List of LGBT characters in modern written fiction
This is a list of LGBT 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. 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.
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... —Kilian Meloy
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. Additionally, only notable/significant characters from a given work (which may have multiple LGBT characters) need to be listed here.
|Carmilla||1872||Le Fanu, SheridanSheridan Le Fanu||Carmilla||Lesbian. Carmilla is considered the first lesbian vampire story.|||
|Father Goriot/Lost Illusions/A Harlot High And LowPère Goriot
Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes
|Balzac, Honoré deHonoré de Balzac||Jacques Collin a.k.a. Vautrin a.k.a. Trompe-la-Mort||Gay. Appears in a total of five novels of Balzac's La Comédie humaine, two are cameo appearances; often considered the first openly homosexual character in French literature.|||
|Picture of Dorian GrayThe Picture of Dorian Gray||1890||Wilde, OscarOscar Wilde||Basil Hallward||Gay|||
|Picture of Dorian GrayThe Picture of Dorian Gray||1890||Wilde, OscarOscar Wilde||Dorian Gray||Bisexual|||
|Sins of the Cities of the Plain The Sins of the Cities of the Plain||1881||Anonymous||Jack Saul||Gay. Jack is a male prostitute for other men, and also crossdresses; Sins is one of the earliest pieces of English-language pornography to explicitly and near-exclusively concern homosexuality.|||
|Teleny, or The Reverse of the Medal||1893||Anonymous; attributed to Oscar Wilde||René Teleny
Camille de Grieux
|Gay. Teleny and de Grieux engage in a passionate sexual/romantic affair; Teleny is one of the earliest pieces of English-language pornography to explicitly and near-exclusively concern homosexuality.|||
|Advise and Consent||1959||Drury, AllenAllen Drury||Brigham Anderson||Bisexual. Married US senator Anderson is blackmailed over a secret wartime homosexual affair for which he is unapologetic.|||
|Affinity||1999||Waters, SarahSarah Waters||Margaret Prior
|Alex Delaware series||1985–2014||Kellerman, JonathanJonathan Kellerman||Milo Sturgis||Gay|||
|Along the Journey River||1996||LaFavor, CaroleCarole LaFavor||Renee LaRoche||Lesbian|||
|American Psycho||1991||Ellis, Bret EastonBret Easton Ellis||Luis Carruthers||Gay. In love with the male protagonist, but later marries Courtney.|||
|Annie on My Mind||1982||Garden, NancyNancy Garden||Annie Kenyon
|Arrows of the Queen||1987||Lackey, MercedesMercedes Lackey||Keren||Lesbian. Life bonded to Ylsa and then Sherrill.|||
|Beauty of Men The Beauty of Men||1996||Holleran, AndrewAndrew Holleran||Lark
|Beebo Brinker Chronicles The Beebo Brinker Chronicles||1957–60||Bannon, AnnAnn Bannon||Beebo Brinker
|Blood of the Fold
Temple of the Winds
|Goodkind, TerryTerry Goodkind||Berdine
|Lesbian. The two Mord-Sith are in a relationship with each other.|||
|Blue Place The Blue Place||1998||Griffith, NicolaNicola Griffith||Aud Torvingen||Lesbian|||
|Boy Culture||1995||Rettenmund, MatthewMatthew Rettenmund||X
|Gay. X (narrator's pseudonym) has sexual and romantic relationships with Andrew, Joe and other men.|||
|Breakfast on Pluto||1998||McCabe, PatrickPatrick McCabe||Patrick "Pussy" Braden||Transgender. Braden is an Irish trans woman.|||
|Brideshead Revisited||1945||Waugh, EvelynEvelyn Waugh||Anthony Blanche
|Brokeback Mountain "Brokeback Mountain" (short story)||1997||Proulx, AnnieAnnie Proulx||Jack Twist
Ennis del Mar
|Gay. Jack and Ennis have a long term sexual and romantic relationship despite both being married to women and fathering children. Jack also has sexual relationships with other men and a woman, while Ennis does not. Critics have described both men as gay or variably Jack as bisexual and Ennis as heterosexual.|||
|Captain Underpants series||1997–2015||Pilkey, DavDav Pilkey||Harold Hutchins||Gay|||
|CharioteerThe Charioteer||1953||Renault, MaryMary Renault||Laurie Odell
