I recently ran across mention of a group called The Outer Alliance, a support and advocacy group for people involved in GLBTQ speculative fiction. Their mission statement is as follows:
As a member of the Outer Alliance, I advocate for queer speculative fiction and those who create, publish and support it, whatever their sexual orientation and gender identity. I make sure this is reflected in my actions and my work.
Pretty basic and definitely something I can get behind, so I joined. I missed their Pride Day, which was on 1 September, but was just in time to see a statement go up Regarding Queer-Unfriendly Markets. The issue specifically concerned the sentiments and opinions of Mr. Jake Freivald, owner of Flash Fiction Online, who’d rejected an advertisement Crossed Genres tried to place (a paid ad, through Project Wonderful) soliciting material for their upcoming LGBTQ issue, on the basis that he didn’t accept “sexually themed ads.” Click the link above to see the ad in question — there’s nothing sexual about it, unless one has an “Eeek, sex, dirty!” response to the term “LGBTQ” itself.
The Outer Alliance wasn’t trying to persuade its members to boycott Mr. Freivald’s site, but was merely presenting the facts. The post opened with:
After much discussion within the Outer Alliance, a consensus has been reached that when our writers or publishers encounter a market that is specifically unwelcoming to queer content, that we ought to make sure our membership is aware of it so that they may decide individually whether or not they wish to try to conduct business with such a market.
I think that works. There’s certainly a clear implication of what the organization thinks, but nobody is going to be tossed out for publishing with FFO.
In this case, the issue is purely one of principle for me, since I neither read nor write flash fiction. I certainly would want to know, though, whether the owners or people otherwise in control of a market I might be considering submitting to hold homophobic (racist, sexist, whatever) views; not only would I prefer to save my time and effort if the content of my stories might get them rejected off the bat, but I’d just as soon not have my name professionally associated with these kinds of people. Mr. Freivald is free to think whatever he likes, and to run his business likewise, but I and other writers and readers are correspondingly free to respond to his views as we please, and to choose to do business with him or not based on our responses.
If this is the sort of info Outer Alliance will be providing, then it’s worth my time to poke around on their site periodically just for that. They’re just getting going, though, and I hope to see a wide variety of news and information of interest coming from them. We’ll see.
If you’re interested, the link at the top is to their blog; becoming an actual member means joining their Google Groups site, which only requires a line or so saying why you want to join.