Subject: Oh man, do I have a few...
Posted on: 2021-06-12 18:31:14 UTC

Getting the obligatory shoutout out of the way to Alex Fierro of the Magnus Chase series. While not a perfect representation, she was the first instance of a genderfluid character I saw while questioning my own gender, and she was a huge help in getting my parents to understand me—so she'll always have a special place in my heart.

I'd also like to point at Asra Alnazar, magician extraordinaire of the mobile visual novel The Arcana. There's a growing rise in nonbinary representation in fiction, but along with them, well—it seems the only pronouns used are they/them, which while excellent, also leaves out those of us who are comfortable being called by gendered pronouns, let alone our assigned pronouns at birth. The language used with Asra is subtle, but what really stood out to me is the way his parents refer to him exclusively as "my child" rather than "my son". It's such a small detail, but such an important one, and I love the VN all the more for it.

(That, and just about everyone in said VN is explicitly bisexual, and it's not just in the sense that the romanceable characters are 'playersexual'; their different storylines sees the non-romanced characters experiencing their own stories in the background and forming relationships with each other.)

Right now, the big one that made me have to put the book down and cry for how well done it was, was Avatar Kyoshi (and Rangi!) from the Kyoshi novels. Set 300 years before Aang's time, Kyoshi is implicitly bisexual (having crushes on male characters, but the text doesn't clarify where under the bi umbrella she falls since it isn't relevant) and falls in love with the female Fire Nation soldier Rangi. The two of them don't suffer the ambiguous ending get-together that Korra and Asami were given; their romance blooms relatively early in the first book, it's believable, it's wholesome, both characters are so fleshed out and rounded—and they don't just ignore the inherent issues their society will have with the relationship.

While yes, it is very comforting to read about worlds where homophobia (and transphobia) don't exist, it's also very comforting to read about characters similar to ourselves. It's like sinking into an embrace with the characters there to reassure you that you are not alone.

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