The Tent Peg Statement

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Event: The Tent Peg Statement
Fandom: Pern & Anne McCaffrey
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'The Tent Peg Statement' is an infamous fandom wank involving noted science-fiction author Anne McCaffrey. [1]


Anne McCaffrey is a Hugo and Nebula award winning author of the Dragonriders of Pern series, among others. Pern has a large fandom which involves dragonriders who must engage in mindless sex when their dragons are in season. With the majority of female dragons on Pern being ridden by males, this means there's a lot of slash potential.

The wank involves a long running fandom debate on whether the green female dragons have the ability to deliberately choose gay males to soulbond, or if the riders of the dragons can be any orientation.

During the mid-90s, McCaffrey gave an interview to a fandom zine on the subject - in which she claims that any man who engages in anal sex becomes gay, even if that anal sex was rape.

The Actual Quote

A: The situation will arise where two males will enagage in sexual activity. Greenriders, have to be homosexual.

Q: Some fandom Weyrs choose to seperate sexual tendencies and flight related sex experiences...

A: Let me stop you right there, there is no seperation. Two men engaging in sexual activity with one another are gay. The dragons choose based on their own drives.

Q: *audible pause* *sounds of paper rustling* But, uh, some people say one experience, especially under the control of outside forces dosen't really make you *emphasis* gay.

A: It's not a matter of the rider *emphasis* becoming homosexual. Green and blue dragons choose people who are already homosexual. And even if circumstances arose, and a green dragon chose a heterosexual lifemate... Well, he would become homosexual. It's a proven fact that a single anal sex experience causes one to be homosexual. The hormones released by a sexual situation involving the anus being broached, are the same hormones found in large quantities in effeminate homosexual males. For example, when I was much younger I knew a young man who was for all intents and purposes, heterosexual. He was mugged, and involved in a rape situation involving a tent peg. This one event was enough to have him start on a road that eventually led to him becoming effeminate and gay.[2][3]


Although McCaffrey has tried to wipe this interview from memory, it has made its way to the internet where it is widely known and mocked even in non-fannish circles. A Google search for the word 'tent peg' done at time of writing this article in 2010 reveals that a hit for this wank is the eighth result. In June 2011, it turned up third. [4]

Post-interview, the rules on dragonriders, and dragon sexuality on Pern were amended in 2000 to seem less offensive in the 'Renewable Airforce' document. At one point, all Pern fandom games and message boards were required to post a copy of this and obey it, otherwise they would be shut down by McCaffrey's lawyers. Hence copies of it can still be found on Google with ease.



  1. "An idea first put forth in the infamous, but still unverified, "Tent Peg" interview and implied in her on-the-record "Renewable Air Force" interview." -- Television Tropes and Idioms
  2. David Peary. Comment in Rider's Pride & Sexual Orientation/Discrimination thread on Gay Authors forum, 12 May 2007. Repost of interview excerpt.
  3. New Landing Forums on as referenced by David Peary, contains a comment made on January 22, 2004 by Katiehollands which includes this part of the interview transcript. (Wayback Machine version), accessed April 19, 2011
  4. Tent Peg Quote on FeministSF.Net, page found 2011-06-12.
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