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Author Topic: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)  (Read 12149 times)  

Offline RandomThings

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2017, 10:53:34 AM »
Nope. As has been pointed out before, it is discriminatory if they say they are pulling LGBT because they believe that their particular deity frowns upon it. It is not discriminatory for a business to decide that they want to target groups of people who have a deity that gets it's panties in a bunch over LGBT fiction. As long as they just say, "we don't want to sell it anymore," then it is entirely their choice as a business to do so.

By all means, make people aware. Send out a message saying that if you want to buy or sell LGBT works, you can't do it here. That won't happen though because as we already see here, people are talking about going to the press and raising a stink on social media. Before you know it, this whole thing will be a constant attack on a business merely because they choose not to sell a certain type of fiction.

The minute, heck the second, they come out and say they won't sell it on their site because it's those dirty gay cooties, then I will light all the torches you want and sharpen every pitchfork I can find. Until that happens though, as a private company, they can choose to sell or not sell whatever they like and we have no reason to get all wound up about it.

They are the ones missing out on making money as far as I can see, but they might be able to look at their numbers and say that the number of emails they get saying someone won't buy from them because of LGBT books is more than the number of people buying LGBT books. We don't know the reason for the decision and getting everyone riled up about this as it stands is just plain wrong.

Online Becca Mills

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #26 on: September 02, 2017, 11:29:02 AM »
If you're sufficiently bestirred, let us know so we can reblog and tweet it.

Here you go, Mark: https://the-active-voice.com/2017/09/02/is-playster-rejecting-lgbt-books/

Thanks! :)

Online Paranormal Kitty

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #27 on: September 02, 2017, 11:33:52 AM »
Nope. As has been pointed out before, it is discriminatory if they say they are pulling LGBT because they believe that their particular deity frowns upon it. It is not discriminatory for a business to decide that they want to target groups of people who have a deity that gets it's panties in a bunch over LGBT fiction. As long as they just say, "we don't want to sell it anymore," then it is entirely their choice as a business to do so.

By all means, make people aware. Send out a message saying that if you want to buy or sell LGBT works, you can't do it here. That won't happen though because as we already see here, people are talking about going to the press and raising a stink on social media. Before you know it, this whole thing will be a constant attack on a business merely because they choose not to sell a certain type of fiction.

The minute, heck the second, they come out and say they won't sell it on their site because it's those dirty gay cooties, then I will light all the torches you want and sharpen every pitchfork I can find. Until that happens though, as a private company, they can choose to sell or not sell whatever they like and we have no reason to get all wound up about it.

They are the ones missing out on making money as far as I can see, but they might be able to look at their numbers and say that the number of emails they get saying someone won't buy from them because of LGBT books is more than the number of people buying LGBT books. We don't know the reason for the decision and getting everyone riled up about this as it stands is just plain wrong.

IMO, doing what they seem to be doing is a lot worse than just out-and-out saying they don't accept those books. Doing it the way they are, it's like having their cake and eating it too. They deserve to be called out for it so people know.

Offline RandomThings

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #28 on: September 02, 2017, 11:47:27 AM »
They have a half dozen books tagged as LGBT and several music sets specifically labelled as part of Pride. Not a huge selection, but clearly they still have something up so you can't really say they are targeting everything related to the LGBT crowd.

I have an online store through my facebook where I list all my works (LGBT and otherwise) and a number of other authors too. Now, if I looked at the numbers and saw that the main demographic to my store was the type to buy only the non-lgbt stuff, I would de-list it all and fill the space with more non-lgbt books. I would have a link somewhere on my author page telling you where you can buy the lgbt stuff, but it would be a business decision that benefited me. This company can do the same thing.

The only thing they need to take a moment to do is to ensure their TOS state explicitly what content they are willing to sell and ensure their site complies with that. You can't force people to sell your work. They are providing a service and if they choose to remove every single book with a red head on the cover without debating it with the authors, they can do that. So long as they do not come out and say, "We're dumping all books with redheads because we find them icky," they are not doing anything wrong.

