Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This is deeply upsetting

First go read this.

Ok, I see you're back. Coolness, let's begin.

What the flying fuck is that agent doing? Either the story is good enough to deserve representation, or it is not. The "gayness" of characters is immaterial. If it's a matter of that agent not agreeing with the gay lifestyle, that's fine, but be professional enough to be detached. If it's a matter of bigotry, that agent needs to be eliminated from the "pool" of prospective agents immediately.

Look, I have a lesbian niece, and I love her dearly, and there's no way in hell I would eliminate all the characteristics of a character just because I might sell a copy or two. This would not only offend my sensibilities, but the sensibilities of my niece--and would cause her to potentially rethink our relationship which I value a great deal.

And here's the kicker: there's more than one agent saying "change that or else."

Hey, I don't know who that agent is, but he/she can fully and royally go screw themselves. That's just plain wrong. Either the manuscript stands on its own or it does not. End of line.

Now, I'd like to quote directly from the article:

We are avoiding names because we don’t want this story to be about one agent who spoke more bluntly than others whose objections were more indirectly expressed. Naming names can make it too easy to target a lone “villain,” who can be blamed and scolded until everyone feels that the matter has been satisfactorily dealt with.

Forcing all major characters in YA novels into a straight white mold is a widespread, systemic problem which requires long-term, consistent action.

Ok, point one: No, out the dude/dudette. If they're doing this, they're in the complete WRONG and need to be scolded and re-educated. Is this not the 21st century?

Point two: That's just plain wrong. There are lots of gay youth who are being disenfranchised--apparently by agents playing these childish and stupid games--purposefully because of some fear of a gay planet. Did they never think that there's a BUILT IN AUDIENCE for well-written gay YA books? No?... Looks like they're stupid.

My suggestion to Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith would be to self-publish and use this article as free advertising. Gear toward, target, and sell to the gay YA reader. You're better off and don't have to put up with bigotry, stupidity, and nosey nobody's trying to filter/lessen the hard work you've done.

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