The Board of Directors of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and newly named Grand Master Mercedes Lackey have responded to the issue of earlier comments made by Lackey about writing trans characters. SFWA sent a statement to their membership on November 17, 2021, that reads:
After we announced Mercedes Lackey as SFWA’s next Grand Master on 11/4, stances that Ms. Lackey had taken on writing trans characters resurfaced online. One was from a reader Q&A conducted in 2003, and another was from a 2017 Quora response on her feelings towards using chosen pronouns at the time.
We recognize that these comments have caused harm to the trans community. Last year, we said, “We have a responsibility to admit our failings and to continually commit to dismantling [..] oppressive and harmful systems, both within this organization and ourselves.”
SFWA cannot apologize on Ms. Lackey’s behalf, but we can acknowledge our contribution to this hurtful situation and stand with those in the trans and nonbinary communities. With that in mind, we asked Ms. Lackey if she would make clear her current feelings on these issues.
They then linked to Lackey’s statement, posted on her social media sites, which reads:
Before all else: trans women are women, and trans men are men. This is something I fiercely believe, and will always support.
I have made awkward statements that have caused pain or distress. My desire is, and has always been, to support the trans community and be the best ally I can. I regret that I communicated poorly and fell short of the mark.
I’m affirming here that I do, and always will, support trans rights and trans people. An individual’s pronouns are every bit as valid — and far more important — than the dictates of copy-editors in the commercial publishing industry. I wish I’d listened to you and fought for those pronouns when copy editors changed them.
I have never felt that I had the ability to write trans point-of-view characters well, and I expressed that badly in the past. Trans characters in fiction are more than just their gender, and their stories should show the richness of their whole lives in full. I am grateful for the many authors who are doing that well today. They are inspiring.
I will do everything in my power to continue to grow and learn, as I feel we all should. I have learned a lot from patient friends and fans. I apologize for hurting people.
The SFWA message concludes,
The current and past presidents of SFWA named Ms. Lackey as our next Grand Master because they believe the body of her work has contributed greatly to the science fiction and fantasy genres. We invite you to reach out to us with your feedback on how we can improve the award to be more inclusive of all communities we serve.
Please direct such feedback to the SFWA Office at email@example.com.
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