Pyrofennec does an excellent job highlighting the issues of Rape In My Anti-Tolkien. I wanted to elaborate a little on a more specialised area of fantasy.
Why is there so much rape in my gay fantasy fiction?
It doesn’t happen in books with straight male protagonists, unless it’s to his girlfriend, his wife, his mother, his sister. Rape is something that he never needs to contend with on a personal level. It’s just not on the radar. It’s this special crime saved for all the men who are not straight and women.
There’s a whole lot of awful tropes in fantasy fiction featuring gay and bisexual male protagonists. The heroes are almost always stunning beautiful and exceptionally talented, there’s usually a dark secret and a tragic past thrown in, they’re underappreciated, misunderstood, and their lives are filled with Angst with a capital A, but don’t worry about it, they’ll get over it with the love of a good man, at least until he dies in horribly tragic circumstances.
But what annoys me most is the prevalence of rape. I can’t say I’m too fond of the incest either, I’m certainly not fond of lovers being murdered or characters being killed just because. But I hate the rape.
Here is a list, of fantasy fiction, that I’ve read, which has cis-male protagonists who are either gay or bisexual (there’s a couple of exceptions but they’re listed below). I’ve mentioned accounts of both rape and deaths (except in the cases where I just can’t remember).
Just to be clear if magic is used to coerce someone into having sex that is rape. If someone is not conscious (and has given no prior consent) then having sex with them is rape. Forced to have sex, be that magically or otherwise, is rape.
As for the deaths, not all of them are equal. Some are the heroes, some are the heroes’ lovers, some are secondary characters, some are minor characters, some are the villains and some are mentioned in passing. For some books I’ve listed them out and others I’ve just noted there are deaths. Some of the books have worlds in which everyone is bi and so any death is going to be that of a bisexual character, others we’re speaking of 50% of the book’s non-straight population being killed off. I’m not going to differentiate here.
I’m not commenting on the quality or the literary merit of the books below. There are books on the list I enjoyed and books I loathed.
On to the list!