously as gay or bisexual. [10][11]
CharioteerThe Charioteer 1953 Renault, MaryMary Renault Laurie Odell
Ralph Lanyon
Chocolates for BreakfastChocolates for Breakfast 1956 Moore, PamelaPamela Moore Courtney Farrell
Barry Cabot
Courtney develops a crush on her female boarding school teacher, and later has a sexual relationship with Barry Cabot, her mother's bisexual friend who is in a relationship with a man.
City and the PillarThe City and the Pillar 1946 Vidal, GoreGore Vidal Jim Willard
Ronald Shaw
Paul Sullivan
City of GodCity of God: A Novel of the Borgias 1979 Holland, CeceliaCecelia Holland Nicholas Dawson
Confessions of Danny SlocumThe Confessions of Danny Slocum 1980 Whitmore, GeorgeGeorge Whitmore Danny Slocum [4]
Dancer from the Dance 1978 Holleran, AndrewAndrew Holleran Anthony Malone
Andrew Sutherland
Dave Brandstetter Mysteries 1970–1991 Hansen, JosephJoseph Hansen Dave Brandstetter 12 novels [13]
Dune 1965 Herbert, FrankFrank Herbert Vladimir Harkonnen Harkonnen's sexual preference for men is implied in Dune and Children of Dune, and presented more explicitly in the Prelude to Dune prequel trilogy by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. [14][15][16]
Father Goriot/Lost Illusions/A Harlot High And LowPère Goriot, Illusions perdues & Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes 1835, 1837-43 & 1838-47 Balzac, Honoré deHonoré de Balzac Jacques Collin a.k.a. Vautrin a.k.a. Trompe-la-Mort Appears in a total of five novels of Balzac's Comédie Humaine, two are cameo appearances; often considered the first openly homosexual character in French literature. [17][18] [19][20]
Fairly Honourable DefeatA Fairly Honourable Defeat 1970 Murdoch, IrisIris Murdoch Simon Foster
Axel Nillson
Front RunnerThe Front Runner 1974 Warren, Patricia NellPatricia Nell Warren Harlan Brown
Billy Sive
Vince Matti
Jacques LaFont
Geography Club 2003 Hartinger, BrentBrent Hartinger Russel Middlebrook [22]
Giovanni's Room 1956 Baldwin, JamesJames Baldwin David
Hallucinating Foucault 1996 Duncker, PatriciaPatricia Duncker Paul Michel
The Protagonist
openly homosexual writer, said to have many male lovers, including relationship with male main character/narrator [23][24]
Harry Potter series 1997–2007 Rowling, J. K.J. K. Rowling Albus Dumbledore Claimed by Rowling to be gay, although nothing was said in the books. Some critics still doubt this.[25][26] [27][28][29][30]
Heroes of Olympus: House of Hades 2013 Riordan, RickRick Riordan Nico di Angelo
Hotel New HampshireThe Hotel New Hampshire 1981 Irving, JohnJohn Irving Frank Berry [31]
HoursThe Hours 1998 Cunningham, MichaelMichael Cunningham Richard Brown [32]
Last Herald MageThe Last Herald Mage trilogy
  1. Magic's Pawn (1989)
  2. Magic's Promise (1990)
  3. Magic's Price (1991)
1989–1991 Lackey, MercedesMercedes Lackey Vanyel Ashkevron
In the series, Vanyel has two sexual relationships, both with male partners. [33]
Line of BeautyThe Line of Beauty 2004 Hollinghurst, AlanAlan Hollinghurst Nick Guest
Wani Ouradi
Leo Charles
Lord John series 1998–2011 Gabaldon, DianaDiana Gabaldon Lord John Grey
Maurice 1913–1914 Forster, E. M.E. M. Forster Maurice Hall
Clive Durham
Alec Scudder
Men from the BoysThe Men from the Boys 1997 Mann, William J.William J. Mann Jeff O'Brien
Lloyd Griffith
David Javitz
Men Who Love Men 2007 Mann, William J.William J. Mann Jeff O'Brien
Lloyd Griffith
Henry Weiner
Luke West
Mortal InstrumentsThe Mortal Instruments series 2007–2014 Clare, CassandraCassandra Clare Alexander "Alec" Lightwood
Magnus Bane
Alec had a crush on the main male character and engages in a romantic/sexual relationship with the warlock Magnus Bane.
Mr. Benson 1983 Preston, JohnJohn Preston Mr. Benson [4]
Now and Then 1995 Corlett, WilliamWilliam Corlett Christopher Metcalfe main character who has a sexual/romantic relationship as a boy with another boy at school; later has sexual relationships with other men and eventually pursues a romantic relationship with another man [36]
Other Voices, Other Rooms 1948 Capote, TrumanTruman Capote Joel Harrison Knox
The Perks of Being a Wallflower 1999 Chbosky, StephenStephen Chbosky Patrick
Persian BoyThe Persian Boy 1972 Renault, MaryMary Renault Bagoas
Alexander the Great
Picture of Dorian GrayThe Picture of Dorian Gray 1890 Wilde, OscarOscar Wilde Basil Hallward [38]
Rainbow Boys 2001 Sánchez, AlexAlex Sánchez Jason Carrillo
Kyle Meeks
Nelson Glassman
Scott Pilgrim series 2004–2010 O'Malley, Bryan LeeBryan Lee O'Malley Wallace Wells
Single ManA Single Man 1964 Isherwood, ChristopherChristopher Isherwood George
SlapThe Slap 2008 Tsiolkas, ChristosChristos Tsiolkas Richie main character who has a sexual attraction to Hector [40]
Song of Ice and FireA Song of Ice and Fire 1991–2011 Martin, George R. R.George R. R. Martin Renly Baratheon Never clearly stated in the books but hinted at having a sexual/romantic relationship with Loras Tyrell. In the TV-show it is made clear that they are lovers.
