|room at the table for all|
Yes. It is.
As shocking as it is, sometimes smart, sensitive, educated and caring people do not see eye to eye. They disagree. Passionately. Sometimes they disagree in areas where you would have bet money they'd be in complete accord.
It is disappointing, even hurtful, when the answer to something we care so deeply about, is no. But that is life. That is the human condition. Sometimes détente cannot be reached. Sometimes you must agree to disagree.
I'm not suggesting there should not be discussion. I am suggesting that respect for someone else's opinion and their right to free speech only kicks in when you are in disagreement. Hitting "like" on a post or comment you agree with is not a noble demonstration of your respect for someone else's opinion. Allowing those with opposing viewpoints to have their say without vilifying them or denigrating them...that's actually showing respect for someone else's opinion, that's actually living up to the ideal of free speech.
At the same time, disagreement is not disrespect. Disagreement is not the same as forbidding people the right to speak. It is disagreement with what has been said.
Over the past two years the genre formerly known as M/M Romance has experienced more than it's share of rancorous disagreement on a number of issues, and sadly the divisions seem to be getting worse, not better. I'm not here to tell you how to fix that. I don't see a way to fix it that doesn't involve a hell of a lot more open-mindedness, imagination and empathy on the part of everyone involved.
This I can tell you. Diversity is good. It is good for society. It is good for the book business.
|yes, that person has wings|
noun, plural diversities.
1. the state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness:
diversity of opinion.
2. variety; multiformity.
3. the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc.:
diversity in the workplace.
4. a point of difference
Look at it this way. Maybe I write cupcakes with sprinkles and buttercream frosting and you write hearty oatmeal muffins that nourish and sustain. Maybe my cupcakes outsell your oatmeal muffins. Maybe you outsell me with readers looking to be nourished and sustained. But in a genre this small, there’s a good chance that our readerships will occasionally, maybe more than occasionally, overlap. Nobody likes cupcakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yet man shall not live by hearty oatmeal muffin alone. You see what I’m saying? My cupcakes may be the gateway to your oatmeal muffin. Maybe not. But if we only serve oatmeal muffins, then a lot of readers with a lot of dollars will never wander over here because they don’t think they like oatmeal and the selection is so small.
It is to all of our benefit to maintain a healthy, thriving genre that attracts a variety of readers who are willing to pay to read many books written by unique and multiple talents.
Do we need gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual romance written specifically by gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, authors? Of course we do! It is crucial.
|a knotty problem|
But believe it or not, it is also crucial to have stories by those with other ideas, perspectives, insights. Unless you’re literally a hermit and have no outside contact with the world, there is no exclusive or isolate human experience. All of our experiences are tempered by our relationships with others and the world around us. Nobody lives in a vacuum.
Get over the idea that all these other writers cluttering up the bookshelves are robbing you of your rightful readers. There is no such thing in publishing. Readers are not prisoners of war to be taken by the winners of some bizarre battle of genre gerrymandering.
A multitude of voices and experiences and viewpoints means by default that we are not all going to understand or appreciate everything written by our peers--but that doesn’t mean we can’t benefit in practical, cultural and even spiritual ways from being around people who are, you know, different from us.