Followup on “Say Yes to Gay YA”

A few days ago, I linked to a piece by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith about an agent’s request that they remove or straighten a gay protagonist from their book.

Their article didn’t name the agent or the agency, but today Joanna Stampfel-Volpe at Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation came forward (on a site hosted by agent Colleen Lindsay [edit: former agent]) to say that she is the one in question, and furthermore, that “there is nothing in that article concerning our response to their manuscript that is true.”

[Another edit: Joanna Stampfel-Volpe is speaking on behalf of the agency, but herself is not the agent involved in the incident. I apologize for the misreading, which managed to persist through me reading not only her post, but a vast number of comments on both rachelmanija and sartorias‘s journals. Ironically, I’d have less editing to do if I’d stuck with my original draft, where I started out referring to “the agent,” without a name. But then I decided that if I was doing the authors the courtesy of calling them by name, I should do the same for the agent. My error, and I am editing the remainder of this entry to fix it.]

Brown and Smith stand by their original article.

So this has just turned into a case of “they said, she said.” Which has, naturally, made many people leap to conclusions on one side or the other: “Oh, I knew that story sounded fishy from the start; clearly the agent is telling the truth” or “the agent is a lying homophobic liar.” Since it’s doubtful anybody has a recording of the phone call where all of this went down, actual proof is hard to come by. I do think, however, that it’s possible to apply logic and draw at least a few tentative conclusions.

First of all, Brown and Smith didn’t name the agent or agency, and specifically said they didn’t want this to be a witch-hunt against one person; lots of other people have come forward with stories of similar things happening to them, and the statistics on queer representation in YA support the idea that publishing has a problem with non-straight characters (and non-“mainstream” characters in other respects, too: non-white, disabled, etc). The overwhelming focus of their post was to call out for agents, editors, readers, and writers to try and reduce the barriers against diversity in the genre.

Stampfel-Volpe chose — presumably with the permission of The Agent In Question (hereafter TAIQ) — to identify the agency publicly, and both she and Lindsay spend most of their focus on TAIQ and the writers, rather than the larger issue; they accuse Brown and Smith of “exploiting” her. They do call for general diversity as well, but in the end, you can kind of play bingo with that post; for example, Lindsay says TAIQ is a friend of hers, and not a homophobe. Note that the post on Genreville explicitly said TAIQ may or may not entertain personal feelings of homophobia; Brown and Smith don’t have any basis for judging that. You don’t have to hate gay people to contribute to the ways in which they get silenced. It can happen even if you like them, because that’s how institutionalized prejudice works.

Second, there’s the question of why the agency responded publicly. Apparently rumours have been flying behind the scenes, people asking whether TAIQ was the one. There was nothing in the original post, or any public follow-up that I’ve seen, which could possibly have produced those rumours. This creates two immediate possibilities: first, either Brown or Smith gossiped privately before Stampfel-Volpe took it public, or second, that other people have had similar experiences with TAIQ, and speculated based on those experiences.

We can’t answer this one; tracing those rumours to their origin is a lost cause. But as a data point, I offer up this: nowhere, publicly or privately, have I seen Brown and Smith provide a single detail, other than that it was a female agent at an agency that has repped a bestselling YA dystopia, that could have given away TAIQ’s identity. (And yes, I have plenty of evidence to back up both those claims.) This doesn’t disprove the gossip theory, but it does give a data point against it. As for the other, I have no evidence either way. I’m open to other possibilities as well.

Finally — as some people have noted on Stampfel-Volpe’s post — there may be a middle ground here. As I said before, institutionalized prejudice works in less-than-obvious ways. It’s possible the conversation could have been phrased in a way that TAIQ did not see as reinforcing homophobia, which nevertheless could be heard that way. Without the exact words, we can’t judge for ourselves. But I will say, for my own part, that I have a hard time believing this was, from the agent’s side, purely an issue of craft, and not of the marketability of queerness. If the pov in question “didn’t contribute to the actual plot” (Stampfel-Volpe’s words), then how could that be solved by making him straight? If she didn’t actually suggest making him straight — if that’s a misinterpretation — then how could Brown and Smith have subsequently heard anything that could be misconstrued as “if this turns into a series, later on you can show that he’s gay”? And how could the misunderstanding have persisted past Brown saying his sexuality was a moral issue she would not back down from?

