LGBTQIA Protagonists in Fantasy and Science Fiction

This list is a constant work in progress that is mostly composed of books I’ve personally read or books that are on my list of books to read. If you know of any that are good, please mention in the comments. Or if you’ve happened to come across any other articles or lists, I would be happy to add them to the resources list. If you’re looking for LGBTQ romance novels within the SFF genres, I’d suggest checking out some of the small, LGBTQ publishers, such as Less Than Three PressBlind Eye Books or Bold Strokes Books.

For the most part, the lists are sorted by gender since fantasy books in particular can be sketchy about whether the characters are gay/lesbian or bisexual (or pansexual for that matter). If a character is genderqueer and bisexual or pansexual, their book can be found under the genderqueer sublist.

Also check the tag “LGBTQIA” for those books which I’ve reviewed.

EDIT – I’ve decided to go through and mention which books end in tragedy (i.e. death) for either the protagonist or the same gender love interest. So a couple of books will have spoilers. Note, this is only for books that I’ve read myself and reviewed.

Fantasy and Science Fiction Books with Asexual, Demisexual or Aromantic Protagonists

  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is a novella about a boarding school for children who’ve spent time in fantasy worlds. The protagonist actually says “I’m asexual.”
  • Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Slyver is hopeful dystopian novel where people have superpowers. One of the protagonists is an asexual man with invisibility powers.
  • Clariel by Garth Nix is a YA fantasy novel about a girl necromancer who heads down a dark path.
  • An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows is a fantasy novel where one of the POV characters is aromantic and uses the word to describe herself.
  • Deadly Sweet Lies by Erica Cameron is a YA fantasy story with a male and female protagonist. The male protagonist is asexual.
  • The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz is a science fiction story where an asexual woman falls in love with a female AI.
  • Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson is a YA science fiction story with an asexual heroine.
  • Banner of the Damned by Sherwood Smith is an epic fantasy with an asexual heroine.
  • Sheepfarmer’s Daughter by Elizabeth Moon is the first book in The Deeds of Paksenarrion, a military fantasy series with an asexual heroine at its center.
  • Fourth World by Lyssa Chiavari is a YA science fiction set on Mars with two protagonists, one of whom is asexual and one of whom is demisexual.
  • Night Calls by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel is a historical paranormal book about a female demisexual werewolf.
  • One of the POV characters of Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith is demisexual. It’s a YA post-apocalyptic story.
  • Resources:

