A Bit of Background
As the world around all of us changes, and everyone – young and old – finds new ways to exist and express themselves, ideas and the words that express them change too. I’ve written before about the inevitable phenomenon. It’s exciting and painful all at once.
GCLS has been slow to adapt. Slow to the point that some early supporters have wandered away in search of more welcoming places. I’ve tried to support and amplify the voices of those people who have felt excluded and unwelcome and asked the organization to make it unequivocally clear that the organization’s goals, events, and awards were not just open to them but welcomed them.
Recently, GCLS unveiled updated language throughout their mission statement, goals, awards eligibility, and web site to reflect that GCLS welcomes women and nonbinary people and that there is simply no debate that transwomen are women and it supports the literature that tells those peoples’ stories. These changes to terms used were the result of the work of many volunteers, and was debated by the membership-elected board.
I was outright relieved. As one of their trailblazer awardees, it has been increasingly difficult to tell people they were welcome as the language remained not very inclusive. There has been some vocal pushback since the announcement. I’ve had private conversations with a couple of people that boil down to:
- Whenever women open their spaces to not-women, it’s a slippery slope to the not-women ruining everything.
- Someone will write a book with two men in it, call it sapphic, and it will win awards and so many more will follow that the voices of the lesbians who began the organization will be overrun and our literature will be lost.
- This change to wording is an unrealistic endeavor based on a good intentions.
I wrote an extensive response to one such public posting on Facebook, and I’ve captured the essence of it here. I want to make it clear where I stand. Read More