In my last post, a pretty common sentiment that came up in the comments was the wariness toward creating a character solely to create a specific sort of character.
I can see their point, really. It's easy to create a token character that way, without giving them any depth.
But then really, if you stop and think about it, does a token character have to be bad? Supergirl could certainly be considered a token character. She's "Superman as a girl". Batgirl? Hawkgirl? They're naturally very developed and interesting characters in their own rights. Very popular.
But when it comes down to it, the original core idea was "a girl Superman".
So why can't a core idea be "a gay Green Lantern"?
I decided, as an experiment, I'm going to see what kind of character I can make using the frame quota idea "a gay Green Lantern" with about five minutes of thought:
Okay, now, I've decided that I want my Green Lantern to be a gay male character and to have ties to a pre-existing character. Mostly because I like that sort of thing, and because I like to tease Hal.
Hal's been active for quite a while as a hero. I don't believe they've ever given a date really, but he's been a hero for quite a few years before Guy and John showed up. He's definitely been a Lantern as of eleven years ago (as we see in Emerald Knights) and he's been portrayed as reasonably capable and experienced there.
He's the same age or so as Ollie, and Ollie was already active when Connor was born, so it's not terribly hard to imagine that Hal was active at that same time. Hal can then, pretty easily, have a child around Connor's age.
So there we go, a premise: Hal, during his first or second year of Lantern-dom was indiscreet with a female alien he met on his travels. This would have been back when his relationship with Carol was still shaky and on-again, off-again, so he doesn't need to have cheated on her or anything like that.
The mother being a female alien will allow the child to be a Green Lantern without adding to the multitude already from Earth.
Okay, now that we have a premise, we need a character. Green Lanterns are, by definition, pretty fearless and pretty dumb. This kid, who I'll dub "Han", (Because I like Star Wars), was chosen the traditional way, via ring, because he fits the qualifications.
Since Han is going to be his father's son in a lot of ways, it'll be important to define his mother too (to see what he gets from both). His mother will have been a high-ranking aristocrat of a high-tech civilization. Possibly a military officer, which will have given her an opportunity to meet Hal to begin with. She's brave, but far more structured and disciplined than Hal is. She's more Navy than Air Force, to over-generalize.
Anyway, Han grew up in this environment. He has a lot of family connections and money, didn't lack for much growing up, and had a particularly strong education. He's illegitimate, which in their culture also holds a bit of a stigma (possibly because Hal, as an alien, had never had his genetic profile evaluated...there could be all sorts of oddities in there!).
His upbringing was very strict, his mother loved him but she was distant, involved with her work. The rest of the family looked at him like he was some sort of unpredictable wildcard. They increased the discipline and rules just to be sure that he would stay in line. Nothing monstrous, of course, and they did care about him, they just wanted him to tow the line and make a good life for himself.
He's got all the mettle of a fine officer, ability-wise, but the pressures of his position have begun to grate on him. They're even talking about an arranged marriage (with a family desperate enough for better connections not to mind some wild-card genes), and the girl's nice, but...well. His interests don't lie in that direction.
He doesn't last long in military school. Everyone's watching him, either expecting him to be the stellar officer his mother is, or for his chaotic alien genes to prove him completely unsuitable for military service. He decides that he doesn't want to deal with this anymore, after all, why bother? He's better than this. So he steals a family ship and decides to go free-lance. Remnants of the Rann-Thanagar war start hitting this sector of space, he decides to help his people, there's lots of bravery ensuing and whoom. You have shown the capacity to overcome great fear
So now, the character's on Oa. He's not designed for a starring role really, just as yet another side alien Lantern that'll show up every so often in GLC or GL for a single adventure and then go do his own thing.
He'll do well on Oa. There are no expectations there. He can even design his own uniform (paradoxically, it's designed very similarly to the military uniform back home, except green and with Lantern insignia...he's got some unresolved acceptance/proving himself issues). He's good, not great. He's on the upper group, technology wise, his people are probably about the same level as the Rannians or Thanagarians. He's not a scientist, but he's probably got at least some basic programming and tech ability that would be compulsory for military aristocrats of his planet. He's got basic knowledge of tactics and combat based on his homeworld, but he's got a LOT to learn.
He's not really used to having commanding officers. When he was freelance, he was pretty much on his own. Fortunately, the GL authority types are pretty informal and hands-off, so he can work well with them. He's not actually prone to rebellion, now that the stifling pressure of his home-life isn't a factor anymore.
The fact that he's half human may end up an issue, as, well, the other Lanterns have got to be aware of the over-whelming power/prominence of the multitude of Earth-based Lanterns. Most sectors have exactly two, and usually not from the same planet, Earth alone has four. Point five, in this scenario.
So he's charming, fearless, reckless and enthusiastic. He tends to trust his authority figures and he's eager to prove that he belongs here. He can be a little uptight, but a lot of that is just nervousness. It takes him a while to get used to Kilowog and *definitely* Guy, but really, when it comes down to it, they're the sorts of commanding officers/teachers that he'd always wished he had.
Most of his acquaintances are fellow nightlights who've heard all sorts of stories about Hal Jordan/Parallax, so all of them are pretty wary, aloof when it comes to the ex-prodigal Lantern. He probably wouldn't be one of the ones that would give Hal a hard time (since his teachers don't seem to appreciate that...), but he's not going to be very comfortable around the man.
As to how everything would ultimately turn out when things are revealed, I'm not sure, but I think it will be interesting. Especially as there would definitely be a point where, trying to get Alan's advice, Hal will eat his foot regarding gay, prickly, long-lost sons and get schooled for his trouble.
The thing about Han's sexuality is that it would be a part of his character, but not really any more than heterosexuality is for another character. There was some pressure growing up, but he's in an organization now where homosexuality is far and away not going to be the weirdest thing encountered there. His colleagues include a planet, a mathematic equation and Guy Gardner. He will probably meet interesting guys on his adventure, there will be chemistry and dates. He may get a neat alien love-interest who will probably end up in the fridge. It will probably throw Hal some, because Hal's a man with a lot of casual bigotry that he tends to overcome pretty well once he's forced to come face to face with it.
I'm sure it's an idea that wouldn't work for a lot of people. I think it'd be pretty interesting though. And not too bad, considering the prompt was "a gay Green Lantern".
I wonder what I could do with a prompt of "a gay Flash"...