Ellen Wittlinger has an article in this month’s Hornbook, “Too Gay or Not Gay Enough” about changes in the Lambda Literary Foundation Awards’ guidelines, which now require that submissions be from self-identified LGBT authors.
The discussion in response to this article over at Arthur A. Levine’s blog is fascinating. For me, the debate about insider versus outsider is perhaps the most interesting (and the most relevant to my own work).
I’ve written about why I write LGBTQ characters, which I think can be summed up as, “To not include them would be to not represent reality.” Secrets of Truth & Beauty included minority characters, but their race was a minor part of the story. Works in progress include a similar mix. When I am writing, I don’t think, “Okay, now it’s time for the Asian character.” That’s how a character appears to me. I do work to make sure that their race or sexuality informs who they are, and works within the story, just as I worked to make Dara’s weight an integral if not defining part of her character development.
I encourage others to go read the article, read Arthur Levine’s response, and then participate in the discussion. These are the kinds of topics and questions that need to be raised in the kidlit world.