A writing competition based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma which banned gay romance stories for reportedly being “just too much” has been cancelled.
Organisers Romance Writers Ink said they do not condone discrimination and recognised the new rule in their More Than Magic 2012 competition about gay entries was “highly charged”.
The rules had stated the competition would “no longer accept same-sex entries in any category” of the romance-writing contest.
The competition was to offer a grand prize of up to $495 (£310) and works could be entered in a range of romance categories including paranormal, historical and ‘sensual contemporary’, so long as the romance was heterosexual.
Author Kari Gregg described to the Guardian the response she received after asking the organisers to explain the rule: “RWI chapter members were uncomfortable with accepting same-sex contest entries. ‘Same-sex was just too much.’”
“The arrogant presumption that their behaviour was OK infuriated me as a professional, who (reasonably) expected her work to be considered with the same courtesy and respect afforded to every other romance book, but also as a parent of a LGBT young adult.
“Both the professional and the parent responded with an immediate, ‘how dare they?’”
A statement on RWI’s site says: “After much consideration, RWI regretfully announces the MTM Published Author Contest has been cancelled. All monies and books received from entrants will be returned as soon as possible.
“We have heard and understood the issues raised, and will take those concerns into consideration should the chapter elect to hold contests in the future.
It adds: “Please note: our contest coordinator, Jackie, is a chapter member who graciously volunteered to collect entries and sort by category. It is unfortunate that she has become the object of personal ridicule and abuse.
“We recognize the decision to disallow same-sex entries is highly charged. We also opted not to accept YA [Young Adult] entries. We do not condone discrimination against individuals of any sort.”