The Romance Writers Ink chapter of the Romance Writers of America ( RWA ) is holding its annual "More Than Magic" contest, with entries due March 2.
However, organizers of the contestwhich has several categories, including erotic romance, paranormal and "sensual contemporary"are not allowing stories with LGBT themes.
The addendum to the very first rule on the contest website ( romancewritersink.wordpress.com/our-contests ) reads, "MTM will no longer accept same-sex entries in any category."
On her blog, The Amazon Iowan, Heidi Cullinan wrote, "As president of the Rainbow Romance Writers, RWA's chapter for LGBT chapter, it's my job to address the situation. ... Does that [ rule ] seem harsh? Probably only if you're not gay or passionate about the rights of LGBT persons.
"You know what, judges of RWI who are uncomfortable reading about same-sex relationships? I'm uncomfortable with you judging my work like that without reading it. I'm uncomfortable with you pasting RWA on yourself and then saying, with RWA national's blessing, that you don't want to read that gay stuff.
Windy City Times reached out to the contest coordinator, Jackie Kramer, who did not respond as of press deadline. However, RWA's Donna Mathoslah referred WCT to a press release regarding chapter contests. The release reads, "So long as chapters fulfill their obligations under state law, as well as RWA and chapter bylaws, and their programs and services support the professional interests of career focused romance writers, policy affords them rather broad latitude in determining which programs and services to offer. Absent policy governing chapter-level contests, RWA's board cannot intervene in the decisions of individual chapters."
It continues, "Romance Writers of America does not condone discrimination of any kind. RWA's policies regarding chapter programs and services will be discussed when the board reconvenes in March."