Looking at it logically . . . the only thing I can conclude is that either Brown and Smith are outright lying — maybe as a publicity stunt, because they haven’t yet found representation for the book (as various people have begun to accuse them of, over on the agent’s rebuttal post) — or the agency is trying to do very inept damage control for an incident that was, in its outlines if not every detail, more or less like the Genreville post describes. As you can probably guess from my analysis above, my money is on the latter. Is that based partly on personal knowledge of one side and not the other? Sure. I know the authors; I don’t know the agent. I judge them to both be experienced professionals unlikely to manufacture a hissy fit because one particular book hasn’t sold yet. But even without the evidence I’ve seen and you haven’t: one side was careful not to make this personal, and the other side was not. One side offered summaries of what both parties said in the conversation; the other omitted the authors’ responses from their summary. Heck, one side had two people involved, and the other had only one. I know people’s opinions can reinforce each other, but there had to have been a moment where Brown and Smith spoke to each other after the phone call to share their opinions. I’ve heard nothing to suggest either of them started off by saying “I’m not sure that’s what she meant,” and was eventually talked around to the other’s interpretation. If their interpretations matched up from the start, that’s at least a minor form of fact-checking.

When all’s said and done, though, my real conclusion: go read the Genreville post again. Skip the parts about the agent; read the parts about the difficulty in getting non-straight, non-white, non-“mainstream” characters through the filter of authors’ brains, agents’ judgement calls, editors’ purchasing power, bookstores’ support, and readers’ inclinations, all the way to the public eye. That, more than any one book or agent or incident, is the part that matters.

Due to ridiculous amounts of spam (months after and unrelated to this incident), I have locked comments on this post.

0 Responses to “Followup on “Say Yes to Gay YA””

  1. elizaeffect

    Yeah, I just…I don’t know anyone involved, but the way to do damage control for an incident like this is not “we said nothing of the sort and also here are some personal attacks on the people who made the allegations, with a belated call for diversity stapled on at the end”. Objective-observer takeaway is thus:

    1) WORLD NEEDS MORE GAY YA BOOKS. 2) Agent is an asshat. End of story, except not, because see 1). This has spawned a lot of good conversation, anyway, when it’s not busy devolving into gossip.

    • Marie Brennan

      Yeah, I can’t find any way to interpret the agent’s post (or Lindsay’s support of it) that doesn’t make her/them look bad. Rachel and Sherwood bent over backwards not to “exploit” Stampfel-Volpe; if it really was a misunderstanding, the best move would be to contact them and say, “wow, I had no idea you took that away from the conversation. Let’s clear this up.” And then a little while later, there’s a polite follow-up from the authors saying “the personal matter has been resolved, but let’s all work together on fixing the societal one.”

      But yes, the incident has produced a lot of good conversation. And that’s a victory.

  2. alecaustin

    Thanks for writing the whole incident up and breaking it down that way so I didn’t have to.

    Malinda Lo’s stats post really made me sit up and take notice; while I’m sure that the statistics for adult SFF are probably better, the ~0.4% representation there is really appalling, and gives me a much clearer appreciation for why certain of my friends latched on to Ash so strongly.

    • Marie Brennan

      Yeah, the stats help. There’s been a lot of comments in various places saying “there isn’t really a problem! Look at Vanyel! And the Mortal Instruments series! And Dumbledore is gay!” Which is kind of like saying, “there are plenty of black authors in SF/F! There’s Samuel Delany, and Octavia Butler, and Nalo Hopkinson!” Yes, those examples are real, and yes, there are more that could be named. But the existence of such examples doesn’t negate the general pattern, which is that representation in the genre is way below representation in the populace.

      • sarahtales

        The ‘Dumbledore is gay’ argument makes me so sad. Because he isn’t, in the books, any more than Yuki would’ve been if the authors had taken that out. And it’s great JK Rowling said it, and is famous enough so it was spread to a lot of (though by no means all) her readers. But if everyone didn’t put it in the actual books…

        Which is to say, having the stats is great and illuminating, though horrifying.

        • Marie Brennan

          Ditto the Duane books that have been cited a bunch of times; the homosexuality there is firmly subtextual, not overt. Which puts it on par with the suggestion of “if this turns into a series, later on you can reveal that Yuki is gay.” That is not the same thing as actually having a gay character feature in the story.

          • sarahtales

            I did not know that! Thank you Marie, and oh, mercy.

