It’s that time again: that time every week where I round up links to articles written by marginalized people pushing back against oppression in publishing. I’m aggregated as many marginalized voices as possible from as many vectors as possible, and the more intersectional the better. As always if you’ve read something I missed please link it in the comments.
“Reflections By and About White People” by Donna Miscolta in The Seattle Review of Books
People of color account for 33 percent of Seattle’s population, according to 2010 census figures. How much enjoyment will this often marginalized group receive from an anthology in which nearly 90 percent of its writers are white?
“Writing Better Trans Characters” by Cheryl Morgan for Strange Horizons
There is such a thing as “cis gaze”; that is, a book can be written because cis people are fascinated by trans people. They want to see us doing those weird trans things that they think we do. Or they want to see us as victims that they can feel sorry for and rescue.
“The ‘Acceptance’ Narrative in Trans YA” by Vee S. for Gay YA
The problem is, the cis protagonists don’t actually work through their transphobia. While the “acceptance” narrative takes the cis character to task for being “mean,” it doesn’t challenge the transphobic beliefs or actions of the character. It doesn’t call out their judgement, fetishization, or objectification of the trans character. It doesn’t challenge the notion that trans men and women aren’t really men or women; that trans people are pretending, or putting on an act; that it’s ok to be wishy-washy on pronouns.
There simply are no black-and-white answers to writing fiction with characters who are traditionally marginalized, and the first thing writers should do is accept this. Whatever choice you make as a writer can be questioned by readers and critics, especially when it comes to writing diversity, which has often been done poorly and thoughtlessly. Again, whatever choice you make can be questioned, so it’s important to think carefully about why you made those choices, keeping in mind that your book is yours, and your duty as a writer is to be true to the story you want to tell.
“Becoming My Own Audience” by Dahlia Adler for Queer Romance Month
Sometimes what happens when you write queer YA is you realize you are really getting into writing queer YA. And you are feeling a weird, dull ache when you write certain scenes and realize you’ve written yourself into places you never expected. That you’re writing wish fulfillment you never thought would be your wishes.
“Hidden Voices: How Being a Teen in the At-Risk School System Almost Silenced Me” by Kara Barbieri for #WriteInclusively at SCWrite
They saw us as statistics. They saw the black criminal and the white drug addict. They saw the violent teenage boy and the emotional teenage girl. They saw the pregnant whore and the gangbanger father. The illegal immigrant and the child of a family that couldn’t afford the cat-food they called lunch. And slowly, we began to conform to those statistics. Because when someone says you’re broken, or stupid, or dangerous, or irredeemable enough times, you begin to believe it. Slowly, we were molded into the mindset they had for us. Our voices, once loud, were getting softer and softer.