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ICon 2019 ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

Are you going to put a gay character in your book as a major character?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes! Someday I will, I want to... I'm easing my way into it because my specific culture and biases, I think would lead me to do it poorly, until I've... until I kind of ease my way in. There will be main characters who are LGBTQ in the future. I'm getting there, be patient with me.

Shardcast Interview ()
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FeatherWriter

I'm super psyched about the Rlainarin reveal that we've had recently. It was one of those things that reading Rhythm of War I'm like "Oh wow! There's a lot of cool chemistry here. And I don't think it's ever gonna be canon, but I'm gonna just love it quietly in my heart and tell other people that I think it's cool." And then finding out...

Brandon Sanderson

It goes back to Oathbringer too if you go back to Oathbringer.

FeatherWriter

It has! The scene in Rock's point of view. I'm just so glad it's actually happening. It warms my little Renarin loving heart.

Brandon Sanderson

Yep. I looked for a place to get it into this book, I actually wrote scenes that "should I put this in this book?"  and they're like "No, if it will feel clunky just do it in book five." 

FeatherWriter

I think it was there enough, that a lot of us readers, got that the chemistry was there, and it could work very well.

Chaos

I think you can really do it justice, doing a same-sex relationship and do it really well. 

Brandon Sanderson

Well having two viewpoint characters - that's kinda one of my go-tos, right? To avoid tokenism, try to make multiple characters who think differently. One of the worries was: with Renarin being autistic, I don't want to conflate these two aspects of his personality. But having Rlain there lets me have diversity among a given representation in a single book. Just way more comfortable for me to write, because it lets me make sure that I'm making people their personalities, and not their defining attributes. Kaladin has depression; Kaladin is not depression. And that's a really important thing.

If its something that I'm less familiar with personally, it's more important that I have a variety of viewpoints. Even if its something like making sure that Jasnah is atheist and Kaladin is agnostic. And that I'm approaching their different worldviews from their personalities rather than as a cliché of some sort. 

General Reddit 2020 ()
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Headpat_Thot

The Reshi King from Rysn's interlude is probably trans. This statement is based on a few points

1: Everybody but Rysn (who's whole thing is that she's extremely green and unaware of the world) uses He/Him pronouns to refer to the reshi king.

2: When Rysn first meets the king, She genders him as a man, until she notices that he has breasts. This suggests that he has taken measures to present more masculine.

3: When Rysn refuses to call the king "king" his son loses his temper and tries to send her away. Up until then, he had been firm, but that was the point where he outright tells her to leave.

There is one line in the text where The king's son says "gender is irrelevant" in response to a question Rysn has about the king's gender.

I will say that this was written before the Author stopped using Gender and Sex interchangeably according to the WoB database.

Beyond that, I doubt the language they were speaking (thaylen) would have a robust understanding of sex and gender.

Credar

/u/mistborn was this your intention with the scene if you can confirm it? Or was it more the Egyptian style Hatshepsut-like others are mentioning?

Brandon Sanderson

I love Hatshepsut as an interesting quirk of history, and have long thought about ways to incorporate something similar. I did have that partially in mind when I was writing this, but more in the way that the culture was trying to understand him, rather than his own view of himself.

The king sees himself as male, and wishes to be treated that way--not just in title. In fact, in the coming months, you will see this character again briefly in some scenes I've already written, if you keep an eye out.

Jacky_Ragnarovna

ooh are we going back to the Reshi Isles? Will we get a beach episode?

Brandon Sanderson

Ha. RAFO. :)

YouTube Livestream 35 ()
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Questioner

In your most recent Stormlight book, there was a character that came out as ace. Could you talk though that?

Brandon Sanderson

This is not a spoiler. I feel like this is there in the text, even though I wasn't 100% sure where I was going or how to pull it off. I think I was laying the groundwork for this character, and I was not completely sold, let's be perfectly honest. The members of the ace community who are fans were suggesting that this was how I was writing the character, and I did not want to canonize it until I had the right scene from this character's eyes to make it work. When I really sat down to do this, I tried the character several ways, and this is the way that felt right to me. I've often said that, until I write from a character's viewpoint, that I don't really know. And I had done viewpoints from this character before; at least one, maybe a couple. But I hadn't talked about their sexuality at all. And I explore the world through the eyes of my characters. And this was an exploration that really worked and kind of helped me understand the world and people in the way that I really like characters to do for me. That's part of why I did it. And I was holding off on talking about this character's sexuality until the right moment, and then I tried multiple different things, and this is the one that just really sang to me. People encouraged me to try it, and I'm glad that they did, because once I did, they were right, and it worked real well. So, thank you to members of the ace community who are fans of the books. I feel like the character locked into place better for me once I understood enough to try writing this way.

Footnote: The character in question was Jasnah, who was revealed to be asexual during Rhythm of War
Shardcast Interview ()
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Chaos

In Rhythm of War, when we see Veil in the scene in the bar when she's expressing interest in women. Was that meant to confirm Shallan is bi[sexual] in-text?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. That was meant to be read as Veil legitimately - I realize you can read that as she's just joking around, but that was Veil expressing interest in the ladies.

Chaos

Well I suppose, what some people were saying, maybe Veil is bisexual and not Shallan.

Brandon Sanderson

I would say that they are both, and maybe Veil kind of in a way to make less threatening to Shallan has started really only talking about women that way. Partially for Adolin's comfort and for Shallan's comfort. If that makes sense. It's more of a safe place, because for them they know she would not go and act on those if it were about men or women, but it would be more threatening if she were talking about men that way. 

FeatherWriter

I definitely got the vibe that Veil is more the sort of person who was willing to say those sorts of things, but knowing that a lot of the speculation about Shallan went back to book one, before Veil had even become a character, this has been with Shallan for a while way back when.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't think Shallan would express it. She might be too culturally biased to even acknowledge it, but Veil? No.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
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MiaUwU

Was any of the original Vessels of the Shards transgender? Can we expect to have a transgender main character in the future?

Brandon Sanderson

You can expect to have a transgender main character in the future. I want to be careful where I place this, and let's say that I'm much... my focus right now is on doing Renarin and Rlain right. But you can expect this in the future.

General Reddit 2021 ()
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Questioner

Is Moash intended to read as being interested in men?

Beyond some of the things he says, I relate a lot to his feeling of alienation even within his marginalized group, as a queer poc.

Brandon Sanderson

I wasn't intentionally coding Moash as queer - but that doesn't mean I didn't do it on accident. I see him as straight, personally, but having gone so far down a dark path he basically feels nothing anymore.