cigar, anyone?

I know Bill Clinton has his, er, detractors. And he's done some dumb things in his life. (Quick, name three dumb things you've done. Now consider what would've happened to you and how it would have looked to the world if you'd been in the public spotlight at the time. Yeah, yeah, yeah, don't dis me with that "public figure" standard BS either. Everyone does dumb stuff and in the heat of the moment, you are who you are, not what you are. And, just to steal the wind out of the rest of y'all sails, I do think it was D-U-M dumb.)

But I heard him interviewed this morning, and whatever you think of him, he's just so damned SMART.

And now he's done one more smart thing.

Along that same vein (being the vein bled dry by LGBT people who are just trying to, yanno, live), the Lambda Literary Foundation has changed their standards for nomination. My blog buddy Barth Anderson was nominated for one of my all-time favorite books, THE MAGICIAN AND THE FOOL, last year. It's also an award I privately covet.
As to what defines LGBT? That is not up to anyone at Lambda Literary Foundation to decide. The writers and publishers are the ones who will be doing the self-identifying. Sexuality today is fluid and we welcome and cherish this freedom. We take the nomination of any book at face value: if the book is nominated as LGBT, then the author is self-identifying as part of our LGBT family of writers, and that is all that is required. There are many permutations of LGBT and they're all welcome as that LGBT term we've all adopted makes clear.
Here's my reply on Nicola's post, who graciously reprinted the explanation.

I'm sad that, as far as I can tell from these new standards, my work could never be nominated for a Lambda. Though I tend to write gay characters, I think I'm fairly considered straight (after 18 years of marriage to the same man). Another time, another life, maybe, I might be considered something different. I believe marriage and relationship and sexuality are about the people, not about labels and I met the right "man" rather than the right "woman".

That said, I understand and respect the underlying reasons for the distinction. I don't experience the day-to-day or marketplace prejudice that homosexual writers do.

Favorite line from this entire thing:

Sexuality today is fluid and we welcome and cherish this freedom.

I'll still covet that award from afar...

I covet it because it's awarded by LGBT people. This is like me, a white American, writing a book about, say, Martians or African Americans or British people, and having the Martian or the AA or the Brit say, "Good golly, but you get what it is to be me. You did it right."

To be clear, I don't write gay characters on purpose. Trinidad didn't set out to be gay. He wasn't anything, much, until Castile turned up and here was a guy who I thought, Man if there's anyone in this world who's best suited to Trinidad, it's Castile. I tend to write guy characters. Sometimes they're gay. In my novella (coming out in FEBRUARY 2010!!!! - more on that later) the protagonist is also exploring her sexuality. It tends to be a theme I touch on. Dunno why, actually. It just is.

So, point is, you don't have to like Clinton, or even the Lambda Literary Foundation, but you can have respect for what they're trying to do. And I applaud both of them.

No comments: