Romance Fiction Competition Bans Stories With Same-Sex Love

Romance Fiction Competition Bans Same-Sex Stories

via The Guardian

Romance Writers Ink, the Oklahoma-based chapter of the Romance Writers of America, sparked a bit of outrage recently when the organization banned same-sex fiction from it's writing competition.

Why, exactly? One author who called to complain was told that stories about gays and lesbians were "just too much."

So, vampires and werewolves were fair game in the contest, as long as they weren't gay vampires and werewolves.  

The competition ended up getting canceled after an outcry from the writing community. The group issued a (pretty lame) statement that sort of apologizes for the kerfuffle, but really just comes off as a little whiny (the lady who was collecting entries volunteered, you guys!).

They also pointed out that they didn't just ban gays--they weren't accepting YA entries, either. Well, that makes everything better. As long as they hate kids, too...

Seriously though, I guess, maybe, you could make the argument that it's their contest and they can do whatever they want. But I would think that in a competition that would, by its own rules, allow werewolves to have sex with each other (aka bestiality), loving homosexual expression wouldn't be so taboo. 

Author Courtney Milan summed up her feelings to The Guardian quite nicely: 

"Romance is a genre that is not only about love, but also one that explores people finding an identity and their place within the community. To bar same-sex romances from recognition implies that same-sex couples do not deserve to have the same exploration of identity and community belonging that heterosexual couples enjoy. That is a very dangerous and discriminatory message to send."

So what do you think, LitReactors? Do they have the right to run their contest, or are they a bunch of prudes discriminating against the gay community? 

To leave a comment Login with Facebook or create a free account.

Comments

Matt Ramsden's picture
Matt Ramsden from Wakefield, MA is reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath February 8, 2012 - 8:01am

Prudes discriminating against the gay community. Gay romance is "too much?" Come on.

Renee Miller's picture
Renee Miller from Tweed, Ontario is reading The Wolf Gift February 8, 2012 - 8:14am

Because vampires and werewolves have always seemed so very straight...

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this February 8, 2012 - 8:19am

Well, all the characters in Twilight are straight, right? I mean, Edward and Jacob only look like gay prettyboys... 

razorsharp's picture
razorsharp from Ohio is reading Atlas Shrugged February 8, 2012 - 8:37am

This is a tiny contest in Oklahoma organized by their RWA chapter. This isn't a national Reader's Digest contest. But of course, as always, the gay community makes a mountain out of a mole hill for publicity's sake (oh how they love to pretend to be persecuted).

What type of people do you think belong to the Oklahoma chapter of the RWA? Conservative housewives who want to read stories about big strong men who sweep them off their feet. The rules may not have excluded vampires or werewolves, but I sincerely doubt such a story would have won.

Seriously though, I guess, maybe, you could make the argument that it's their contest and they can do whatever they want.

That pretty much sums it up, but that doesn't stop your scathing sarcasm.

Was it dumb to make the rule? Yes, they could have just ignored such stories. I'm sure that's what they would do if someone sent them a horror story. Should the gay community be getting their panties in a bunch because of it? No. Is this one of the most half-assed columns I've read on Litreactor? Yes. This is forum-worthy at best, Rob didn't even bother to take the time to articulate his point. This is poorly written and the sense of outrage makes me wonder if Rob's spent much time away from the coasts. Welcome to America, where conservative housewives are offended by homosexuality. Who woulda thought?

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this February 8, 2012 - 8:56am

@razorsharp, you're funny. 

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Stories of YOUR Life February 8, 2012 - 10:11am

This is a tiny contest in Oklahoma organized by their RWA chapter. This isn't a national Reader's Digest contest. But of course, as always, the gay community makes a mountain out of a mole hill for publicity's sake (oh how they love to pretend to be persecuted).

So I guess it would be okay, then, if a small southern organization held a writing contest that didn't accept stories with black characters? Because as long as the perpetrator of the discrimination is small, the injustice is comparably so?

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated February 8, 2012 - 10:16am

I doubt they had such motivations, but they are within a fairly easy drive of the WBC and that part of the country in general isn't the most gay/multicultural friendly. I could see this being logical, if not very brave, from a "not worth battling the locals"  point of view. 

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this February 8, 2012 - 10:23am

But isn't it worth battling the locals if they're being intolerant? 

 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated February 8, 2012 - 10:46am

If you have enough intolerance around you, then you have to pick your battles. If someone is trying to kill someone, deny them housing, or a job yeah sure. If someone is calling someone names, or be mean then probably. If you think folks will be stupid over a romance writing contest, and you'll have no chance to improve the lives of the group who is being treated poorly while catching the attention of a ton of homophobes?  Maybe not.

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this February 8, 2012 - 10:53am

I see your point, but I respectfully disagree. I think we've gotten into a scary position of affording people their intolerant beliefs, and shrugging it off as them being religious, or living in a certain part of the country, or being old-fashioned. 

I don't think we should tolerate intolerance, under any circumstances. Or else I should be allowed to be intolerant of people who are intolerant, and I guess they can't complain about it.

 

razorsharp's picture
razorsharp from Ohio is reading Atlas Shrugged February 8, 2012 - 11:08am

Or else I should be allowed to be intolerant of people who are intolerant

You are being intolerant of people who are being intolerant. How do you not see that?

It's not like this contest is being put on by a school or funded by a government grant. It's romance - heteronormal romance to be specific - and gay fiction doesn't fit within the niche they're looking for. Submiting gay fiction to them is like submiting transgressive fiction to a children's publication. 

