When I think about the reasons for an organization like Geeks OUT to exist. This is a great story to point to.
Two authors have come forward to talk about one of the challenges they face in getting their novel published. Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith wrote a gay character into their post-apocalyptic Young Adult novel. An unnamed agent (working for a major publishing house) contacted them and offered to publish it, if they removed the gay character. This gay character (a teen) represents one of 5 opinions.
Our novel, Stranger, has five viewpoint characters; one, Yuki Nakamura, is gay and has a boyfriend. Yuki’s romance, like the heterosexual ones in the novel, involves nothing more explicit than kissing.
An agent from a major agency, one which represents a bestselling YA novel in the same genre as ours, called us.
The agent offered to sign us on the condition that we make the gay character straight, or else remove his viewpoint and all references to his sexual orientation.
Rachel replied, “Making a gay character straight is a line in the sand which I will not cross. That is a moral issue. I work with teenagers, and some of them are gay. They never get to read fantasy novels where people like them are the heroes, and that’s not right.”
It's frustrating to see this kind of bigotry, but I have long suspected that this kind of conversation happens a lot more than we're told.