What exactly do people want to come from this? A business to shut down or to be forced to list the books you say they should list?

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #29 on: September 02, 2017, 11:50:37 AM »
The minute, heck the second, they come out and say they won't sell it on their site because it's those dirty gay cooties, then I will light all the torches you want and sharpen every pitchfork I can find. Until that happens though, as a private company, they can choose to sell or not sell whatever they like and we have no reason to get all wound up about it.

Sometimes companies only admit they won't sell something because of "those dirty gay cooties" when they get called on it and have to make a choice to 1) be publicly honest about their practices, so that consumers can make informed choices, or 2) changing their practices. Until they're called on it, they try to have it both ways -- say nothing that sounds discriminatory so as not to push away Group A while hoping word quietly gets out within Group B that this is a site where their kids can't get a hold of LGBT+ content. I don't think we know yet whether Playster is actually trying to play both sides of the fence like that, but the only way to find out is to shed some light on the situation and see what the company says.

If you made me guess right now, I'd say this will turn out to be a dumb decision made by someone pretty far down Playster's food chain. I don't see any sign in the company's web presence that it's trying to focus on a very conservative market segment. Rather, all their imagery is young, young, young, and today's young folks support LGBT rights in very substantial majorities here in the U.S. If they've made a high-level choice to exclude LGBT+ books, well, it seems weird and self-sabotaging.

ETA:

What exactly do people want to come from this?

Speaking just for myself, a clear public position, so that authors and readers can make informed choices.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 11:53:17 AM by Becca Mills »

Offline RandomThings

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #30 on: September 02, 2017, 11:57:00 AM »
This is true Becca, which is why I am saying people need to stop with the immediate urge to 'raise awareness' which is the usual code these days for get the crowd riled up and sic em on the company.

The point to remember is that whatever their reasoning, they are entitled to choose what to sell through their site. It may be because someone disagrees with something or other and so long as they do not state that is the reason, they are breaking no laws.

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #31 on: September 02, 2017, 11:58:28 AM »
The point to remember is that whatever their reasoning, they are entitled to choose what to sell through their site. It may be because someone disagrees with something or other and so long as they do not state that is the reason, they are breaking no laws.

Just because it technically doesn't break the law doesn't make it right.

Offline Nic

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #32 on: September 02, 2017, 12:02:04 PM »
What exactly do people want to come from this? A business to shut down or to be forced to list the books you say they should list?

That would be an excellent start. I'd also take every LGBT/ally knowing about this and able to avoid Playster as an alternative.

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2017, 12:03:19 PM »
Just because it technically doesn't break the law doesn't make it right.

Very true, Kitty.

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Offline PatriciaThomson

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2017, 12:07:17 PM »
There are currently gay and lesbian romance novels on Playster--not a lot, true, but some of them do appear to be fairly graphic.  Doesn't it stand to reason if it rejected the OP's novel strictly because it was lesbian romance there wouldn't be ANY lesbian romance to be found on the site? 

I'm reminded of a young friend of mine who was positive that her local utility company was discriminating against women because her and her SO's names were both on the bill, but despite the fact that she established the account any communication from the utility was always addressed to him.  She went on a huge Twitter rant, the torches and pitchforks came out, etc.  I pointed out that her SO's name started with a C, hers with an R.  Sure enough, the utility verified that multiple names on an account would always be listed in alphabetical order and whoever came first would get the emails.

Moral of the story--Occam's razor is a very real thing.  :D


« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 12:13:47 PM by PatriciaThomson »
   
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Offline RandomThings

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2017, 12:08:03 PM »
It doesn't make it wrong either. You can't force people to sell your work. You can't force them to sell something on their site that they aren't interested in selling.

What you can do is take your business elsewhere without turning it into a whole circus of placards and finger pointing. They don't list LGBT work, so don't put any of your work on their site. Don't buy anything from them. Do you really think that making a fuss on twitter or blog sites will make them change their ways and put all the LGBT books front and centre?