|Chocolates for BreakfastChocolates for Breakfast||1956||Moore, PamelaPamela Moore||Courtney Farrell
|Bisexual. 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
|City of GodCity of God: A Novel of the Borgias||1979||Holland, CeceliaCecelia Holland||Nicholas Dawson||Gay. Nicholas has "a penchant for other men", including the gruff but handsome Stefano Baglione, a heterosexual man who has sex with Nicholas for money.|||
|Confessions of Danny SlocumThe Confessions of Danny Slocum||1980||Whitmore, GeorgeGeorge Whitmore||Danny Slocum||Gay|||
|Dancer from the Dance||1978||Holleran, AndrewAndrew Holleran||Anthony Malone
|Dave Brandstetter Mysteries||1970–91||Hansen, JosephJoseph Hansen||Dave Brandstetter||Gay|||
|Dune||1965||Herbert, FrankFrank Herbert||Vladimir Harkonnen||Gay. Harkonnen's sexual preference for men is implied in Dune and Children of Dune (1976), and presented more explicitly in the Prelude to Dune prequel trilogy (1999-2001) by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.|||
|Ethan of Athos||1986||Bujold, Lois McMasterLois McMaster Bujold||Dr. Ethan Urquhart||Gay. Obstetrician Ethan is from a future society on the planet Ethos where male homosexuality is the norm and most inhabitants have never even seen a woman in person.|||
|Fairly Honourable DefeatA Fairly Honourable Defeat||1970||Murdoch, IrisIris Murdoch||Simon Foster
|Fire from Heaven
The Persian Boy
|Renault, MaryMary Renault||Alexander the Great||Bisexual. Alexander is involved in a romantic sexual relationship with Hephaistion, and then the Persian slave Bagoas, but is also married three times and fathers a son.|||
|Fire from Heaven
The Persian Boy
|Renault, MaryMary Renault||Hephaistion
|Gay. Both men are involved in romantic sexual relationships with Alexander the Great.|||
|Fire's Stone The Fire's Stone||1990||Huff, TanyaTanya Huff||Darvish Shayrif Hakem||Bisexual|||
|Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe||1987||Flagg, FannieFannie Flagg||Idgie Threadgoode||Lesbian. Has a long-term romantic relationship with another woman, and sexual encounters with one other woman.|||
|Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe||1987||Flagg, FannieFannie Flagg||Ruth Jamison||Bisexual. Married to a man and bears his child but subsequently has long-term romantic relationship with another woman.|||
|Front RunnerThe Front Runner||1974||Warren, Patricia NellPatricia Nell Warren||Harlan Brown
|Giovanni's Room||1956||Baldwin, JamesJames Baldwin||David
|God Against the Gods A God Against the Gods
Return to Thebes
|Drury, AllenAllen Drury||Akhenaten
|Bisexual. Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten is married to Nefertiti, but his romance with his brother Smenkhkara contributes to his downfall.|||
|Gut Symmetries||1997||Winterson, JeanetteJeanette Winterson||Alluvia (Alice) Fairfax
|Bisexual. Alice has romantic and sexual relationships with both Stella and Stella's husband Jove.|||
|Hallucinating Foucault||1996||Duncker, PatriciaPatricia Duncker||Paul Michel
|Gay. Openly homosexual writer, said to have many male lovers, including relationship with male main character/narrator.|||
|Happy Endings Are All Alike||1978||Scoppettone, SandraSandra Scoppettone||Jaret Tyler
|Harry Potter series||1997–2007||Rowling, J. K.J. K. Rowling||Albus Dumbledore||Gay. Though not stated explicitly in the novels series, author Rowling said in interviews that the character is gay.|||
|Hotel New Hampshire The Hotel New Hampshire||1981||Irving, JohnJohn Irving||Frank Berry||Gay|||
|HoursThe Hours||1998||Cunningham, MichaelMichael Cunningham||Richard Brown
|HoursThe Hours||1998||Cunningham, MichaelMichael Cunningham||Clarissa Vaughan
|Illusionist The Illusionist (Le rempart des Béguines)||1951||Mallet-Joris, Françoise Françoise Mallet-Joris||Hélène Noris
|Bisexual. Tamara has a romantic relationship with both Hélène and her father; Hélène prefers men after the fair ends.|||
|Harris, E. LynnE. Lynn Harris||Raymond Tyler, Jr.
