Friday, February 3, 2012
RWA, RWI: "No Same-Sex Entries" in MTM
Evidently, MTM is not taking same-sex entries anymore. It's stated right here in the rules and regulations on the RWI page, in bold black letters: Note: MTM will no longer accept same-sex entries in any category.
For those who don't know, MTM is the More than Magic contest. The More than Magic contest is conducted by RWI, which is a chapter of RWA. RWI means Romance Writers Ink. I think we all know what RWA is by now.
Frankly, I knew nothing about this until I read about it here, in this very eloquent blog post, which was posted by someone I don't know, Heidi Cullinan. Before I write anything else I'd like to thank Heidi for being so kind and so honest.
Heidi nails it with these lines alone:
I just can’t get over the balls of stating, right there in black and white on a freaking website, “no same-sex entries.” No Irish need apply. Whites only. Pick your discriminatory phrase and insert it right there, because they all fit.
She brings a huge reality check to all writers of M/M Romance with this:
Here’s the truth. LGBT romance is growing more and more every day, but don’t let anyone try and delude you it’s anywhere but at the more sunlit alleys in the ghetto of the publishing world. Despite our very good sales within our digital-first houses, we aren’t even on the map for most New York publishers.
Part of the reason I didn't find out about this until now is because I don't belong to RWA, nor do I follow any contests or anyone affiliated with RWA. I've been writing (and getting published) for over twenty years, without the help of RWA, RWI, or MTM. I don't think my m/m romance readers care about RWA. I'm not being snide about this; I just know where I'm not welcome and I'm being realistic. As an openly gay man I've suffered far worse than this. Until now I've never seen it posted on a web site, in actual words and letters, for the entire world to see.
In the grand scheme of my life, this doesn't bother me too much. It won't touch the quality of my life, nor will it stop me from writing as many m/m romances as I want to write. I doubt it will touch the quality of my readers lives much either. Those who love to read M/M Romance, which is growing daily in numbers, probably don't even know what RWA is.
In the end of Heidi's post, which I recommend reading in its entirety, she says this:
Are you an author of LGBT romances? Are you a reader of them? Are you an advocate of LGBT rights? Please write to RWI’s contest coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please write to RWA. Please don’t yell and throw glass. You can be hurt, but please be civil. One little pebble thrown becomes an excuse to call us the bullies. And you know? I don’t even think RWA or RWI are the bullies. I think they’re not thinking. I think they’re thinking of themselves and keeping things quiet and easy. I think they don’t think for one second saying “no gays” is the same as hanging “whites only” over a toilet.
If you are so inclined, by all means send out an e-mail to the address above in protest.
I have to think about this for a while. I'm not as kind as Heidi and I have zero tolerance for this. And I have no inclination to deal with people who would post something that offensive, in public, without thinking twice about it. I'd rather dismiss them completely, as being thoughtless, unkind, and irrelevant. I think most people would feel the same way if they were gay and they were treated this way by people who aren't significant enough to waste time on. Sometimes total dismissal works best.