Romance Writers of America Takes a Stand for Diversity

The folks who love to write about love are taking a stand for inclusivity.

The Romance Writers of America released a statement on April 4, 2016 making it absolutely clear where they stand on the subject of inclusivity for members from the LGBTQ community. This is welcome news during a time when civil rights for people who identify as gay or transgender are being eroded in several states.

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Important Message Regarding 2005 “Definition of Romance” Survey

At the November 2015 Board of Directors meeting, one of the issues discussed was an RWA survey conducted in 2005. Though this occurred eleven years ago, the ill effects of that survey still linger for many members. The survey was included in the Romance Writers Report and asked RWA members to vote on whether romance should be redefined as being between one man and one woman. The survey responses were never acted upon, and RWA’s definition of romance was not changed.

The survey, however, sparked a discussion that compelled our LGBT+ members to justify their existence to others and to participate in debates about their humanity and their capacity to love. This incident was a low point from which RWA’s reputation has never recovered. The organization later reaffirmed RWA’s commitment to making sure that “any definition of romance should be broad and inclusive.” This statement, however, did not make it clear that, in issuing the survey, RWA failed its members, its genre and its mission. We want to make that clear now.

We apologize for letting our members down and for failing to treat all our members with the respect they deserve.

RWA is committed to creating an inclusive, respectful environment where all career-focused romance writers can advance their professional interests, regardless of the happily ever afters they create and celebrate.

The concern dates back to a 2005 survey that asked whether romance needed to be redefined as being between one man and one woman. While no action was taken in response to the survey, the hurt caused by this action lingered on. Following a November 2015 board meeting that took a hard look at issues related to inclusivity of marginalized members, RWA decided to make their stance clear.

BookTrib spoke with RWA President Diane Kelly who shared the following statement with us:

“A professional organization can best benefit its members by providing an environment that is inclusive. RWA is committed to creating such an environment, and welcomes all romance writers.”

It’s nice to hear that the organization dedicated to promoting and supporting professional romance writers is equally dedicated to helping EVERYONE find their happily ever after.

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