LGBTQ+ Inclusion in the Television Series

Discussion in 'Wheel of Time TV Show' started by Jeffan Caliarthan, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. Rhed al'Tere

    Rhed al'Tere Aes Sedai

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    As a nonmonogamous person, I take exception to the idea that my relationships with other people outside my primary partner don't mean as much, or that none of my relationships can be very special, deep, or trusting. In my experience, my partners trust me MORE because we have to communicate so much about feelings and other fluffy stuff. Not to mention calendars.

    That's neither here nor there. I am here for queering up WoT, for making explicit the things that were taken for granted, though the explicitness may be offhand, casual, and unworthy of mention to other characters because it's taken as a matter of course.
     
  2. Leira Galene

    Leira Galene Aes Sedai Head of the Brown Ajah Forum Moderator

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    Yes, precisely.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  3. Adolla Ceryia

    Adolla Ceryia Aes Sedai

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    No, this is the pejorative meaning of Queer. The point of using it now is to reclaim that. Queer people exist, they are normal, and they are and have been in all aspects of your life. Please do not use the word if you think that's what it means.
     
  4. Narysse a'Jahar

    Narysse a'Jahar Aes Sedai

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    I agree with Adolla. I am a fledgling queer person. Queer to us means "not hereronormative." It basically means we identify as Not Straight.

    Pillow friends in that regard do fall under the queer/lesbian/gay/bi definition. RJ himself said that they get hot and sweaty under the sheets together.

    There is also a scene when Elaida comes into her own in which she mentions that she had a pillow friend when she was a JM of the Tower, and she was thinking about rekindling that. In fact, her significant other was dressed seductively if I recall that passage properly.

    The Reds being full of lesbian relationships makes sense. They're against males--granted, against male channelers, but this is extended to being portrayed as the fact that a Red simply does not take a Warder. In my opinion this is ripe territory indeed to explore the lesbian and asexual culture of the Tower.

    There are also quite a few relationships that are definitely on the LGBTQ spectrum of things. Perhaps the reason RJ suggested that it was just a matter of course for these relationships to exist was to normalize them in an era/community in which they were not normalized. They simply existed. Rafe is working in the medium of television, a very visual medium. Having overtly LGBTQ activity is a way to show viewers these relationships exist and are considered normal.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  5. Sela Narian

    Sela Narian Oracle of Delphi Aes Sedai

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    Non-straight people deserve representation and validation that they exist, especially in a series that specifically points out they exist, which is more than the vast majority do.

    This is reality. Non-straight people exist, everywhere, in all times. Saying it's okay if this one character is gay but that it should be the rare exception to the rule is both unrealistic and condescending.

    WoT is not Medieval Europe. That was a different Age. Different public standards. Assume nothing.

    Mat has always come off as super queer to me. Different readers, different takes.

    Regarding monogamy, I've found two people are quite enough for mistrust; divorce rates are high these days. Trust is not a matter of numbers, similar to how one needn't have just one close friend or it invalidates the other close friend(s) you have. Most important is who is in the relationship and how they communicate. In poly relationships, they often communicate more about expectations so everyone's on the same page. I'd say that's a plus.

    Still, it's always about who is in the relationship and how they communicate. It's not for everyone. It's not for me, honestly. But I've seen it work much more successfully than many monogamous relationships, more than a few times.

    Finally, regarding making sure it doesn't 'change the message', this...makes me sigh really hard in really exaggerated ways.

    Having queer characters doesn't change any messages. Some people like to sleep with the same gender as them and others don't. This is a random aspect wherever one finds humanity. Full stop. No further message than that.

    Queer people don't exist merely as queers and that's our whole identity. I'm an entire person and being queer isn't in the top fifty interesting things about me, nor would it be one of the things I'd say when introducing myself, nor would it be relevant to who I am as a person except that some people are bigots and force the issue.

    But it's not my story, just as it wouldn't be Rand's or Mat's or Perrin's or Avhienda's or Egwene's or Verin's or Moridin's or Graendal's story, even if they're the gayest gays on the planet. The story was already written. It's being adapted for tv. As humans are involved, some of them are queer.

    Sorry not sorry?
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  6. Durin Ironfist

    Durin Ironfist

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    In my school and even university they said and I looked it up on Wikipedia to secure it, that "queer [...] means as an adjective things, activities and people which deviate from the norm" (own translation from the german version). Funny enough I´ve just seen that it is really a bit different in the original english version: "Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or are not cisgender." Sorry for the Definition problems.
    Monogamy is just the only thing I can imagine for myself, but again: I would never try to forbid another thinking to you. Probably you are even right, mother that more partners have to trust you more and that it is a proof of trust that they accept such a relationship.
     