            I have complicated thoughts on subtext ever since a lady of my acquaintance told me how messed up she felt by it: that people could seem gay, and yet nobody who didn’t want to see would see and really, really, they weren’t, let her think maybe she didn’t have to be, and maybe she shouldn’t really be.

            I am not condemning all gay subtext as bad! (I like subtext of all kinds, and have ’em in my books.) But it is no substitute for real representation, and shouldn’t be regarded as such.

          • Marie Brennan

            It’s one of the things that started to drive me crazy about watching House: it really felt like the show’s writers knew about House/Wilson slash, and were happy to dangle bait, but not to deliver the goods. They wanted the fannish engagement, without the price of actually making their protagonist gay/bi/whatever. After a while, you start being pissed off at the subtext, because it so rarely gets to be text.

          • sarahtales

            Yes: I felt the same way watching X-Men: First Class and Sherlock (the movie)–though I liked them in other ways–ah, another cunning way to make it allll about the white straight dudes, and also, isn’t this cowardly? and also, isn’t this boring?

          • Marie Brennan

            Alas, imagine the screams if you put out a movie where Charles Xavier and Erik Lenssher are gay, or Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. People would have aneurysms over “fanfic” being treated like a legitimate story — nevermind that every time you do a reboot or reinterpretation or rewhatever of an existing story, you’re essentially engaging in (authorized) fanfic.

            It would be a hell of a lot more interesting than most reboots, though. (And I say that as somebody who also liked those movies, with reservations.)

          • geekturnedvamp

            YES, THIS to this whole thread.

          • corinneduyvis

            But it is no substitute for real representation, and shouldn’t be regarded as such.

            This, exactly. Representation means this character is queer, not this character could be interpreted as queer if you squint and hope and tap your heels three times, but don’t worry, homophobes, we’re not going to force you to see any of the icky gay cooties or nothin’.

          • Marie Brennan

            In the case of House, the end of, um, Season 6 maybe? had me SO CERTAIN they were finally going to deliver on their teasing promises and put House and Wilson in a relationship together that when he said “I want to be with Cuddy” I literally yelled at the screen, “NO, NOT CUDDY, DAMMIT.” After a while, it starts to look like cowardice.

          • subluxate

            I REMEMBER THAT. Not coincidentally, it is the last episode of the show that I watched or will watch (except maybe the series finale, when they put it out of our collective misery).

            (Also, hi! Here via .)

          • Marie Brennan

            I watched on a bit into the next season, but gave up because House’s nastiness had ceased to have any redeeming qualities whatsoever.

            (Also, welcome!)

      • cpolk

        every time someone points out Vanyel I lose a little more of my teeth enamel.

        Because I want better of the naysayer’s refuting opinions than a tragic fag story, please. PLEASE.

        • vassilissa

          Not to mention that, correct me if I’m wrong, but were the Vanyel books ever published as YA? They could definitely be read that way (I first read them when I was thirteen) but as I understand it they were published under an adult fantasy imprint (DAW) and have been ever since. So they’re not actually relevant to this discussion except as a case of what you can get away with in adult fantasy that you can’t get away with in YA fantasy.

          Someone mentioned Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series before: has anyone else noticed that Tom and Carl have a certain visual resemblance to Duane’s adult fantasy characters Herewiss and Freelorn? Who are canonically gay? (Bi, actually, but they’re in a same-sex relationship.) I’m guessing she liked the characters enough to use them again, but couldn’t make them overtly gay and still sell the books.

          • cpolk

            they were published as adult books, but they read like YA to me even back then and I *knew* they were published as adult because of TEH GAY. I was just happy to get a *fantasy* novel with someone gay in it. because you know Rubyfruit Jungle, I read that in high school but I loved fantasy, and I wanted to see gay people and not-white people who were neither Villains or Exotic Ciphers From a Mysterious Land. In fantasy. which was too much to ask, and still seems a touch demanding even today.

          • tricksterquinn

            I wish I’d found Rubyfruit Jungle that early! I only discovered it last year, and even though I’ve been reading fiction and queer fiction and FAN fiction for well over a decade, it was a REVELATION for me. It was one of those books where I went “Holy god, someone is writing in a way that makes sense so profoundly to me that I can’t believe no one else ever has”. Which is unfair, since I’ve read plenty of Sarah Waters and fic and all sorts of things, but… Still.