|Bisexual. Raymond is torn between his girlfriend Nicole and his married male lover; Basil leaves his fiancée Yancey at the altar and pursues a gay lifestyle.|||
|Kay Scarpetta novels||1994–2003||Cornwell, PatriciaPatricia Cornwell||Lucy Farinelli||Lesbian. Has romantic relationships and casual sexual encounters with other women.|||
|Kiss of the Fur Queen||1998||Highway, TomsonTomson Highway||Gabriel Okimasis||Gay. "As the story progresses the focus turns to Gabriel’s sexuality. As he confronts his homosexuality, in a time when this was not overly accepted, he descends into promiscuity and prostitution with constant flashbacks of the abuse he suffered at the hands of the priests. This part of the novel is so beautifully written but so hard to endure."|||
|Kiss of the Spider Woman||1976||Puig, ManuelManuel Puig||Luis Molina||Gay|||
|Last Herald Mage The Last Herald Mage trilogy||1989–91||Lackey, MercedesMercedes Lackey||Vanyel Ashkevron
|Gay. In the series, Vanyel has two sexual relationships, both with male partners.|||
|Less Than Zero
|Ellis, Bret EastonBret Easton Ellis||Clay||Bisexual|||
|Lord John series||1998–2011||Gabaldon, DianaDiana Gabaldon||Lord John Grey||Gay. Lord John has sexual and romantic relationships with various men, though he has had sex with and married women to appease societal expectations of him.|||
|Forster, E. M.E. M. Forster||Maurice Hall
|Men from the Boys The Men from the Boys
Where the Boys Are
Men Who Love Men
|Mann, William J.William J. Mann||Jeff O'Brien
|Mr. Benson||1983||Preston, JohnJohn Preston||Mr. Benson||Gay|||
|Myra Breckinridge||1968||Vidal, GoreGore Vidal||Myra||Transgender|||
|Nearly Roadkill||1996||Bornstein, KateKate Bornstein and Caitlin Sullivan||Scratch, Winc||Transgender|||
|Nightrunner The Nightrunner series||1996–2014||Flewelling, LynnLynn Flewelling||Seregil i Korit
Alec i Amasa
Ilar i Sontir
|Bisexual. Seregil and Alec are committed lovers but both have had experiences with women in the past; Ilar is one of Seregil's former lovers.|||
|Now and Then||1995||Corlett, WilliamWilliam Corlett||Christopher Metcalfe||Gay. Main character has a sexual/romantic relationship as a boy with another boy at school; later has sexual and romantic relationships with other men.|||
|Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit||1985||Winterson, JeanetteJeanette Winterson||Jeanette||Lesbian|||
|Other Voices, Other Rooms||1948||Capote, TrumanTruman Capote||Joel Harrison Knox
|Passion The Passion||1987||Winterson, JeanetteJeanette Winterson||Villanelle||Bisexual|||
|Patience and Sarah||1969||Miller, IsabelIsabel Miller||Patience White
|Perks of Being a Wallflower The Perks of Being a Wallflower||1999||Chbosky, StephenStephen Chbosky||Patrick||Gay. Has a secret relationship with closeted Brad.|||
|Price of Salt The Price of Salt||1952||Highsmith, PatriciaPatricia Highsmith||Carol Aird||Bisexual. Carol has a sexual/romantic relationship with another woman while married to a man.|||
|Price of Salt The Price of Salt||1952||Highsmith, PatriciaPatricia Highsmith||Therese Belivet||Lesbian. Has a sexual/romantic relationship with another woman.|||
