Estranged loners and solitary iconoclasts are popular figures in fiction. With nothing to lose and nothing to prove, they can be relied upon to supply cool dialogue in the face of danger and remain unreasonably disinterested in the status quo power structures. So it’s not surprising to come across numerous sci-fi and fantasy protagonists who appear to be largely devoid of friends and family. Yet despite their reputations as cynics and misanthropes these characters almost inevitably risk everything for a lost cause, a chance at redemption, or even a cute puppy. (I admit to sometimes having a laugh at the idea of a single town populated entirely by the brooding, world-weary strangers of fiction. Would there even be enough middle-distance for them all to stare out into with cool disinterest?)
But fun as this trope is, it can prove problematic when it intersects with queer representation. The alienation of straight characters most often results from what they have done—betrayed their nation, led a failed rebellion, or just murdered lots and lots of people for money. Queer characters (and particularly queer characters of color) are regularly depicted as being rejected for what they are regardless of their actions or values.