  7. Aratouial Delafeld

    Aratouial Delafeld Citizen

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    Ok I realize this is The Internet where tone does not come across so please read this with the intended tone, which is frustrated but not dismissive or demeaning.

    Durin: you are ignorant regarding queer representation and queer people. This is not an insult, this is just reality. You came here not understanding the term "queer." You came in here with a very fundamental misunderstanding of polyamory. You came here and left a bunch of comments that do nothing but reveal you do not understand minority representation, how it functions, and what it means. You came knowing nothing about queer history or the presence of queer people in all times, places, and contexts.

    As a bisexual woman, it is especially insulting to me that out of your ignorance you felt yourself worthy to comment on bisexual relationships-- I am bisexual, I am queer, I am married to a cisgender and heterosexual man, and being bisexual does not in any way invalidate my attraction to or relationship with my partner. I am continuously queer, continuously attracted to multiple genders. Brigitte being bisexual would in absolutely no way change her feelings for Gaidal, and the fact that you thought so just again: shows your ignorance.

    You need to spend a lot of time listening and a lot of time educating yourself, and stop treating your opinion on representation of queer relationships in media like it's worth sharing. It's really, really not. Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but yours is deeply, deeply misinformed and currently homophobic.

    I get that you're not trying to be an active bigoted homophobe, but you're still saying homophobic things because you don't know better. Go and know better.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  8. Leala al'Dareis

    Leala al'Dareis First Seasoner Aes Sedai Head of the White Ajah

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    I want to take a second and add to these arguments for more inclusion in the tv show. There have been so many good ones, and have put to words my own thoughts for why there should be more inclusion. I love the series and what it has added to my life, but as fans, I think we can agree there's always room for improvement.

    I do want to touch on one specific question you brought up about Elayne and Aviendha, about why people would like to see them in a romantic relationship. As Sela said, different readers have different perspectives, but a lot of us see them as coded as romantic. While they're not overtly or specifically written this way, we see things and read between the lines, like how they're a lot more physically intimate than most sisters would be at their age, like sleeping in the same bed. They also have a great amount of respect for each other and carry each other's honor proudly, and play a much more important role in each other's development than Rand did in the series. While this is all written as platonic, it can easily be read as romantic, or developing into something romantic.

    Aviendha and Elayne aren't the only characters like this, and this isn't the only series that this occurs in. The LGBTQ+ community has been finding themselves in coded queer relationships in fiction, and sometimes authors have even written them as coded to avoid a fallout when something more romantic was meant.

    My point is, there's nothing wrong with wanting Aviendha and Elayne together. Heck, they're two of my favorite characters, I love their sisterly relationship, and I ship them too.
     
  9. Jocasta Braithe

    Jocasta Braithe Novice Forum Moderator Mafia Admin

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    I wasn't sold on Elayne/Avi for a long time, mostly because I hate to lose the sisterhood bond, because it's been deeply meaningful to both characters and to me throughout the story and I don't know if you can have both without it being creepy. But I am coming around to it. I think you can tell nearly the same story, and explore that relationship a different way. Especially because I think it's STRONGLY implied that Bain and Chiad are a couple, and they are also Aiel first-sisters. So presumably in world, Elayne + Avi would not have carried incestuous vibes.
     
  10. Aratouial Delafeld

    Aratouial Delafeld Citizen

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    A fundamental part of my particular bisexual experience was having very intimate, close and "sisterly" relationships with other young women my age and realizing years later I was actually head over heels in love with them. "Sister"-like relationships, being as close as sisters ... it's a very accepted form of intimacy among adolescent girls.

    There's lots of language and imagery for "sister as intimate relationship," and compulsive heterosexuality means that our queerness (especially if we're bi) can get slotted into "sisterly" relationships pretty easily. Among the queer women I know as adults, this was a pretty common experience-- our youthful "sisters" ending up being our first puppy loves, etc.

    In that context, the "sisterliness" between Elayne and Aviendha was not emotionally seen by me as the reader as evidence against queerness, but as evidence for queerness. I even read WoT as a teen and young adult and used "first-sister" language to describe my feelings about my girl crushes with whom I had very close friendships.
     