          • Marie Brennan

            I’m told Vanyel’s being marketed as YA now, but they weren’t published that way initially. (And I don’t know for sure about the current status.) There’s definitely a difference in marketing already-successful books to the YA crowd, and marketing something new.

        • Marie Brennan

          True. It isn’t a bad story, but we can haz variety please? Including happy endings?

          • cpolk

            Oh just in case SPOILER ALERT: Last Herald-Mage

            yes. I mean I loved Vanyel the character, I did, but I hated the tragedy. and “They died happily ever after as ghosts in a forest” – gnashing my teeth. Why couldn’t they live? and retire? and teach and live as a couple in Haven after years of dedicated, heroic service?

            Why couldn’t they even get a nice weekend off?

          • Marie Brennan

            Re: Oh just in case SPOILER ALERT: Last Herald-Mage

            No kidding.

            Though — to give credit where it’s due — Lackey did something with Vanyel you almost never see in any kind of romance, gay or straight: he loved somebody, the guy died, Vanyel grieved, and then Vanyel moved on and fell in love with somebody else. Granted, she undercut that a bit with the suggestion that Stefan is Tylendel reborn or something, but still. I can barely think of any characters who get a second romance after the first one ended in tragedy.

  3. starlady38

    Thank you for this.

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    September 16, 2011 Links and Plugs

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  5. aishabintjamil

    Kudos to you for calling attention to this mess, and for writing a very mature, even-handed commentary on it.

  6. shveta_thakrar

    Thank you so much for this.

  7. elsmi

    Thank you for writing this; that agent’s post and its comments made me so furious.

    If Brown and Smith did make all this up as a publicity stunt, then wouldn’t the easiest response just be for them to announce that they’re shocked to hear such vile rumors about an agency whose interactions with them were always perfectly unobjectionable, and it was some other agency that they were talking about in the first place? That would have made the agent’s post look silly, defused the whole issue, and let them get on with their publicity stunt. Instead, they confirmed that this is the agency in question, which is what created the they-said-she-said mess that’s dragging their own reputations through the mud. Not that I think there’s the slightest chance that they were lying, knowing Rachel and Sherwood. But my point is that cynical explanation suggested by the world-weary logicaler-than-thou folks who are calling out this “hoax” doesn’t even make sense on its own terms. It’s almost like their decision to attack these people talking about institutionalized homophobia is based on something other than pure logic after all.

    • Marie Brennan

      Indeed — if the entire thing was made up, then there would be absolutely nothing for the authors to gain by publicly confirming that yes, that’s the agency they had avoided naming. Leaving it vague would be the more useful course of action, publicity-wise, especially since the internets would then go even more crazy trying to guess who the culprit was.

      I’m glad to see the backlash hasn’t been complete, though. A lot of people are pointing out that if this is all one person’s word against another’s, the agent’s word is no more inherently trustworthy than the authors’, and there are a lot of reasons to suppose the truth lies closer to the author end.

  8. rosefox

    on a site hosted by agent Colleen Lindsay

    Former agent, FYI.

  9. pingback_bot

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  10. shweta_narayan

    Thank you for this.

    (btw, I posted linking here, because your analysis is made of win.)

    • Marie Brennan

      Thanks for the link!

    • Marie Brennan

      If you have a moment, I’d appreciate it if you could edit your post to reflect my correction above; Joanna Stampfel-Volpe is not the agent in question, but rather is acting as a spokeswoman for the agency.

      • tiamat360

        That seems like it’s one extra layer of confusion to the “they said, she said” debacle, and could go a long ways to explaining the discrepancies between the original post and the agency’s response. Though large parts of your analysis still hold, as well as the general issue that gay/queer relationships are not featured as often in YA fiction as they should be.

  11. bookblather

    You pretty much said everything I’d been thinking, but much more elegantly. I honestly can’t think of a reason for the agent to come forward at all, since as far as I could tell there was very little speculation on the identity of the agent in question, and as you said Smith and Brown left absolutely no clues as to her identity. They tried very hard (and are continuing to try, IMO) to keep the focus of the discussion away from the personal and on the larger issue at hand.

    Do you mind if I link to this post?

  12. lagringa


    To clarify: Joanna Stampfel-Volpe is not the agent in question, although she chose to write the rebuttal on behalf of her colleague and the agency as a whole, as their integrity is under fire. They chose to come forward because although the name of the agent was not mentioned in the PW post, it was certainly bandied about privately among the kidlit writer community.



