Over Memorial Day weekend, I attended WisCon, the feminist science fiction convention, in Madison, Wisconsin. I did a couple of panels there, including one called “De-Gaying and Whitewashing: What Publishing Trends Mean for Writers.” Here’s the program description:
Can radically feminist and anti-racist works survive the “gate-keeping” process? Is there room in the mainstream for works that dramatically challenge the status quo? In the past year or so, the twitto-sphere has been abuzz with hashtags like “YESGayYA” and “YASaves”. Articles about the “de-gaying” and whitewashing of YA literature have raised people’s ire and ignited a volleying of retorts from writers and reviewers/agents/editors. Let’s talk about some of these perceptions in publishing and what they might mean for writers, particularly those who want to challenge commonly held notions and beliefs.
The panel was moderated by the very capable Mary Anne Mohanraj, and the other panelists were author and professor Andrea Hairston, Tor editor Liz Gorinsky, and author Neesha Meminger. At the beginning of the panel I wrote down something that Andrea Hairston said that I think is very important. She asked us to focus on how we can make change without making blame.