|Rubyfruit Jungle||1973||Brown, Rita MaeRita Mae Brown||Molly Bolt||Lesbian. Has numerous romantic and sexual relationships with other women.|||
|Rules of Attraction The Rules of Attraction||1987||Ellis, Bret EastonBret Easton Ellis||Paul Denton||Bisexual|||
|The Secret History The Secret History||1992||Tartt, DonnaDonna Tartt||Francis Abernathy||Gay|||
|Single Man A Single Man||1964||Isherwood, ChristopherChristopher Isherwood||George||Gay|||
|Song of Ice and FireA Song of Ice and Fire||1991–2011||Martin, George R. R.George R. R. Martin||Renly Baratheon
|Gay. Never explicitly stated in the novels, but Renly's sexual/romantic relationship with Loras is hinted, and was later confirmed by author Martin; TV adaptation makes it clear that they are lovers.|||
|Stone Butch Blues||1993||Feinberg, LeslieLeslie Feinberg||Jess Goldberg||Transgender|||
|Tales of the City series||1978–2014||Maupin, ArmisteadArmistead Maupin||Anna Madrigal
|Transgender. Original character Anna is a transgender woman, and Jake (introduced in 2007's Michael Tolliver Lives is a trans man.|
|Tales of the City series||1978–2014||Maupin, ArmisteadArmistead Maupin||Michael "Mouse" Tolliver
|Tales of the City series||1978–2014||Maupin, ArmisteadArmistead Maupin||Beauchamp Day
DeDe Halcyon Day
|Throne of Saturn The Throne of Saturn||1971||Drury, AllenAllen Drury||Pete Balkis||Gay. Astronaut Pete harbors unrequited romantic feelings for his commander, Conrad Trasker.|||
|Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy||1974||Le Carre, JohnJohn Le Carre||Bill Haydon||Bisexual. Has a girlfriend, a male lover, and also seduces Ann, the wife of George Smiley. Rumoured to be the lover of Jim Prideaux.|||
|Tipping the Velvet||1998||Waters, SarahSarah Waters||Kitty Butler||Bisexual. Has a sexual/romantic relationship with the main character and marries a man.|||
|Tipping the Velvet||1998||Waters, SarahSarah Waters||Nancy "Nan" Astley
|Lesbian. Nan has sexual/romantic relationships with Florence and Diana; all three have also been with other women.|||
|University Series University series||1990–98||Drury, AllenAllen Drury||North McAllister
Amos Wilson and Joel
|Gay. North is a "tormented homosexual trying to keep his secret, but recklessly in love"; Amos is protagonist Willie Wilson's gay son, and Joel is Amos' lover.|||
|University Series University series||1990–98||Drury, AllenAllen Drury||René Suratt||Bisexual. René is protagonist Willie Wilson's nemesis, "a bisexual seducer of students".|||
|Vampire Chronicles The Vampire Chronicles||1976–2014||Rice, AnneAnne Rice||Bisexual. Lestat, Armand and most of Rice's male vampires have intense sexual and emotional attractions and relationships with both sexes.|||
|Vampire Lestat The Vampire Lestat||1985||Rice, AnneAnne Rice||Nicolas de Lenfent||Gay. While human, Nicolas shares a romantic sexual relationship with Lestat de Lioncourt|||
|Village Affair A Village Affair||1989||Trollope, JoannaJoanna Trollope||Clodagh Unwin||Lesbian|||
|Village Affair A Village Affair||1989||Trollope, JoannaJoanna Trollope||Alice Meadows||Bisexual|||
|Block, Francesca LiaFrancesca Lia Block||Dirk McDonald
