Ok, now it seems someone has read one of my less-than-flattering posts about Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series and has protested, protested most mightily indeed!
In particular, it is protested, I shouldn’t be so hard on a series that is so pro-gay. Should I not be supporting that?
Well, first of all, I have to say that pro-gay drivel would still be pro-gay drivel. And it’s several kinds of desperate that anything positive should be fawned over even if it’s tripe. Tripe is tripe and no amount of rainbows will make it anything other than tripe.
But mainly I have to GAPE at the idea that the Anita Blake series is pro gay. Seriously? I consider it pretty homophobic. Yes there are inordinate number of GBLTQ characters in her books – but simple number of characters does not make it positive by any stretch.
Let’s review some of the badness that leaps out of me (and this is form memory, were I to bring myself to re-read them I’m sure more would come).
I am going to cut this for spoilers in case any of you haven’t read the series and wish to do so. I also pity you, yes yes I do.
First of all, GBL characters ARE OVER-represented in one, maybe 2 fields in the books. Villains and victims. Lots of villains and victims.
Asher, bisexual – was a villain but was redeemed to the good guys by the sweet love and gentleness of Anita (behold the power of a straight woman’s love!) Its bitter, implied sadistic and now confines 99% of his sexing to Anita. Has noted that Anita’s presence even stops him being coupl-y with Jean-Claude
Raina, bisexual. Sadist, rapist, murderer, torturer and generally not a nice woman. Also rapes straight women. Is portrayed as “perverse”.
Gabriel: Bisexual, sadist, rapist, torturer, pimp and generally not a nice man. Rapes straight men. Is also portrayed as “perverse” especially in reference to his extreme masochism
Chimera: gay or bisexual. Sadist, rapist, torturer (are we seeing a pattern yet?)
Belle Morte: Bisexual, rapist, makes straight people have sex with their own gender for her amusement.
Traveller: Gay. Uses his power to possess straight men so he can have sex in their bodies (i.e. rapes them).
Niley: Gay, rapes straight men. And tortures them. Bonus points, deals with daemons and is actually looking for a holy relic to defile it.
These need a special mention because there is so much fail here that it’s almost breathtaking.
The leader of the werehyenas is Narcissus. He is constantly referred to by the male pronoun so I’ll use that. He is intersex, seems to present as a gay man and dresses as a woman. He won’t have any women in his clan because a “real woman” would threaten his leadership. He is captured and tortured by a male lover until he is rescued by Her Straightness Anita and His Straightness Richard.
The werehyenas are made up nearly entirely of gay men. About 600 of them. Big muscle bound, sexy gay men as well. Wearing leather (LKH really needs to start typing with both hands). They are taken over. Taken over by a force that seems to number about 100… at most. They are taken over because they’re not “real fighters” or “real muscle” and they just roll over and give in (and can’t fight properly anyway)
They are rescued by the werewolves (read – the real mens). Narcissus learns his lesson and recruits soldier types (apparent heterosexuals since they’re happy to leer at Anita – real mens!) and now, Rafael of the were-rats FEARS the Hyenas (because now they have real mens) when he didn’t fear the pack that outnumbered him 3:1 before.
Other problematic elements
Most Ulfrics are men because they have to win a drag out fight with the previous Ulfric. Ulfrics and Ulfric candidates are men because they’re big and strong. Oh and Sylvie was a contender for Ulfric – is she a man? Nooo, but she’s a lesbian. Well, she was a lesbian. In later books LKH FORGETS. But not before she is raped by a man and a woman and has to be rescued by Anita (saaaave us straightness, saaaave us!)
Nathaniel: repeated implied bisexual. Is a victim and a victim and a victim and a victim and a victim and always a damn victim. He’s a poster child for victimisation
Byron – looks pre-adolescent, vulnerable, weak. He actually comes across as more fragile and weak than Bartolomé and Valentina. Oh and he lets us know that Jean-Claude, though bisexual, doesn’t REALLY like men, just Asher. Careful, he’s a leading man!
Faust: introduced, a gay master vampire. Then disappears, bye bye. At least he wasn’t tortured/raped
Augustine, oh Augustine. Straight vampire makes a play for Anita. Jean-Claude establishes his power over him by… having sex with him and having him bottom! Dominance is established, the bottom is the “lesser man”. The trope here really can’t be ignored but aie I cringe, I cringe I do.
Y’know this is just what I came up with with a few moments reflection from memory – no re-read or anything and it’s been a while since I re-read these.
So, gay characters? Yes. Positive? No, I would say not, yes yes I would.
And they’re still poorly written porn. With lots of “humpa humpa”