I’ve been a bit too busy with my professional life (which has drama enough of its own to keep me occupied) to have followed this in “real time,” but apparently there was this article on Tor.com
that led to some reactions
and another blogger
(and I know there had to have been other, related discussions elsewhere, but I am just following a link from my blogroll due to lack of time). Their points are best read (or in one case, perhaps laughed at?) in full, so I won’t bother to recapitulate them here. What instead I will do is ask a couple of questions that are unvoiced, at least directly, in most of this.
What are some of the “genre” books that focus on non-binary genders? (From what I understand, it is not just Western European/American understanding of transsexuality, but also different roles/customs in non-Western societies)? I know Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness (there should be a sort of Godwin’s Law written about how in the course of any discussion of “progressive” cultural/sexual issues, the probability approaches one of someone citing this book, but I digress) was mentioned, but other works are there?
Secondly, would it be more or less likely that non-SF/F books will have characters that do not fit into binary (male/female) gender roles? I am thinking of Booker Prize-nominated Jeet Thayil’s Narcopolis in particular, but I feel like there have been others that I have read in which the issue of gender is not as clear-cut.
Any suggestions? I am much less interested in arguing the issue of non-binary gender (the linked articles alone suffice for that) as I am in learning of titles in which there are characters that are not traditional male/female in gender.