|Well of Loneliness The Well of Loneliness||1928||Hall, RadclyffeRadclyffe Hall||Stephen Gordon
|Lesbian. The book was judged obscene and banned in the UK.|||
|Written on the Body||1992||Winterson, JeanetteJeanette Winterson||The Narrator||Bisexual. Narrator of unspecified gender who has sexual/romantic relationships with men and women. Some reviewers describe the narrator as a lesbian.|||
|1Q84||2009–10||Murakami, HarukiHaruki Murakami||Tamaru||Gay|||
|Adventures of Tulip, Birthday Wish Fairy The Adventures of Tulip, Birthday Wish Fairy||2012||Bergman, S. BearS. Bear Bergman and Suzy Malik||David/Daniela||Transgender|||
|Almost Perfect||2009||Katcher, BrianBrian Katcher||Sage Hendrix||Transgender|||
|The Art of Being Normal||2015||Williamson, LisaLisa Williamson||David/Kate, Leo||Transgender|||
|Beautiful Music for Ugly Children||2012||Cronn-Mills, KirstinKirstin Cronn-Mills||Gabe (Elizabeth)||Transgender|||
|Being Emily||2012||Gold, RachelRachel Gold||Emily||Transgender|||
|Black MagicianThe Black Magician trilogy||2001–03||Canavan, TrudiTrudi Canavan||Ambassador Dannyl
Tayend of Tremmelin
|Gay. Dannyl has relationship with his assistant, Tayend of Tremmelin, who is referred to in the novel as a "lad"|||
|Boy Meets Boy||2003||Levithan, DavidDavid Levithan||Paul, Noah, Tony
"Infinite Darlene"/Daryl Heisenberg
|Gay. Paul and Noah are in love with each other and Tony is also gay; Paul's ex, Kyle, is bisexual and Daryl/Darlene is a cross-dresser.|||
|Butterfly and the Flame, The The Butterfly and the Flame||2005||De Young, DanaDana De Young||Emily||Transgender|||
|Carnival||2006||Bear, ElizabethElizabeth Bear||Vincent Katherinessen and Michelangelo Kusanagi-Jones; Claude Singapore and Maiju Montevideo||Vincent and Michelangelo are gay men; Claude, Maiju and most of the women of New Amazonia are lesbians|||
|Collection The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard (anthology)||2012||Léger, TomTom Léger and Riley MacLeod (editors)||Various||Transgender|||
|Corrections The Corrections||2001||Franzen, JonathanJonathan Franzen||Denise Lambert||Lesbian|||
|Fever Crumb Series||2009–11||Reeve, PhilipPhilip Reeve||Fever Crumb||Bisexual. Fever first falls in love with the male Arlo Thursday, and later with the female Cluny Morvish.|
|Fingersmith||2002||Waters, SarahSarah Waters||Sue Trinder
|Lesbian. Sue and Maud have a sexual/romantic relationship with each other.|||
|Fledgling||2005||Butler, OctaviaOctavia Butler||Shori||Bisexual|||
|Freakboy||2013||Clark, Kristin ElizabethKristin Elizabeth Clark||Brandon
|Gay Pride and Prejudice||2012||Christie, KateKate Christie||Elizabeth Bennett||Lesbian. Romantic relationships with Charlotte Lucas and Caroline Bingly.|||
|Gemma Doyle Trilogy||2003–07||Bray, LibbaLibba Bray||Felicity Worthington||Lesbian|
|Geography Club||2003||Hartinger, BrentBrent Hartinger||Russel Middlebrook||Gay|||
|Geography Club||2003||Hartinger, BrentBrent Hartinger||Min Wei||Bisexual|||
|House of Hades The House of Hades
(The Heroes of Olympus series)
|2013–14||Riordan, RickRick Riordan||Nico di Angelo||Gay.|||
|Holding Still For As Long As Possible||2009||Whittall, ZoeZoe Whittall||Josh||Transgender. Josh is a trans man.|||
