DISSCUSSION: The Pride month shelf-Requirements?

So I don’t Know if this suits More in the general category But since it’s about the shelf Episode is putting up I put it in Episode realted topics anyways.
I haven’t seen Any posts on here to discuss this yet so…What do you think the reuquirements for being on the shelf should be? Should cishet authors Who write LGBTQ+ stories be on this shelf? Or should it strictly be LGBTQ+ authors and stories? What do you think about recommending stories with a LGBTQ+ option?
Plesse inform me if similar topics already exsist.
I’m really wondering What people think about this since I’ve heard a lot of different opinions on it.

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For me it’s always about the story and never about the author. I mean, we barely know Episode authors! Why would some reader who’s never been on the forums (which is most of them) care if the author is LGBTQ? We should be representing stories that have LGBTQ main characters and themes and stop caring so much about who made the story.

It just seems like a cop out to me. I’m sure there are LGBTQ authors out there who write straight love stories because it’s popular. Or write about cis characters because Episode has very little capability to show a transition. But the stories are the things that speak to people. So the authors who accurately and respectfully portray LGBTQ issues in their story should always get priority. It doesn’t matter what their sexuality or gender identity is.

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I think it depends on how it’s framed. Most of the time when I see options to date the same sex in stories, I take it that the MC is bisexual and they’re just choosing a love interest.

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Well, that’s true. I was thinking of the situations where the MC isn’t represented as bi/pan.

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writer’s sexuality doesn’t matter. i’m hyped for story as long as author did research and isn’t using stereotypes (lesbian w black short hair and glasses…). i’m actually happy when i see straight writer’s lgbt story — it means they support them!

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The author is invisible to the reader. It’s the MC’s voice we should care about. And allies writing about LGBTQ characters is a great sign

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Idc what the author’s sexuality is. If anything, straight authors should be featured (alongside LGBTQIA+ people, not only straight ofc) because it encourages straight people to do research and be more open minded.

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I’m pretty sure I said the same thing this time last year, but I think it should be about the story in the first place. On a Pride shelf I want to see stories that represent LGBTQ+ characters because when I’m reading a story, I have no idea what the author’s sexuality is, unless it is mentioned on their profile or I saw it in a post by accident.
If Episode wants to make everyone happy, they should try to find stories with LGBTQ+ characters AND from LGBTQ+ authors, but the latter is not that easy because we can’t expect them to “do research” on this and it’s very possible that some authors would prefer not to talk about it.
I personally wouldn’t suggest stories that have LGBTQ+ as an option. I think many authors only add it to get more reads, so I would rather like to see MCs who don’t have straight love interests.

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Not gonna say too much, but last year people recommended Adrenaline* and everyone was against it because the author is straight, turns out she wasn’t even straight. We have no way of knowing people’s sexualities unless they tell us so.

Another thing I noticed last year was people telling others to not recommend bi authors that are in straight relationships. You see where I’m getting at? There’s always a bi erasure. Now it’s “dont recommend stories with customizable sexuality” why does that matter if the MC is canonically bi?

*Oh, btw, Adrenaline portrayed the hardships LGBT community go through. But people still didn’t want that

I don’t like the pride shelf. :woman_shrugging:t2:

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Yes ! it’s about the stories not the author!

No!like I said it’s about the story not the author

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I’ve always been inbetween about authors and or stories but now I am beginning to understand more why the story is more important. But there are a lot of LGBTQ+ authors who have LGBTQ+ stories so I believe that their stories should be considered more than straight authors with LGBTQ+ stories. If there isn’t enough of LGBTQ+ authors with LGBTQ+ stories, then the straight authors with LGBTQ+ should be considered. But that’s just what I think

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This is a community for readers AND writers. We can’t ignore the fact that the authors benefit from gaining visibility on these shelves. We also can’t ignore the fact that marginalized authors in the publishing world often get overlooked so that cis straight white males can tell the stories instead. We also can’t ignore the fact that these shelves were created to BOTH give visibility to marginalized authors while showing stories about marginalized people. It was supposed to raise the voices of marginalized people, and I don’t think that should be ignored. Stories by these authors that have MCs wishing these communities should be given priority over other stories. It has always been about creating a space for both the readers and the authors. That is why Episode asks for stories BY these members. That was the request and that was the goal. The execution, however, wasn’t always well done.
And I don’t think that stories where the diversity being featured can be customized away should be featured. People recommended one of my stories last year and I asked that they not because that story had customized sexuality.
Unlike other marginalized communities however, with the LGBT+ community, it’s a little harder to gauge because some members of the LGBT+ community haven’t come out yet, and coming out is a process that should be respected and not forced. Therefore, I wouldn’t demand an author confirm they’re a member of the LGBT+ community, but if they’ve flat out said they’re straight, I’d ask that they step away from the space to allow for members of the LGBT community to tell their stories first. Yes, people can research and tell their stories, but there’s nothing like a marginalized community member being able to tell their own story from their own voice and being provided a platform for it. Its not about being an expert. It’s about authenticity and opportunity. It’s a rare opportunity that authors in the publishing world have been fighting for for years and are still fighting for, and it would be a waste to throw that away when we have that opportunity here.

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This is a really good and important point, and I think that if a story is done to where the MC is canonically bi and the different love interests are integrated into the story, such as the MC in Adrenaline, it should still be considered. That’s quite different from having an option in the beginning where a person can just choose a member of the opposite sex and never think about sexuality in the story again.

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Yes, I agree with this wholeheartedly, usually stories with one love interests fall into this category and can’t really demonstrate anything about bisexuality.

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The rules are the only way Episode can guarantee that their own staff can be on the top spot on the shelf :joy:

How would you know the sexuality of the author?

Well a few authors have made it clear about their sexuality

And for those who aren’t comfortable sharing yet, or are still exploring? Would you assume they are straight? And, therefore they fall into your first category of authors? Vice-versa.

Or, we could treat all authors as equal? And, judge them by the stories they write and characters they create?

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I wouldn’t assume that they’re straight, I wouldn’t assume anything tbh. Episode asked for stories for stories from authors who are LGBTQ+ or stories that have LGBTQ+. I’m saying that I would prefer a story from a LGBTQ+ that has a LGBTQ+ MC. I accept that there are people not comfortable coming out yet or people who are still unsure of their sexuality but there are authors who are sure and have come out and have written stories with a LGBTQ+ MC so I believe those stories should be on the shelf. I’m not saying that straight, unsure, etc shouldn’t be featured but I don’t think they should be the priority options. This is just my opinion and nothing is gonna change what I think

Of course, I understand that you think that.

However, how would you be able to tell who is LGBTQ+ from who’s not, unless they’ve stated?

And if they haven’t said anything, would they not have priority?