For one of my classes (Queer Counseling and Narrative), I need to write a paper in which I do a "first session" counseling an LGBTQ person or couple, then write up a summary of the full course of therapy.

This is not about diagnosis, and the character does not need to have a mental illness. They just need to have some sort of issue or life circumstance which might be helped with therapy.

Can you suggest a character or characters who might be fun to do this with? Criteria:

1. They must be LGBTQ. (They don't have to necessarily explicitly identify that way.)

2. The work they come from must be contemporary (or near-contemporary) realism. No fantasy or sf.

3. Ideally, this will be something I've already read. If not, it should be something comparatively easy to read and obtain.

4. The work must be fiction.

Please give a little bit of detail if you suggest something.
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onyxlynx: The words "Onyx" and "Lynx" with x superimposed (Default)

From: [personal profile] onyxlynx

I was going to suggest Rita Mae Brown's early novels, and then I remembered that they are probably out of print; also, I have a vague recollection they might have other problems. Maybe Sandra Scoppetone? Or Lynne Murray? (Memory's cobwebs have cobwebs. Ack!)
shati: [a:tla] appa and toph in the desert. ([a:tla] so what's up)

From: [personal profile] shati

Oh man, I was totally going to suggest Utena until I, er, read the requirements.

My second instinct is to suggest (any of several characters from) The Wire, but I can't remember if you've seen it, and it sounds like the character should be from a book?

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From: [personal profile] shati - Date: 2012-02-16 11:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
adrian_turtle: (Default)

From: [personal profile] adrian_turtle

You might try interviewing Aud Torvingen. If you meet her at the beginning of Stay, she might want grief counseling or something along those lines. (I think of Nicola Griffith's earlier work, Slow River as fiction about science/realistic thriller, but it's generally classified as sf and won a Nebula. It's superb.)
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore

M.E. Kerr's Deliver Us From Evie is pretty classic, but might be hard to get nowadays. Down to the Bone has "a lively, spicy Cuban-American culture set in Miami". I haven't read it, but Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a big seller, and this also apparently got good reviews?

If you wanted couples what about Patience & Sara (is that too historical) or Peggy and Jaret? Except that book has rape, so....but that might be a good choice in terms of trauma counseling.
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)

From: [personal profile] oyceter

There's Nelson from Alex Sanchez's Rainbow Boys trilogy (YA, should be fast read). I think he dates someone who's older and HIV positive, and okay, I am really just suggesting this because I thought he was an interesting character who didn't get that much to do in the books. I also like that he's very out.
pauraque: bird flying (Default)

From: [personal profile] pauraque

I see you've got Andre Braugher as an interest; are you a Homicide fan? Tim Bayliss comes to mind if you want some bi representation in there.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu

Anyone in _Angels in America_? (Well, almost. I'm assuming you know it.)
Edited Date: 2012-02-17 01:04 am (UTC)

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From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu - Date: 2012-02-17 03:29 am (UTC) - Expand
em_h: (Default)

From: [personal profile] em_h

Tuyen and Carla, from Dionne Brand's What We All Long For, contemporary realist novel, set in Toronto.

This is how they're described in the (somewhat sensationalized) blurb:

"There’s Tuyen, a lesbian avant-garde artist and the daughter of Vietnamese parents who’ve never recovered from losing one of their children in the crush to board a boat out of Vietnam in the 1970s. Tuyen defines herself in opposition to just about everything her family believes in and strives for. She’s in love with her best friend Carla, a biracial bicycle courier, who’s still reeling from the loss of her mother to suicide eighteen years earlier and who must now deal with her brother Jamal’s latest acts of delinquency."

You probably couldn't get the novel in a US bookstore, but it's easy to order on-line. And very, very good.
veejane: Pleiades (Default)

From: [personal profile] veejane

You recently (re)read Regeneration, right? Isn't Sassoon bisexual (I know he was in real life, can't remember in the novel)? You might certainly say he's got a reason to be talking to a headshrinker. Not a specifically queer reason, but.

I have a wonderful short story called "Pigs Can't Fly" by the Sri Lankan-Canadian novelist Shyam Selvadurai that would be perfect, about a sissy boy playing wedding with his girl-cousins, but I don't know where it's in print (except in the OOP collection I own). But it's a wonderful short story so I have to mention it.
vass: Psychoanalysis comic book cover: an analyst watches a woman crying (psych)

From: [personal profile] vass

Sassoon's definitely bisexual in the novel. He admits to it very early in the first novel of the trilogy. Apart from all the war-related issues he's already seeing a shrink for, he might want to talk to someone else about how his therapy with Dr Rivers is getting completely out of hand in that he has a crush on his shrink and (although AFAIK Sassoon doesn't realise this) his shrink has a crush on him.

My face when I realised where it was going: DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD:
boxofdelights: (Default)

From: [personal profile] boxofdelights

Have you read A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend?

Main character is a teenager who is not sure how she identifies, even though she is in love with a girl. Her trauma is the sudden death of the titular best friend in a car accident. The book is pretty funny even though it's all about grief.
lferion: (HL_Methos_Together_DM)

From: [personal profile] lferion

Ford McKinney &/or Dan Crell from Jim Grimsley's Comfort and Joy perhaps?

Dan has been living with HIV and past trauma (the HIV is from blood transfusions, though he is gay). Ford has interesting issues in other ways.

If you don't know the story, I won't spoil it, but it's not a tragedy.
vass: Psychoanalysis comic book cover: an analyst watches a man crying (psych again)

From: [personal profile] vass

Stephen Gordon from Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness. Stephen identifies as a lesbian woman, but I am very sure is actually a trans man, and would have identified as such if the option had been available.