|I Am J||2011||Beam, CrisCris Beam||J||Transgender.|||
|Just Girls||2014||Gold, RachelRachel Gold||Ella||Transgender|||
|Kafka on the Shore||2002||Murakami, HarukiHaruki Murakami||Oshima||Transgender/Gay|||
|Keeping You a Secret||2003||Peters, Julie AnneJulie Anne Peters||Holland Jeager||Bisexual. Has relationships with both a male character and a female character.|||
|Kushiel's Legacy series||2001–11||Carey, JacquelineJacqueline Carey||Phèdre nó Delaunay
|Life Mask||2004||Donoghue, EmmaEmma Donoghue||Anne Damer||Lesbian|||
|Line of BeautyThe Line of Beauty||2004||Hollinghurst, AlanAlan Hollinghurst||Nick Guest
|Luna||2004||Peters, Julie AnneJulie Anne Peters||Luna (Liam) O'Neill||Transgender. Luna is a young transgender female character.|||
|Maxine Wore Black||2014||Olsen, NoraNora Olsen||Maxine||Transgender|||
|Millennium series||2005–07||Larsson, StiegStieg Larsson||Lisbeth Salander||Bisexual|||
|Mordred, Bastard Son||2006||Clegg, DouglasDouglas Clegg||Mordred
|Sympathetic Mordred and an exiled Lancelot fall into a romance.|||
|Mortal Instruments The Mortal Instruments||2007–14||Clare, CassandraCassandra Clare||Alec Lightwood
|Alec is gay, Magnus is bisexual|||
|Parrotfish||2011||Wittlinger, EllenEllen Wittlinger||Grady (Angela) Katz-McNair||Transgender|||
|Rainbow Boys||2001||Sánchez, AlexAlex Sánchez||Jason Carrillo
|Raven Cycle The Raven Cycle||2012–14||Stiefvater, MaggieMaggie Stiefvater||Ronan Lynch, Adam Parrish||Gay, Bisexual. Ronan has been proven to be homosexual. Adam has shown romantic interest in woman and man.|||
|Roving Pack||2012||Lowrey, SassafrassSassafrass Lowrey||Click||Transgender|||
|Run, Clarissa, Run||2012||Eliason, RachelRachel Eliason||Clarissa||Transgender|||
|Safe Girl to Love, A A Safe Girl to Love||2014||Plett, CaseyCasey Plett||Various||Transgender|||
|Slap The Slap||2008||Tsiolkas, ChristosChristos Tsiolkas||Richie||Gay. Male main character who has a sexual attraction to Hector.|||
|Star Wars: Aftermath
Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt
|Wendig, ChuckChuck Wendig||Sinjir Rath Velus||Gay.|||
|Star Wars: Legacy of the Force series||2006–08||Traviss, KarenKaren Traviss||Goran Beviin and Medrit Vasur||Gay. Married couple from Star Wars Legends continuity.|||
|Star Wars: Lords of the Sith||2015||Kemp, Paul S.Paul S. Kemp||Moff Delian Mors||Lesbian. First LGBT character in the Star Wars canon.|||
|Trans-Sister Radio||2000||Bohjalian, ChrisChris Bohjalian||Dana Stevens||Transgender|||
|Ukiah Oregon series||2001–04||Spencer, WenWen Spencer||Mom Jo & Mom Lara||Lesbian. Jo and Lara are in a committed relationship.|||
|Where the Boys Are||2003||Mann, William J.William J. Mann||Jeff O'Brien
|Will of the Empress The Will of the Empress||2005||Pierce, TamoraTamora Pierce||Daja Kisubo
|Lesbian. Daja is the main character who begins a relationship with a woman; Lark is in a long-term lesbian relationship.|||
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Berdine comes out as a lesbian in the third book of the Goodkind series, Blood of the Fold. She tells Richard that she’s in love with Raina...
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