Thursday, September 15, 2011
Market Skeptics: Gay characters in mainstream publishing.
Wrote this in reaction to this article on the amusingly named Unicorn Booty about a writer that alleges that a publisher interested in her teen sci-fi novel wanted her to excise the gay point of view character from the novel entirely before a deal was made.Marvel comics for example, had a longstanding ban on use of the word gay or overt references to homosexual relationships or persons in the 1980s ( so writers had to be much more subtle about relationships). Today there are at least 5 openly gay (Several of them as a long term "power couple") characters in popular comic books being published by Marvel off the top of my head. One of the things that drove this change? If Marvel wants to recruit a good, diverse talent pool, its going to encourage its writers to write stories that aren't editorially butchered into submission (No gay policies don't encourage writers who happen to not want to segregate the world). The repressive, market skittish angle the writer suggests from the publisher that approached them does not speak to creative or intellectual honesty. The market in this case does perpetuate the trends that gay characters, and by extension gay teenagers are to be neither seen nor heard, and are barely existent in fiction. It might be "reality" that the mainstream culture may be more likely to shunt such a book off into the gay ghetto of publications for fear of a mainstream base , but you'd be dishonest suggesting that it wasn't a reality that wasn't carefully managed and perpetuated by this evidenced lack of spine.