I will use the pronouns he/his/him for Stepehn in this comment, even though Radclyffe Hall didn't, because I feel really uncomfortable identifying a character as a trans man and then continuing to call them 'she'.

Stephen is very concerned with the religious morality of his relationships, and particularly of not dragging his partner, Mary, down into the misery he identifies with his identity and life as an 'invert'. He believes that Mary, as a femme, could be more happy in a heterosexual relationship, and that if it weren't for her attachment to Stephen, she would get married to a man and live happily ever after.

Stephen's religious issues go beyond his sexuality and gender identity: since he was a child, he has fantasised about 'being a martyr', and he believes that rejecting Mary and pushing her into the arms of a man is what Christ would do. He derives satisfaction and redemption from sabotaging his own life in this way. Also, even Jonathan Cape wouldn't have published this if it'd had a happy ending.
rikibeth: (Default)

From: [personal profile] rikibeth

Oh, dear God, that analysis adds so much to The Well of Loneliness, which of course I cordially loathed, because I want happy endings, dammit.
ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)

From: [personal profile] ruthi

Battle from Empress of the World by Sara Ryan.

It's a young-adult book set in a gifted-teenager summer camp.
Battle and the main female character, Nicola, fall in love, and it's all new and confusing. So there's the coming-out aspect. Then there are religious and somewhat controlling parents. And there's a brother she was very close to, who just left and the parents do not mention him at all.

wordweaverlynn: (Default)

From: [personal profile] wordweaverlynn

How about Ruth Anne "Bone" Boatwright from Dorothy Allison's Bastard out of Carolina?

Illegitimate kid from a poor family (her mother was 15 when she had Bone). Abused physically and sexually by her stepfather. And yet a powerful character.
rikibeth: (Default)

From: [personal profile] rikibeth

Bone is a really good choice! Over at LJ I suggested Ree from Winter's Bone - a not unrelated thought.
zvi: self-portrait: short, fat, black dyke in bunny slippers (Default)

From: [personal profile] zvi

If you can get a hold of or go see in theaters the recent film Pariah, about a high school girl in New York who's struggling with being a black butch lesbian, it's a good film, but there are interesting family dynamics.
melebeth: (Default)

From: [personal profile] melebeth

I can't remember her name, but the lesbian character in The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

From: [identity profile]

Dang. Until I hit point #2, I was totally going to suggest Vanyel -- because if there was ever a character (of the LGBTQ variety) who needed therapy . . . .

From: [identity profile]

I haven't read those books yet. I was hoping I could sneak in Pat Califia's Doc and Fluff, but it's been so long since I last read it (and my copy has gone walkabout) that I am not sure it is contemporary enough to suggest. *goes to Amazon* Dang, looks like it is set in a dystopian future.

Hm, looks like it wouldn't be hard to buy another copy. Guess I'll do so....

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] - Date: 2012-02-17 12:40 pm (UTC) - Expand

From: [identity profile]

At the risk of being super-obvious, there are the boys from Brokeback Mountain. Annie Proulx's short story is, well, short, and I assume you've watched the movie at some point.

Tom Ripley from Patricia Hightsmith novels. I don't think he's overtly acknowledged as homosexual in the books but he's clearly gay in the Mingella's film adaptation. He's a sociopath, and I don't know if you want to avoid a character like that, but he'd sure be fun to analyze.

From: [identity profile]

Or Frank Pierson in "The Boy Who Followed Ripley" who is gay by implication, or at least has a massive crush on Ripley. I'm not sure Ripley is a good subject for counselling as he's a sociopath but completely happy and unconflicted about it, and not willing to even admit to himself about the things he is unhappy about.

From: [identity profile]

Tripping to Somewhere, which you are going to read anyway, might be useful here. (It's technically fantasy, but the fantasy element is so minor I think it could work for this.) I daresay the protagonist could use a deal of therapy.

From: [identity profile]

I still fondly remember your recommendations for the lead of *Swordspoint*. (Me, I recommend sedative restraints.)

From: [identity profile]

Michael from Mort Crowley's play The Boys in the Band comes to mind- a gay man who struggles with self-hatred and continually alienates those around him with his barbed remarks.

From: [identity profile]

Maybe Sammy Clay or Tracey Bacon from Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay?
ext_27060: Sumer is icomen in; llude sing cucu! (Daughter of Eve)

From: [identity profile]

This goes back to 1984, and has some seriously problematic portrayals of lesbians with issues... which is exactly why I'm suggesting it. I vote for Maximiliana "Max" Horne and Dr. Ursula Heschel from Madeleine L'Engle's A House Like A Lotus. Ursula seems pretty stable (although I bet she has some codependence going on), while Max is a tragic butch Southern lady alcoholic trauma survivor who is becoming an abuser in her turn. I'd like to know what 21st-century therapy makes of this string of traumatized-lesbian cliches.

That said, if you'd rather study a more recent book with fewer elements of unexamined homophobia, I encourage it!
Edited Date: 2012-02-16 11:28 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]

I don't think I'll do it because it doesn't quite fit the purpose of the assignment... but what a classic example of a "problem-saturated story" and a person who is affected by homophobic social discourses!

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From: [identity profile]

Have you read Ellen Wittlinger's Parrotfish, about a trans high schooler?

From: [identity profile]

I'm having a hard time coming up with fictional characters who aren't in SFF. The only ones I can think of are Tara and Willow, which doesn't exactly fit, and Glee, which I think you maybe haven't seen. I mean, I'd love to see you give grief counseling to Vanyel, but it doesn't exactly fit.....

From: [identity profile]

Vanyel would definitely benefit from narrative therapy. Talk about a "problem-saturated story!"
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