Teleny, or The Reverse of the Medal 1893 Anonymous; attributed to Oscar Wilde René Teleny
Camille de Grieux
Vampire LestatThe Vampire Lestat 1985 Rice, AnneAnne Rice Nicolas de Lenfent Probably gay; While human, Nicolas shares a sexual relationship with Lestat de Lioncourt. [41]
Weetzie Bat 1989 Block, Francesca LiaFrancesca Lia Block Dirk McDonald
Where the Boys Are 2003 Mann, William J.William J. Mann Jeff O'Brien
Lloyd Griffith
Will Grayson, Will Grayson 2010 Levithan, DavidDavid Levithan and John Green will grayson
Tiny Cooper

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. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Meloy, Kilian (September 24, 2007). "Influential Gay Characters in Literature". Archived from the original on August 31, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Day, Frances Ann (2000). Lesbian and Gay Voices: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide to Literature. Korea: Greenwood Press. p. 16. ISBN 0-313-31162-5. 
  6. ^ Canavan, Trudi (2002). The Novice. Orbit. p. 480. ISBN 1-904233-67-8. 
  7. ^ "Boy Meets Boy description". 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  8. ^ Editorial Reviews. Boy Meets Boy.
  9. ^ Webber, Carlie Kraft. Boy Meets Boy review -
  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. University of South Carolina Press. pp. 187–190. ISBN 1-57003-402-8. 
  12. ^ Bergman, David (2004). The Violet Hour: The Violet Quill and the Making of Gay Culture. Columbia University Press. p. 78. ISBN 0-231-13050-3. 
  13. ^ Walker, Peter. "Dave Brandstetter". Retrieved 2007-07-22. 
  14. ^ Herbert, Frank (1965). Dune. ISBN 0-399-12949-9. "'I'll be in my sleeping chambers,' the Baron said. 'Bring me that young fellow we bought on Gamont, the one with the lovely eyes. Drug him well. I don't feel like wrestling.'" 
  15. ^ Herbert, Frank (1965). Dune. ISBN 0-202-86504-5. "'Why haven't you ever bought a Bene Gesserit, Uncle?' Feyd-Rautha asked. 'With a Truthsayer at your side —' 'You know my tastes!' the Baron snapped ... 'This old fool saw through the shielded needle you'd planted in that slave boy's thigh. Right where I'd put my hand on it, eh?'" 
  16. ^ Though Harkonnen is the biological father of Lady Jessica, it is noted in Dune that this is because he "once permitted himself to be seduced."
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Balzac, Honoré de (1835). Father Goriot. "'Trompe-la-Mort ne se laisserait pas aborder par une femme, dit l'agent. Apprenez un secret: il n'aime pas les femmes.'" 
  20. ^ Balzac, Honoré de (1835). Father Goriot. Ellen Marriage. "'"Trompe-la-Mort would not let a woman come near him," said the detective. "I will tell you a secret—he does not like them."'" 
  21. ^ Grimshaw, Tammy (2005). Sexuality, Gender, And Power In Iris Murdoch's Fiction. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-8386-4061-3. 
  22. ^ Lo, Malinda (2007-05-22). "13 Lesbian and Bi Characters You Should Know". Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  23. ^ "Hallucinating Foucault synopsis". Powell's Books. Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  24. ^ "Author! Author!". Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  25. ^ Edward Rothstein (2007). "Is Dumbledore Gay? Depends on Definitions of ‘Is’ and ‘Gay’". New York Times. Retrieved 29 October 2007. 
  26. ^ The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore
  27. ^ "JK Rowling says wizard Dumbledore is gay". Washington Post. 2007-10-20. Retrieved 2007-10-20. [dead link]
  28. ^ "JK Rowling outs Dumbledore as gay". BBC News. 2007-10-20. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  29. ^ "Rowling dubs Dumbledore of Harry Potter books as gay". Daily News (New York). 2007-10-19. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  30. ^ "J.K. Rowling outs Hogwarts character". Yahoo! News. 2007-10-20. Archived from the original on 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  31. ^ "The Hotel New Hampshire Review". Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  32. ^ Young, Tory (2003). Michael Cunningham's the Hours: A Reader's Guide. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 37. ISBN 0-8264-1476-1. 
  33. ^ Lackey, Mercedes (2005). "Ask Misty Archive - Valdemar". The World of Mercedes Lackey. Retrieved 2007-07-22. 
  34. ^ Hunter, Richard (2004). Plato's Symposium. Oxford University Press. p. 115. ISBN 0-19-516079-7. 
  35. ^ Da Silva, Stephen (1998). "Transvaluing immaturity: reverse discourses of male homosexuality in E.M. Forster's posthumously published fiction". Criticism. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  36. ^ Now and Then "Now and Then Review". Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  37. ^ Richards, Gary (2005). Lovers And Beloveds: Sexual Otherness In Southern Fiction, 1936–1961. LSU Press. p. 31. ISBN 0-8071-3051-6. 
  38. ^ Horan, Patrick M. (1997). The Importance of Being Paradoxical: Maternal Presence in the Works of Oscar Wilde. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 88. ISBN 0-8386-3733-7. 
  39. ^ Emert, Toby (2002). "An Interview with Alex Sanchez, Author of Rainbow Boys". ALAN Review. Retrieved 2007-10-10. [dead link]
  40. ^ Tsiolkas, Christos (2008). The Slap, p.139
  41. ^ Haggerty, George E. (1998). "Anne Rice and the queering of culture". Novel: A Forum on Fiction. Retrieved 2007-07-07. [dead link]