For Intersex Awareness Day, we’re sharing a list of speculative fiction with intersex characters.
Intersex: Fiction and Reality
These characters all provide much-needed representation of people whose bodies don’t fit the male/female binary expected in modern society. Unfortunately, few of them reflect the reality of being intersex. Many of these characters reflect the authors imagination of what it would be like if science or magic could create true hermaphrodites (able to become pregnant and carry to term AND able to engender a child in someone else). Others switch back and forth between binary physiologies. Some of them, like the herms of the Vorkosigan Saga, prefer to be called terms that are highly offensive to real intersex people.
So please read, enjoy, but be cautious. If you are intersex, assume many of these stories come with trigger warnings and content notes. If you are not intersex, please learn from real intersex people, such as Mx. Anunnaki Ray, and don’t confuse fiction with reality.
Speculative Fiction with Intersex Characters
- Desire, one of the Endless, from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman
- Therem Harth rem ir Estraven and other characters from Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness
- Swan Er Hong and other characters from Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312
- Bel Thorne from Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga (First appearing in Warrior’s Apprentice)
- Fullin and other characters from James Alan Gardener’s Commitment Hour
- Mikassa Ahmed Shekran and other characters from Michon Neal’s Cuilverse (Suggested starting book: The Changing of Allison Dutch)
- Wraeththu, post-apocalyptic species from Storm Constantine’s Wraeththu series (First book: The Enchantments of Flesh and Stone)
Know something we missed? Please share it in the comments!