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Occupation: Girl

Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

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What's going on with #yesGayYA
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cleolinda
I have been writing (good) and having health issues (bad), so I've been quieter than I would have liked. However, before I can get to a number of other things, we have a publishing kerfuffle to discuss. Yes, another one. It's gotten pretty bad.

The short overview from the Guardian: YA authors asked to 'straighten' gay characters: Authors say agent offered them book deal conditional on making a character heterosexual.

The long version: Pack a lunch, you'll need itCollapse )



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Wow, that all blew way the hell up from the last time I looked at that, thanks for pulling it all together.

Malindo Lo et all are absolutely right - I buy the books for my library's young adult department and I'm thrilled if I can find a new young adult book with a gay lead once a month. I can think of exactly four fantasy/sci-fi books with gay leads (not counting the graphic novel department which is technically winning in that regard so yay comics). And even if your awesome gay ya supernatural thriller does get published, odds aren't great it's going to get the same level of promotion as the hetero supernatural thriller they're trying to sell at the same time. That Witch Eyes book up there? Haven't seen a single review for that in multitude of sources I use for purchasing (it will go on order when I'm at work next, take a shot for the Cleo-bump).

I don't know who's more believable in the whole mess, so I'll just say voting with your wallet is indeed the best way to show publishers what you want.

I saw a couple #yesGayYA posts on my flist, but didn't bother to find out what it was about, because... I don't know, I just didn't. I had no idea this was such a complicated and nuanced issue.

Thanks for putting this massive and well-thought-out post together; it was really helpful. And big WORD to the last two sentences of this post.

Have you seen the latest Breaking Dawn trailer? I'm sure you have, but OMG this movie looks so cracktastic and LULZ-worthy. And I'm going to LOVE IT .

This has all been so frustrating. Once the "it's all a hoax!" thing started spread I could see so many people march straight back into their houses of privilege and shut the door behind them.

I made a few comments wondering if any of the people rapidly retweeting the initial link with comments of "This is terrible!" were actually going to do something to support queer YA titles (such as, surprise, buying them!) and... well. Some people were not happy with that, making such suggestions that queer YA books might not be relevant but it's better that we support the debate, anyway! and that they totally didn't mean to offend me, they're totally on my side even if they don't think that one way to show that queer YA books can sell well is to actually buy them and... ugh.

Anyway thanks for this wonderful collection of everything all in one place.

Thank you for posting this! It's been an awful lot of back-and-forth on this issue and it's nice to see a post presenting both sides fairly and coherently. Thank you for the posts to the original blogs, as well!

Buying Things Is Not the Answer

"The BEST thing you can do, if you're upset by #yesGayYA, is buy queer YA books."

I feel frustrated because I see the core issues of LGBTQ-other visibility are not being addressed, and they need to be. When I see calls to fix a problem by buying things, I see a bandaid approach that assumes participation in a commercial market economy, which many people choose not to do, or to minimize (an example: I don't buy books. I get them from the library. I donate to authors directly). I think that this pat answer distracts from further dialogue about the interpersonal and intrapersonal exploration that is needed about what is really going on with our understanding of, and behavior toward, LGBTQ-other people.

My "cool story, bro" from a bookseller's perspective:

When Perry Moore's Hero was published in Australia, I was working in a small-town country bookshop. It was a tourist town, but when the book was published it wasn't really tourist season. I said in an LJ post at the time (which I'd link to, but it's locked and has personal details), "our rep from the publishing house believes they shouldn't have published the book because she doesn't believe there is a market for a superhero novel with homosexual themes aimed at the young adult market."

The sales representative from the publishing house, the person who talks up the books and gets bookshops to order them, told us that she didn't think this book should have been published. She talked it down, when her job is to talk up books. I actually insisted that my boss order in copies, and I made damn sure they got sold (admittedly, one of the sales was to me).

Just wanted to say that I LOVE your icon and that I loved the book Hero and it breaks my heart to hear that people were talking it down. D:

The whole thing about how the word "homophobia" is such a huge problem for some people bugs me. Everyone has done something homophobic. Just like everyone has said something racist, misogynistic, ableist, transphobic, and so on. But not every one is a *ist.

