Then I heard that one of the authors, Jessica Verday, had pulled out of the anthology. Which seemed a little odd, given how late we were in the process.
And then I found out her reason. To quote her blog post on the subject (originally posted at http://jessicaverday.blogspot.com/
"I've received a lot of questions and comments about why I'm no longer a part of the Wicked Pretty Things anthology (US: Running Press, UK: Constable & Robinson) and I've debated the best way to explain why I pulled out of this anthology. The simple reason? I was told that the story I'd wrote, which features Wesley (a boy) and Cameron (a boy), who were both in love with each other, would have to be published as a male/female story because a male/male story would not be acceptable to the publishers."
...uh, what? That's not okay. I mean, really, that's not okay. I began, in my slow, overly careful way, to get angry. Then I saw a statement from the editor, saying that the decision had been entirely hers, and had been in no way a reflection of the publisher's views. I sat back. I thought very, very hard. And I decided that, barring any additional developments, I would stay in the anthology, rather than hurting the other authors involved with the project by pulling out.
Naturally, there were additional developments. In light of the ongoing situation, my own discomfort with this whole thing, and the fact that discriminating on basis of sexual orientation is never okay, I have withdrawn my story from the collection.
And here's the thing. There is absolutely no reason to censor a story that was written to the guidelines (which dictated how much profanity, sexuality, etc. was acceptable, as good guidelines should). If Jessica had written hard-core erotica, then rejecting it would have made perfect sense. Not that kind of book. But she didn't. She wrote a romance, just like the rest of us, only her romance didn't include any girls. And she didn't get a rejection; she got her story accepted, just like the rest of us. Only while we got the usual editorial comments, she got "One of your characters needs to be turned into something he's not." And that's not okay.
Books do not determine a person's sexual orientation. I was not somehow destined to be straight, and led astray by Annie On My Mind and the Valdemar books. I was born with universal wiring. I have had boyfriends and I have had girlfriends and I have had both at the same time, and none of that—NONE OF THAT—is because I read a book where a girl was in love with a girl and I decided that being bisexual would be a fun way to kill a weekend.
But those books did tell me I didn't have to hate myself, and they did tell me that there was nothing wrong with me, and they did make it easier on everyone involved, because here was something I could hand to Mom and go "See? It's not just me, and it's not the end of the world, and it's not the only thing that defines me." Supposedly, ten percent of people are gay or bi with a tropism toward their own gender. It stands to reason that there should be positive non-hetero relationships in at least ten percent of YA literature. And they're not there. And things like this are why.
I am not withdrawing from this book because I'm not straight. I am withdrawing because of my little sister and her wife, and because of my girlfriend, and because of my best friend, and because of all the other people who deserve better than bullying through exclusion. Thanks to Jessica for bringing this to our attention, and thank you to everyone who has been supportive of my decision to withdraw.
I am sorry this had to be done. I am not sorry that I did it.