transdada

poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, March 12, 2004

March 12, 2004. The Lambda Literary Foundation announced that "The Man Who Would Be Queen" has been removed as a 16th Annual Lambda Literary Award finalist.

The change was prompted by a request from the panel of judges that is reading all the finalists in the transgender category, which said the book was not appropriate for the category. The Foundation does not identify the judges to the public or each other until the Awards banquet, which this year will be held June 3, in Chicago, IL. Upon receiving the request, executive director Jim Marks went back to the Finalist Committee, which had selected the book originally. A majority of the committee agreed to honor the request.

Because the action was unprecedented, it provoked heated discussion within the Finalist Committee. Finalist Committee member Kris Kleindienst said, "Removing the book from the list is not censorship. The book is widely available, has been widely reviewed and is not about to be denied to the public. What we are doing is behaving in a responsible manner to make sure the list of finalists is compatible with the Foundation’s mission. Having looked at the book closely, I am sure it is not." Several committee members echoed Kleindienst’s views.

Finalist Committee member Victoria Brownworth, along with several others, disagreed on the censorship issue. "Banning a book and censoring a book are two different things. While I hate to be the titular voice of the ACLU here, especially since I personally disagree with many aspects of Bailey's book, if we take the book off the list we are indeed censoring it. It doesn't matter what our reasons are."

"This has been a difficult and humbling experience for the Foundation," said Executive Director Jim Marks. "We’ve never before had a case in which a book, whose author and publisher both affirm their support for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual rights, has at the same time been opposed by those who say its content in fact is antithetical to those rights."

"Throughout the controversy that has raged over the book’s selection as a finalist, we have struggled to maintain the integrity of the process." Marks said. "Since the impetus for the change came from the within the category’s judges, and was reviewed and voted on by the Finalist Committee, we feel that the decision is consistent with our process."

The recipients of the 16th Lambda Literary Awards will be announced at a gala banquet to be held June 3, 2004 at the Chicago Mart Plaza Hotel. Tickets are $125 for the dinner, $175 for the dinner and gala reception, with discounts for tickets purchased before March 31, 2004. For more information or to order online, go to www.lambdalit.org or call 202-682-0952.

--
Jim Marks, Executive Director, Lambda Literary Foundation
LLF Programs: Lambda Book Report, The James White Review, Lambda Literary Awards and Lambda Literary Festival
Online at www.lambdalit.org
202-682-0952; 202-682-0955 fax; PO Box 73910, Washington, DC 20056-3910 shipping address: 1217 Eleventh St. NW, Suite 1, Washington, DC 20001

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