Offline RandomThings

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #36 on: September 02, 2017, 12:11:34 PM »
There are currently gay and lesbian romance novels on Playster--not a lot, true, but some of them do appear to be fairly graphic.  Doesn't it stand to reason if it rejected the OP's novel strictly because it was lesbian romance there wouldn't be ANY lesbian romance to be found on the site? 

I'm reminded of a young friend of mine who was positive that her local utility company was discriminating against women because her and her SO's names were both on the bill, but despite the fact that she established the account any communication from the utility was always addressed to him.  She went on a huge Twitter rant, the torches and pitchforks came out, etc.  I pointed out that her SO's name started with a C, hers with an R.  Sure enough, the utility verified that multiple names on an account would always be listed in alphabetical order and whoever came first would get the emails. 

Moral of the story--Occam's razor is a very real thing.  :D

Yep. In my day job I had to interact with people all the time. I once had a number of interactions with a very strong minded woman who seemed to think we were discriminating against her and her partner because they were gay. We weren't. We are a local government organisation with ample rules and policies to ensure no one is discriminated against but that didn't stop her going to the local news whenever she couldn't get what she wanted.

People are way too willing to go to extremes over the smallest perceived slight these days and need to take a breath to assess the situation first.

Online Becca Mills

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #37 on: September 02, 2017, 12:14:13 PM »
What you can do is take your business elsewhere without turning it into a whole circus of placards and finger pointing. They don't list LGBT work, so don't put any of your work on their site. Don't buy anything from them. Do you really think that making a fuss on twitter or blog sites will make them change their ways and put all the LGBT books front and centre?

Making a fuss is the way you get answers, RandomThings. I want to know for sure if this is a company I should avoid before I decide to avoid it. Would it be fair to make a permanent decision without all the facts?

Offline RandomThings

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #38 on: September 02, 2017, 12:16:07 PM »
Yes and nothing wrong with asking for a statement from the company that clearly says, yes they will list LGBT works or no they won't. That is the only answer you need about whether to shop there. The only question is, do they sell the books I am looking for.

Offline Nic

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #39 on: September 02, 2017, 12:17:50 PM »
Just because it technically doesn't break the law doesn't make it right.

That entirely depends on the legislation of your country. In much of Europe this could break competition laws. A company which has an absolute or near absolute monopoly in their field can be held to the same legal and ethical regulations as state institutions.

Online Paranormal Kitty

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #40 on: September 02, 2017, 12:18:05 PM »
Yes and nothing wrong with asking for a statement from the company that clearly says, yes they will list LGBT works or no they won't. That is the only answer you need about whether to shop there. The only question is, do they sell the books I am looking for.

Even if I wasn't looking for LGBT books, I wouldn't give money to a company that knowingly did this.

Offline RandomThings

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #41 on: September 02, 2017, 12:19:54 PM »
Even if I wasn't looking for LGBT books, I wouldn't give money to a company that knowingly did this.

No one is forcing you to. That is the beauty of the internet. You can spend your money elsewhere. But, just because you don't like it, doesn't give you the right to make sure no one else buys there either. Which is something that tends to happen in these situations.

Online Paranormal Kitty

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #42 on: September 02, 2017, 12:22:58 PM »
No one is forcing you to. That is the beauty of the internet. You can spend your money elsewhere. But, just because you don't like it, doesn't give you the right to make sure no one else buys there either. Which is something that tends to happen in these situations.

No one is making sure they don't; just getting the info out there. People can't decide for themselves if they don't know. If enough people find out about it and stop shopping there that it causes them to go out of business...that's life and the consequences of their actions.

Offline PatriciaThomson

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #43 on: September 02, 2017, 12:25:40 PM »
People aren't shopping at Playster now.  It doesn't offer a lot of new releases, the reading app is buggy and apparently it has an issue of continuing to charge credit cards after an account has been cancelled. 
   
