Who is the best non-binary character in fiction?
While you head over to vote in the last couple of days of our best series poll (yes you should go vote!), we also need to gear up for our April poll.
Almost every character in literature is either a man or a woman, but not every character is. This month we call on nominations for the best portrayal of a character who is outside the gender binary.
1- As always, I leave definitions up to your best judgement because I'd rather be inclusive. While gender is a social construct and a little slippery, the gender binary is fairly well defined as cisgender, and covers probably 99.9% or more of literary characters, the umbrella that "cisgender" doesn't cover is vast and diverse. There are many expressions of gender that are outside the binary from agender to transgender to genderfluid. I do not wish to host arguments as to whether whether a feminine presenting intersex character "counts" unless they "truly" question their birth designation or whether a gender fluid character is fluid enough. If you nominate it, and it is not clearly ridiculous ("Harry Dresden tried to get in touch with his feminine side that one time...."), I will trust your judgement.
2- While the story doesn't have to be like Middlesex, which very much revolves around gender, this is a call for the best portrayal of characters outside the gender binary. An alien who simply says, "We don't have gender on my world," once during their introduction onto the page, and proceeds to act like a fairly typical dude for the rest of the book (but you think is cool because they broke all those cyphers and figured out the plot twist) would probably not make a good fit. However an alien race with three genders that are explored, even if the main story were more about repopulating the Earth, would be. Please be careful with aliens–their non conformity to the gender binary should be something portrayed, something considered, and something that contributes to an exploration of the human condition and the idea of gender, not simply something "weird" to make them other that is mentioned once or twice and never has any real bearing.
3- You may nominate two (2) characters. (Remember that I am a horrid and unyielding power hungry monster here at Writing About Writing. To encourage reading and reading comprehension I will NOT take any characters beyond your second nomination.) If you nominate more than two characters, I will only take your first two and consider any beyond that to be "pre-seconding" for a future nomination.
4- You may (and should) second as many nominations of others as you wish. No characters will be going on to our poll that doesn't get at least one second.
5- Please put your nominations here. I will take books nominated as comments to this post on other social media; however, they may not get the seconds you need because no one will see them.
6- If your ideology is trans exclusionary, stay the fuck out of my space! You are not welcome here and neither is any kind of shoe-horning a transantagonist agenda into the comments on this poll. Anything like that will be insta-deleted.
I want, in particular, to invite any call outs or course corrections the genderqueer community might feel I need in the wording of this post. If I have phrased something in a less-than appropriate way or done something that erases a group, please let me know and I will edit. I'm still pretty 101 on gender stuff.