Last week Huffington Post, that bastion of literary excellence*, posted a slide show entitled 7 Great Gay Couples In Literature in honor of the recent passage of equal marriage rights in New York. I was surprised by two things about this list: 1) most of the couples were simply suggested by the text when there are plenty of novels that include couples who acknowledge their attraction and 2) whomever created the list clearly hasn’t read very many queer books published since, oh, 1968.
Once I managed to stop rolling my eyes, I decided to make my own list, which is definitely not comprehensive and is definitely a “Cass’s Favorite Characters” list, as opposed to an all encompassing “Best Of” list.
- Idgie and Ruth, Fried Green Tomatoes… (1987): Fannie Flagg novels in general make me feel super cozy, and Fried Green Tomatoes is the ultimate comfort, thanks in large part to the enduring love of Idgie and Ruth. (Side note: I will admit with no shame that Idgie is my ultimate literary crush.)
- Michael Tolliver and Jon Fielding, Tales of the City (1978): The Tales of the City series is the ultimate gay soap opera, full of mistaken identities and secrets and murders, so the tender scenes between Michael and Jon (which continue into the sequel, More Tales of the City) are made all the more sweet in that context.
- Tiny Cooper and Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Will Grayson (2010): Which Will Grayson am I talking about here? Even I’m not sure. Tiny Cooper, probably one of my favorite characters ever, shines his big, fabulous light over both the Will Graysons and the reader. If you read this book without feeling a bit of love for Tiny, you are not human.
- Nan and Florence, Tipping the Velvet (1998): Okay, so Nan may have had more passion for Kitty during their ill-fated love affair, but it’s her adult love and admiration for the smart, well-rounded Florence that set my heart aflutter.
- Annie and Liza, Annie On My Mind (1982): A classic, lovely romance that makes you want to go on way better dates.
- Prior and Belize, Angels In America (1993): Okay so they’re not technically a couple by the time the play begins, but their friendship is beautiful and their wit and love for one another is inspiring.
- Celia and Shug, The Color Purple (1982): When Celia and Shug kiss, you can’t help but root for Celia and her first moment of real tenderness from a lover. When I saw the musical adaptation, that moment drew cheers from the audience–and I think the reader will find herself wanting to cheer as well.
So, friends, tell me: now that I’ve gotten some more obvious choices out of the way, who are your favorite queer couples in literature?
* …don’t mind me.