    • Marie Brennan

      Re: Clarification

      I will edit my post to clarify. (It wasn’t at all clear to me that she isn’t the agent in question; I did notice “we” and such in the statement, but came away with the distinct impression that while JSV was speaking on behalf of her agency, she was doing so as the one involved.)

      • lagringa

        Re: Clarification

        No, it was another agent at that agency, a person who has been deeply hurt by the accusations of the past few days.

        Like I said, the authors may have kept it quiet on the PW post, but the name has been spreading like wildfire, so much so that current clients of the agency started inquiring. Once it had reached that point, they had no choice but to post a rebuttal. The reputation of their agency was being called into question, which not only damages the agency but harms their clients as well.

        I’ll concede that it could have been a misunderstanding on the part of both parties, but I worked alongside the people at this agency for three years – I know how they work; it simply could not have gone down the way these two writers have portrayed it.



        • Marie Brennan

          Re: Clarification

          I have edited my post to clarify, and asked those who linked to it to do the same.

          As for your points: I appreciate your perspective, but if this truly was based on a misunderstanding, I believe there are several more effective ways to have addressed the PR problem than to post that rebuttal, in the form it took. Stampfel-Volpe’s statement creates the distinct impression that one side or the other is actively misrepresenting what happened, which means it creates the distinct impression that she’s accusing the authors, which makes the entire affair personal in a way that isn’t likely to benefit anyone.

          • lagringa

            Re: Clarification

            I agree in part, although because Joanna is my friend and colleague, I agreed to post her rebuttal. You may want to post that comment over on the blog post, then. Although I’m looking at LJ, I don’t think Joanna is.

            (Although LJ is misbehaving for me – keeps signing me out after I leave comments. GRRRRR! *shakes fist* Stupid LJ!)



          • Marie Brennan

            Re: Clarification

            I’ve commented there, as per your suggestion.

            I’d also like to add, though, that your own addendum to the post struck me as needlessly inflammatory. The “giant red flag” comment is an implied ad hominem attack; you make it sound like you, and by association Stampfel-Volpe and The Agent In Question, attribute the entire problem to sour grapes on the part of Brown and Smith that their book isn’t good enough to pass muster. It gives the entire post, agency statement and all, a catty air that doesn’t contribute much to the discussion.

          • mrissa

            Re: Clarification

            Further to ‘s point, Colleen, do you know that and showed their manuscript to their current agents at all? I would expect that they did not show it to Rachel’s agent, as it is my understanding that he reps nonfiction and would turn it down for that reason alone. While Sherwood is my friend, we have not discussed this question, so I don’t have personal knowledge here, but I do know authors who have deliberately sought a third agent to rep collaborative work for various reasons without trying either of their agents first. Do you know that’s not the case here, or did you just assume because it’s not how you would have handled it in their shoes or wanted a client to handle it when you were working as an agent?

          • sartorias

            Re: Clarification

            Both our agents were willing to represent this project, but we wanted to find someone who would represent us as a unit. The agents accepted our decision, and continue to represent our solo work.

            As for the gossip vector, there is a third possibility, that someone at the agency talked to a friend the other day when the Genreville article appeared, who talked to a friend, who talked to a friend. That’s the only way I can see it spreading like wildfire through New York, whereas our friends (and my family) STILL do not know the names in question, a month after the exchange took place.

            I think the only good that will come out of this will be the agency reaffirming their dedication to diversity, and maybe a better method of communication with possible clients.

          • geekturnedvamp

            Re: Clarification

            As for the gossip vector, there is a third possibility, that someone at the agency talked to a friend the other day when the Genreville article appeared, who talked to a friend, who talked to a friend. That’s the only way I can see it spreading like wildfire through New York, whereas our friends (and my family) STILL do not know the names in question, a month after the exchange took place.

            I think this is one possibility, and as I said over at rydra-wong’s most recent post earlier, another is that as soon as the article went up, every agent who had passed on the project and given feedback to the authors started calling & emailing their colleagues because they were nervous the article might be referring to them, even if–by their own recollection–they didn’t think anything they had said could have been interpreted that way. Agents do talk to each other quite a bit.

        • green_knight

          Re: Clarification

          the name has been spreading like wildfire

          May I ask where? The original post, many links to subsequent posts, and your post have been cropping up everywhere I looked… but I hadn’t heard a single reference to the agency until your post.

