Henry Bowers gay?

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blunthead

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Aug 2, 2006
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Yes, I too always thought that Henry Bowers was gay. Unfortunately, he's just one in a string of negative gay male characters SK has written. He's been better as of late though.

Splain, please ..

I know my argument will look week because I don't have any concrete examples to give you right now, but much of SK's early writing is populated with peripheral male characters who are either questionably gay or outright gay and the way he writes them is not very nice. They are usually perverts, weak or criminals. Also, words like "f****t" are liberally used in his earlier writings. All I know is that having read SK since pretty much the beginning, there are many times as a gay male I had to cringe at the way he wrote gay males. I will try to find some definite examples, but you'll have to give me time.
I think definitive examples would be appropriate at this time.

I'm very much like you - I thought I was dating someone in college - we went everywhere together, had the best time, I thought he was just taking it slow. And then he kissed his boyfriend in front of me and introduced him. Classic. How'd I miss that?
I dunno, but considering that what you were used to thinking was going on got blown way, way out of the water, in yer face...I just wonder what that was like.
 

AnnaMarie

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Feb 16, 2012
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-Bill McGovern in Insomnia
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Uncle Tommy in The Talisman
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Tom McCourt in Cell...to name but a few, and King seems to have been less harsh and more supportive of lesbian characters in his writings...possibly due to his daughter being gay?...kinda curious if he will incorporate a transgender/transsexual in any way, shape or form as a lead character...

Tom's not a bad guy. I loved Tom.

carrie's younger brother (I think it was you mentioned the use of the word f****t) that was used by nasty horrid people. Off hand, I don't recall any decent characters using it. It's the people who I think would use it that use it. The one that really comes to mind is at the beginning of IT, when the gang beats up a guy, or is it a couple? And that gang of guys uses it.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
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...I agree with the assessment of King's earlier works...never felt he was homophobic, maybe a little uncomfortable-but never a hater...and as with most of his characters, he puts them out there-flaws and all...I also have no issues with the LGBTQ community....only way I have a problem is the men and women who feel it necessary to perpetuate the stereotypes of the lifestyle I,e. flamboyance and over-manliness....just be yer damn self!!!!...
 

kingricefan

All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.
Jul 11, 2006
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Tom's not a bad guy. I loved Tom.

carrie's younger brother (I think it was you mentioned the use of the word f****t) that was used by nasty horrid people. Off hand, I don't recall any decent characters using it. It's the people who I think would use it that use it. The one that really comes to mind is at the beginning of IT, when the gang beats up a guy, or is it a couple? And that gang of guys uses it.
I just finished reading that scene last night. I think maybe even one of the cops may have used it. It doesn't offend me because the way King is using it in this context is to show how ignorant these characters are.
 

AnnaMarie

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I just finished reading that scene last night. I think maybe even one of the cops may have used it. It doesn't offend me because the way King is using it in this context is to show how ignorant these characters are.

That's why it didn't offend me either, in that book. It was a part of the character. I think Henry also used the N-word. Which fits with his character.
 

The Nameless

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I never thought Henry is gay. I just thought that like most hormonal teenage boys, he is confused about most things, and his crappy upbringing, lower mental ability, and Derry doing what it does best - amplifying nastiness - are the reasons for his hatred towards himself and indeed anyone who is not in his little clique.
 

The Nameless

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...I agree with the assessment of King's earlier works...never felt he was homophobic, maybe a little uncomfortable-but never a hater...and as with most of his characters, he puts them out there-flaws and all...I also have no issues with the LGBTQ community....only way I have a problem is the men and women who feel it necessary to perpetuate the stereotypes of the lifestyle I,e. flamboyance and over-manliness....just be yer damn self!!!!...
I also agree about his early works, I see the n word and the f word a good bit, but think he was using them as impact words - trying to cement his place as the main guy, who is not afraid to write the controversial characters.

Forgive me if I'm being stupid here, but: Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transsexual, Q???
 

GNTLGNT

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I also agree about his early works, I see the n word and the f word a good bit, but think he was using them as impact words - trying to cement his place as the main guy, who is not afraid to write the controversial characters.

Forgive me if I'm being stupid here, but: Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transsexual, Q???
..."Queer or Questioning"....
 

raggedyman79

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Sep 6, 2013
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Wow, I go away for a few days and my topic heats up!

I do agree that some of SK's earlier works paint the LGBT community in a negative light. He didn't necessarily use gay characters themselves, but some of his mentally diseased characters engage in activities traditionally associated with homosexuality, such as Patrick Hockstetter in IT (and FIRESTARTER, in which the was used for a different character who was a closet transvestite) and The Kid in THE STAND.

