Re: #LLFfail

September 28, 2009 at 1:27 am 2 comments

The LLF has released a statement in response to the uproar caused by their new Lammy eligibility guidelines (see my previous post). I’m pleased they’ve actually acknowledged the issue – reaction on the interwebs hasn’t been positive for them, y’know – but after I read the statement by Katherine V Forrest (long may she live), I’m still confused.  I’ll post my thoughts about the LLF statement in a day or two, this weekend has been too busy.

Clarification of Lambda Literary Foundation Policy Guidelines of Nominations, 2009 Lambda Literary Awards, from Katherine V. Forrest, Interim President, Board of Trustees

September 25, 2009The Board of Lambda Literary Foundation, under the leadership of Christopher Rice, spent much of last year discussing how our literature has evolved, and the actual mission of the Foundation given the perilous place we find ourselves in with our drastically changed market conditions. We also took into consideration the despair of our own writers when a heterosexual writer, who has written a fine book about us, wins a Lambda Award, when one or more of our own LGBT writers may have as a Finalist a book that may be the only chance in a career at a Lambda Literary Award.

We discussed two essential questions: who we are, what we are here to accomplish. We discussed every single word of this, our Mission statement: The Lambda Literary Foundation is dedicated to raising the status of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people throughout society by rewarding and promoting excellence among LGBT writers who use their work to explore LGBT lives.

Lambda Literary Foundation is a service organization for our writers. Our LGBT family of writers. We celebrate those who support our writers, those in all the allied areas of our literature: our readers, publishers, booksellers, publicists, agents, etc. We celebrate straight allies of every kind and always have throughout our history, with the Bridge Builder Award, Small Press Award, Publishers Service Award, Editor’s Choice Award, among other awards and acknowledgments, and we’ll continue to do so.

Today we continue to be excluded in heterosexual society as we have been historically. Our books are taken from the shelves of libraries all over the country and even from the website of this year. It is more difficult to be an LGBT writer now than it has been in many decades, more difficult to make any income from our written words, much less a living. Publishers have closed, stores have closed, the markets seem to be shrinking with each passing day. It seems more urgent than ever that LLF be as active and supportive a service organization as we possibly can be for our own writers, and that’s what we’re working on, with a Board that could not be more passionate in our commitment. We will soon have a new, far more comprehensive website connecting all segments of our publishing world, and we’re determined to restore our Writers Retreat for emerging writers, the single most important initiative we’ve undertaken next to the Lambda Literary Awards.

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.

We hope this will clarify our policy and answer some of your questions and concerns. We welcome your comments.

Contact: Tony Valenzuela,

This appeared the same time as the announcement that the President of the Board of Trustees, Christopher Rice, had resigned immediately and that Katherine V Forrest was the acting President in the interim. The Board is being advised by an interim Executive Director.


Entry filed under: Advocates, Equity, Literary related news, Queer lit. Tags: .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stacia  |  September 28, 2009 at 8:44 am

    I felt like I’d been gut-punched when I read this “clarification.”

    I don’t understand how they can say “if the book is nominated as LGBT, then the author is self-identifying as part of our LGBT family of writers” when they allow publishers to enter books without an author’s permission.

    And I’m not sure how I feel about their choice of interim ED. Conflicted at best.

    • 2. evecho  |  September 28, 2009 at 11:19 am

      The ‘clarification’ is as confusing and objectional as the original statement.


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Evecho’s newsy bits

News, updates and links from the lesbian and publishing ‘verse that interest me, my current projects, keeping up with authors and sharing musings on middle-class life, gourmet adventures and comparisons between East/West perspectives. My opinions will likely be linearly logical and gayly bent, as they tend to be.