Thursday, March 30, 2023

Latest Posts

Lambda Literary Cancels Lauren Hough’s Award Nomination

Lambda Literary, a LGBTQ literary organization, has withdrawn memoirist Lauren Hough’s award nomination. Her book, Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing, is a New York Times bestseller and was nominated under the category of lesbian memoir. It’s an extraordinary book, detailing Hough’s time growing up with the notorious Children of God cult and serving in the US Airforce during the time of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Hough was shortlisted, only to be told by email that her book “will not be named as finalist.”

Why was this honor withdrawn? According to screenshots of an email Hough shared, the organization “grew concerned” about “Twitter disputes.”

But what, if anything, did Lauren Hough do to deserve this? Does she slaughter puppies in her spare time? Use the proceeds of her work to fund conversion therapy? No. Hough’s only offense is suggesting that people who have not yet read a fellow author’s novel are not qualified to pass judgement on its contents.

Hough’s friend and mentor, Sandra Newman, faced a recent social media pile-on in response to her forthcoming book.  The Men is about a fictional world in which every person with a Y-Chromosome disappears from the planet – “including men and trans women”, according to the author. And this was enough to trigger widespread accusations of “transphobia” on Newman’s part.

“The entirety of the publishing world is terrified of a few hundred self-described book lovers on social media who are shockingly bad at reading books,” says Hough. “When YA twitter came for Sandra, someone who has always been there for me, I responded. I told them to read the book before condemning it. I told them characters and plot don’t necessarily reflect the politics and views of the author. I told them to read the fucking book, or don’t.”

Lambda Literary’s mission statement claims the organization “nurtures and advocates for LGBTQ writers, elevating the impact of their words to create community, preserve our legacies, and affirm the value of our stories and our lives.” Yet their treatment of Hough – a lesbian writer – contradicts the values outlined. As the scandal grew, Lambda Literary’s interim co-executive directors released a statement:

“In a series of now-deleted tweets, Lauren Hough exhibited what we believed to be a troubling hostility toward transgender critics and trans-allies and used her substantial platform — due in part to her excellent book — to harmfully engage with readers and critics. As an L.G.B.T.Q. organization, we cannot knowingly reward individuals who exhibit disdain and disrespect for the autonomy of an entire segment of the community we have committed ourselves to supporting.”

But Hough was not only challenging transgender critics. And disagreement does not equate to “harm”, let alone a “disrespect for the autonomy” of people identifying as transgender. The only way Hough could have avoided being branded “transphobic” or “harmful” is throwing Newman under the bus. Much like the Salem Witch Trials, the easiest way to avoid being burnt at the stake is condemning another woman. And the accusation – be it witch or TERF – sticks.

Author Racheline Maltese – whose account is verified – tweeted that Lambda Literary had “withdrawn a nomination because someone was aggressively transphobic on Twitter.” Maltese went on to say that “elevating anti-trans rhetoric is in opposition to Lambda Literary’s mission.” But – much like the organization itself – Maltese failed to provide even one piece of evidence that Hough had been “aggressively transphobic” or used “anti-trans rhetoric” in any context.

Lambda Literary withdrawing Hough’s nomination has led to her reputation being trashed on social media. A lesbian author is being ostracized by the very community her work represents. The implication that Lambda would be tainted by associating with her may well damage Hough’s prospects; for this book and any she may write in future. Not to mention the intense stress and possible trauma caused by finding yourself at the heart of a social media shitstorm.

The harm Lambda Literary have caused Lauren Hough and her career is entirely without justification. Their behavior should worry every demographic Lambda Literary claims to represent.

“I expected more from Lambda than character assassination by vague accusation based on Twitter rumors,” says Hough, “for telling people — not one group, but people — to read the book.”

Read the full article here

Latest Posts


Don't Miss

Stay in touch

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.