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Did green dragon riders have homosexual encounters with the other male dragon riders when their greens were flying?

In The White Dragon, when Mirrim's Green was proddy, the other dragon riders were swirling around Mirrim, but she is the only female green dragon rider.

Chapter 12: "... The green dragon was airborne, the blues and browns after her... On the killing ground, their riders closed into a knot about the green's rider. The riders half-ran, half-stumbled to the lower caverns and the chamber reserved there."

"Unwillingly, he thought of their riders in the inner room, linked to their dragons in an emotional struggle that was resolved in a strengthening infusing in the links between dragons and riders."

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In 1981 (wow I'm getting old :-) Anne McCaffrey gave a talk to our university SciFi club and someone asked her this very question. She answered that yes the male dragonriders did have sex when their dragons were flying, and she implied (but didn't say so directly) that this was a deliberate choice on her part as a point of principle. She didn't go further, but even as recently as 1981 public figures had to be a bit circumspect about their views on homosexuality so she was probably just being cautious.

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Yes, they certainly did. This is only hinted in the first trilogy, as you state, but is a bit more explicit in Moreta, Dragonlady of Pern, where we have some open homosexual relationships that are accepted by the weyrfold: K'lon, a blue rider, and his "friend", a green rider.

Here are some quotes:

K'lon's discontent with the change in leadership had been aggravated by Sh'gall's overt disapproval of K'lon's association with the Igen green rider A'murry.


"I've got to go to A'murry. Whenever I can. I can't give him what I've got over! And don't tell me it's enough that Rogeth and Granth stay in touch. I'm very much aware that they do, but I have a need to be with A'murry, too, you know." K'lon's face contorted. He looked about to break into tears,

It really annoys me that McCaffrey has built an interesting, unusual social structure in the Weyrs, with many social, romantic and sexual mores being unusual, shaped by the dragonriders' unusual situtation - but then focuses her stories exclusively on the conservative, heterosexual and monogamous, leaving the more adventurous as either sidelines (like the gay relationships you've noticed) or downright demonized, like Kylara: polyamory and open relationships were accepted in weyrs, but somehow her promiscuity and fondness for S&M and non-vanilla sex was portrayed as cornerstones of her villainy - and her downfall - just like any Christian morality play.

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    I'm especially annoyed at McC because she has been so strident about the lack of diversity in Sci-Fi and Fantasy, while at the same time having almost no diversity to speak of in the Dragons series.
    – SteveED
    Nov 25, 2012 at 0:24
  • You can see in her later books, like Dragon's Dawn, that she did think of diversity (a bit) with black and asian colonists settling on Pern. But by the time of the main timeline, everyone has melded into a single ethnicity. Nov 25, 2012 at 5:20
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    Dragonrider was published the year after Homosexuality was made legal in the UK - but these changes take time to bed down in society. She probably was at the leading edge when she could be by raising the issues at all in her 1990's and later books. Sex before marriage was probably as far as she could push it with Lessa and F'lar. By leaving any ambiguity she was raising the question of what else might be going on rather than pairing everyone from the beginning of the series.
    – Rik-Makor
    Mar 27, 2020 at 22:08

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