I posted last week in solidarity with the Outer Alliance, a spanking-new group of GLBTQI writers and straight/cisgendered allies. Lo and behold, within a week of its formation the OA has encountered its first incidence of homophobic discrimination. More on this there.
It’s hard, sometimes, being a writer with a conscience. I mean, how much do you let conscience dictate business? As a writer, I’m engaged in the act of selling my creativity and dreams — little bits of my soul, quite frankly — for approbation and money. If that kind of spiritual prostitution doesn’t bother me (and sometimes it does, but a woman’s gotta eat), what should? I’ve made the decision to draw the line at issues of injustice toward groups of people — especially those who’ve been historically treated in an unjust way. If a fiction market shows a pattern of racism, sexism, homophobia, or other bias, and on being confronted with this pattern shows no attempt or commitment to change, I don’t submit my work to them. If I find out after the fact that the market has this problem, I will — and have done, in the past — withdraw my work. Because I’ll sell bits of my soul for money, fine, but I sure as hell won’t sell them for crap.
But every time I turn around, it seems, there’s another market I’ve got to avoid. It’s pretty damn depressing. My only consolation is that for every one of these things I discover, a new market appears which (at least AFAICT) lacks these flaws. This is what leads me to believe SF isn’t dying; it’s renewing itself. Shedding old diseased scales in order to reveal the shiny healthy new ones underneath. A messy process, unfortunately, and an unending one. But the future, at least, will be better.