Publishing industry slams new network for people ‘concerned about the impact of gender ideology’

A new network for people “concerned about the impact of gender ideology” on literature and the publishing industry has come in for criticism.

The launch of the Seen in Publishing group, which says its members “believe in the material reality of sex”, was reported by The Bookseller on Monday (24 June). 

“We believe that everyone in publishing should be able to express legally held views on sex and gender, including where these views relate to publishing-sector decisions, free from fear, harassment, discrimination and negative career repercussions,” a statement from the group said.

Several industry insiders have posted on the group’s Substack channel, with author Rachel Rooney claiming she was “ghosted” by those in the wider industry after her children’s book My Body is Me! was labelled “transphobic”.

Seen said it has a process for screening membership applicants and the list is confidential.

And this is who we are… pic.twitter.com/PmrpuuuLhY

— SEEN in Publishing (@SEENPublishing) June 21, 2024

Many people in the publishing industry took to social media to make it clear that they welcome trans authors.

“If you’re a publishing mutual who is part of this anonymous network, shame on you,” author Kirsty Capes wrote on Twitter/X. “We should be welcoming trans and [gender-non-conforming] creatives and authors with open arms.”

And literary agent Lydia Silver said: “To reassure trans and other LGBTQ+ authors: this network does not speak to the vast majority of clever, kind and brilliant people in publishing. We are here for you and want to hear your stories.”

Non-binary author Jamie Windust slammed the group for “launching during Pride month”, adding: “As a trans author, I celebrate and welcome all LGBTQ+ authors who know the struggle to create and have their queer stories published without sanitisation or being pigeon-holed. Our honest stories matter.”

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