She added, “I expected more from Lambda than character assassination by vague accusations based on rumors on Twitter, for telling people – not a group, but people – to read the book.”
Acquaye and Scales said in a joint interview that an independent jury and Lambda Literary both contributed to the decision to remove the book from competition, and said the organization took no position on “The Men.” .
Following Hough’s posts, Scales said in the interview, “a lot of trans people felt like they couldn’t, they weren’t allowed to be in these conversations.” Acquaye said the posts “didn’t uplift other queer people and those voices.”
In her Substack newsletter, Hough said she discussed “The Men” with Newman, including “how to make the book acknowledge the reality of transgender people.”
“Other books that started from this premise – all men disappear – erased the existence of trans people, and it was important to her not to do that, to be as sensitive as possible,” Hough wrote. . “So when I saw people assuming that simple idea was the entire plot, I told them to read the book before assuming the worst.”
For this, she wrote, she was called a trans-exclusive radical feminist – which she denied.
(Previous books with similar storylines, eliminating or separating genre “were written before there was much focus on anything beyond a genre binary,” said Brian Attebery, professor in English at Idaho State University who has written about gender in science fiction.)
Hough lamented that Twitter users had so harshly criticized a book they hadn’t read.
“They call it ‘call culture’,” she wrote on Substack, “because bullying is wrong unless your target is someone you don’t like, for reasons social justice reasons, of course.”
In an email Monday, Newman declined to comment on her upcoming book but confirmed Hough’s account of their friendship. “He is also a person of great integrity and decency,” Newman added. “And she’s an incredible writer whose book deserves all the awards.”