Just Little Thoughts on Genders in Fictional World
Personally, I think the purest form of beauty might lie somewhere between masculinity and femininity.
Think of Japanese kabuki, a traditional Japanese dance-drama, in which male actors play female roles, or Takarazuka Revue, in which female actors play leading male roles. Japanese people have always been fascinated by those fictional genders.
Also, many Japanese Buddhist kannon statues often carry attributes of both genders, and you’ll be surprised at the sensuality some of those statues possess. Sensual beauty does not always come from being feminine or masculine.
Not to change the subject, I don’t think that fictional characters always have to have a fixed gender. People often ask me whether I drew a boy or girl when they see my portrait drawings. More often than not, it’s because I’m bad at drawing males, but sometimes I simply don’t assign a sex to my own fictional characters. Usually, my portrait is purely an image conjured up from my imagination (and maybe my memories). I just give them features I think are beautiful and well matched, not caring about how I should make them look masculine or feminine. All I care is whether they are pleasure to my eyes, and the result is often androgynous appearance.
In our real life, we’re always somewhat confined by our genders, so I think it’s nice to liberate ourselves from binary genders in fictional world at least. I don’t say you shouldn’t want to know the gender of a fictional character, but you can enjoy the art without even specifying the sex of them.
(By the way, the Sherlock portrait above is done by me. And if he looks a bit feminine, it's not intentional. I just don't know how to draw a masculine male portrait...)