Like, when most people see the word "racist" they think KKK, lynching, and cross burning. And, hell, they don't do that and when you said that their joke was racist you said they were equal to those horrible, horrible people and HOW DARE YOU.

I have called other women bitches before, I have used "gay" and "retarded" and "lame" as a stand-in for bad or stupid. I have done lots of terrible things. But I don't think that is what people should focus on. It's the reaction that matters.

People should strive to meet statements of "That was offensive/problematic/racist/homophobic/etc" with "I'm sorry. I didn't know/notice/understand that. I'll try to stop doing that." And if your first reaction is to go "But I'm not that! How rude!" and get defensive- got out and get some knowledge. I learn so much everyday and it fucking humbles me.

I used to think I understood LGBT issues. Now I feel like I have only scratched the surface. Hell, I used to think I knew all I needed to know of feminism. Now I go "what aspect of my internalized misogyny can I confront today."

Most of the wank I see could be avoided if everyone just learned it is not always about you or your feelings wrt being called out on issues of privilege and *isms and all that jazz.

There is that second when someone criticizes you were you are personally hurt. But we need to push past that. More and more people are doing it. We just need to keep this going.

"Compassion! Courtesy! Let's be really fucking polite to everyone!"

and this is tldr and i wrote it in a few goes, so lol on it being comprehensible. maybe i said what i mean, somewhere in there. i hope so. i probs could have just said "yeah, what you said" and meant the same thing but hell, i like to ramble. ;)

People should strive to meet statements of "That was offensive/problematic/racist/homophobic/etc" with "I'm sorry. I didn't know/notice/understand that. I'll try to stop doing that." And if your first reaction is to go "But I'm not that! How rude!" and get defensive- got out and get some knowledge. I learn so much everyday and it fucking humbles me.

+1

That's the problem I see most often, in every situation. There are so many people that seem more enamored of their right to do and say they want and not get called out on it, than of considering someone else's feelings and just being, y'know, decent.

I recently received my certification as a School Library Media Specialist. The most common piece of advice I received about GLBT lit was that it ought to be bought because GLBT students and straight students with GLBT families deserve representation, but that we shouldn't even think about buying it until we have tenure.*

It's a depressingly common conversation.

*There are many, many, MANY things that young teachers are told are wonderful ideas that should absolutely never be attempted without tenure. This was one of the ones they most stressed.

I just got my MSI and hope to be a youth librarian and heard a lot of variations on this conversation during school.

Lots of talk of we have to make our libraries welcoming and inclusive but this is how you protect against challenges because they will happen. Good luck.

Thank you so much for putting this all together! I've been wondering about the fallout ever since I was linked to the original article on Hypable. This is easily the clearest and most concise summary I've read so far. What would we do without you?

Wow, thank you, I totally lost track of this when I went to help my brother move, and you just re-tracked me. So to speak.

Thank you for the great round up, it is definitely the best I have seen and must have taken you ages.

I'm disappointed at Maureen Johnson.

To be fair, she's the one who sent me the ETA link to Steven dos Santos' rejection letter entry. She just really had not seen it happen before this.

Thank you for doing this summary.

Neither Rachel nor Sherwood has any need to falsify this sort of thing to gain publicity. They are both excellent writers and Sherwood already has a significant fan following in YA. When I saw the "rebuttal" my reaction was an immediate "oh no you did NOT" and I'm disgusted that anyone would believe that tripe when R & S took the high road in the first place and *refused* to name names.

Ugh.

Thank you. I dont really have much else of a comment but to say thank you for putting so much time into getting this to us. It was so easy to read the way you formatted it and obviously done carefully and calculatedly.

So. Thanks.

All hail the blockquote code! (Thanks!)

thank you for ing this all together. A really interesting read.

I am still surprised how 'YA is mostly read by straight females that are only interested in straight females' is a common reason why novels with LGBT themes are hard to publish. Judging from my time online reading slash fanfiction or my youth where I read one Shonen Ai manga after another (which is a popular genre in Japan after all) I am not sure this is really true and not just a way to say 'we don't want LGBT characters'.