Fantasy and Science Fiction Books with Gay/Bisexual Male Protagonists

  • Fantasy and Science Fiction:
    • Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner is the quintessential fantasy of manners – there is no magic in this book. It’s all plotting between different noble characters. Swordspoint focuses on Richard St. Vier, a master swordsman, and his partner Alec.
    • The Fall of Kings by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman is a novel set decades after Swordspoint, focusing on Alec’s son (Theron) and his lover Basil. Ends in tragedy.
    • Tremontaine is a prequel to Swordspoint that’s available through Serial Box, which creates stories that have a format akin to television (one “episode” is released a week). Tremontaine is currently ongoing and includes gay and bisexual male characters among the main cast.
    • Ariah by B. R. Sanders is the coming of age story of an elf named Ariah, who’s bisexual. The book also includes polyamory.
    • Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flwelling is a traditional epic fantasy sort of book that takes place in a world with openly gay and lesbian characters. There’s two main characters, both of whom are male, and they get together in a later book.
    • London Falling by Paul Cornwell is a police procedural urban fantasy with four main characters, one of whom is a gay man. I have a review of the sequel, The Severed Streets.
    • The Fire’s Stone by Tanya Huff is a swords and sorcery sort of quest story with two bisexual men among the leads.
    • The Deathsniffer’s Assistant by Kate McIntyre is the first book in a fantasy mystery series. As of the second book (The Timeseer’s Gambit), the protagonist is canonically bisexual.
    • The Door Into Fire by Diane Duane is a fantasy novel where everyone’s bisexual. The main character is male.
    • The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson has a bisexual lead. Note, ends in tragedy.
    • Liesmith by Alis Franklin is a paranormal romance based off of Norse mythology. The protagonist is bisexual and the word is actually used.
    • Beyond the Pale by Mark Anthony has two characters from Colorado thrown into a fantasy world. It’s listed has having a male-male romance, but I couldn’t find anything in the reviews.
    • Tower of the King’s Daughter by Chaz Brenchley is an epic fantasy in a historical type setting with a gay protagonist.
    • The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan is a grimdark epic fantasy where one of the three POV characters is a gay man.
    • Point of Hopes by Melissa Scott and Lisa Barnett is a fantasy mystery with two bisexual men as protagonists, although there is no romance in this first installment of the series.
    • The Root by Na’amen Gobert Tilahun is an urban fantasy novel about two people descended from gods. The synopsis mentions the male lead’s ex-boyfriend.
    • Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly is a dystopian book with a historical feel about a gay spy and his boyfriend. It is released on February 7th.
    • Cagebird by Karin Lowachee is the third novel in a science fiction series set in space that switches narrators each book. The narrator of Cagebird is either gay or bisexual. Warning, there’s some pretty graphic content relating to rape and child abuse.
  • YA Fantasy: 
    • Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith has a gay protagonist among its five POV characters. It’s a post apocalyptic story.
    • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater is a YA book about a group of characters searching for an ancient Welsh king in Virginia. It’s the second in a series, but it focuses on a gay character.
  • YA Science Fiction: 
    • Proxy by Alex London is a YA dystopia with two male protagonists, one of whom is gay.
    • Coda by Emma Trevayne is a YA dystopia with a music theme and a bisexual male lead.
  • Resources