  11. Leala al'Dareis

    Leala al'Dareis First Seasoner Aes Sedai Head of the White Ajah

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    :hug Thank you for adding to that, @Aratouial Delafeld. I'm not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but I try my best to be a good ally and make sure my own privilege is in check. I certainly didn't want to step on anyone's toes with so many members coming in to add to the conversation that are LGBTQ+.

    You're definitely right about that, including Aviendha and Elayne, and your own personal experiences. Thank you for sharing.
     
  12. Jocasta Braithe

    Jocasta Braithe Novice Forum Moderator Mafia Admin

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    That's really interesting to me! I think our interpretations of relationships often are so contingent on life experience. I identify really strongly with Elayne (partly, and at first, just because it's my middle name IRL) but the sister bond with Aviendha resonated so strongly with me because I never had sisters and I wanted one so badly, I "adopted" my college roommate and we lived together and did everything together for four years, and she became the closest friend I ever had before or since (closer in many ways than my husband.) I felt like Elayne and Aviendha's bond really reflected that experience.

    But I can also see it in your interpretation, my friend's teenage daughter came out a few years ago, and her first relationship very closely followed the progression you describe. Thanks for giving me a new way to look at it, I won't read it the same as I did before. That makes me even more curious how the show will take things!
     
  13. Narysse a'Jahar

    Narysse a'Jahar Aes Sedai

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    It's also blatantly suggested that Moiraine and Siuan are a lesbian couple at a few points in New Spring.
     
  14. Leala al'Dareis

    Leala al'Dareis First Seasoner Aes Sedai Head of the White Ajah

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    Yes, definitely. I think at one point they were even called "pillow friends," right?
     
  15. Onis O'Leia

    Onis O'Leia Aes Sedai

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    This is my experience too. The communication has to be even more clear, direct, open and honest.

    As for LGBTQIA+ representation in The Wheel of Time, yes, RJ wanted to normalize queer people, and in the WOT society it was simply a matter of fact thing.

    I really hope that the creator of the TV series manage to include LGBTQ representation in a good way that we who are queer of all sorts can see ourselves represented well.
     
  16. Adolla Ceryia

    Adolla Ceryia Aes Sedai

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    Words have history, queer was and still is used in a deragotory manor to demean and other people for being gender or sexual minorities. The word queer in contexts outside of actual humans does mean odd an unusual and was used to describe people as wrong or unnatural. It is only in the last few decades that Queer people have started calling ourselves that as a form of empowerment and because it's more inclusive. It is not universally accepted by those it applies to and using it to justify exclusion is not ok.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  17. Deoan Kakarot

    Deoan Kakarot Director of Technology Gaidin

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    I'd like to point out that one of the defining characteristics of the Middle Ages (aka Dark Ages) was an extremely oppressive, strictly controlling church that was willing to torture to death anyone that stepped outside the norm. Comparing any society that lacked such a militant control structure and saying they would be remotely similar in style of relationship management is ignorant at best. The closest to the role that the Catholic church played in the middle ages is the White Tower, which had public and private same sex relationships, so it's safe to say they wouldn't be burning people or pressing them with stones for exhibiting those same behaviors.
     
  18. Aratouial Delafeld

    Aratouial Delafeld Citizen

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    Quick comment:

    "Queer" has been used in the LGBTQ+ community for a very long time. Queer studies departments, e.t.c started up in the 70s and 80s (some were "lesbian and gay", some "queer"). Queer literary theory has existed since the 80s. Queer as a large umbrella term has been in use since the 90s (and for 90s kids like me that is still decades ago). "We're here, we're queer" was a common refrain during the AIDS crisis in the 80s and 90s, and so was "not gay as in happy but queer as in f***k you."

    The idea that queer is a "new" term and one that shouldn't be used as an umbrella is a narrative actively being pushed by TERFs as other phobes in a deliberate attempt to exclude trans, nonbinary, GNC, and even pan and bi people and it's a narrative we shouldn't give credence to.

    I won't make anyone use queer if they don't want to but it's not new.
     
  19. Adolla Ceryia

    Adolla Ceryia Aes Sedai

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    True true, it's not new just more broadly accepted lately. And absolutely should not be used by cisgendered hetero people to dismiss us as abnormal.

    It was also only pretty recent that the use of it as an umbrella term has overtaken the pejorative. It's perfectly understandable that some are not comfortable using it. I certainly heard it flung at me enough when I was young that it took awhile to get used to hearing used more broadly as a self classification.
     
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  20. Eluial Aldaran

    Eluial Aldaran A real gaydin Aes Sedai

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    This is all true and totally irrelevant to what Doll said?