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Authors asked to "straighten" gay characters

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:42 pm
by MadCat

YA authors asked to 'straighten' gay characters
Authors say agent offered them book deal conditional on making a character heterosexual

Read this article, then say it with me: OH HELL NO. This is fuckin' ridiculous and outrageous! :evil:

Smith and Brown, co-authors quoted in the story, stated:
"When you refuse to allow major characters in YA novels to be gay, you are telling gay teenagers that they are so utterly horrible that people like them can't even be allowed to exist in fiction,"

This is absolutely true. Brown had also said:

"I work with teenagers, and some of them are gay. They never get to read fantasy novels where people like them are the heroes, and that's not right".

I definitely agree with this. More positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters is one of the reasons I started making my comic in the first place, and I hope to do much more on the subject in the future. Trying to 'straightwash' characters is more of the subtle, institutionalized homophobia that make LGBTQ youth feel so alone, so helpless, and so depressed that they have the highest rate of suicide among all young people. This has to stop.

Re: Authors asked to "straighten" gay characters

PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 9:28 pm
by MadCat ... volpe.html

So I'm happy to discover that the article was at least mostly debunked. This is good. It doesn't mean incidents like this may not have happened in the past, or that LGBTQ characters have been treated like shit in pretty much all forms of media everywhere. (I've complained about this before -- lack of Happy Endings for LGBTQ characters is one of my pet peeves. Death, sickness, separation, etc... how many times do our characters have to get the shaft? Grrr.)

But like Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, an agent with Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation, stated:

Does there need to be a conversation about lack of diversity in YA? Yes. Is this the incident to hang it on? I don't think so.

I'm upset because the idea behind that article struck close to home for me, I think. Having that particular case be less than stellar doesn't mean there's not still a lot of work to be done on having more positive representations of LGBTQ characters in all media. (Especially the B and T parts, IMO)
There aren't enough happy endings, enough positive representations to show people that they can still have happy lives, are still good people, are not alone in the world.

Knowing that - that you're not alone, there are others like you or who support you, things will be okay - can save lives. It was the whole point of the 'It Gets Better" project, to try and help LGBTQ youth (who, like I said before, have the highest rate of suicide among all young people) realize that they will be okay, that their lives can be full and happy, and they don't have to give up. I wholeheartedly feel that more positive, happy portrayals of LGBTQ people is important, even life-saving. I know while I was growing up, and even now, I was hungry for books and movies with people 'like me' in them. I was constantly trying to find more of them, needing to have that connection.

Finding that most of them ended miserably and basically confirmed that life was sucky, except for a very few shining examples, was very frustrating and disheartening, and made me determined to create more 'Happy Endings' for myself... after all, straight people have thousands of fairy tales and romantic comedies where the couple lives Happily Ever After. We deserve some too!

I dunno. I could probably think more on this and maybe write something better, but that's all I've got for now.

Another interesting article, "How hard is it to sell an LGBT YA Novel?" ... -ya-novel/

And another author whose work was dropped from an anthology for having a m/m relationship: ... -okay.html

Re: Authors asked to "straighten" gay characters

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:04 am
by blackfirefox
That is complete bullshit. Why should we have to change the characters in a book just to pacify publishers and the close-minded public? So what if a character is black, or gay, or whathaveyou, they're a character in a book! If you like the book, then what does it matter? One character shouldn't ruin a great story.

If you can't go with the flow, then go back and hide in your little corner and keep telling yourself the nasty, weird new things will go away and just keep your mouth shut.

Re: Authors asked to "straighten" gay characters

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:29 am
by Zephyr190
That's ridiculous. I don't know who this "Marketing" bloke is, but when the revolution comes he's top of the "People to send behind the chemical sheds" list.