The importance of LGBT+ fiction, and Radclyffe’s speech at RITA 2019
The RWA (Romance Writers of America) hold a yearly conference where they hand out multiple awards to the romance industry. These awards and considered amongst many to be the highest award of distinction in romance fiction.
This year the award ceremony held a special interest for many of us as Radclyffe, prolific author of lesbian fiction and President of Bold Strokes Books, was asked to speak about the place of LGBT+ romance in her life and about how our genre fits into the overall romance writing community.
Here is a video of her speech, respectfully pinched from Nell Stark’s Facebook page.
Radclyffe spoke for around three and a half minutes, but wow did she make that short time count. The fact that she was asked to come and speak as a trailblazer speaks volumes.
But before we get onto that, let’s just take a moment to appreciate that one of the most prestigious, if not the most prestigious, romance fiction conference asked someone from our community to speak. This is seriously a testament to the growth and popularity of our genre, as well as the impact of our community’s output.
Radclyffe paid homage to the LGBT+ authors “voices who spoke to the reality of my life” and gave her “strength and pride in being myself.” It’s all too easy to forget that the LGBT fiction community is a very small one, the WLW part smaller still. But our small size actually makes us more important, allowing LGBT+ readers to overcome the “stigma of difference.”
Don’t underestimate the importance of Radclyffe being asked to speak, or Aurora Rey being nominated for a RITA this year. I don’t believe any LGBT+ author has won a RITA before (please correct me if I’m wrong), and this new light being shone on our community is incredibly exciting, important, and long overdue.
It’s taken a lot of hard work by pioneers such as Radclyffe for us all to collectively get to this point. Without Radclyffe, I am positive that I would not be a published author of F/F fiction today. And I can’t wait to see what the future holds and how our community as a whole continues to grow.