They're probably homophobic but not necessarily. Just because someone has no interest in reading about homosexual romance doesn't mean they're homophobic.

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this February 8, 2012 - 11:10am

Of course I see it. That's why I did it!

:D

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated February 8, 2012 - 11:34am

@Rob - How are you disagreeing with an observation? Some people just don't think it's worth it at certain times, regardless of what you or I may think. Some are just cowards.

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this February 8, 2012 - 11:56am

Dwayne, I apologize for being unclear. I was disagreeing more with the conceit of the observation and not directly with you. So 'disagree' might be the wrong word to use.

JameseyLefebure's picture
JameseyLefebure from Liverpool, Uk is reading The Gunslinger- Stephen King February 8, 2012 - 12:41pm

This is a tiny contest in Oklahoma organized by their RWA chapter. This isn't a national Reader's Digest contest. But of course, as always, the gay community makes a mountain out of a mole hill for publicity's sake (oh how they love to pretend to be persecuted).

 

 

I know razorlight - us gays - we're ALL about pretending to be persectuted. We love it, anything for an excuse to throw on a Donna Summer track and throw some glitter in the air, singing about how we will survive. Seriously thats your argument? I have a 15 year old son and it terrifies me that when he leaves the house *that* is the mentality he might have to deal with.

I personally think it's stupid - yes it's for a small, tiny contest and I dont know how many gay submissions they had,  BUT the fact is that romance is romance. If I was entering I would probaby have written a gay story as that is a bit more what I know. Gender really makes no difference and if you are having a romance competition, that *should* include any love. You can bet that if they didn't accept inter-racial stories there would be a big uproar.

I thought it was a good article Rob :)

Now just let me find my Lady Gaga CD.......
 

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this February 8, 2012 - 1:19pm

Thanks! Glad to see someone likes me 

NotMarilyn's picture
NotMarilyn from Twin Cities, MN is reading Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn February 8, 2012 - 2:22pm

Us gays - we're ALL about pretending to be persecuted.

 

Yup. Sure are. Glitter goes bad, after all. We need a reason to make it rain. 

Razorsharp (or not so sharp) - I am of the opinion that EVERYONE is entitled to their opinion. But your statement that gays pretend to be persecuted is not only outrageous, it's fucking ignorant. I bet you don't think the Holocaust happened either, eh? Or slavery? Bah. The blacks were just bitching because they were tired. 

Small competition or not, sending the message that "your love stories are irrelevant" is hurtful and dangerous. Because persecution is REAL. Bullying based on sexual orientation is REAL. The bruises I came home with in high school were REAL. And the seemingly endless battle for marriage equality is REAL. 

I like you too, Rob. Great article, as always. 

Renee Miller's picture
Renee Miller from Tweed, Ontario is reading The Wolf Gift February 8, 2012 - 2:06pm

Rob: Jacob and Edward are still in the closet. I didn't want to be the one to out them. Now it's on you. I hope you can handle their wrath.

And for the other comments: Being tolerant of any intolerance only encourages more intolerance. Don't you know that? Jeeze. It's basic math. Google it. 

I pick my battles too, because I live in a small town full of senior citizens and rednecks. I choose to say something, as Rob has, about intolerance because no matter how small the perceived injustice, it's unacceptable. Besides, romance is about love. This organization is saying that it's okay to show love between humans and dead things or animals, but not with another human? Makes no sense.

I'd snuggle up to another woman any day over a canine. I'm undecided about the undead.

Carey's picture
Carey February 8, 2012 - 3:52pm

@razorsharp:

Actually, the chapter took this step because last year, gay romances won first place in two categories of the same contest--"Best First Book" and "Best Erotic Romance."

As a matter of historical record, it is simply not true that gay romances wouldn't have won. They have.

Boone Spaulding's picture
Boone Spaulding from Coldwater, Michigan, U.S.A. is reading Solarcide Presents: Nova Parade February 8, 2012 - 4:39pm

Good article, Rob. It made me realize that I actually do aspire to be intolerant of intolerance...I think it's a virtue to which I'll try to aspire from now on...

(what did the submissions reader mean: "[It was] just too much"...?...really, what?)

Boone Spaulding's picture
Boone Spaulding from Coldwater, Michigan, U.S.A. is reading Solarcide Presents: Nova Parade February 8, 2012 - 4:47pm

So what do you think, LitReactors? Do they have the right to run their contest, or are they a bunch of prudes discriminating against the gay community?"

I think they were discriminating against authors. I don't think it was political at all - it was evidently a poorly-delineated contest with strange exclusions...

(some people came off looking chickenshit)

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. February 8, 2012 - 9:05pm

They're probably homophobic but not necessarily. Just because someone has no interest in reading about homosexual romance doesn't mean they're homophobic.

Really?  They might or might not be homophobic. "We are being intolerant of people who are being intolerant."  That is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard. So I guess gay people should just take their seat in the back of the bus, smile and go, "Yessir!  I'm sorry, sir! Didn't mean to make you uncomfortable, sir." After all, it's your comfort level that matters. So if interracial couples make me nervous, can I say that I don't want to read stories about that either?  Or maybe I don't like fat people, should I not allow them to eat in my restaurant? Oh wait, I get it, you're saying that if I don't find someone attractive either then I don't have to hire them.  You're right, people should just shut up and accept prejudice so that they don't look like complainers.  Riiiight.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated February 9, 2012 - 11:36am

@Rob - I figured but I was just making sure.

@Aliensoul - You finally managed to write something that was NOT just going for random shock value! Much more interesting then your usual stuff.