Dear readers, writers, bloggers and the like,
I write this with a heavy heart. I’ve been watching this latest controversy unfold, I’ve stayed on the sidelines through most of it, expressing my concern at what I see going on only in a few instances off blog. My concern not for any single author, but for the community as a whole, for what I think the backlash of this
is going to do is doing.
I see so many people asking for, calling for, even demanding that authors prevent this feeling of betrayal that so many have by revealing truths to the public, by changing their bios, by not “misrepresenting” themselves. I don’t think you know or understand what you ask. You don’t fully understand the impact this firestorm is having. With voices raised high you’ve gone after the author at the center of this, but there are other authors as well, authors on the side lines watching as this all unfolds and the cry goes from one author, or authors in general.
I wrote a post last week, an outburst at what I called the panty policing gender patrol. I didn’t write that in regard to any one person, I didn’t write that in regard to any one author. I wrote that in an emotional outburst, because I’m deeply troubled at the impact this firestorm will have in the broader scheme of things, in the genre as a whole. Days later, after watching more of this unfold, I stick to my opinion. Stronger than ever. We can NOT police the gender of our authors. We can NOT require them to reveal gender and/or sexual orientation if they choose not to.
Who are we to ask them to? Who are we to decide what is truth and what is misrepresentation when it comes to gender identification and/or sexual orientation of the person behind the pseudo? How can we do that when we do not understand the fluidity of gender in the first place?
Our authors have a right to their privacy. Our authors have a right to identify however they choose. Or authors have a right to the protections of their pseudo. Our authors owe us nothing more than the satisfaction of a good book, our monies worth for what we are buying. We are not buying them. We are not buying their lives. We are not buying the right to know the person behind the pseudo.
Before I’m again accused of refusing to admit the culpability of the author at the center of this, I will say, again, I refuse only to engage in the firestorm as it relates directly to that single author. I understand that people feel betrayed. I understand that people don’t want to feel that way again. But I also understand that the solution is not found in betraying the rest of the authors in the community by demanding that they owe us the person behind the pseudo; the pseudo they have chosen as is their right to do.
I’m told this isn’t about gender. I’m told this isn’t about sexual orientation. I say yes. Yes it is. It is in that the preconceived notions about gender and the lack of understanding of its fluidity are at the heart of wanting to know, is the person behind the male or the female pseudo a woman or a man? And is that man or woman L.G.B.T.orQ… which label can we put on them? And is it accurate? I’m told, we as a community don’t care which category authors fall into. Male, Female, L.G.B.T.Q.Straight. But don’t you see? It’s in the trying to label that is the problem.
I will tell you who the person behind the pseudo is. The person is neither. The person is both. The person is… a human being. They are a human being with the right to identify and present as they, and they alone, chose to. That is all.
With a heavy heart, I say to you all. If this doesn’t stop, you run the risk of losing fabulous authors.
My heart is sad, because you don’t even realize it.
With love to all,