I’m going to step in it again, and I may even get a little ranty about stuff. That being said:
– I speak for myself here, not the rest of the Divas. Their opinions may be different than my own.
– I have a bias: my dad is gay, I love his husband (yes, I’m from MA, and it’s legal here), and I don’t think anyone should be treated differently because of who they love.
What The Hell Are You Going On About, Hillary?
My agent reps this girl named Kaz Mahoney, a YA author with a new book on shelves. Kaz has contributed to a few story anthologies (The Eternal Kiss, Kiss Me Deadly) in the past, and was supposed to contribute to another upcoming one called Wicked Pretty Things along with a whole slew of other authors including Jessica Verday. To make a long story short, Jessica wrote a story with a male/male relationship in it. When her contribution hit the editor’s (Trisha Telep) desk, Jessica was told she would have to rewrite the story with a male/female relationship instead.
Jessica refused and extricated herself from the collection. Kaz followed suit.
Since then, some of the other authors have backed out of the project as well (as of the writing of this post, I just saw that Lisa Matchev , Brenna Yavanoff, Seanan McGuire, and Les Livingston withdrew, too). If you bothered to read Jessica’s post that I linked, you can see the editor responded to Jessica’s withdrawal. She assumed (incorrectly) that the publisher would nix a same-sex love story based on the fact that the stories had to be light on sex and language, and she didn’t think they’d be amenable to alternative sexuality. She doesn’t seem like a bigot or an asshole; she just made an assumption likely based on how People React To Gay Culture Period.
** As of one o’clock eastern time, I just found out that Ann Aguirre pulled out of Trisha Telep’s NEXT Anthology. The story is here.
((Also, I’m including the reaction of the Publishing House (Running Press) below so you can see their response:
Running Press Teens deeply regrets any offensive comments recently made by Trisha Telep, anthologist for Wicked Pretty Things. At no point were we consulted in Trisha’s decision to reject Jessica Verday’s story as submitted. Opinions expressed by Ms. Telep do not reflect our publishing philosophy. As publishers of quality Young Adult literature, we proudly support the LGBT community and are deeply committed to publishing diverse authors and subject matters. We have since approached Ms. Verday to reconsider including her original m/m story in the anthology. Even though we respect her decision to decline, we have a responsibility to all of the talented writers that have contributed to Wicked Pretty Things, and therefore intend to move forward with publication.
More Q&A stuff from Jessica Verday is here.))
The fact that an editor assumed out of pocket that people would nix a story with a gay romance AT THIS POINT IN OUR PROGRESSIVE CULTURE is telling, and indicative that something is very very,wrong. She admits to being hasty in her decision, and she has apologized on her Twitter Feed to numerous people for it (very eloquently, might I add), but I have to wonder if put in her shoes, how many of us would actually say “Man, I’m fine with this story, but someone else is going to freak out.” The paradigm has to change so no one prematurely leaps to that conclusion, and the only way to change said paradigm is to speak up and show solidarity, like these authors have done. Hopefully, other folks will read about this unfortunate debacle and something will be learned.
A little bit of soap boxing before I sign off on this post: people are born gay just like people are born pink, yellow, brown, or green. If you want some semblance of reality in fiction, television, or movies, and expect people to produce relatable art, expect content with alternative lifestyles. As an aspiring author, I write about fat people, skinny people, Asian people, white people. I write straight, gay, and everything in between because that’s reality, it’s our wonderful, diverse world. I’m not alone in this approach or philosophy. If that makes you uncomfortable, I invite you to turn the page or change the station, but I can guarantee that’s not going to make it “go away”. This is 2011. People have the right to pursue happiness how they see fit, and in world rife with war, injustice, and inhumanity, don’t you have something better to worry about than how people love? It’s love for fuck’s sake, and love (last I checked anyway) is the best thing there is.