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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

#YesGayYA

I go away for a few days and the Internets explode!

In all seriousness, the amount of posts, comments to posts, Twitter responses and other items for what I’m about to post about is almost overwhelming to read in their volume. I’m linking to a the main posts and a handful of others that contain the best round up and explanation of both what happened, how it happened, and how people reacted.

On September 12, in a guest blog post at the Publishers Weekly Blog Genreville, two authors post Authors Say Agents Try to “Straighten” Gay Characters in YA. At the time I write this, there are over 300 comments. As the title indicates, the authors (co-authors for a work of fiction) said, “The agent offered to sign us on the condition that we make the gay character straight, or else remove his viewpoint and all references to his sexual orientation.”

 On September 15, Colleen Lindsay hosted a response from an agent at the agency referenced (but not named) in the Genreville post. (Please note the author of the guest post is an agent at the agency but not “the” agent referenced). The agent gave a different version of what happened,

Genreville then posted Riposte and Counter-riposte, which references the post at Lindsay’s blog and includes the response of the authors.

So that is the primary conversation.

For the tweets and posts that arose around the conversation, read Cleolinda (who readers may remember I’ve relied on before for her thorough recaps): What’s Going On With #YesGayYA (the twitter tag used for the general discussion).

For a thorough look from the YA perspective, read YA Highway: Field Trip Friday Special Edition: #YesGayYA.

Also interesting, because I like looking at opinions and thoughts from beyond the YA book blogosphere: Dear Author’s two blog posts on this, on Tuesday (after the original Genreville post) and Friday (after the agency response).

If, like me, the hundreds of comments get overwhelming, both Cleolinda and YA Highway do a great job of highlighting the pertinent ones.

I’d also like to point out Malinda Lo’s post about the numbers of LGBT YA books being published, I have numbers! Stats on LGBT Young Adult Books Published in the U.S. – Updated 9/15/11. Bottom line? Less than one percent of YA  books have LGBT characters.

And, finally, I’ll use Lee Wind’s words, from his recap and post at I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read: “I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if we’ll ever know exactly how things were said or interpreted or misinterpreted between these writers and this agency, but I’m still glad this larger discussion is happening – I don’t want agents or editors or marketing departments or anyone in publishing to feel that it’s okay to request the de-gaying or other de-minority-ing of characters.”

My takeaway is, well, the same as before these posts; it’s just that this reminds me of it’s importance. Basically, readers can impact what gets published in a very simple way. Read the books. Ask your bookseller or librarian for books; review them on blogs, Goodreads, Amazon. More and more, on Twitter and blogs and websites, publishers are interacting with readers; go, there, and add your voice letting the publishers and editors and agents know, yes, I read books with LGBT characters, so please give us more.

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About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. Michelle says:

    There’s always drama on the internet! I’m so glad that you put together these informative posts so I don’t have to do all the work of finding the best stuff!

  2. Angela Carstensen Liz B says:

    Thanks, Michelle!

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