Fantasy and Science Fiction Books with Lesbian/Bisexual Female Protagonists

  • Fantasy:
    • The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner is a sequel to Swordspoint, but can be read independently. The Privilege of the Sword which focuses on Elizabeth, Alec’s niece who comes to stay with him and learn swordsmanship. During the course of the story, she figures out that she’s bisexual.
    • Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks is a fantasy series set in a world with elemental powers and no sexism or homophobia. The main romance is f/f.
    • The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg is a fantastical graphic novel about a storytelling f/f couple.
    • Tremontaine is a prequel to Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword that’s available through Serial Box, which creates stories that have a format akin to television (one “episode” is released a week). Tremontaine is currently ongoing and includes a lesbian character as one of the major POV characters.
    • An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows is a queer feminist portal fantasy novel. One of the POV cast explicitly describes herself as bisexual and has a female love interest.
    • The Steel Seraglio by Linda, Louise, and Mike Carey is a fantasy story of a runaway group of concubines who create their own community. The most prominent romance subplot is between two of the female characters.
    • The Thousand Names by Django Wexler is a military fantasy with two protagonists, one of whom is lesbian.
    • Will Do Magic for Small Change by Andrea Hairston is a story that mixes together science fiction and fantasy. One of the two POV characters is Cinnamon, a bisexual black girl in 1980’s Philadelphia.
    • Passing Strange by Ellen Klages is a novella containing magical elements about queer women in the 1940’s.
    • The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard is a fantasy set in the magical ruins of Paris. One of the three POV characters is in a romantic relationship with another woman.
    • The Archer Who Shot Down Suns: Scale Bright Stories by Benjanun Sriduangkaew is a collection of short stories retelling Chinese mythology.
    • A Fistful of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman is a contemporary fantasy story with a queer ending.
    • Maplecroft by Cherie Priest is a fantastical, historical horror novel that has a protagonist who’s in a romantic relationship with another woman. Note, ends in tragedy, at least for this installment of the series.
    • Daybreak Rising by Karen Oliver is a New Adult fantasy novel with a f/f romance. I’ve heard it includes a demisexual character, although I don’t know if this is one of the protagonists.
    • Rituals by Roz Kaveney is an urban fantasy where one of the two female protagonists has a girlfriend who’s also a ghost.
    • The Warrior’s Path by Catherine M. Wilson is a historical fantasy novel with a same sex romance.
    • The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer is a retelling of the Persephone myth where Hades is female. It’s a graphic novel.
    • Sword of the Guardian by Merry Shannon is a traditional fantasy novel that looks like it mainly centers around the same-sex romance.
    • The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova is a new fantasy release where I’ve heard the female protagonist is bisexual.
    • The Drowning Girl by Caitlín R. Kiernan is a fantasy horror book that’s listed as GLBT. I saw it on a list of lesbian/bi characters, but I can’t confirm. The Red Tree is another fantasy/horror by Kiernan that has reviews confirming lesbian relationships.
    • The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan is a grimdark epic fantasy where one of the three POV characters is a lesbian.
    • Prayer of the Handmaiden by Merry Shannon is a second world fantasy with a lesbian love story.
    • The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster is a fantasy novella with pirates and magic that’s listed as GLBT > Lesbian on Goodreads.
    • The Warrior, the Thief, and the Healer by Diana Jean is a Western historical fantasy with a f/f/f romance.
    • Promises, Promises by L.- J. Baker is a comedic fantasy that parodies Lord of the Rings and Dungeon and Dragon, complete with many pop culture references. Three of the four quest goers are lesbians.
    • The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera is a Mongolian inspired epic fantasy novel with a f/f romance. It is released on October 3rd.
    • The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez is about a black lesbian vampire.
    • Snake Eyes by Hillary Monahan is about a woman who’s part snake and has a human girlfriend.
  • Science Fiction:
    • Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear is a steampunk set in the American West with a female/female romance.
    • Smoketown by Tenea D. Johnson is a post-apocalyptic novel where the heroine is waiting for the woman she once loved in an imaginative future city.
    • God’s War by Kameron Hurley has a bisexual heroine and is set at least 3,000 years in the future on an Islamic planet.
    • Burning Bright by Melissa Scott is a cyberpunk story where everyone’s bisexual.
    • Afterparty by Daryl Gregory is a technothriller with a lesbian protagonist.
    • The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley is a space opera novel where there are only female characters. So, basically “lesbians in space.”
    • Planetfall by Emma Newman is set in a human colony on an alien planet and narrated from the perspective of a bisexual woman.
    • Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey is about a Latina girl who’s got super strength and the inability to feel fear. The love interest is female.
    • Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee is a military science fiction novel set in a far future totalitarian government. The heroine, Cheris, doesn’t have a romance plotline (could change with future books) but her narration mentions how she’s attracted to women and talks about her ex-girlfriend.
    • Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Slyver is a dystopic superhero novel. One of the protagonists is a transgender woman in a poly marriage with two other women.
    • False Hearts by Laura Lam has a protagonist canonically state that she’s bi. The romance subplot is with a man.
    • The Temple at Landfall by Jane Fletcher is a science fiction story with a fantasy feel set on an all female planet.
    • Translucid by Zen DiPietro is a science fiction novel where the protagonist is pansexual and married to another woman.
    • Ammonite by Nicola Griffith is a feminist science fiction novel that takes place on an all women planet. There’s a female/female romance.
    • The Caphenon by Fletcher DeLancy is a science fiction novel about aliens making contact with humans that is listed as lesbian fiction.
    • Solitaire by Kelley Eskridge is a dystopian/cyberpunk story where the heroine has a girlfriend.
    • Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi is a science fiction taking place on-board a star ship with lesbian romance.
    • Shadows of Aggar by Chris Anne Wolfe is a science fiction novel with a fantasy feel and a lesbian romance.
  • YA Fantasy:
    • Huntress by Malinda Lo is a YA fantasy adventure with a lesbian romance plot. She’s also written some other series with LGBT characters at the forefront – I’ve heard a lot about Ash, which is a lesbian retelling of Cinderella. She’s also got a science fiction series that starts with Adaptation that stars a bisexual girl.
    • Fires of the Faithful by Naomi Kritzer has a lesbian heroine who’s a music student in a fantasy world based on medieval Italy. It’s not listed as YA, but the heroine’s sixteen and it feels like an easy cross over.
    • Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis is a YA fantasy with a bisexual girl as a protagonist.
    • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova is about a bisexual Latina girl from a family of matriarchal witches.
    • As I Descended by Robin Talley is a YA paranormal retelling of Macbeth. Forewarning, since it’s based off of Macbeth, most people die.
    • Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron is a YA second world fantasy book where the protagonist is a bisexual or pansexual warrior woman with a male love interest. Note, the world building includes a third gender.
    • Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulhurst is a YA second world fantasy f/f romance about two princesses falling in love.
    • The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember is a YA fantasy containing a romance between a Viking girl and a mermaid. It is released on May 4th.
    • The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine is a YA fantasy book that’s listed as having a bisexual protagonist.
    • Deadly Sweet Lies by Erica Cameron is a YA fantasy story with a male and female protagonist. The male protagonist is asexual and the female protagonist is lesbian.
  • YA Science Fiction:
    • Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee is a YA story about a bisexual Asian girl who’s the daughter of two superheroes who gets an internship in a super-villain’s lab.
    • The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie is a near future science fiction novel with genetically engineered sea monsters, pirates, and two teenage girls who fall in love.
    • The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow is a YA dystopian with a bisexual princess as the narrator.
    • Dreadnought by April Daniels is a superhero novel about a trans lesbian girl.
    • A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith is a time travel novel about a bisexual Japanese-American girl.
    • Ida by Alison Evans is a time travel and psychological thriller about a bisexual girl with a nonbinary partner.
    • As I Descended by Robin Talley is a YA paranormal retelling of Macbeth. Forewarning, since it’s based off of Macbeth, most people die.
    • Sound by Alexandra Duncan is a YA novel set in space with a lesbian protagonist.
    • Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block is a YA dystopia with a bisexual lead.
  • Resources