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Online Becca Mills

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #44 on: September 02, 2017, 12:28:00 PM »
Apparently this is their contact email address for questions: publishing@playster.com.

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #45 on: September 02, 2017, 12:28:53 PM »
No one is forcing you to. That is the beauty of the internet. You can spend your money elsewhere. But, just because you don't like it, doesn't give you the right to make sure no one else buys there either. Which is something that tends to happen in these situations.

Paranormal_Kitty can't make sure no one else shops there. People do have free will, after all. But this is a free society, and she certainly has the right to make sure other people have access to this information.
     

Offline Spinneyhead

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #46 on: September 02, 2017, 01:14:47 PM »
Even if I wasn't looking for LGBT books, I wouldn't give money to a company that knowingly did this.
^This.

I recently signed up to D2D, to open up new markets. It turns out Playster and 24Symbols are the only ones not available through Smashwords. None of my erotica- straight and bi- was accepted. I was okay with this. if they don't want to publish erotica, fine. But, if they're blocking non-erotic books just because of LGBT content, then I'm pulling everything, and announcing it.

I'm not going to do any housekeeping until Monday, I reckon, so I'll check back in on this before then, and act accordingly.

Offline Mercedes Vox

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #47 on: September 02, 2017, 01:51:44 PM »
After seeing this thread, I made a spreadsheet for my entire catalogue of GLBTQ+ books, which is 25 titles as of this writing. Only four of those books were blocked by Playster (and Scribd as well). Those are the only four books that I BISAC categorized/keyworded as Erotica (rather than Erotic Romance, Romance, Suspense/Thriller, or Historical). Those four titles were rightly blocked, according to the respective companies' TOS. Fair enough.

Two items of note:

1) Although those 4 books are BISAC categorized as Erotica (because that is what they are), my properly BISAC categorized/keyworded Erotic Romances are all much, much steamier than the Erotica titles (especially the one series where one of the heroes is massively into some seriously filthy dirty talkin'). One of the blocked Erotica titles contains very light BDSM, but the BDSM elements in two of the non-blocked Erotic Romance titles are considerably harder/rougher/explicitly described. Hell, the GLBTQ+ title in my sig is Erotic Romance with a vigilante serial killer as one of the heroes, which contains explicit sex and also contains explicit violence because serial killer, and neither Playster nor Scribed blocked it. HOWEVER, this could be a date-related change of policy for Playster, as described in the next item.


2) After dropping out of KU in late July, I uploaded or re-activated my entire catalogue to D2D (excluding Tolino because a) I've sold only a handful of books through that portal and b) OMG what a nightmare that is when switching a title back to KU) on August 1 - 3. I then decided to go with Pronoun instead, so I de-listed from D2D on August 2, and checked daily to see where listings still remained. On August 8, I started uploading the entire catalogue to Pronoun, which I completed on August 12.


If this seems like a global issue for Playster now, without exception, this could:

a) possibly indicate that only titles categorized as Erotica are being blocked, particularly if they are also blocking hetero titles categorized as Erotica, or

b) possibly indicate that somewhere between August 9 and today is when Playster made it a policy not sell GLBTQ+ romance, erotic romance, or erotica.

If Playster has also blocked non-fiction GLBTQ+ titles, that would be a clincher that they find all GLBTQ+ content objectionable.

I agree that it's any private company's prerogative to block content at their discretion, just as it would be my prerogative not to do business with an aggregator that chooses to partner with them.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 01:54:31 PM by Mercedes Vox »

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Offline elizabethbarone

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #48 on: September 02, 2017, 02:20:45 PM »
Neither my title nor the ones by authors I've spoken to were marked as erotica.

I'm raising awareness because, if you actually read my original post, many of us attempted to contact both D2D and Playster regarding this matter. We've been ignored. That speaks volumes.

I would like for Playster to be more transparent regarding their policy. As I've said, my book had been accepted twice, then suddenly it was rejected. I'm wide on all channels, so one retailer certainly isn't going to hurt me. My objective isn't to shut Playster down or force them to accept LGBT+ books, but it is to get answers. Being that neither company has responded, my next step was to get louder. Simply pretending this is okay and ignoring it doesn't sit well with me.