          And in the end, as the Genreville post says, _the agent is not important_. I have not heard from a single writer, ever, who was asked to make a white character into a POC, a straight character gay, a monogamous relationship poly, any character at all disabled – it’s always the other way round: make the characters more mainstream, make the plot more mainstream, appeal more closely to strongly-defined marketing categories.

          And that, regardless of who said what, is a problem. If your agency friends aren’t actively working to counter that, they’re part of that problem.

        • dharma_slut

          Re: Clarification

          Colleen, I got an absolute impression that Joanna was involved, and that the conversation took place in her presence over a speakerphone.

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  14. Marie Brennan

    Yes, that is the important part of this whole kerfuffle. Ultimately, one interaction between one pair of authors and an agent is just a drop in the larger issue bucket.

  15. Marie Brennan

    Society-wide, really.

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  17. fjm

    THis whole issue is not about individual feelings towards a group, it’s about individual and corporate feelings to *marketing* that group. Gollancz is a classic: full of feisty and femiinst women and a dreadful record of publishing female sf writers and then of marketing them well enough to keep them in print. The latest “vote for our best writers from our back list” was deeply revealing.

    • Marie Brennan

      Well-said. And it’s the multiple layers of that crap which make it so hard to shift these issues in a more desirable direction.

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  21. rydra_wong

    This is excellent. Thank you.

  22. geekturnedvamp

    I don’t agree with all of this post, but it is the most well-reasoned statement I’ve seen on this incident to date, and I appreciated reading it–and I agree completely with your conclusion that “the difficulty in getting non-straight, non-white, non-“mainstream” characters through the filter of authors’ brains, agents’ judgement calls, editors’ purchasing power, bookstores’ support, and readers’ inclinations, all the way to the public eye” is the part that really matters.

    • geekturnedvamp

      P.S. And I really, really want to read the novel that you mentioned somewhere didn’t sell on proposal, the one about the celibate priestesses who have same-sex relationships because it doesn’t break their vows & one of them gets involved with a young queen… I would SO buy that book!

      • Marie Brennan

        They’re actually celibate holy lady knights, who are the bodyguards of the young queen. 🙂 Alas, the setting is firmly medieval European, which isn’t very easy to sell right now.

  23. boojum42

    (Here, as a thought exercise, I’m considering the consequences of the matter if the conversation had gone exactly as presented by Stampfel-Volpe. I have no idea whether that is the case, obviously.)

    Reading Stampfel-Volpe’s response, the claim is that TAIQ asked for the authors to:
    1) cut all the romance plots, gay and straight and
    2) cut the POVs of several characters, including the gay one.
    By saying “you can say he’s gay in later books, maybe”, TAIQ might have meant something like “you can introduce romance plots in the later books”, including the gay one. I can see how the agent might have said the one thing and the authors might interpret this as meaning: get rid of the gay. Here’s why: it has roughly the same effect.

    TAIQ got a manuscript with a gay pov character and said… cut the romance. Honestly I think it works out to the same thing as saying “cut the homosexuality”. If agents are more likely to say “cut the romance” when they get gay characters than when they get only straight ones, then representation-wise, this really works out to the same thing as turning gay characters straight. (It’s not like _straight_ romances fail to be represented in YA lit.) Probably TAIQ did not see her recommendations as being against representation of gay people in literature, but they actually work out to that in the end– even taking Stampfel-Volpe’s account as being a perfect representation of what happened.

    I mean, the issue is muddy if you only look at one example; there may have been unobjectionable reasons for cutting the romance plots. Thus, picking on the one agent in isolation may be unwarranted. As part of a larger trend, though, it is worrisome. It’s a bit like, say, job hires. For any given job search, the employer might have had good reason to hire a particular white person instead of a particular minority. But the overall trend is a bad one. And the insidious thing is you can rarely tell by looking at just one case whether it’s prejudice or not!

    • Marie Brennan

      It’s an interesting thought exercise. Taken in context, though, I still don’t buy that interpretation. For example, Rachel has said elsewhere that they spent half an hour discussing that particular request from the agent. Even allowing for imprecision in that estimate, it makes it harder to write off the whole thing as a misunderstanding. The amount of supporting detail Rachel and Sherwood can cite — and the fact that both of them were part of the conversation, and agree on what happened, whereas JSV was not part of the conversation, and is reporting second-hand — still leaves me inclined to believe their version is closer to accurate.

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