I’m pretty sure everyone’s read the posts about agents asking authors to cut gay characters out of their YA. I think we’re missing out a lot from both sides of the story, but what’s important here, as my friend Sophie Wereley pointed out, is that the real issue is getting lost in the internet spats.
When the story first broke I was rather sceptical. My reasons were personal – I write many gay characters, and neither of my 2 agents ever asked me to change that. And then I thought about how they had never had to because I did it myself.
My favourite book that I have ever written has at its heart, a gay romance, and I pretty much assumed that it would never get me an agent. So I set out to write a YA with a het romance at its core. (Because apparently I’m unable to actually do that, all three main characters are bi, and 2 minor characters are gay.)
But the fact remains that I believed a het book would have a better chance of selling. Was I right? Kinda. Since it did sell. But what about that other book, the one I love more? If it doesn’t ever sell, will it be because the book is not as good as I like to think 😛 or because there is still this pervasive idea that teens (and adults) don’t want Teh Gay tainting their kidlit? (<<<if you see what I did there, you’re a person after my heart, bad puns and all)
So if I’m self-censoring without even realising exactly what I’m doing until I’m forced to confront my own actions, yeah, it could be saying a lot about me (and it does). But it also says a lot about the industry and my perceptions of it.
How do you feel about gay characters and story lines and what is happening with them in today’s publishing world, especially in YA?