This has been a rough week, and it’s not over yet — just a lot of personal and day job stuff going on. But also a little bit of professional stuff, which I’ve caught only the narrowest edge of since, hey, rough week. Not much time for internets.
Still, I’ve been trying to follow the whole controversy that’s been going down the past few days regarding gay characters in YA. If you weren’t aware or haven’t been following it — here’s a good roundup — it’s basically the same kind of discussion we periodically have in SFF about the presence and treatment of characters of color, or women, or disabled folks, or whoever. Someone (two someones in this case) notices a problem and calls it out. The people who perpetuated the problem, rather than asking what went wrong and listening for possible solutions, instead react badly,* attacking the caller-outers. Hilarity, by which I mean a shitstorm of epic proportions, ensues.
I have not followed this as closely as I should, but today I just saw this fantastic interview with author Nicola Griffith, in which she relates her own experiences with agents, readers, etc., when they react to her queer characters. (Then she reads from the novel over which she fired an agent.) It’s funny, but listen closely. She’s describing how the roadblocks of this industry work. No one ever says, “I hate gay people and I’m going to try and prevent you from publishing anything that features them in a positive way.” Instead, it’s passive-aggressive questions like, “But why does she have a girlfriend?” And so on.
Go listen. And listen to the excerpt of the book. I’m going to have to check that one out myself, when I get some free time to read again.
*Because as many have pointed out, we live in a world full of bigotry but no bigots. No one wants to claim their own little slice of the Contributing to the Problem pie, even though everyone should get a little.