When it seemed to be just me affected, my plan was to contact both companies and leave it at that. However, it isn't just me, and it isn't just LGBT romance; many non-romance, non-erotica titles have been suddenly rejected. I'm a big believer in coming together to make our voices heard. Often that is the only way to get anywhere, because it's easy to ignore one person but far more difficult to ignore a chorus.

If this is the mistake of a single employee, then I'm sure that Playster will remedy it and perhaps clarify their content guidelines. If it isn't, though, and Playster says they're no longer accepting any LGBT fiction, then readers and authors can make their own decisions.

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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction
« Reply #49 on: September 02, 2017, 02:23:27 PM »
No one is forcing you to. That is the beauty of the internet. You can spend your money elsewhere. But, just because you don't like it, doesn't give you the right to make sure no one else buys there either. Which is something that tends to happen in these situations.
RandomThings, I understand your point. I too sometimes worry when political correctness runs amuck.

When brick and mortar bookstores were still a thing, there were some in my area that had a very clear political ideology and only carried works that expressed that viewpoint. I didn't have any kind of problem, even though some of them represented a view quite different from my own. However, they all had one thing in common: they were honest about the perspective they were promoting. As a potential book buyer, if books are being shelved according to particular ideological criteria, I want to be aware of that. I want to be able to exercise my right to not do business with them if I think the philosophy being promoted amounts to bigotry.

One of my problems with Playster is that they aren't doing that. They are pulling LGBT works using a rule about sexual content even if the work has no sexual content, and they are allowing equally steamy or more steamy heterosexual content to remain. (I know there are apparently some books that haven't been pulled yet, but in the absence of any further explanation for the ones that have been, I'm inclined to assume Playster is moving through its catalog gradually, the way Amazon does.) Yes, legally they may well be able to do that, but I as a consumer have a right to know they're doing it. Otherwise, the "you can spend your money elsewhere" idea becomes very hollow. If I weren't an author haunting this board, I would have no way of knowing that I should be spending my money elsewhere.

We also need to keep in mind that businesses can't do whatever they wish just because they're private. That was almost exactly the argument initially made by restaurants when they were told they couldn't deny service based on race. Yes, that's not the same situation, but in both cases the rationale on the business end is somewhat the same. Cases involving alleged discrimination against vendors haven't been brought yet, at least not to the best of my knowledge. Maybe there isn't a case there; maybe there isn't. But the general idea that a business can do as it pleases was thrown out by the courts long ago.

I have a lot of friends who belong to religions that believe LGBT behavior is sinful. Among us, we have an unspoken agreement not to argue with each other about it. Interestingly, though, none of them worry about whether literature with LGBT themes is being sold in book stores they use. They just don't buy it themselves, any more than I buy titles that promote their philosophy.

My ideal would be a open book store environment. I don't want to see censorship of any viewpoint, whether expressed fictionally or nonfictionally. I'm saying this because, unless Playster recently changed ownership, I would suspect they're getting pressure from somewhere to drop LGBT content. I don't intend to push for distributors to drop content with which I disagree--but I expect those with different views to extend me the same courtesy.

Maybe Playster is making this move because, as you suggested, LGBT material isn't selling as well for them. However, what I'm seeing elsewhere makes me doubt that. For instance, not so long ago, LGBT material wasn't visible on TV at all. Then there was a brief period in which it appeared in shows specifically about LGBT issues (Like Will and Grace, which ran for eight seasons.) Now it pops up all over the place. It's very common to see an LGBT romance as a subplot in a series that isn't otherwise about that. Occasionally,  the subplot is used to talk about prejudice, but often it doesn't make that specific point. It's just there, and the other characters don't make a big deal about it. None of these trends suggest to me that the audience unwilling to tolerate such material is bigger than the audience that doesn't.


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