We Babes weren’t going to bring this up, but because we review and cover more than just BL manga and global comics and enjoy loads of m/m and gay romance fiction, we decided to do so.
This year the Lambda Literary Awards changed the wording of their policy to reflect what appears to be an exclusionary shift in who’s eligible: “As such, it should be noted that the Lambda Literary Awards are based principally on the LGBT content, the gender orientation/identity of the author, and the literary merit of the work.”
The first to pick up on this was author Erastes, where many small-press authors, reviewers, and fans made comments – the most interesting comment came from Cheyenne Publishing owner Mark Probst:
“I had heard that there was sort of a “gentleman’s agreement” that heterosexual authors were not permitted to win the things, but this is the first time it is ever been publicly acknowledged.
You know I bowl in a gay bowling league and in gay bowling tournaments - the organization is IGBO and there are no exclusionary rules. Straight people bowl in our leagues and in tournaments because they like to socialize with us. Even the Gay Games (gay version of the Olympics) says anyone can participate.
It’s a stupid discriminatory policy and Cheyenne Publishing shan’t be spending the fees to enter any of its titles while that “guideline” is in place.”
It was brought to Twitter by user #baramanga [Menslove News] where a conversation unfolded between him and authors Rowan McBride, Katrina Strauss, and Tina Anderson.
Baramanga: Lambda Literary Awards changed their guidelines here: the gender orientation/identity of the author. Wow. I dont recall past LAMBDA’s ever considering the gender/orientation of the author.
Gynocrat: @baramanga I think they should draw the line. I know that’s not the popular thing to say but…my take is I’m a straight woman making homoerotic comics and fiction for other straight women. Does this benefit gay lit in any way? Just because the characters are gay - I guess so. Yet I’d rather someone who self-identified as gay get the award, then me.
RowanMcBride: @baramanga @gynocrat What if you want to enter and identify as queer but might not fit someone else’s definition of queer?
Baramanga: @RowanMcBride I have a pretty simply definition of queer. as for the rainbow of gender-queer and all that, its a sticky subject.
KatrinaStrauss: @gynocrat It’s their organization, they can do what they want. I still smell an ulterior motive, though. @baramanga We m/m authors are sort of the redheaded bastard stepchildren where ever we tread!
Baramanga: @gynocrat @KatrinaStrauss @RowanMcBride i think m/m material has merit and should be awarded by lambda.
Other thoughts on the subject appeared today at romance review blog, The Naughty Bits, where blogger Teddy Pig said:
“The historical point of this award has been to recognize “excellence” in “the field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender literature”. The book was important not the sexual orientation of the author who happened to write it. […]What this new wording says to me is gay people can’t “cut it” in the “real literary world” because I guess their gayness permeates their writing so Lambda Literary’s main purpose now is to mindlessly cheer lead heterophobia so us poor unappreciated gay folks can fight the system or whatever.”
Lastly, a few choice words from the EREC Site:
“Wow. Lambda overtakes RWA is the area of introducing intrusive and judgemental rules without any prior discussion or need for it.”
So what say you, readers? Is there no room for “m/m” [the popular term to designate gay romance which tends to be written by women and enjoyed by all] in the world of ‘real gay’ literary awards?
And now, for something completely different! We’ve got updates to our WK fic page! Eleanor K. wrote another part to The Inertia Arc. Go and enjoy!