IT also, of course, features Adrian Mellon as a sympathetic character (based on a real-life gay-bashing in Bangor in the 80's).
 

raggedyman79

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Sep 6, 2013
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I actually sent this through unfinished, intending to come back to it. Here is what I meant to say in its entirety:

I do agree that some of SK's earlier works paint the LGBT community in a negative light. He didn't necessarily use gay characters themselves, but some of his mentally diseased characters engage in activities traditionally associated with homosexuality, such as Patrick Hockstetter in It (and Firestarter, in which the name was used for a different character who was a closet transvestite) and The Kid in The Stand. Sammi Bushey in Under the Dome is presented as pretty trashy, cheating on her husband and dealing drugs. There's also the gay thief, Ramon Sanders, that Norman Daniels roughs up in Rose Madder, who is not mentally diseased, but certainly not a sparkling example of a positive gay character.

However, on the opposite side of the coin . . . It also, of course, features Adrian Mellon and Don Mellon as sympathetic characters (based on a real-life gay-bashing in Bangor in the 80's). It could be argued that Adrian could almost qualify as an honorary Loser himself, as, like our heroes, he too has a defining natural trait that makes him "other" than the norm. Bill McGovern in Insomnia and Tom McCourt in Cell are two other examples of likable gay characters in SK's novels, even if they are sometimes given stereotypical traits (i.e., Bill is secretly in love with Ralph Roberts, and Tom's most meaningful relationship seems to be with his cat). Freddi Linklatter in Mr. Mercedes isn't exactly likeable, but she's realistic, and used for comic relief rather than shock value. Carolyn Hill and Alice Calvert are an out gay couple in the King-produced TV adaptation of Under the Dome. And let's not forget Dayna Jurgens in The Stand, who sacrifices her life rather than reveal Tom Cullen to Flagg, making her a hero; and Father Callahan, who had an unorthodox love story of sorts with Lupe Delgado in Wolves of the Calla.

The times that homophobic epithets are used, much like the racial ones, it is to illustrate the ignorance of the character saying or thinking it, not SK's own feelings on the matter. So really SK's plethora of gay and lesbian characters are just as varied and flawed as the straight ones: good, evil, and everything in between. In researching this topic, I found an article claiming that SK has donated money in support of the gay marriage initiative. I'm not sure if his feelings on the issue were once different and changed because of Naomi's coming out, but I'd be curious to know if that event did have an effect on LGBT representation in his works.

Wow, I feel like I just wrote a bare-bones research paper. Heh.
 

Robert Gray

Well-Known Member
Bowers never came across as homosexual. His experience with Hockstetter is likely just that, one of those experiences some people have in their lifetime. Statistics say many straight people have such an experience and that it generally happens when they are children. We got ample opportunity to look into the mind of Henry Bowers in the novel and at no point did we get any indication of a preference for boys. There are, however, several indications of an interest in breasts and other such things. In regards to the portrayals of different people (of all sexual preferences), no group in particular gets more or less rough treatment at the hands of King. The "black hats" come from all walks of life (as do the victims and heroes).
 

Cristian M

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Mar 2, 2014
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Thanks GNT. It's been my personal experience (and it no way am I saying this is a universal truth) that straight men are more comfortable with lesbians since they pose no "threat" to them.

And just to be clear, SK has written favorable gay male characters. Again, it's just been my personal experience that much of his earlier writing was peppered with negative gay stereotypes and derogatory language towards gays. I'm still with SK almost 40 years after I first read him, so obviously I am able to distance myself from it.
Before writing his serious novels, SK made some bucks writing male gay porn short stories for a magazine specialized in such stories. Maybe this helped him write the gay pages in his famous novels, by already having some expertise on the gay world.
 

Dana Jean

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Apr 11, 2006
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Before writing his serious novels, SK made some bucks writing male gay porn short stories for a magazine specialized in such stories. Maybe this helped him write the gay pages in his famous novels, by already having some expertise on the gay world.

Stephen wrote and sold short stories to men's magazines, but he most definitely did not write gay porn.

Steve has people in his life (friends and family) who are gay and he can go to for advice.

Where did you get your information?
 
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Cristian M

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Mar 2, 2014
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Stephen wrote and sold short stories to men's magazines, but he most definitely did not write gay porn.
There's nothing wrong with gay porn , I once read a funny story with gay vampires (and I am Romanian , so the vampire thing hits home !). About SK's stories for men's magazines: maybe I didn't correctly recall some facts ? I read about it frome some autobiographical pages written by King himself.