#Rom4All--End ALL Discrimination in Romance
Recently, it was brought to the attention of the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter of the RWA that another chapter's published works contest (scroll down to Rules, under #1) would no longer be accepting same-sex romances for any of their categories.
So, like several of my RRW co-members, I wrote to the contest coordinator. This is what I said: "I've noticed that your More Than Magic contest for published authors no longer accepts entries that have same-sex relations. The contest accepted such stories in the past and, from what I understand, they did well. Could you please tell me what changed? Thank you very much for your time."
Here is the reply I received: "It was a difficult decision, but after a month-long discussion, it was voted by the chapter to no longer accept same-sex. The majority of our members were just uncomfortable with it."
That's it. That was the whole of the response.
They were uncomfortable. Fine. I can understand being uncomfortable with certain aspects of stories. Everyone has their own tastes. Simple solution: Find judges outside of your chapter who ARE comfortable--nay! HAPPY--to read same-sex romances. There's a whole chapter of us willing to do so.
But to outright deny entry based on orientation of the characters? Replace "same-sex" with "people of color" or "people of different abilities" or "people of different beliefs" and tell me you don't feel the ick factor here.
RRW chapter president Heidi Cullinan wrote to the RWA National organization and asked about the discriminatory language. The RWA was extremely supportive in getting the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter off the ground; we know they aren't opposed to LGBT romance. RWA's response, however, was less than encouraging. Basically, the RWA is saying it can't tell its affiliated chapters how to run their contests. If they want to exclude a category, then it's their right to do so.
But LGBTQ is NOT a romance category. Paranormal, Suspense, Historical, Inspirational, Erotica. THOSE are categories. Categories indicate a certain plot and storyline. Categories have NOTHING to do with who the characters love.
If a judge, like any reader, is uncomfortable with reading paranormal, it is up to the coordinator to find a judge who will do so. No one freaks out. No one gets upset. Everyone is happy. Why is that so difficult to do and understand in this day and age?
There are other folks who have addressed the issue much more eloquently than I, and I encourage you to read the blogs, get the facts, and make your opinion heard. Write to RWA (the addy is firstname.lastname@example.org ); leave comments on blogs; make a <140 character Twitter statement using the #Rom4All hashtag, and include #RWA and/or #LGBT.
Blogs supporting anti-discrimination and #Rom4All: