There’s a discussion in the Hearts Through History chapter of the Romance Writers of America about a specific chapter in RWA (NOT Hearts Through History Through History) refusing to allow LGBT in their contests. All other forms, from paranormal to inspirational, from sweet romance to erotica. Only LGBT is excluded. A fellow author, my critique partner, responded to the debate as follows:


“Chiming in from lurkdom regarding LGBT romances being excluded from chapter contests:
It’s one thing to have a chapter that specializes in a particular area, such as historical, celtic, paranormal, or suspense. It’s quite another to set your contest guidelines to allow for every category BUT LGBT. That’s discrimination. If you allow Inspirational, you should allow LGBT and erotica. Otherwise, hold a themed contest geared toward your chapter’s specialty.
I happen to have a very good friend/writing partner who writes LGBT. She has been extraordinarily frustrated that her genre is pretty much precluded from most RWA and chapter contests. The last time I checked (just now) neither the Rita nor the Golden Heart permitted LGBT manuscripts, even though they have a separate category for Inspirational. I find this particularly discriminatory, because Inspirational romance, as the genre is defined, is Christian-centered, and geared not only toward a Christian worldview, but toward authors who have embraced that particular worldview as essential to their own lives.
Many LGBT authors would love to write something more that mere erotica, but want to write the stories of their hearts just as the rest of us do. RWA clearly supports discriminatory practices through example, as well as aiding in the perpetuation of the idea that LGBT is just a variant of Erotica. From this perspective, their acceptance of LGBT as RWA members, without providing complete support, is worse than what they were doing to ebook authors a few years back.
BTW, if any chapter needs a judge to cover LGBT, I’ll gladly volunteer. And I’m sure there are several LGBT authors who would love to asked. I’m sure final judges can be found from any of the publishing houses that carry the lines, like Loose-ID, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain, The Wild Rose Press, Decadent Publishing, and many others. Saying judges can’t be found is not really an accurate presentation of the situation.
OK, ’nuff said, putting my hobbyhorse away for the moment.”


Dorothy Muir,
Author of Sexy Historical Romance
Storm Called-available now from The Wild Rose Press
An Unintended Seduction-available March 2012 from The Wild Rose Press


Thank you, Dorothy. I couldn’t have said it better.

–Emily Carrington

P.S. Don’t forget to leave a comment for the giveaway drawing later this month!

6 thoughts on “In Defense of LGBT Rights in RWA Contests

  1. Thank you Dorothy and Emily. Well said. I am a member of RWA and am frequently amazed at their lack of connection to the entire world of digital publishing. They refer to epublishing when they mean self-publishing and know little about the digital world in which we live. But this total lack of connection with the reality of our world was a shock to me. As you say, to assume that LGBT fiction is only a subset of erotica (although i write erotic LGBT romance) is inane, and to assume that reading or being associated with LGBT fiction is more offensive to members than reading, as you say, Christian fiction would be to a non-Christian is full-on discrimination. I have to say that the people in my chapter are very nice and increasingly make a place for us writers of “dirty books”. Perhaps more members see the muddy handprints on the wall than RWA realizes! LOL Thanks again so much. Tara

    1. Tara: Oh, so many threads to discuss from your post, so little time! You’ve given me several ideas for posts. I’d love to have you on my website for a discussion about epublishing versus self-publishing!

  2. Thank you for saying that. I haven’t joined RWA because of their prejudice. I’ve been told that the only way to make it better is to go in and work the system, but that’s a bigger monster than I’m ready to tackle. I’m glad you’re taking a stand and wish you much luck.

  3. Just like the only way to be heard is to speak, and the only way to make sure your vote is counted is to vote, changing RWA will only happen from within. Join us! RWA IS changing. The change is slow, but it is happening. The Rainbow chapter of RWA is proof of that. So are all the writers who want to take LGBT tiction beyond erotica into new avenues… even into the inspirationals. Join us!

  4. What Rita rules did you read? I just read them and nowhere do they exclude LGBT books. Last year my crit partner got a m/m romance in her group of books to judge for the Rita.

  5. Thank you for catching this. It’s not in the RITA rules specifically. However, since erotica is not allowed and LGBT fiction has been confined to erotica until now, LGBT fiction is not allowed in the RITA or Golden Heart.

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