If you haven’t already heard, the Romance Writers Ink chapter of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) are hosting a writing contest, and yay, go them, contests are a good thing, right? But if you check the rules, you’ll find that they specifically state: “MTM will no longer accept same-sex entries in any category.” Since I don’t identify as a romance writer even through I write them or as a gay/lesbian writer even though I write m/m and f/f as well as m/f relationships, I don’t have a horse in this race in terms of genre. But I am offended on behalf of every writer of gay or lesbian romance. I’m damn offended on behalf of those writers who I consider friends.
You might say “So what? They’re a chapter of a group that you don’t really have a lot of interest in. What’s the big? Gay romance is big, it’s hot, it’s happening. So what if they want to be prissy little princesses about it?” But the point isn’t the contest, not really, not for me. It isn’t even really about the organization, though I think that if they’re going to eliminate a big hunk of the human race from their romance arena, they really should be honest about it and call themselves “The Heterosexual Romance Writers of America.” Then both readers and writers could make an informed choice: Support bigots or support inclusiveness? This contest should be about creativity, not about ghettoizing consenting adults. (I sure hope nobody out there is getting ready to ask me: “Oh really? You want them to accept stories about necrophiliacs, puppy fuckers or baby rapers?” because I will ask you what part of “consenting adults” you’re simply not understanding.) I don’t have a stake in the contest, but I do have one in human decency.
How big an explosion do you think you’d have heard if they’d written: MTM will no longer accept mixed-race entries in any category. or: MTM will no longer accept entries about non-whites in any category. or: MTM will no longer accept entries with disabled characters in any category.? But somehow the RWA seems to think it’s different when it comes to same-sex love and romance, and I don’t get that because you can write a novel about how the hero rapes the heroine and she falls in love with him, and they are totally down with that. But two guys falling in love and wanting to be together forever? Two women going through hell to be together? Nope, sorry, queers need not apply. What’s wrong with this picture? What’s wrong with people who think that sort of bigotry is okay?
If you want to read more about this, try:
- RWA Shouldn’t Be in the Business of Discrimination
- Romance Writers Ink Contest: An Exercise in Discrimination
- Bigotry is a Transitive Noun