Fantasy and Science Fiction Books with Genderqueer, Transgender, and Intersex Protagonists

Other Queer SFF Stories

  • The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley is a grimdark epic fantasy in a non-hetero-normative world. Most all the characters seem to be pansexual.
  • Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald is a science fiction novel set on a future moon where most of the characters seem to be bisexual.
  • The Devourers by Indra Das is a novel about monstrous shapeshifters that explores gender and sexuality.
  • Love Beyond Body Space and Time is a collection of queer Indigenous SFF stories.
  • The Way of Thorn and Thunder by Daniel Heath Justice is a queer Amerindian epic fantasy series that includes bisexual and transgender characters.

Reader suggestions:

  • The Heralds of Valdemar (series) by Mercedes Lackey. kediamond: “There’s several trilogies- The Last Herald-Mage has a gay protagonist (who’s that nation’s legendary hero) and his aunt is a kickass mage. Arrows of the Queen has strong women and a background lesbian (and hinted poly) relationship. Vows and Honor has Tarma, an asexual warrior woman, Mage Winds and Mage Storms have several gay characters and a large focus on religion. The gay characters are Firesong, Silverfox, and An’desha”
  • The Seventh Pleiade and Banished Sons of Poseidon by Andrew J. Peters. ajpeters100: “It’s a two part series about the last days of Atlantis from the perspective of a gay male teen.” Both novels are YA.
  • Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey. Christalyn Amialianet Melville: “an excellently written fantasy adventure narrative with lavish scenery and settings and very elegant language and the main female protagonist is bisexual and always finding herself in interesting sexual escapades.”
  • TheElemental Series by Brigid Kemmerer. Mike: “has a gay protagonists in one of the books. Its an amazing young adult series about a group of brothers with elemental powers.”

