One Last thought on #YesGayYA

There’s been a few comments that I’ve seen, that I wanted to react to, but I just couldn’t boil my thoughts down to 140 characters.

One of the arguments against the issues brought up #YesGayYA is that “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want gay stories.”

Let me bring up a topic from a long time back.  There were several YA books about people of color, but when the covers originally came out, they featured white characters instead.   It became an issue, people got angry, the covers changed.  The argument was never “there are editors and agents who only want books about white characters.” So I really don’t understand why “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want gay stories” is a defense.  Situations like this happen, clearly. Not to everyone, and not as a rule, but they happen.  It’s not an argument that needs to be refuted, in my opinion.  If you don’t agree, you don’t agree.  No harm, no foul. 🙂

Another comment, that I think I talked about yesterday, was the justification angle.  That “this isn’t an issue because I’ve bought/sold books with gay characters and had no issues.” Again, it’s not your experience, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, or it’s not an issue worth discussing.

MOST publishing houses have put out a significant amount of content featuring LGBT characters.  But there’s a difference between books that HAVE gay characters, and books ABOUT gay characters.  In the original example of Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown, the gay character they were asked to cut was a main character.   Books may get bought/sold/edited that have a supporting character who is gay.  And

But the experience in buying or selling a heterosexual YA novel with a gay character in the supporting cast is a very different experience from buying or selling a homosexual YA novel with straight characters in the supporting cast.

Okay, so those are my final thoughts on the matter.  I’m not saying anyone is right, or anyone is wrong.  I’m just saying it’s a subject that deserves discussion and consideration.


3 thoughts on “One Last thought on #YesGayYA

  1. “The argument was never “there are editors and agents who only want books about white characters.””

    Sadly Scott, there were plenty of people who made that argument. Along with the POCs just don’t generate sales tripe.

    And what really shocks me is that everyone forgets about what happened to Jessica Verday which just went down in May. And this happened to a NY Times Bestselling author.

  2. Again, I don’t this is a black or white issue. No pun intended. As such, it cannot be argued that way. Not all books with certain diversity qualities are accepted and published, nor are all books with certain diversity qualities rejected unceremoniously.

    Writers have the right to pen what they want, as readers have the right to purchase books that interest them–all the way from agents to publishers to parents to librarians to the kids the books are meant for.

    This is a hot topic. It’s been hot since books were burned, banned and blamed for the ills of society. This will not change. Rather, only the focus will shift from one topic to the next. The important thing to keep in mind is that everyone makes a choice that feels comfortable to them for a variety of reasons and each choice should be respected.

    If an agent doesn’t want a book about gay MCs, don’t submit to him. If a reader doesn’t want a book about a Native American MC, don’t get mad when she fails to buy it at the bookstore. We can’t please everyone and shouldn’t have to try. But we do need to stay true to our purpose–whatever that may mean for each of us individually.


  3. Pingback: #YesGayYA « Ars Marginal

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