General Resources for LGBTQ Fantasy and Science Fiction

General Resources for Young Adult LGBTQ Fantasy and Science Fiction

28 thoughts on “LGBTQIA Protagonists in Fantasy and Science Fiction

  1. You should add The Heralds of Valdemar to your list! There’s several trilogies- The Last Herald-Mage has a gay protagonist (who’s that nation’s legendary hero) and his aunt is a kickass mage. Arrows of the Queen has strong women and a background lesbian (and hinted poly) relationship. Vows and Honor has Tarma, an asexual warrior woman, Mage Winds and Mage Storms have several gay characters and a large focus on religion. Karal is a junior priest, and An’desha is connected to other spirit beings in a shamanistic religion with a multifaceted female Goddess.

      1. 🙂 I might have been a bit unclear in that description- the gay characters are Firesong, Silverfox, and An’desha, not Karal. It’s a really good series! And there’s even music- the songs in the books are on youtube. Windrider Unchained, Kerowyn’s Ride, and Demonsbane are my favorites.

  2. Tanya Huff’s SING THE FOUR QUARTERS is a fantasy novel for adults with a polyamorous, bisexual protagonist.

  3. Hi Sarah!

    I found your blog as I was doing some research of my own on LGBTs in fantasy/sci fi. Thanks so much for compiling this information!

    I think two books: The Seventh Pleiade and Banished Sons of Poseidon by Andrew J. Peters (myself) fit well into your Fantasy/Sci Fi with Gay/Bisexual Male Characters list. It’s a two part series about the last days of Atlantis from the perspective of a gay male teen.

  4. You might also check out the kushiel’s legacy series by jacqueline carey it’s an excellently written fantasy adventure narrative with lavish scenery and settings and very elegant language and the main female protagonist is bisexual and always finding herself in interesting sexual escapades.

  5. The elemental Series by Brigid Kemmerer has a gay protagonists in one of the books. Its an amazing young adult series about a group of brothers with elemental powers.

  6. This may be forward, but in my historical-fantasy series, The Ingenious Mechanical Devices, there are the following LGBT characters:
    The Earl of Brass features lesbian side characters who play a role in the middle section of the book and sexuality/being free to love is a major theme in the novel.
    The Winter Garden has two gay men (one is a main character and one is a side character)
    The Earl and the Artificer has an asexual man in a relationship with a heterosexual woman (his discovering and coming to terms with his asexuality is a major plot point in the book)
    Dead Magic (forthcoming this November) has the gay couple from The Winter Garden along with a lesbian-bisexual couple who play a key role in the story.
    All four books have happy endings for the characters mentioned.

  7. I’ve recently written a fantasy novel with two lesbian female characters. I’m trying to get it published, so I’m spreading the word to get more votes on the site Inkitt. It would mean so much if people from the community took a peek as well.

    It is called Aemilia Winterguard: The Creatures That Were Unheard Of

    You can download a free copy here: http://www.inkitt.com/stories/fantasy/75331

    You need to have an inkitt, facebook, or twitter account, though.

    It’s the first of a trilogy, might I add. But the only finished book, so far.

  8. Pingback: Ursularity
  9. Hi there

    I am unsure if this is the right place to send this. I would just like to bring an amazing South African LGBTI author and activist to your attention. Perhaps you could contact her for an article or for more information.

    Are you LGBT? Do you love to read, but can’t find any decent fiction that doesn’t cast LGBT people as negative stereotypes? Are you tired of reading fiction aimed only at straight folks? Are you irritated by having only a limited choice between sleazy gay soft-porn xxx smut – and books that present LGBT people in a derogatory light? Are you looking for stories about inspiring LGBT heroes and heroines, role models, and ass-kicking entertainment?

    Then this is for you!

    Christina Engela is an amazing author in South Africa who writes all walks of LGBTI into her books, she herself is a transgender woman.

    https://christinaengela.com/2016/10/16/no-lgbt-stereotypes-here/

  10. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is a YA fantasy novel about a magic school that’s kinda like Harry Potter. It’s got a big m/m romance between two of the protagonists, one who’s explicitly gay and one that doesn’t have a label but has dated a girl in the past and had genuine feelings for her (a lot of fans say bisexual but it’s never actually confirmed). It’s a great book and I really recommend it!

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